Family-run food services business, Dunster's Farm, was quick to jump to the aid of struggling consumers following the lockdown announcement, overhauling and converting its b2b food services business into a consumer food-to-door delivery service in just 14 days.
Bury-based Dunster’s Farm, which has been trading since 1963 as an independent supplier of chilled and ambient foods, originated as a food-to-door delivery service in the form of the current directors’ grandad’s milk round, before moving into the business-to-business space.
Three generations later, it has now returned to its humble origins, completely overhauling its business in just 14 days, in order to meet consumer demand for food during the lockdown.
For almost 60 years the £10 million company has supplied a wide range of businesses including hotels and restaurants, catering and hospitality businesses, schools, colleges and hospitals - but when the Government announced many of its customers needed to shut their doors, the business quickly changed tack.
As covid-19 gripped the nation, Dunster’s Farm turned to Manchester-based full-service eCommerce consultancy, PushON, to work out how to make its services available to members of the public in the North of England, who were social distancing and struggling to get hold of food and drink essentials.
Following a brief consultancy process in which all areas of the business were evaluated to assess suitability for an online offering, the business’ web and creative agency, A Story Called, began to develop a brand new eCommerce website, to allow customers to place orders for Dunster’s Farm’s wide range of products and arrange deliveries from the safety of their own homes.
The new website was launched within just two weeks of that conversation and just a couple of weeks in, the business is receiving hundreds of orders per day.
The new service means hundreds of products have been made available to households across the North West at the touch of a button.
Orders can be collected from the Dunster’s Farm warehouse in Bury, or delivered via contactless delivery to postcodes in Manchester, Stockport, Wigan, Leigh, Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham and Bury.
Hannah Barlow, joint managing director at Dunster’s Farm, said: “We had been considering launching an online service to take household orders for a while now – this line of work is in the business’ DNA after all, with my grandfather having started it as a milk round. When the crisis hit and we saw how much trouble people were having getting hold of the essentials they needed without compromising their health, we knew it was time.
Barlow continues: “We’ve worked hard to get this service up and running as quickly as possible and it is paying dividends – the feedback we are receiving from customers has been brilliant and it is great to know we are doing something to help the community cope during this difficult time.”
Simon Wharton, managing director at PushON, said: “Our consultancy team worked tirelessly to assess and realise Dunster’s Farm’s potential to perform as a direct-to--consumer business. They already had plans to launch a consumer delivery service when they came to us but were simply taking orders via a phone number on the site. They now have an effective eCommerce-solution, which was realised in a very short period of time.
“Our team worked very closely with theirs and the team at A Story Called to make this vision a reality, and thankfully they were up for the challenge of getting things done as quickly as they were able to. We’re delighted to have shown them just how rapidly it is possible to launch a new online revenue stream and reach a brand new customer base. This is something many businesses should now be considering, in order to reach a larger audience.”
The business is now working to make delivery available to a broader range of areas and is expanding its range of food and drink products based on customer feedback.