According to Edward Miles, MD of brand owner Finedale Foods, sales of Frank Dale were completely decimated during 2020/21 when the pandemic first hit.
“Unless you were in Government, it was practically illegal to have a buffet, so our strategy was all about survival,” he added.
In 2022, the company appointed Central Foods as its exclusive distributor and saw volumes return to pre-pandemic levels.
The agreement with Central Foods “enabled us to focus on business recovery and manufacturing, which has given us more time to deal with industry wide supply chain challenges. This change of approach allowed us to seize the opportunity to gain wider exposure in the wholesale market,” explained Edward.
Coping with larger volumes
With sales increasing, the company channelled investment into areas of the business where growth was clear.
“As the volumes returned in 2022, it gave us the confidence we needed to accelerate our progression and development in the factory,” said Edward.
It made a number of key improvements to its production line, including the purchase of more blast freezing, rack cooling (to utilise blast freezing capacity), more power to the site to run the new kit and the purchase of automated quiche cutters to remove production bottlenecks.
Other purchases included a new metal detector, a pastry mixer dedicated to larger quiche production, more racks and the replacement of older equipment to cope with the larger volumes.
“The investment into new production equipment has allowed us to facilitate running more lines at the same time.
“In effect, we are producing twice the volume that we did in 2017, which is considerable when you take into account the negative impact of Covid for two years of trading.”
Frank Dale has some clear objectives for 2023 and beyond.
“Plans for this year include rebranding Frank Dale and reviewing and expanding the range,” said Edward.
“As social calendars return to normality, we have seen Frank Dale reach a much wider audience and we need to ensure the range continues to pack a punch at events and occasions.”