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About Us

Meet Our Team

We are a small but dedicated family here at Barkers Catering Equipment and we all pull together during our busy periods, helping out in both our Hire and Sales departments. 

Robert Bell, Managing Director 

Robert Bell, MD

      Manchester born and bred but moved to the Rossendale Valley in the summer of 2000, actually on the day his first daughter was born! After leaving school, Robert studied accountancy and through that moved into IT support but the majority of his career has been in IT sales, namely as a Sales Director for Sage. A well-timed opportunity came up in 2009 to buy a friend’s business, Barkers Catering Equipment Hire. Since then, Robert and the team have grown this business to make us the one-stop-shop for every establishment’s catering needs.

Rob and his wife Annette have two daughters, Olivia and Harriet, and share their house with a lovely Springer Spaniel called Archie. Robert is a keen football fan and snowboarding enthusiast.

Annette Bell, Director
Annette Bell

       Born in Bolton, Annette's family moved to Leicestershire when she was 4. She met Robert through a mutual friend whilst he was working in the Midlands, at the time she was working at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Annette is a trained and qualified nursery nurse and when the couple came back north, she studied to be a hospital play specialist at Bolton Institute around 1998. 

Annette's primary role is managing the day-to-day activities of the Hire business but being a small company we all help each other out.

Annette is a keen skier and has a huge collection of boots and shoes! 

Alf Crolla, Sales Manager

Alf Crolla, Sales Manager

      Alf is the original ‘Mr.Barker’ – he set the hire business up in 1988 and had a very loyal and local customer base.  Robert bought the business from Alf in 2009 but he has remained a part of the team and is still involved with some aspects of the business on a part time basis.

First and foremost Alf is a foster parent with his wife – a demanding job in anyone’s books! 

Vida Cade, Marketing Manager

Vida Cade, Marketing

      Originally from Ireland, Vida ran away to England when she was 17 after meeting her boyfriend-now-husband on the internet! After supporting herself through college and university where she studied Media Production, Creative Writing and Sociology, she worked for a year as a journalist before dabbling in care work and then waitressing at a Michelin starred restaurant and luxury boutique hotel. Vida joined Barkers in October 2013 and her background in catering and hospitality means she understands the demands of the industry and can recognise the needs of commercial kitchens, front of house and bar services. Vida is a keen reader and an avid gamer (Xbox is the console of choice)! She regularly goes camping, with friends and dogs in tow so living this close to the Lake District is an obvious bonus!

About Barkers

At Barkers we try to do things a little differently, we bring a level of service, knowledge and commitment to customer satisfaction second to none.

We want to change the way people buy Catering Equipment, we strive for a full understanding our your needs and requirements and deliver a value added partnership, bringing new ideas and trends to the table, looking to keep your business stylish at an appropriate budget. We will also keep you informed about important issues facing the catering and hospitality sector. 


We make it easy to do business with and we provide a one stop shop for all your 'None Food' Catering requirements at a price often better than our competitors.

At Barkers Catering Equipment we know what is needed in the catering and hospitality sectors - we've been serving a wide variety of businesses for over 25 years. Established as a catering hire company in the mid 90’s we understand what works in a tough catering environment.

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We are huge consumers of crockery, cutlery and glassware ourselves so we know what works and what can cope with the rigours of everyday use. We are also at the sharp end of catering fashions as demanding brides and new businesses insist on the very latest look for their events or concepts and as such, we are continually looking for the latest new trend.

One Stop Shop

We have a vast range of products and services to provide just about anything you might need for either the front or back of house. Nothing is too much trouble, ‘from the most complex combi oven to a simple shot glass’, and everything in between, we aim to be your one stop shop.

Our website has over 7,000 items most, of which are available on next day delivery, and we have a simple customer service pledge: if you don’t see it, just ask and we will go the extra mile to source items at competitive prices using our vast supply chain.

View our Interactive Catalogue to see a sample of the products we can source for you.

The Advantage of Having Our Hire Business

Our hire business helps us to provide a level of service very few other companies can offer: we will never let you be without vital items. If you commit to buy the items from us we can loan you the items or an alternative from our hire stock until your stock is available. What’s more the short term loan will be free, we just ask you to cover any costs we incur getting the items to you!

Another benefit of using our hire business is if you decide to purchase one of the ranges that we stock, then you can reduce the amount of crockery or items you own, freeing up capital, reducing storage requirements and just hire in the additional items at peak times when you really need them.