Mus­grave Mar­ket­place food­ser­vice busi­ness con­tin­ues to ex­pand

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - Richard Mayne, Head of Whole­sale for Mus­grave

Where did you ca­reer be­gin? Fol­low­ing a 4-year stint at Dundee Univer­sity, I joined Di­a­geo, or Guin­ness as it was back then, as a sales rep. I was at Di­a­geo for 13 years and held sev­eral dif­fer­ent po­si­tions in­clud­ing On Trade Sales Man­ager and In­no­va­tion Man­ager. Work­ing in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions al­lowed me to gain great in­sight into the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try in North­ern Ire­land. Ex­pe­ri­ence that is still pay­ing off to­day in my cur­rent role as Head of Whole­sale at Mus­grave, look­ing af­ter the Mar­ket­place and Mace brands.

Tell us about Mus­grave Mar­ket­Place… This year, Mus­grave Mar­ket­place cel­e­brated 35 years in busi­ness. Since 1983 we have been lead­ing the way in food­ser­vice and re­tail whole­sale through­out North­ern Ire­land by un­der­stand­ing our ex­ten­sive cus­tomer base and con­tin­u­ally in­no­vat­ing.

At our three branches in Belfast, Derry~lon­don­derry and Lur­gan, we of­fer a com­pre­hen­sive range of over 10,000 prod­ucts across cat­e­gories such as Fresh, Frozen, Al­co­hol, Chilled, Am­bi­ent, Non-food and Equip­ment.

Cus­tomers can place their or­der through te­le­sales or on­line for de­liv­ery through­out N. Ire­land and of course, they can visit any of our three cash and carry sites.

As part of the largest whole­sale group in Ire­land, we use our buy­ing power to bring low ev­ery day prices to cus­tomers. We run reg­u­lar pro­mo­tions through­out the year across both food­ser­vice and Re­tail and ear­lier this year we launched a re­freshed food­ser­vice mag­a­zine which also in­cludes food trends, recipes and in­spi­ra­tion for cus­tomers.

In to­day’s com­pet­i­tive trad­ing en­vi­ron­ment we un­der­stand that of­fer­ing cus­tomers value, choice and ser­vice is key. We carry all the lead­ing brands across key cat­e­gories, but we also have a wide choice of own brands that help cater­ers to cut costs with­out com­pro­mis­ing on qual­ity.

Our own brands, Mus­grave Ex­cel­lence and Mus­grave Pro­fes­sional, of­fer brand-leader qual­ity at a much lower cost and cus­tomers can save at least 15% on a wide range of prod­ucts cov­er­ing ev­ery­thing from dry, chilled and frozen pro­duce to non-food, crock­ery and cook­ware.

We also have a range called Mus­grave Smart Buy which is a fo­cused range of ev­ery­day food and non-food lines with sav­ings of up to 40% against brand lead­ers.

Our ex­clu­sive meat ranges, Butch­ers Se­lect and Sim­ply Meat, cov­ers ev­ery­thing from a la carte din­ing and spe­cial­ity bar food to gourmet burg­ers and more. All our meat is 100% Irish and cut by tra­di­tional master butch­ers.

How did your ca­reer at Mus­grave Mar­ket­place be­gin? I was do­ing quite a bit of trav­el­ling across Ire­land in my fi­nal role within Di­a­geo and with a young fam­ily at the time, it was tricky to bal­ance. About four years ago I saw a va­cancy for a food­ser­vice Man­ager at Mus­grave Mar­ket­Place and I felt the skills I had de­vel­oped were trans­fer­able to an­other hos­pi­tal­ity-based role. Thank­fully I got the job and one year ago I moved to my cur­rent role as Head of Whole­sale at Mus­grave, look­ing af­ter the Mar­ket­place and Mace brands.

What does your day to day job look like? At this time of year things are al­ways hec­tic with a fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing the plan for the cal­en­dar year ahead and at the same time land­ing our busiest time in De­cem­ber. So prob­a­bly at the minute a day to day rou­tine doesn’t ex­ist! Usu­ally though there will be a blend of in­ter­nal meet­ings and when­ever I can I like to get out to meet our trade cus­tomers and an­swer any ques­tions they may have. What re­cent changes has Mus­grave Mar­ket­place seen? Mus­grave Mar­ket­place has un­der­gone many changes over the past num­ber of years. Most re­cently, we ac­quired our al­co­hol li­cense mean­ing we have greatly in­creased our cus­tomer base for al­co­hol pur­chases and we will con­tinue to grow this sec­tion over the com­ing months.

Fol­low­ing a £1.1m in­vest­ment last year, we launched our new look Food Em­po­rium at Mus­grave Mar­ket­place Belfast. This new look branch has a range of fea­tures in­clud­ing spe­cial­ist meat, bak­ery and frozen desserts sec­tions, a new equip­ment area show­cas­ing an ex­tended range, a new al­co­hol area, over 400 ad­di­tional new prod­ucts and ex­perts on hand to ad­vise on the lat­est culi­nary trends.

This in­vest­ment also in­cluded the ad­di­tion of a state-of-the-art Food The­atre which is used for prod­uct train­ing and tast­ings. This year we have also part­nered with Chef Net­work to host Chef Mas­ter­classes and have been de­lighted to wel­come Miche­lin Star Chefs Danni Barry and JP Mcma­hon to our Belfast branch to talk to cus­tomers about some of the best lo­cal prod­ucts and tech­niques that al­low chefs to make the best of them.

We have a new self-scan reg­is­tra­tion at re­cep­tion to speed up cus­tomer shop­ping time and we have up­graded our web­site to en­able us to com­mu­ni­cate more ef­fec­tively with cus­tomers.

We also launched a new web­site where our full range of brochures and pro­mo­tional leaflets can now be eas­ily ac­cessed and have cre­ated a news and in­spi­ra­tion sec­tion that fo­cuses on recipes and mar­ket trends.

We’re cer­tain the re­cent im­prove­ments will se­cure Mus­grave Mar­ket­place’s fu­ture and help us in­crease foot­fall and rev­enue for many years to come.

What do you think Mus­grave Mar­ket­Place’s suc­cess is based upon? Hav­ing worked in the past as a sup­plier to Mus­grave, I was al­ways im­pressed look­ing from the out­side in by their ap­proach to com­mer­cial devel­op­ment and

As part of the largest whole­sale group in Ire­land, we use our buy­ing power to bring low ev­ery day prices to cus­tomers. We run reg­u­lar pro­mo­tions through­out the year across both food­ser­vice and Re­tail and ear­lier this year we launched a re­freshed food­ser­vice mag­a­zine which also in­cludes food trends, recipes and in­spi­ra­tion for cus­tomers.

the cul­ture that ex­isted. This is what at­tracted me to the com­pany in the first place. Now as an em­ployee it is clear our suc­cess is based on the co­ex­is­tence of these two as­pects. The com­pany is still fam­ily owned with strong val­ues and I think that cre­ates an ethos that runs through­out the com­pany. Com­bined with strong re­tail and whole­sale brands, an em­pha­sis on part­ner­ship with cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers and a com­mit­ment to in­no­va­tion, this has helped us to reach our lev­els of suc­cess to­day.

What ben­e­fits can cus­tomers ex­pect at the newly re­vamped Belfast branch? By in­creas­ing the size of the field sales team by 20% we have been able to al­low Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Man­agers more time to spend with cus­tomers to plan ahead for up­com­ing menus and po­ten­tial ex­pan­sions.

At the branch there is also a fresh ex­pert and a meat ex­pert to ad­vise cus­tomers on the best op­tions re­gard­ing prod­uct choice. The meat ex­pert may rec­om­mend a new cut of meat that is on trend help­ing to in­crease out­let sales.

For those need­ing an in­creased profit mar­gin, cus­tomers are rec­om­mended to move to the com­pany’s Mus­grave Ex­cel­lence range, that of­fers a brand-match prod­uct for at least 15% be­low the brand price.

The com­pany’s cof­fee con­ces­sion part­ner, Capi­tol Cof­fee, also of­fers a full cof­fee so­lu­tion suit­able for ev­ery as­pect of the cater­ing in­dus­try. As part of this ser­vice they of­fer free on­site barista train­ing for its cus­tomers.

What is the fu­ture for Mus­grave Mar­ket­place? We will con­tinue to op­er­ate closely with our cus­tomers and re­tail­ers look­ing to in­tro­duce new con­cepts and prod­uct ranges when­ever pos­si­ble. As well as this fo­cus on our core busi­ness we are also ex­cited about the in­tro­duc­tion of some new brands and in­no­va­tion to the mar­ket.

Our cur­rent growth lev­els within the Mar­ket­place food­ser­vice busi­ness pro­vides a great plat­form for con­tin­ued ex­pan­sion and this is some­thing that we are pas­sion­ate about.

This has been fur­ther sup­ported by the re­cent ac­qui­si­tion of La Rousse Foods – the lead­ing fine food sup­plier in Ire­land. Op­er­at­ing since 1992, The La Rousse Foods brand com­pli­ments the Mus­grave Mar­ket­place brand by of­fer­ing cus­tomers an ex­tended range of ar­ti­san and pre­mium prod­ucts al­low­ing Mus­grave now to ser­vice all as­pects of the North­ern Ire­land cater­ing in­dus­try.

Mar­ket­place will be launch­ing a “Day 1 for Day 1” de­liv­ery ser­vice in Belfast in the com­ing weeks and is ex­tend­ing its te­le­sales and cus­tomer sup­port hours for all NI cus­tomers to en­sure that it con­tin­ues to meet their chang­ing needs.

We will con­tinue to op­er­ate closely with our cus­tomers and re­tail­ers look­ing to in­tro­duce new con­cepts and prod­uct ranges when­ever pos­si­ble. As well as this fo­cus on our core busi­ness we are also ex­cited about the in­tro­duc­tion of some new brands and in­no­va­tion to the mar­ket. Our cur­rent growth lev­els within the Mar­ket­place food­ser­vice busi­ness pro­vides a great plat­form for con­tin­ued ex­pan­sion and this is some­thing that we are pas­sion­ate about.

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