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The MD’s update – July 2017

 

Welcome to Summer! I hope all our customers have enjoyed the pretty good start to the season weather wise and that this continues into the main season.

Here at Williamson’s we’ve been busy putting together a special 24 page summer promotional catalogue that covers July and August. It’s out now and really captures the widest range of products possible.

With around half our business coming from fresh produce, we have included a centre page spread on fruit and vegetables as well as a range of traditional, foraged, exotic and micro herbs that we find are generating increased interest. During July and August we have introduced a special fruit or vegetable deal every week that provides exceptional value so I hope you manage to take advantage of these which run from Monday to Sunday every week.

The brochure also features a new ‘Ridge Range’ of Mackies Crisps that contain natural seasonings and offer customers a distinctive texture and taste. A ‘Chef’s Jacket’ promotion from Gourmet Classic is included and a wider selection of Rich Sauces products than ever before are featured. An extensive listing of premium soft drinks are listed as well as quality wines, craft beers and brands like Kellogg’s cereals and Fruitypot. Some special deals on hygiene and essential cleaning products are available at very keen prices too!

Maximising customer satisfaction is at the heart of what we seek to achieve and with this in mind we have invested heavily in the business during early Spring and into Summer with the addition of four brand new vehicles. These are well equipped to deal with the challenges faced by Highland roads including long distances, single tracks and changeable weather.

The new trucks incorporate the latest chilled technology to ensure goods arrive on time and in the best possible condition. With the new Williamson Foodservice branding incorporated, these should make a distinctive addition to the Highland scenery this summer!

We have also improved the user experience on our website recently and you can now access lists of many of our products:

This gives a better idea of the extent of our range and allows customers to submit orders by fax or via a web order form although our Sales Hotline 0345 450 8888 is also available. We add to our 3,000 product lines all the time, so do please take a moment or two to acquaint yourself with these pages as it may help you source better quality products or consolidate your other buying into one single source and potentially make some savings along the way.

We’re still regularly tweeting so please do follow us for the latest produce updates and regular reminders of what’s happening in the food and drink sector. We are also happy to share your stories so tag or mention us in your posts and we will like or retweet.

Myself and Andy Barbour, one of our Field Sales Representatives are still raising funds for the Highland Hospice ‘Everest’ Cycle Challenge that takes place in September. Any donations would be gratefully received for this very worthwhile cause. Finally, Gosia Sowinska is in the spotlight this month, so take a moment or two to find out what she does within the Williamson Group. May I wish all our customers a busy and profitable season.

 

Gary Williamson

Managing Director

Williamson - Celebrating 60 years, 1957 to 2017

 

 

 

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The MD’s update – June 2017

A note from our MD…

As we approach our peak time of the year I’m delighted that Oliver & Greg’s – a new wine brand for Williamson’s – has been so popular. Building on this commitment to bring you new products, we have just launched a new family of cheeses for Williamson’s that come from First Milk. I’m confident these offer new possibilities, guarantee quality, add value and improve margin whether you are a hotel, restaurant, caterer or food and drink retailer.

The Campbeltown Creamery is a rich and characterful cheese range offering fantastic functionality in hot and cold dishes whereas the distinctive Mull of Kintyre mature cheddar is versatile and only uses milk from local dairy farms there. Isle of Arran ‘Extra Mature’ Cheddar on the other hand is smooth, rich and rounded and we expect it to grace cheese boards across the Highlands and Islands this season.

In another first, Black Isle Brewery has offered us exclusive distribution on their latest beer, an IPA that celebrates the North Coast 500. I am delighted to offer it and several of the Brewery’s other high quality and most popular craft beers throughout our June promotional period. A ‘Young Pretender’ from the Isle of Skye Brewing Company has also appeared, but be quick as we have limited quantities! There are around 150 product lines featured in this month’s brochure.

Delicatessen, gourmet and speciality Italian Ingredients from L’AQUILA also feature and these should help give dishes a hint of luxury and lift in taste. With summer upon us, we have a range of premium soft drinks to choose from including Franklins, Fentimans and Belvoir Fruit Farms. Demand for bar mixers, single serve Pressé, cordials and alcoholic ginger beer will all increase in the weeks ahead and these should help enhance bar, café or restaurant beverage options.

We are gradually adding more posts to our Blog including features on staff as well as general information like how to get the best out of Twitter. Our website in general now provides more information about products than ever before so do look us up.

Fund raising for the Highland Hospice’s ‘Everest’ cycle challenge later in the year is making good progress so thanks for supporting this very worthwhile cause. Finally, accounts assistant Jojo Kucharczyk is in the spotlight this month, so take a moment or two to find out about her role at Williamson’s. Thanks for reading and see you next month!

 

Gary Williamson

Managing Director

Williamson - Celebrating 60 years, 1957 to 2017

 

 

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Why Twitter can work for you.

Why Twitter can work for you.

Many businesses tend to overlook Twitter. The reason is that this social media platform has a bit of a reputation for focussing on the trivialities of everyday life as well as it being a bit of a celebrity hang out.

But delve a little deeper and you’ll find a highly effective business communications tool. Twitter allows any food and drink enterprise in the north of Scotland to reach out and develop more effective business to business (B2B) relationships.

Here at Williamson Foodservice we sell around 3,000 product lines that represent dozens of suppliers and manufacturers on a product list that ranges from tasty fruit and vegetables, premium soft drinks and handbaked cakes to artisan cheese, craft beers and fine wines. We’re constantly tweeting about these.

On the other side of the B2B continuum, we serve hundreds of customers from hotels, restaurants and cafés to caterers and retailers right across the north of Scotland. We therefore find Twitter is an essential component in the relationships we have with both suppliers and customers.

Sharing customer success

We estimate about 25 per cent of our customers occupy the Twitter space and we regularly monitor their accounts. This helps us celebrate and share their successes from awards won, media recognition, positive reviews from customers or bloggers/critics etc to their involvement in wider campaigns like the North Coast 500. Dishes they are proud of or business growth or expansion projects like new kitchens, extensions or plans for growth also offer great opportunities to shout about it on Twitter and for their businesses to gain from this increased exposure.

The growth in food and drink enthusiasts has also mushroomed in recent years and many of these ‘influencers’ have incredibly large numbers of people following them, usually on platforms like Twitter. They are constantly looking for new businesses like yours to tweet about, visit and/or review.

Suppliers to Williamson’s on the other hand launch new products, update existing ones, provide customer support like recipes or new ideas for using their products as well as promoting their own successes. We in turn help share that news to customers through our own Twitter posts. We know that many of our suppliers follow our Twitter account and we know that they like to see how their products are being used by customers too.

Top food and drink information 24/7

Twitter is the mechanism that can bring customer and supplier communications together in a common space that could only otherwise have happened at a trade show or some other similar personal gathering. Whilst many of us may be able to devote a couple of visits a year to such activities (and these are in fact enormously valuable to both sides when they take place as is evidenced by our popular Walkabout events), Twitter allows this free flow of information at whatever time you want it!

Williamson Foodservice also employ techniques that bring the best food and drink news to us and we share this through Twitter too. So, if you are a north chef who is looking for ingredient inspiration or new ideas for menus, then we’re usually tweeting about something you’ll be interested in. Twitter is in fact a great place for chefs to showcase their skills and we regularly communicate and promote their creations – although this is usually late at night when they eventually get out of their kitchens!

Don’t worry too much about terminology

Yes, there’s a bit of getting used to terminology like retweets and hashtags etc and there’s a bit of a learning curve on how you can post to the masses but also speak personally and privately to individuals, but it’s a powerful beast when you get the hang of the basics.

Above all, it gives you an extra and cost effective business tool to complement your other promotional activities and come onto the radar of others you couldn’t have ever imagined being possible.

At Williamson Foodservice, we’ve had new potential suppliers contact us through Twitter and recently a journalist has been in touch with a view to bringing our story to a national audience. It’s another channel for us to add support to the brands we sell and it improves our relationships enormously with both suppliers and customers.

We’d recommend you give it a try! Most people establish an account and start following people just to get a feel for what it’s all about – you don’t have to worry too much about engaging with tweets of your own straight away. Give us a follow twitter.com/williamsonfood and we’ll follow you back – and that’s you off and tweeting!

Let us know in the comments below how you get on or send us a personal message on Twitter! Good luck!

 

 

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New Range of wines added to Williamson Portfolio

New Range of wines added to Williamson Portfolio

Customers looking for a high quality, recognised wine brand that is respected by both the trade and with consumers will be delighted to hear Oliver and Greg’s has been recently added to the Williamson Foodservice stable.

We’ve been looking for the right opening to partner with a high profile wine brand for some time and Oliver and Greg’s offers exceptional quality, value and opportunities to achieve great margin at price points many customers are looking for.

It also has incredible strength in depth and will appeal to hotel, restaurant, café and catering customers alike as well as others in the north hospitality trade like golf clubs.

 

Quality drinking experience

Oliver & Greg’s is one of the top five ‘on-trade’ wine brands in the UK and prides itself on ‘a quality drinking experience without pretentiousness or complicated language’. It offers most varietals that come from different wine producing countries including:

  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Zinfandel Rosé
  • Pinot Grigio Blush
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Shiraz
  • Prosecco

Williamson Foodservice carry stock of all these varietals in 75cl and 187ml (20cl Prosecco) sizes that offer maximum convenience and freshness. It is the same wine in both sizes and both are also in glass.

 

Wine list

Partnering with Oliver and Greg’s also offers access to a much wider and extended range of wines should our customers wish to explore these possibilities. Entire customer wine lists can be supplied from great value house wines to more exclusive fine wines that are asked about more often.

As creating a wine list can be a daunting experience, Oliver & Greg’s also provides access to a free wine list printing service. This means Williamson’s customers can be provided with advice, guidance and tastings in order to finalise a list that is professionally laid out, attractive and can be printed quickly.

 

Partnership working

The team at Oliver & Greg’s see Williamson Foodservice as a natural fit for where the brand can be taken in the north of Scotland. Williamson’s has a long standing reputation for providing customers with variety, choice and high quality products that surpass expectations and Oliver & Greg’s recognise this.

Our well established and efficient distribution network to some of the most rural parts of Scotland is another bonus. Working closely with the Oliver & Greg’s Wine Development Manager to ensure Williamson’s staff understand the key benefits, ethos and qualities of the wine has been key to giving customers the most useful information about the products.

 

Growing interest in the Highlands and Islands

As the north of Scotland attracts ever increasing attention as a destination, the hospitality and catering sector goes from strength to strength on the back of this. This gives Williamson Foodservice great confidence going forward!

Incredible success with other products like a recently launched coffee brand means uptake for Oliver and Greg’s wine has the potential to be the same. Even before its launch, an order for 50 cases across the Oliver & Greg’s range came in from one single customer who found out we were planning on stocking these products. Confidence is therefore high that this brand will be equally as popular throughout the Highlands and Islands. Call 0345 450 8888 to ask for more information or arrange for a field sales member of staff to visit you personally.

 

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The MD’s update – May 2017

The MD’s update – May 2017

 

After a busy Easter period, I am already encouraged by the amount of activity we are experiencing as the new season gets fully underway. I hope the same is true for all our customers.

May is a major season change for fresh produce with ‘new season’ being attached to a lot of descriptions. As well as more local product becoming available there will be the inevitable shortages which we will be working hard to cover. For the latest information please follow us on Twitter and look for the hashtags #seasonalpicks and #foodmarket.

The recently launched Café Express range of coffee products has been a big success with many of our customers this Spring. Seeking out new products like these that provide customers with good profit margins while retaining quality and maximising value is a major priority for Williamson Foodservice.

With this in mind, I am delighted to launch a new wine brand to us in Oliver & Greg’s. This is a respected range that covers the popular varietals and I am sure you will have a high degree of confidence in the wines being offered which include single serve options too. Like Café Express, they offer incredible quality and value at a very competitive price.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all our customers for working with us on a more effective ordering and delivery system. Hopefully as the season gets even busier this will result in accurate orders arriving on time and in the best possible condition. You can also place your order online.

Our May special promotions brochure has just been released and hopefully there is plenty in there that helps you stock up and deliver better returns in whatever area of the north food and drink sector you occupy. This month’s brochure illustrates the diversity of our products from confectionary and craft beers to premium soft drinks and essential cleaning supplies.

We also feature some of the less well known products from Rich Sauces and Alfee’s. Rich Sauces White Sauce and Alfee’s Garlic Mayonnaise and Peri Peri Sauce will hopefully provide some extra ideas and inspiration for your menus this season! Wooha’s innovative KeyKeg range is also included and these 30 litre kegs of draught beer are an ideal way for those wanting to capitalise on the growth of the craft beer market without the risks associated with traditional casks.

Finally, I would be grateful if you could spare a moment or two to read about the Highland Hospice Everest Highlander Cycle challenge that myself and Field Sales Representative Andy Barbour are undertaking later this year. Any support you are able to provide for this valuable cause would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks to all of you who have already donated. It is much appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time to read this update and in the meantime, I hope your plans are progressing well for the season ahead.

Gary Williamson

Managing Director

 

 

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