The Importance of Quality Ingredients & the Personal Touch
A few months ago (pre-Corona) I went to visit a customer at their farm shop in Fife. She ended up telling me all about the differences in the steaks they were selling from their own cattle, to those that could be bought in the supermarket. I had no idea! Not only were the flavours completely different, but the entire nutritional make up was too, and the calorie count was way down.
She also told me about a food writer critiquing her chickens. The outcome – although the price per chicken was higher than the supermarket, the taste was on another level and the meat stretched over so many different meals due to the healthy size, it actually ended up being better value. At the end of the day, we all have margins we need to meet, so these types of short term fixes may seem like the way forward in the moment, however, “we’re only as good as our tools”…
At Braehead Foods I noticed very early on when joining the company that quality and a personal touch are very much at the heart of things here. When I had a breakfast meeting with Braehead’s owner and a chef two hours away had called to say they’d ordered the wrong chicken and were hosting an event that evening, Craig drove to the property and deboned all the chicken himself to give chef time to stick to his schedule. I personally thought this was great, and a really good example of how quality – be it talking about the food we sell and you make, to customer service – there is very much a place for it, and it’s very much visible across our industry.
Today, I walked by a tasting in our dining room made up of our new NPD Chef, Keith Shearer, owner Craig, our Head of Buying, Robert Russell, then me, Marketing, as I was pulled in to give my opinion. Listening to the guys talk about the samples (some Spanish cured meats) reminded me that even in these hard times, when everybody is scrimping and saving, and trying their best to get through this situation, quality matters, and the time we take to ensure this quality control, is time well spent.
I know that my own personal finances are never far from my mind at the moment, however I also know that when I choose to go out for a meal, to actively support local businesses and eating establishments, that I most certainly will be willing to pay what the food deserves. When I know that behind the scenes, time has been taken to source the best ingredients, from trusted suppliers, who they in turn have been through a careful selection process – it makes the whole experience, and the expense of it, just wonderful.
A lot has changed over the course of this year, but I’m pleased to say that the love for food, passion for hospitality and the want for good business is still very much alive and kicking.