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The sons of a licensee, Frank Brake and his two brothers followed in their father's footsteps by attending catering college, in Frank's case the Borough Polytechnic. Their first business venture was processing and supplying poultry to caterers in Kent and London and then, in the early 1960s, they began distributing a range of frozen foods alongside their main business.
By the end of the decade they had their own manufacturing division, producing award-winning products mainly for the expanding pub food market. Over the following years the product range grew along with the customer base. The introduction of computer technology at an early stage gave the company an advantage over its competitors, cutting the time between order and delivery and controlling stock levels.
A stock market flotation in 1986 paved the way for a period of rapid expansion across England, Scotland and Wales. As managing director, Frank guided the company as it diversified into new areas including chilled foods, bakery products, contract distribution, fresh fruit and vegetables and seafood, and expanded into a new country – France.
By 2002, Brake Brothers was well and truly the UK's leading supplier of foods to the catering industry with over 9,000 employees and an annual turnover of £1.5 billion. Brake's fleet of refrigerated vehicles was making more than 2.5 million deliveries each year – the equivalent of more than 30 return trips to the moon!
Now retired, Frank is an active member of his local Rotary Club and is still working on improving his tennis. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the Guild of Freemen of the City of London and a past President of the British Frozen Food Federation.
The Frank Brake Charitable Trust supports a number of charities and Frank has also established the Frank Brake Scholarship at LSBU, providing financial support for four students each year on the university's MSc Enterprise and MSc Food Safety and Control courses.
Frank Brake sadly passed away on 22 December 2018 aged 85 after a period of illness. The University is forever grateful for his support.