Five key recruits will turbo-charge food firm’s growth to become £50m company

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A food company has hired a team of head-hunters to recruit five key staff to turbo-charge ambitious expansion plans.

Harlech Foodservice, based in Criccieth and Chester, wants to strengthen the management team, to increase turnover to more than £50 million over the next three years.

Part of the strategy includes finding bigger premises in the Chester area as a staging post for further growth in the North West.

Managing director David Cattrall wants the new members of the team to be in place in readiness for when the tourism and hospitality industry starts to reopen when Covid lockdown restrictions are eased.

When that happens Harlech plans to start delivering seven days a week with the introduction of a new Sunday service.

Mr Cattrall, who previously worked in a high-powered role with Booker Wholesale, has embarked on a major restructuring of the company since he was appointed last year.

He said the introduction of “transparent and competitive” pricing on a range of core products had proved popular.

Meanwhile, online sales quadrupled after the website was upgraded and a new app was launched, allied to extending the order window to 10pm.

According to Mr Cattrall, the quintet of new appointments were the next step on the journey to drive up turnover and profits.

Among the personnel they want to recruit are a head of purchasing based in Chester, a key account manager for health, care and education, operation managers for the warehouse and butchery in Criccieth, along with a new shift manager for the butchery.

Mr Cattrall said: “To support our growth we have appointed Zachary Daniels Recruitment because it is vitally important that we find the right people for these key roles.

“It might appear counter-intuitive to be recruiting people in the middle of a pandemic but we are essentially investing in future expansion.

“We may not have the same pattern initially but I’m expecting Spring/Summer to probably give us our 2019 business back and provide a springboard for growth.

“We want to continue to look after our customers in our North Wales heartland who helped create Harlech Foodservice.

“We have also seen strong growth in the North West of England and North East Wales through companies like Hickory’s Smokehouse, Frederic Robinson pubs and Denbighshire schools.

“As a result, we are currently looking to add a new full service depot in that area as our Gwynedd base is approaching capacity.

“It’s come about because of our improved core range, transparent and competitive prices, backed up by providing exceptional  service.

“We have been working hard through lockdown to ensure we offer an excellent choice of quality products that meet our customer requirements.

“Our core range has an excellent choice of own-label Fairway products and well known foodservice brands.

“For example, in 2019 we introduced Brongain Farm beef to our butchery offer. Based in the heart of mid Wales. it produces up to 1,000 grass and grain fed Aberdeen Angus cattle a year.

“Developing a sustainable system of beef production is one of their top priorities and this is why they have established Brongain Farm as a research unit and a centre of excellence.

“Following the growth in our care home business we have strengthened our range of specialist meals for our clients in the social care sector, including ones for people who have difficulty swallowing.

“We now benchmark against national foodservice companies to ensure we always offer great value to our customers.

“We have also introduced ‘Save by the Case’ so customers can get better prices when buying a whole case of our best-selling lines.

“This year we are introducing a new quality assurance policy. For example, scooping ice cream is a massive sector for Harlech and our customers told us they want certainty their fragile cones arrive unbroken.

“In March we will launch Quality Assurance for Cones with a no quibble guarantee to replace cases for free within 24 hours.

“We asked our customers how we could improve our service even further and the biggest request was for Sunday deliveries during the Spring/Summer season.

“We currently provide deliveries six days a week and from April to September we will be offering a Sunday service to our busiest customers to help them manage their busy and unpredictable weekends.

“I am confident there is a lot of pent up demand out there and, with the help of our new high level recruits, we are going to be ready, willing and able to meet that demand so we can fulfil our ambition to be a £50 million company.”