Edwards started KK Fine Foods from her kitchen in 1987, making veggie meals for local pubs and cafes – all while single-handedly raising three kids. Today, her customers include JD Wetherspoon, Whitbread, Frankie and Benny’s and M&B. “Pub operators typically perform well during recessions,” says Edwards. “Rather than dining out at five-star restaurants, which will set you back over £100, people tend to go for ‘two meals for a fiver’ deals.” With her customers posting increases in like-for-like sales, Edwards’ business is also putting in a stellar performance. “We’re hitting above target this year,” she says. “Last year we turned over £10.5m. This year, we’ll pull in sales of £12.5m.” The company has also invested £1.7m in expanding its Deeside-based food factory, with a 1,000 palette cool store and extra production facilities. “When you’re in a recession, there’s only one thing to do: increase your sales,” explains Edwards. “As a manufacturer, we’re trying to expand our product range. We’ve been focused on vegetarian meals for the past 17 years but we’ve just started a meat offering. We’ve also diversified our customer mix and have started selling to supermarket restaurants and airlines.” Leyla Edwards was shortlisted for the manufacturing gong at this year’s First Women Awards. Are you an enterprising young woman? Apply for our Women of the Future Awards here. Picture source
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