Wiltshire Farm Foods: Delivering satisfying results

Graham and Marilyn Davis discuss their experience of investing in their Stourbridge Wiltshire Farm Foods business.

In 1993, Graham and Marilyn Davis decided they wanted their own business. Rather than starting from scratch, they chose to invest in a franchise model that would deliver the day-to-day satisfaction and financial success they felt their previous jobs lacked. They chose Wiltshire Farm Foods.

TFM: Why did you invest in Wiltshire Farm Foods?

WFF: Two things appealed to us about the Wiltshire model: The support that came with it – we saw how we could be successful and grow, and the chance to help elderly people stay independent. Supporting your local community is a worthwhile way to make a living.

How much flexibility is there in the model?

The franchisor support team understand that every community is different. You’re given the freedom to meet the needs of your customers – it’s not a prescriptive thing. The business model is there to support and guide you, not restrict you. You’re very much your own boss.

How does Wiltshire Farm Foods help you to market your business?

The TV campaign with Ronnie Corbett created tremendous interest and raised brand awareness, but it’s more the day-to-day help I notice. You have access to an online portal which allows you to manage promotions, adverts and direct mail.

This support also includes help on phone marketing as well: you’re trained to make effective, outbound calls that don’t feel intrusive.

Is it just customers you market to?

No, you’re given the means and support to also target health care professionals in the community. They’re a very different audience, so the help is invaluable.

How has the business grown in your time with Wiltshire?

From a brand perspective it’s grown substantially. People now know the name Wiltshire Farm Foods and that we stand for delicious meals, delivered direct to your door.

In terms of sales, we continue to exceed our expectations and have grown by 51 per cent since 2009.

Finally, what sort of person would be suited to this franchise, and what skills do you require to make a success of it?

Previous business experience is obviously important, but empathy is essential. Wiltshire farm foods provide a service to customers who can feel vulnerable, so establishing trust is key. You need to put yourself in their place and do all you can to make life as easy and enjoyable as possible.