Digital boom behind Thomas Ridley growth

Foodservice wholesaler enjoys promising figures at half-way point of five-year plan

A digital revamp has propelled Thomas Ridley Foodservice‘s to 18% year-on-year growth as the business continues to work towards a five-year plan to hit £100 million turnover.

Thomas Ridley’s multi-faceted approach to drive business success has seen the wholesaler develop its website, introduce click and collect, and increase investment in operational technology along the way to posting the figures.

The developments are also paired with a host of eco-friendly initiatives that are aimed at reducing the company’s impact on the environment.

“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,” said eCommerce Director Darren Osborn.

“Our recent focus on website ‘quickorder’, click and 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 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’re thinking of every way possible to make ordering easy and intuitive. Our product comparisons are visual and there’s 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.”

Thomas Ridley’s plans to reduce its impact on the environment have been given the added impetus of achieving zero-landfill status, while the business also aims to help its customers by taking back all cardboard and plastic packaging from their orders to bale it before sending it for recycling. This approach has seen 100 tonnes of cardboard and 20 tonnes of plastic get recycled this year.

Another notable project to go live in the past year is the new Thomas Ridley Development Kitchen, which is an innovation workspace to host supplier meetings, customer training days and menu development sessions for specific sectors.

“Our development kitchen is incredible,” said Osborn. “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.”

Thomas Ridley’s growth is also added to by its wide range of product, including specialist ranges such as the launch of an exclusive Russian wine listing earlier this year.

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