A Shropshire firm specialising in a home meat delivery service and supplying hotels, restaurants, cafes and pubs has its sights set on a national expansion after picking up a prestigious award.
UK Fresh Meats, based at Trench Lock in Telford, was launched in January last year and walked away with a Special Recognition Award in the Exceptional Meat Supplier category at the Food England Awards ceremony held in Manchester.
Ross Whetton, founder and owner of the company, said: “It was a brilliant night and was made all the more special because it was our customers who voted for us. It recognised our efforts in how far we have come in the first 18 months of being in business.
“The business has really taken off and the plan now is to take on more.
“We are seen as a home delivery service and that side is very important to us but what many people may not know is we provide meat to prestigious hotels and restaurants, pubs and cafes.
“I am really keen to make this known and that I am looking to build this side of things up.
“Telford is the firm’s base but I am already looking at expanding into Stafford, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton – and beyond.
“I have a 0-5 year business plan and 5-10 year business plan in place and am looking to go national within that five to 10 year period. I didn’t call the company UK Fresh Meats to supply only Telford!
“The business consists of two of us, two vehicles and the unit at Trench, but as things are broadened out there will be scope to increase staff numbers although, obviously, I can’t say how many or when at the moment.
“There will be positions for butchers and staff needed for storage and distribution.
“I deliberately kept things pretty tight to start off with because I wanted to make sure I could deliver the kind of quality service I wanted and to build the business in the right way and look after my clients and customers.
“I think the first two years of a new business is the most dangerous time. We are coming towards the end of that period, it’s been very successful so now is the time to start taking things to a new level.”
Mr Whetton was previously a sales manager at an abattoir and says it was in many ways a dream job but he saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the market and decided to branch out on his own.
“The butchery industry is very dated and I thought there was a case for using social media marketing – something I don’t think was being taken advantage of,” he added.
“A lot of the newer chefs coming through the ranks in hotels, pubs and restaurants are younger people and use social media on a daily basis, whereas most people running companies in the meat industry are of an older generation are not necessarily using it as much. Social media marketing is key to reach a wider audience.
“To say I am delighted with the way things have gone is an understatement and I am now looking forward to taking the next steps in an ambitious plan to expand the business while ensuring my current customers continue to get the quality service they have come to expect.”