Goodfellow and Goodfellow: Creating products requested by top chefs in different countries

Their clients include five-star hotels, leading restaurants and high-quality contract caterers. The company also supplies a string of celebrity and Michelin-starred chefs, and independent operators who recognise the edge that quality products bring. 

“Goodfellows has recently hit the £3m turnover mark, which is a fantastic testament to the team of staff we have in place, and to our faith in a business idea based on traditional values of combining innovation with quality and individual service,” said Goodfellow. 

But when it comes to creating such a luxury product, “looking at things from the customer’s point of view” is key.

“Firstly what is the function of the product, because even luxury products have to perform within the environment, not just look great,” she explained. “Then we try to create a design that fits the purpose but that is also something new and exciting. Depending on where we want to position this in the market, for instance at the very highest level of quality, will determine the materials and the level of finish we choose.

“We are always guided by the customer. We do not overtly try to influence product placement to push a particular brand. It is always geared to the needs of the chef and their food.”

In that sense, this has required the company to market a little differently.

“We have a distinctive style of marketing, based around very high quality photography that makes the products look more expensive than they are,” she said. “It does create a problem sometimes, in that people think the products are expensive when they are not, so we are working on how we can make products look fabulous without everyone thinking they cost a fortune.”

But Goodfellow and Goodfellow has been quite fortunate in the fact that their products regularly appear on TV programmes.

“For instance we have been involved with the Great British Menu programme, where chefs compete against each other to get their dishes to the banquet,” she explained.

“Each banquet has a particular theme so the chefs want props that fit that theme and Goodfellows has become the ‘go to’ company to help these chefs design new ideas. 

“When the programmes are televised, we use Twitter to draw attention to which chefs we have helped and which props we have made. Social media is a powerful marketing tool for us, and a unique angle for publicising what we do, to our customers.”

What is truly refreshing is that most of the company’s decisions are dictated by trends and what is available in the market. This was one of the reasons why they chose to become an international brand.

“We often spot emerging trends through being asked for a particular type of product by two or three of the top chefs, at the same time. 

“The export market has grown almost by accident, and we work with customers in France, Switzerland, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and China. People have usually seen our products on our website or in another restaurant, and then they interpret how they want to use them. We have such a large client base it would be difficult for us to keep up to date with how every product is used by every restaurant, each client is unique.

“We then look at where we can source these from and I am a huge supporter of British manufacturing, so would always look to the UK to supply first. It is only when we can’t source that product in the UK that we look elsewhere. However, we do sometimes get asked for specific items or brands from abroad and then we will go straight to that brand in order to satisfy the requirement.”

As a company based on trends, we just had to ask what the current sector trends were and what Goodfellow sees in store for 2015.

“Small sharing plates is a huge trend. Also, Japanese fusion food and grill food shows no sign of any loss in popularity. What chefs like Jason Atherton have done with the ‘social eating’ concept has totally changed the market by taking great cooking and combining it with eating in socially informal and casual environments, which is exactly what most people want from their dining experience.

“People judge a restaurant by its environment and tableware as much as on its food, so maintaining creativity and innovation, and keeping ahead of the curve will always be our unique selling point as a business. “

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