Answers come from Trevors Foodservice purchasing director Matthew Hitchen, managing director Gary Hitchen, and director Dianne Whitehead
Talk us through the history of the business. What’s your wholesale story, how did you get into the industry?
Trevors Foodservice is a family-run business which was first established in 1962 as Trevors Warehouses Ltd. Ken Hitchen, Chairman started out with a retail shop, from which he soon began offering the then thriving local hoteliers, cafes and B&B’s around Blackpool, a local food delivery service.
This continued through to Gary Hitchen (managing director) and Dianne Whitehead
(director and company secretary) for their contributions in making Trevors Foodservice the leading catering and wholesale supplier in Blackpool and the Fylde coast. The support didn’t stop there. Third generation and new driving force Matthew Hitchen (purchasing director) is carrying the legacy for the future.
What products do you trade in, who are you customers and where are they based?
We offer a wide range of products across categories in ambient, chilled, frozen, non-food and cleaning, as well as fresh produce. Whilst setting foundations to enter new markets in the future.
We service the North West of England including areas in Manchester, Liverpool, Wigan, North Wales, Cumbria and our home town of Blackpool.
Our main customers range from education, health care, cafe + restaurants, hotels, workplace and events alongside a whole range of other sectors we supply and support. However our biggest customer segment comes from our work with education and health care.
Year founded: 1962
Annual turnover: 11.5 M
Growth 10-15% for 2022
What is the split between retail customers, and foodservice/catering customers?
Our split between the two is that 90% of our customers come from foodservice and catering, with the other 10% generated via retail customers.
What gives your business its USP?
We’ve have taken a big effort into supporting our community and the people in it since 1962. Trevors Foodservice is a third generation family run business with years of experience in understanding our customers’ needs.
We are not just a foodservice company, we want to support our local community through charitable initiatives, educational support, donations and aid. Alongside offering industry advice and resources to help our customers maximise profit in their business.
What are your growth plans for the year ahead?
Looking at this year, we plan to grow across our online and e-commerce presence and to achieve this we will look to strengthen our product offering, alongside increasing our brand range for our customers.
Another area that we plan to grow in is through expanding our warehouse area and hiring more staff to meet our growth plans. Whilst placing a key focus on responsible and ethical purchasing to meet the demands of the consumer.
What is the biggest challenge that the business faces?
The biggest challenge we face as well as many other businesses across the country is overcoming the effects of Covid-19, where so many areas of the supply chain have been affected with some coming to an absolute stop. We need to continue working closely with our suppliers and customers where all parties are well informed and communicated and as long as that is being done its challenge we shall all overcome.
Other challenges that we look forward to is becoming a more digitally centred business to reach a wider audience of costumes, however with this often comes a high price. So our challenge is identifying the key technologies that will help the business progress whilst ensuring we are keeping pace with the rate technology is moving at.
What is the best thing about working at Trevors?
When the pandemic hit, our local council called for an urgent meeting to be held in order to prepare for the upcoming challenges of the covid-19 and its effects on the foodservice industry as well as the consumer.
Trevors Foodservice and Blackpool council were one of the first to get behind its community and provide over half a million in emergency provisions for families and residents in Blackpool.
We had to battle with members of the government and parliament to provide food for an area that needed it, and reaching this target was a huge sense of achievement and reward for the community, our staff and local authority.
So in short the best thing about working at Trevors is seeing our customers and the people we serve happy and well supported. While continuing to grow our customer base and maintaining a strong profitable business.
What work has the company done to improve its environmental footprint?
We have a number of goals and targets to improve our environmental footprint. With our staff we encourage all our local staff to cycle to work and care share into the office when possible.
Trevors foodservice has a strong digital inventory management system that highlights expiration dates. The reduction of food waste is extremely important to us, with any stock being donated to local charities and food banks.
The buying team at Trevors Foodservice have placed a great importance on reduced packing and waste. In addition to rapidly growing our plant-based / free from offering.
Our buildings are equipped with energy saving lighting, with over 200 solar panels on the roof and growing, whilst ensuring our fridge and freezers utilise tight compressors to minimise energy waste.
How do you ensure that the business has a strong gender balance, and is attracting the workforce of tomorrow?
Our business has always been centred around having a strong community of individuals that are driven by the same goals. Trevors Foodservice welcomes anyone that shows passion and dedication to the business no matter what their gender, sexual orientation or skin colour. At Trevors foodservice we are a blend of genders in the workplace offering roles in senior management, telesale, field sales, admin, and distribution. We want this diversity to continue and we are here to support our staff through challenges, whether that be maternity leave, work from home, or training support.