Ratio is a third-generation family business, operating in Belfast since 1967 and Dublin since 1975. We now provide over 7 million drinks and 1.6 million snacks annually.
The business was founded by AEW Steen in 1967. The original company name was Service Sales, reflecting the dedication to customer service that is still a core value of the business today. After qualifying as a charted accountant with ICI, John Steen joined the business in 1976. In the early days the business focussed strongly on cigarette vending, hot drinks and contract catering.
FOCUSSING ON VENDING
As hot drinks vending became more popular the vending side of the business grew rapidly. Eventually the decision was taken to specialise in this area. The business became a supplier to a number of large Belfast employers such as Michelin, Belfast Ropeworks and Harland and Wolff.
GROWTH AND EXPANSION
In the early 1980s in-cup vending became an increasingly large and important market. Recognising an opportunity, the company created its own packing plant. The competitive pricing that this enabled provided another period of rapid growth for the business.
In 1988 the company was approached by Four Square UK (now Mars Drinks) and became the exclusive distributor of the KLIX system in Ireland. The strength of KLIX technology and an exclusive branded drinks range further strengthened the in-cup offering and contributed to the expansion of the fully-managed vending services in Belfast and Dublin.
LEADING THE WAY IN SINGLE-SERVING COFFEE
In the early 1990s Mars Drinks created a new hot drinks system, Dimension 3. The core of the system was an innovative freshpack technology which allowed the perfect preservation and brewing of roast and ground coffee and fresh leaf tea. Dimension 3 evolved into the Flavia system. The ability to provide fresh roast and ground coffee and real leaf tea in the workplace proved extremely popular and the turnover of the Flavia business grew rapidly.
BEAN TO CUP COFFEE
In 2008 the company was approached by Melitta System Service to distribute their hospitality coffee equipment in Ireland. The relationship with Melitta broadened the product portfolio in the growing "Bean to Cup" market and opened up opportunities in the food service and hospitality markets.
EFFICIENCY THROUGH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
In 2011 the company began working with Vendman, an integrated accounts and management system. Exploiting Vendman technology provided rapid efficiency gains within the business, reducing overheads whilst providing detailed management information to guarantee that key customer service standards were met.
IRELAND'S LEADING INDEPENDENT VENDING BUSINESS
In 2011 Ratio was approached by the WISE Group to become the WISE member for Ireland. WISE is a group of leading independent vending businesses with an uncompromising approach to quality and customer service.