Demand for fish and chips takes company to £39m turnover
An increase in demand for fish and chips and takeaway meals is
helping one North East company to ride the recession successfully
with a record turnover of £39m.
As more people economise and switch from restaurants to
takeaways, Gateshead-based Henry Colbeck Ltd is helping the shops
and takeaways it supplies to exploit the opportunity and boost
business for everyone. And a £100,000 investment in a bio-diesel
plant that processes used oil and fat from customers' shops is also
helping to protect the environment.
The company puts its success down to providing a one-stop shop
with a range of 1,500 products, strong marketing support for its
customers and a commitment to developing its 125-strong workforce
that has won praise from Robert Macleod, Managing Director of
Investors in People North East.
A family business started in 1893, Henry Colbeck is now a market
leader with customers across the North East, Yorkshire and
Scotland. It employs 75 people at its HQ on the Team Valley Trading
Estate and 50 at its Scottish depot in Coatbridge.
"Our aim is to provide everything an outlet could need from
fish, frozen foods, no fewer than 17 different batters, oils and
fats to plastic forks, cleaning products and high value potato
preparation machines," said Quality Manager Peter Snaith. "We also
provide recipes, posters, special offers, seasonal promotions and
individually designed packaging. Our website www.colbeck.co.uk plays an important role in
our marketing and we organise an exhibition and a Fish and Chip
Race Day where customers can meet suppliers and sample products. As
members of a national buying group we can offer our customers the
best possible prices".
The company was awarded Investors in People in 1995 and is
"We looked to Investors in People to benefit our workforce and
to help improve our business performance and increase turnover and
it has done just that," says Peter Snaith. "Our turnover has almost
doubled in that time and everyone from the Chairman down is
enthusiastic about Investors in People. It has been very valuable
to work with an assessor who has wide experience of other companies
and sectors," he added.
Henry Colbeck's workforce plays a vital role in maintaining the
company's relationship with customers. The sales team all take the
Fish Friers training course so they can help customers
problem-solve and delivery drivers are highly knowledgeable about
the products they deliver.
"Quality and customer support is vitally important," said Peter
Snaith. "The bio-diesel plant cost around £100,000 but we saw it as
an investment for the future. Everyone benefits, including the
environment, as shops have to meet very stringent guidelines on
disposal and concern about drains clogged with fat hit the
headlines only recently. We collect and pay for customers' used
oils so it is safely and legally disposed of and the bio-diesel is
used to run our delivery vehicles."
"Investors in People is the UK's leading business improvement
tool with research showing that it can improve business
performance, boost productivity and profits," said Robert Macleod,
Managing Director of Investors in People North East. "It is good to
have that research proved by the experiences of local companies and
to hear such a success story at a time of recession."