Fairway role poses new challenge for Coral Rose
A chance phone call with outgoing CEO Chris Binge was the catalyst behind Coral Rose’s move to replace him at Fairway Foodservice
The FWD chair says she had no plans to leave Country Range Group (CRG), but after chatting to Binge, the idea of taking on a new challenge began to appeal to her.
Rose’s new job marks the end of a more than 12-year stay at CRG and the beginning of a fresh chapter of a career dedicated to foodservice.
“I just happened to speak to Chris about his retirement and had a question about Erudus [where Binge is now chairman] and he mentioned he was looking to recruit a replacement for him at Fairway,” Rose explains.
“I didn’t think much of it, but when I put the phone down it just clicked and I thought, ‘that sounds interesting’ and 10 minutes later I phoned him back and said, ‘tell me more about the role and the group’ and it developed from there really.
“In 2019, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and got the all clear and am still in remission now, but that impacted me quite a lot in terms of making me reflect on things. I’d been very focused on work and getting on with things, so you don’t stop and think, but it forced me to get off the treadmill.
“Having that time out did make me reflect and it changed me as a person. Had that not happened, I might not have had that follow-up call with Chris.”
After starting her new role in September, Rose has been busy getting to grips with Fairway’s processes and members, and expects it’ll be another six months before she has firm plans for how she can enhance the work being done at the buying group.
And while a natural assumption would be that Rose would be introducing several of the initiatives that worked so well at CRG, she says she’ll only call on those methods if it’s right for Fairway.
“I’ve got a lot of learning to do and I don’t come across with preconceived ideas for what will or won’t work – we’re a different group,” she says.
“I’m going to go and visit a lot of the members to see their businesses to appreciate how they work and what services and support we can offer, what would work, would be relevant and what wouldn’t. It’s about what the members want
“The group is already successful. Fairway is doing a good job for its members and I know we can enhance and build on that. The direction is going to be driven by the members, though. I can put a whole range of things in front of them and they can say, ‘I want to commit to that’. The next six months is a big learning curve.”
First impressions have been strong, though, and Rose has already been impressed by the quality of Fairway’s central office team and the suite of marketing options made available to members.
“The way we work with our members is brilliant and we’re doing some fantastic work from a digital marketing perspective,” Rose adds.
“We offer web design, manage social media, do corporate videos, email marketing, promotional sites – a whole massive range of sales and marketing support tools. And each member can pick from that suite what they would like that’s relevant for their business.”Chris Binge Coral Rose Country Range Group Fairway Foodservice FWD