25 June 2020
We utilised the generous furlough scheme for a number of employees, operating with only skeleton staff to manage the business’ daily needs. With no clear road map offered by the Welsh Assembly on the planned re-opening of hospitality, the business has been under severe stress.
In order to secure both short and long-term future success, we have needed to review our entire business operating procedures and proposed a number of changes. We do understand that these proposed changes will have a significant impact on our employees and we aim to keep any disruption to a minimum.
Regrettably, we have entered into a period of consultation with our employees which will unfortunately result in redundancies, expected in the region of 15 job losses across the business.
We expect a lengthy and uncertain recovery period over the next 12 months, however we remain confident about the future of Harlech Foodservice continuing to provide a great range of products at competitive prices whilst continuing to deliver excellent customer service; we have strong cash flow and will weather the storm.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff and customers for their cooperation, loyalty and hard work over these difficult times.
18 March 2020
We are also trying to keep the impact on our customers to a minimum. Normal customers credit facilities and the £60 minimum order spend remain unaffected.
We have taken the decision to reduce customers delivery schedule down to a 3 day week until the situation improves. Most customers order 3 or fewer times a week so we hope for minimal disruption. Our team will inform you of new delivery days by end of week.
We are working hard to maintain service level, however, as I’m sure you can appreciate, we will inevitably experience supplier short deliveries and may need to offer substitutes.
If you wish to discuss any of the above points in more detail, then please get in touch with your usual Telesales or Account Manager
We will continue to adopt best practices throughout the business and follow advice from the relevant authorities and monitor the ongoing situation closely.
We wish all our customers well over this difficult, unprecedented situation that we find ourselves in and hope this is only a short-term problem.
Jonathan, Andrew and Laura Foskett
6 March 2020
RECORD breaking deals of almost £500,000 were secured at a high-profile two-day trade expo led by a growing food distribution firm.
Pictured, from left to right, are Andrew, Laura and Jonathan Foskett of Harlech Foodservice.
The Harlech Foodservice Food and Drink Expo 2020, now in its 42nd year, welcomed almost 2,000 visitors to the event in Venue Cymru, Llandudno which saw around 165 UK-wide suppliers showcase their produce.
Sales generated by the event were up by more than 30 per cent from close to £350,000 in 2019 to almost £460,000 in 2020. There were an additional 30 new businesses showcasing their produce this year.
The expo aims to allow Harlech Foodservice suppliers to talk directly to the customer, giving them a chance to tell the story behind their product and offer free taster to representatives from the leisure, education and health industries across Britain.
Andrew Foskett is Joint Managing Director of Harlech Foodservice which has its headquarters in in Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth, Gwynedd. The firm, which has a satellite base in Chester, employs around 200 people, and was founded by his mother and father, Colin and Gill.
Andrew, who runs the firm with his brother Jonathan and sister Laura, said: “The event just keeps on getting bigger and bigger every year and we had people queuing up outside before the doors opened.
“Visitors were just so keen to get in because there is a lot to see and some great deals to be had.
“There are many benefits to both our customers and our suppliers. The customers are able to come and see, taste and feel the products for themselves and there’s no substitute for that.
“They have a chance to talk to the supplier and find out more about the story behind the particular product, which can be very important, and find out how best it can be used.
“It helps them to find out the latest food trends and to stay on top of the changing patterns in the industry. We have suppliers here specialising in vegan produce, allergen free products, and other things which our customers need to be aware of and thinking about all the time if they want to stay on top of their game.
“It’s a really important event for all concerned and we are proud to be at the fore of driving it forward.”
Global giants such as Heinz and Unilever were present at the event along with a whole host of varying size businesses including Seabrook crisps, Fentimans and Deli France.
At the heart of the event is Welsh Street, created by Harlech Foodservice to champion the wealth of quality food being produced across the country and particularly in the North Wales region.
As part of this, Harlech Foodservice had its new range of Brongain Farm Welsh beef products which have just secured European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.
It is a new partnership struck up with the Pickstock family and their 680-acre farm, in Llanfechain, Powys, which sees Harlech Foodservice selling top quality steaks, roasting joints, diced beef and mince under the Brongain Farm brand.
Laura Jones, Marketing Manager for Edwards of Conwy, was manning a stall on Welsh Street, giving out free tasters for the butchery firm which is famous for its top quality sausages, burgers and other meat products.
Founded by Master Butcher, Ieuan Edwards, who was one of three sons born on a family farm in Llanrwst, the company has gone from a one-shop operation on Conwy high street to a thriving meat production business supplying major supermarkets, wholesale and foodservice firms. It has always stood steadfastly by its belief of supplying the best quality product which customers will come back for ‘again and again’, no matter how large the food production operation.
Laura said: “The expo is great because it gives us the face to face contact to interact with new and existing customers and to connect with them in a way which is just not possible through a catalogue.
“It gives us a chance to understand better what they need, ensuring we have the right products to match and we simply couldn’t do this without the forum of an event like this.
“The quality of our products is king for us and the event allows us to show people this. It’s also a chance for us to tell the story behind the business which is very important to people these days.
“It’s great and so busy which gives us a chance to reach a lot of people in a relatively short space of time.”
The Welsh Government were also in attendance on Welsh Street represented jointly by Food & Drink Wales and Visit Wales.
Among the thousands of visitors attending the event were Michelle Casmore and Melissa Williams of Y Pantri café in Caernarfon.
Michelle, Manager of Y Pantri, said: “We bake a lot of things ourselves and this event is really useful for coming and getting inspiration and fresh ideas.
“We buy from Harlech Foodservice and like to keep things as local as possible so the event is great for coming and seeing the products, trying them, seeing which might work best for us.”
Her colleague and assistant manager, Melissa, added: “When we come across a good product locally, such as the Dragon cheese, then we will always use that in our own baking and let our customers know that we do.”
Melissa added that discussing allergy awareness with the expo producers had also been very helpful.
She said: “It is about being able to find out which products are suitable for everybody and speaking to the producers themselves to understand how best to use them and recommend them to our own customers.”
A BUTCHER with a big appetite for the great outdoors is raising money for vulnerable children by walking to the top of Snowdon every week for the entire year.
That means keen walker Llyr Williams, who works for growing food distribution firm Harlech Foodservice, will have climbed the equivalent of Everest five times, trekked more than 400 miles and scaled more than 150,000 feet when he successfully completes his gruelling 52-week challenge in aid of Action for Children.
The 32-year-old will be heading to the summit come rain or shine, or even ice and snow, with the aim of beating his current personal best time of one hour and 27 minutes tackling the strenuous Rhy Ddu Path.
Llyr, who lives in Llannor near Pwllheli and is a former student of Ysgol Y Moelwyn in Blaenau Ffestiniog, has worked as a butcher at Harlech Foodservice which has its headquarters on Parc Bwyd, Llanystumdwy,near Criccieth, for more than two years.
The company, which employs around 200 people and has a satellite base in Chester, has named Action for Children as its chosen charity during 2020. It’s a UK-wide charity that protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care.
Llyr said: "I go walking every week anyway and having just achieved my personal best time walking up Snowdon, I thought there must be a way of doing this for charity and making it a proper challenge.
"My personal best is 87 minutes to the summit. There are four or five paths you can take but I prefer the Rhy Ddu Path as I think it's more rewarding and challenging than the others, and the views are stunning.
"I usually walk up to the summit of Snowdon six or seven times a year so to do it every week will be challenging. The changing weather will obviously make things difficult.
"I intend to do the Rhy Ddu Path for them all but it depends on the weather. It's just the snow and ice that would require me changing the path for safety reasons. I'd go through Llanberis as it has a wider track.
"I've only ever climbed Snowdon once at peak time in the summer. Since then I've always done early morning walks before sunrise which is what I'll do for the challenge.
"Not only is it less hot, it's also less busy and you get to see the sunrise which is spectacular. It's like the Lion King - honestly that's the best way of describing it! The changing colours on the mountains and surroundings are just incredible."
Llyr, who has a two year old son called Ianto, says the biggest reward from completing the challenge will be knowing that his efforts will go towards helping children that need it the most.
Last year, Action for Children helped more than 387,000 children and families across the UK - that could be protecting them from neglect or abuse, or supporting those who are homeless.
Nikki Booth, Action for Children’s North Wales Community Fundraiser, said: ‘What Llyr is doing is incredible and unique.
“Going up Snowdon once is no mean feat but every week for a year is amazing and some of the photos I’ve seen already have been beautiful.
“It was wonderful to be chosen by Harlech Foodservice in the first place but Llyr’s challenge is really setting the tone for a brilliant year’s fundraising with a team of five also already signed up for a 10K race in Anglesey in the Spring.
“This is all to help the children, young people and their families who need it most in our communities and Action for Children is really grateful for all Harlech’s staff endeavours.”
Llyr added: "The support I've had from my colleagues at Harlech Foodservice has been brilliant especially considering I only mentioned the idea of the challenge two weeks before Christmas.
"I've had one lad in my team come out on the first walk with me. It was his first time doing it and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Hopefully I'll get a few more involved in it over the course of the year.
"If you can go up in just under three hours you're doing well. I'll be aiming to try and beat my personal best at some point, it would be nice to do that, but at the end of the day I'll be achieving something anyway just by going up every week.
"I'm using my hobby to raise money for charity. Walking is my exercise, I'm not a sports fan. This is what I've enjoyed doing since I can remember.
"As a dad myself it's really rewarding to support a children's charity such as Action For Children. It doesn't matter what you do, just a small thing will make a massive difference.
"Sadly not every child's upbringing is brilliant so it's nice to support the charity and know it could be helping make a child's life more comfortable."
To support Llyr and donate to Action For Children via Harlech Foodservice, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/harlech-foo...
To find out more about Action For Children, go to www.actionforchildren.org.uk
Nutritional information on over 20,000 foodservice product lines. Click image to view video
While the new legislation aims to help consumers and the general public gain a better understanding of the content of the food that they eat; we understand that it is a challenge for businesses throughout the catering and foodservice industry to meet the requirements. Erudus provides caterers with comprehensive nutritional breakdowns, dietary advice and allergen information on over 20,000 products that caterers are purchasing through one data source. It aims to make it easier for caterers to access the information they will need to provide to their customers. Great news for Harlech customers; we are able to offer you this data source completely FREE of charge, email [email protected] for more information and get you started.
Green-fingered schoolchildren help food distribution firm plant more than 500 trees
A GREEN-FINGERED group of schoolchildren have helped a growing food distribution firm plant more than 500 trees as part of an ongoing commitment to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
Harlech Foodservice, which has its headquarters on Parc Bwyd, Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth, enlisted the skills of 10 youngsters, aged between seven and 11 from nearby Ysgol Llanystumdwy to help with the green project to transform a narrow piece of waste ground on the edge of its main site.
The growing firm, which employs around 200 people and has a satellite base in Chester, ordered in more than 500 trees and shrubs, which included a variety of species such as hazel, hawthorn, apple, hazelnut, rowan, dogwood, dog rose, blackthorn and common crab apple.
Gill Blease, Harlech Foodservice Marketing Manager, was one of those leading the project and joined in the morning’s planting activities.
She said: “We are one of the region’s biggest employers and take our green responsibilities very seriously and so we have been working hard for some time now to look at ways of reducing our carbon footprint.
“This has included installing solar panels on the roof of the main offices here and replacing all our rep’s company cars with hybrid models.
“The tree planting is part of our ongoing commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and the impact we are having on the environment around us but it has other useful benefits too.
“It is great for the team here, for both mental and physical wellbeing. Any staff member was welcome to come down and help with the tree planting and make the most of getting out of the office and into the fresh air for the morning.
“It is also transforming what is currently a piece of waste land into something which is much more visually appealing, attracting wildlife and creating spaces for our staff to go and enjoy during their breaks from work.”
Gill’s colleague Crofton Davey, HR Manager for Harlech Foodservice, said the tree planting project was also great for having the opportunity to strengthen their links with the local primary school and wider community.
Crofton, whose wife Cathryn is headteacher of Ysgol Llanystumdwy, said: “We all live and work together in this beautiful region and so it makes sense for us to look at ways of engaging with the local community and joining forces together to look after it.
“It’s been lovely to team up with the children, who are literally down the road from us, and work on this project together. We are supporting them by providing the chance to take part in a project outside of school and they are helping us by coming and planting the trees and making the whole thing a lot of fun.”
One of those enjoying making the most of the tree planting project was 10-year-old Ela Bentley who is in year six at Ysgol Llanystumdwy.
Ela, who is a member of the school gardening club, said: “I have really enjoyed coming here today to help with the planting because it is a chance to get outside and do something fun.
“I really like gardening at school and now I am getting to use the things I have learned there to help plant the trees here.
“I think it will look a lot prettier once the trees and plants have grown and I am looking forward to coming back and seeing what it looks like. Hopefully it will be a better place for wildlife to come too.”
Cathryn Davey, Headteacher of Ysgol Llanystumdwy, said the planting with Harlech Foodservice had been a great opportunity for the children.
She added: “This fits in so well with a lot of things we are trying to encourage the children to think about and enjoy – getting outside more, helping others in the community and being aware of our environmental impact and how we might improve this.
“What’s also nice is that we will be able to come back and see how the trees and shrubs they have worked hard to plant this morning have grown and improved the area.
“It’s been a lovely project for us all to be involved in and we are thankful to Harlech Foodservice for inviting us along.”
Growing food company beefs up range
A growing food distribution company is championing Welsh beef with the launch of a new range of products that have just secured protected European status.
Harlech Foodservice, which has its headquarters in Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth in Gwynedd, and a satellite base in Chester, has sealed a deal to sell “top quality, succulent” steaks, roasting joints, diced beef and minced beef under the Brongain Farm brand.
The 680-acre Brongain Farm, in Llanfechain in Powys, is owned by the Pickstock family who have recently completed all the necessary Welsh Government audits to qualify for European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) accreditation for their Welsh beef.
PGI status covers regional and traditional foods whose origins can be guaranteed.
Securing the status European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) will give the Brongain Farm brand greater prominence and provides consumers with greater confidence about its provenance.
As a result, Pickstocks are aiming to increase the size of their Aberdeen Angus herd from 800 to 1,000 cattle.
As demand grows, Brongain Farm will be buying livestock from other approved farms who meet their “high environmental, sustainability and welfare standards”.
Gareth Evans, National Account Manager of the beef processing parent company, Pickstock Telford, said: “Pickstock and Harlech Foodservice are leading the way to help support the Welsh beef industry.
“Brongain Farm will be the flagship brand with Harlech Foodservice going forward.
“Pickstock Telford has recently achieved its Welsh PGI status and looks forward to growing the partnership with Harlech by supplying top quality prime Welsh beef.
“We have an integrated supply chain, controlled all the way from the farm to when it arrives with the customer, essentially all the way from field to fork.