Wiltshire Farm Foods supply delicious and nutritious frozen ready meals from franchises based in the local community that are easy to prepare and delivered direct to the freezer.
As a franchise brand owned and backed by apetito UK, the leading provider of meals to the health and social care sector, who has seen sales and profit growth every year in the last 20 years, Wiltshire Farm Foods operates in the fastest growing demographic sector in the UK, giving massive growth potential.
With numerous awards under our belt, including the BFA 2019 Winner for Social Enterprise and two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, we’re proud of the service we provide and the 300 tasty dishes we sell.
Established for over 25 years, Wiltshire Farm Foods a UK home delivery food franchisor with a network of over 80 franchise partners, owning non-competing territories.
Our model is based around good old-fashioned service that seeks to make a real difference to the lives of our elderly customers, helping them retain their independence living in their own homes. For many of our customers, our drivers and office staff are sometimes the only people they see or speak to from one day to the next, and the importance of this relationship is key to the success of Wiltshire Farm Foods.
Buying a Wiltshire Farm Foods franchise gives strong proven returns, with all territories coming with an established customer base, allowing new franchise partners to make money from day one.
All new Franchise Partners complete a thorough onboarding process including tailored on and off-site training designed to equip you with the key skills and practices to get your franchise off to a flying start. During this we will support you in developing the skills and knowledge you need to become a successful Franchise Partner. Training includes the legal and financial elements of your franchise purchase, as well as guidance around the correct coldstore, vehicles and any premises requirements.
A typical franchise will deliver to several hundred customers a week in their territory. You will receive orders via the phone, the web, or through the driver taking repeat orders. These are then picked for the next available delivery day. We try our hardest to ensure that the same drivers visit the same customers on a weekly basis. Our goal is to deliver a high level of customer service alongside a fantastic product.
Alison Browne has a real head for figures and just 18 months after setting up her Wiltshire Farm Foods franchise she’s proved she has a head for business, too.
When Alison took over the franchise at Edenbridge, Kent, she was turning over a steady income delivering ready-prepared frozen meals to customers.
Alison needed a change of job when her main business came to an end. She worked for an Irish tycoon and managed his property portfolio in London. But when her boss decided to come to England and take over the running of his investments, it was the ideal opportunity for Alison to start looking for a new business. She had trained as an accountant and kept the books for a number of small clients, one of whom has also become a Wiltshire Farm Foods franchisee.
When Alison discovered the Wiltshire Farm Foods territory around Tunbridge Wells, Kent, was up for sale she was keen to give it a go.
Alison heavily invested in her franchise territory, and spent the money on a refrigeration unit to store the food, on two vans (another pending), to make deliveries and additional finance was required to equip her office at Marsh Green, near Edenbridge. Wiltshire Farm Foods head office in Trowbridge sent over an expert to help set up her database and be on hand to assist with marketing and administration support.
Alison, 48, says: “I inherited about 610 customers from neighbouring franchises, but it was basically virgin territory. In 18 months I have built the business up and have exceeded my plans for growth.”
She says: “There’s real room for expansion in this business and I have done some market research in the area and found we have barely scratched the surface. We began delivering to more customers in sheltered accommodation and the feedback has been so good we now delivery regularly amongst them and other tenants.”
Like most Wiltshire Farm Foods franchisees, Alison and her team are very helpful to their customers and often run additional errands to make sure no one goes without their meals.
Alison concludes: “I really do enjoy this business. It gives me - in fact, it gives all of us a real sense of job satisfaction. We feel our work is tremendously worth while, which is why we all pride our selves on providing great customer service.”
Some of Alison’s customers order food for their elderly friends and parents to make sure they get a properly cooked meal. She even has a customer in Brazil who orders meals on line for his mother 5,000 miles away in Tonbridge, Kent.
Adam was one of the first franchisees to join the Wiltshire Farm Foods network and in his words, “It has been an exciting journey and very hard work.”
Before entering franchising, Adam had worked within Human Resources in the assurance industry. A desire to become involved in more strategic aspects of business led him to move back to his hometown of Bristol and join a local frozen food company, as a senior manager with responsibilities in HR and finance. “Moving to a smaller company gave me the ability to really see things through and realise the impact of my efforts,” says Adam.
When the company was bought out, the opportunity to start his own business became a serious consideration. He explains, “I had always wanted to run my own business. Most of my family have done so, including my father who was a franchisor himself, so entrepreneurial aspiration is something that is in my blood if you like.
“But when you’re earning a steady salary, it is hard to make that leap and take the risk of starting and running your own business. The great thing about franchising, however, is that some of the risk is removed.”
With his background in the frozen food industry and through this an acquaintance with Wiltshire Farm Foods, franchising was an attractive option. A number of meetings were set-up with the franchisor to gain a thorough understanding of the business model, the people involved in the business and qualities the franchisor was looking for in prospective franchisees.
Adam describes the next steps he took, “As the business was a community based concern offering ready meals to the elderly, I conducted thorough research on the marketplace and the demographics worked in our favour so I knew there was market for the service. The next stage was to develop my business plan and talk to the bank who were very supportive and enthusiastic about the enterprise.”
Adam eventually set-up his franchise in Bristol in November 1993. He worked closely with the franchise support team at Wiltshire Farm Foods who he remembers as being “very hands on”.
“I was provided with a training pack, visited regularly and was also invited to frequent conferences and meetings where franchisees would share ideas. As the franchise became more successful and the network grew, we also received more marketing support from the franchisor,” Adam says, highlighting another advantage of investing in a franchise – centralised marketing resource and consistent brand identity throughout the network.
“Owning my own business has been challenging but very rewarding at the same time. It has satisfied my desire to be involved at every level of the business and also share ideas and knowledge with the franchisor. Wiltshire Farm Foods allows for two franchisees to meet with franchisor board members and I am one of those,” says Adam. “Owning my own business also allowed me to go to back to university to complete an MBA. After trading successfully for about 9 years, I wanted to be sure that I could continue to grow the business and take it to the next level and my business qualification has been instrumental in this.”
Adam summarises his experience of running his own business through franchising as “exciting but very hard work”. His advice for anyone considering franchising is, “Make sure you carry out thorough research. Look at the marketplace and talk to existing franchisees about their experiences.”
Sam and Raj Panesar launched their Leeds-based operation in March 2016. However, this is not the first time the father and son team have worked together on a franchising venture.
Prior to Wiltshire Farm Foods, Sam worked as a senior events manager executing major projects with large corporate clients such as Vodafone and Ferrari. Armed with a wealth of experience and a burning desire to run his own business, Sam became interested in the Domino’s franchising model.
Raj explains: “At the time, I was working for Domino’s Plc whilst studying and discussed the possibility of a franchising opportunity with my father. After a significant amount of research, he decided to take the plunge and invested into the Domino’s franchise model, owning and running multiple Domino’s stores over a five-and-a-half year period.”
Raj continued to work for Domino’s both for his father and then directly for the franchisor. He climbed the ranks and worked within the training and operations department at head office and subsequently finished his career as a senior training and recruitment manager, with direct responsibility for 21 stores.
With success under their belts and the desire to move away from the fast food industry, Sam and Raj were craving a new opportunity. Raj says: “As with all of our previous business investment decisions, we undertook thorough research and saw the huge potential with Wiltshire Farm Foods: a fast and growing market; full UK coverage with established territories; the opportunity to make a significant difference to people’s lives; and the potential to make substantial returns…all made the decision to invest in Wiltshire Farm Foods so attractive.
“They are completely transparent during the recruitment process and allowed us to get under the skin to understand what this business is really about. We left no stone unturned, and visited a number of franchisees to really understand if this business opportunity was right for both us and for Wiltshire Farm Foods.
“As part of the process, we were required to create a business plan which was focused on growth in the Leeds territory. This process highlighted the significant opportunities that Wiltshire Farm Foods presents and finalised our decision making process to purchase the territory.”
Sam and Raj have invested significantly in their business assets to support their growth plans and ambitions. Prior to launch, each franchisee has a dedicated on-site mobilisation team which provides expert guidance to fully prepare the business before the launch date.
Raj commented: “The mobilisation team have shared a wealth of experience and knowledge. They provided guidance on the location for our premises and the best equipment to support our day to day operations. They even supported us operationally on-site during the first two weeks of launch.”
He adds: “We are still in the early stages of running our business and we have made some minor mistakes along the way, however we see this very positively. As a Wiltshire Farm Foods franchisee, it is essential that you are hands-on so that you can really understand the operations and learn from your mistakes for the betterment of the business and the customer. We have been very focused on getting the operational basics right and focused on providing excellent customer service.
“We have already seen business growth via word of mouth in the first two months from executing our operations brilliantly – this is what Wiltshire Farm Foods is all about.
“Currently, we are beginning to scale up the business, with heavy investment in local marketing. We have a clear focus on providing food demonstrations with local health care professionals to show the fantastic range of ‘Softer Foods’ products that enable dysphagia sufferers to eat for health, nutrition and for enjoyment. Working closely with health care professionals allows us to build and grow the business, while improving the welfare of people’s lives.”
Raj summarises his experiences from the first few months of being a franchisee: “It is so rewarding to be part of Wiltshire Farm Foods – it is a service that relies on building relationships and we have some great customers that we have built rapport and trust with. If you want to become a Wiltshire Farm Foods franchisee you have to be ambitious, very hands-on and have some entrepreneurial spirit.
“We are continually looking at new ways to understand how we can improve our service offering and the only way to find out is to try some new ideas, learn from what we have implemented and to refine our approach.”