Family firm reverts back to its roots to meet new demand

  • May 13, 2020

A family-run food service business which originated as a milk round has returned to its roots.

Bury-based Dunster’s Farm has transformed into a food-to-door delivery service in just two weeks following the Government’s order to lock down.

The firm was able to speedily flip with the help of an eCommerce consultancy and web designer to boost its online appeal to customers.

Dunster’s Farm has been trading since 1963 as an independent supplier of chilled and ambient foods.

It originated as a food-to-door delivery service in the form of the current directors’ granddad’s milk round, before moving into the business-to-business space.

For almost 60 years the £10m-turnover 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.

Three generations later, it has now returned to its humble origins, completely overhauling its business to meet consumer demand for food during the lockdown.

Bosses turned to Manchester-based full-service eCommerce consultancy, PushON, to work out how to make their 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.

The business’s web and creative agency, A Story Called, also developed a new eCommerce website enabling customers to place orders for products and arrange deliveries to their homes.

Now, just a couple of weeks in, the business is receiving hundreds of orders per day for delivery across Greater Manchester, or for collection from the firm’s Bury warehouse.

Hannah Barlow, Dunster’s Farm joint managing director, 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’s 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.”

She added: “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.”

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.