Halfway through a five-year plan to hit £100m turnover, Thomas Ridley continue to outpace the market and have taken a multifaceted approach to drive business success. Website development, click & collect and increased investment in operational technology are some of the initiatives that have driven the business to year on year growth of 18%.
Darren Osborn, eCommerce Director at Thomas Ridley Foodservice, outlines some of the key projects they have implemented.
“As a foodservice wholesaler, our motivation is always around how we can make business simpler for our customers by making it easy for them to do business with us. Our recent focus on website ‘quickorder’, click & collect, allergens, nutritional guidelines, sustainability and packaging are just some of the areas where we can help. Our new website has been developed with the customer journey at its core giving enhanced user experience. We understand that making ordering quick and easy is a big win for our customers and our ‘quickorder’ solution is game changing; simply starting to type the product required brings up all relevant products allowing a quick selection. Customers can add their own menus and order all the ingredients needed or upload their own spreadsheets to the website to create an order. We really are thinking of every way possible to make ordering easy and intuitive. Our product comparisons are visual and there is a host of information available to review, including easy allergen comparison which is a crucial element to product selection. One of our innovative features is the ability to view products according to various selections, for example if you run a nut free site, it is very easy to remove this allergen from your product selection. This can be done across allergens so it’s a great tool for our customers.”
Committed to minimising the business’s impact on the environment, Thomas Ridley has achieved a zero landfill status and aims to help customers in this area by taking back all cardboard and plastic packaging from their orders, which is then baled at head office in Bury St Edmunds and sent off to recycling centres. So far, they have recycled 100 tons of cardboard and 20 tons of plastic this year that has been collected, helping customers to achieve their own recycling targets.
Another big project to go live is the new Thomas Ridley Development Kitchen. Opening in April 2019, the innovatively designed kitchen has already hosted several supplier meetings, customer training days and menu development sessions for specific sectors.
“Our Development Kitchen has been incredible. We’ve run a couple of Christmas events for restaurant and pub customers plus a really great session with some of our care catering operators helping them with menu development and dysphagia recipes. The kitchen features state of the art technology and is kitted out with overhead cameras and presentation screens. We’re delighted with the response so far and have some amazing events scheduled well into 2020.” Explains Darren.
As the foodservice industry continues to throw up challenges to those running a business, whether restaurants and cafes, or schools, care homes, pubs or garden centres; Thomas Ridley Foodservice focus on working with customers to ensure they add value and offer services that really help to make life easier.