Regal Kitchens | “Every customer needs to feel like royalty”

Celebrating 15 years trading, with a new showroom, business development manager Emma McLoughlin explains how Regal Kitchens remains focused on its customers

03 May, 24

Celebrating 15 years trading, and having moved to new premises, business development manager Emma McLoughlin explains how independent retailer Regal Kitchens, in Essex, remains firmly focused on its customers

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Directors of Chelmsford-based Regal Kitchens John and Nicola Martin found the location for their business when driving past a neglected kitchen showroom, to return a video to Blockbusters 15 years’ ago.

After a conversation with the landlord, they took on the property, “and the rest is history” says business development manager Emma McLoughlin.

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But not quite, as  after 15 years based at the old showroom, Regal Kitchens had to relocate the business. “We had to move, last year, because the landlord decided to sell the building to a property developer, with plans for it to be knocked down and become a site for 48 flats”, Emma says.

Property relocation

Regal Kitchens took two years to find a suitable new property, as they wanted free car parking for customers, which Emma says is hard to find in Chelmsford.

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“We couldn’t have customers trying to make decisions about their kitchen but at the same time clock watching because their parking tickets are about to run out”, explains Emma.

In a twist of fate, new warehouses were being built at the end of the road where the company directors live, so Regal Kitchens moved into one of the units.

“We spent around three and a half months after getting the key to opening the doors”, says Emma, adding “before we could start installing any kitchens, we had to put in internal walls, lay the floor and direct electrics and water services.”

Now the showroom is complete, Regal Kitchens is once again part of the local community. “We are next door to a primary school and help with their Parent-Teacher Association events.

“We often let the parents use our car when its school pick up and drop off time. It helps build trust.”

Display choice

Measuring 1,500sqft, the showroom features 18 displays. And Emma explains the design choices for the roomsets. “We’ve tried to use lots of up-and-coming furniture and techniques, like a handleless Shaker and secret utility room, to show what we can do.”

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However, the design is based upon more than the aesthetics.

Emma says the company asked suppliers for consumer insights on what was selling: “For example, we asked Hafele what its top 100 selling handles were, for us to have on display. We also did that with other suppliers, which include Schuller and JJO.”

But to ensure consumers are offered choice, Regal Kitchens showcases a variety of colours.

“We’ve tried to show three or four different colours of the same door on the same display, just to help people see the impact of colour choice in a kitchen.”

Showroom journey

This attention to detail is not focused just on displays, but also the customer journey.

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“We’ve designed a walkway to weave around the showroom so you don’t pass the same display twice” says Emma.

It starts with an in-frame kitchen at the front door, in a choice of colours, and winds through to more modern and neutral displays, until it arrives at a demonstration kitchen.

At its grand opening Regal Kitchens invited finalist from MasterChef 2023 Anurag Agarwal and quarter finalist of MasterChef 2019 Yui Miles to cook in the kitchen.

However, Emma also cooks in the showroom: “We held a Marie Curie fund-raising baking day for customers and I cooked cakes in the normal oven, as well as in the steam oven, so that people could see and taste the difference.”

At-home demonstration

No stranger to cooking for an audience, Emma will cook a three-course meal for customers in their new kitchen, a week after the installation.

“I’ve cooked in around 150 different houses now for customers over last seven or eight years. It’s a really nice way to finish the service.”

It not only allows Emma to instruct her customers on appliance use – in an informal setting – but allows her to gain feedback and a customer review.

“That’s the time and I can ask him about what they thought of the showroom. Did the designer listen to them? Did the fitter turn up on time and leave their home clean and tidy?”

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Award-winning service

However, Regal Kitchens is keen to point out its customer service extends beyond the initial purchase.

“We will still go around and change an oven lightbulb for customers free of charge, years later, because we want them to remember us when a friend or family member wants a new kitchen”, says Emma.

She points to social media as also being useful to providing customer service: “I’m going to record video tutorials on how to remove and clean the Neff Slide & Hide door, as I’ve had a lot of client requests about that.”

It’s no surprise, Regal Kitchens is a multi award-winning retail business recognised for its customer service. In the past two years, alone, it has won eight awards.

Emma comments: “The biggest award we achieved in the last few years was Which? Trusted Trader of the Month in May 2022. That gave us a huge influx of customers.

“We’ve been a Which? Trusted Trader for a long time. It’s really difficult to get that endorsement and to keep it.”

Repeat success

And the success of Regal Kitchens is not only reflected in its repeat business, with one customer buying three kitchens in the last 14 years, but its current sales figures: “We’ve had the busiest month, for over a decade, with 10 kitchens sold in March.

“We would normally aim for a kitchen a week and we more than doubled that. This year has been really good.”

With an average sale of £25,000 – £30,000 for supply, design and FIRA Gold Installation, Emma says the company has the ability to stretch to meet most budgets: “We even let customers buy their own appliances and we just charge him to fit them.

“Everybody’s circumstances are different and I think you need to respect that.”

She concludes: “We treat everybody who comes through the door with the same respect. Our tag line is ‘where client is king’. Every customer needs to feel like royalty.”