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Growth is on the menu for catering firm

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Catering firm Moss House Farm has significantly increased its workforce to cope with expansion after signing up to Boost Business Lancashire’s Growth Mentoring scheme.

When the Leyland firm started the programme it employed two full-time and one part-time member of staff, but has since recruited a further two part-time team members to meet rising demand.

Moss House Farm provides catering services to customers across Lancashire, including councils, businesses and private clients, and has recently expanded into the banqueting sector.

Founded in 2005 by owner Phil Bevan, Moss House Farm relocated to larger premises, including a custom-built kitchen, as the business built on a solid market presence.

However, Phil’s focus was on the creative side of the business and he became aware that he did not have adequate processes in place to monitor productivity, profit margins, key performance indicators (KPIs) and forecasting.

Phil commented: “I realised that if the business continued to grow quickly I wouldn’t have the management processes to control sustainable development.”

He heard about the Growth Mentoring scheme from a representative of local business support organisation Orvia at the weekly networking group ‘Shout’.

Orvia are partners with Community and Business Partners in the delivery of the initiative and matched Phil with a specialist business processes mentor. In addition, Phil received support in tendering and proposal writing that enabled him to bid for local authority work.

He now has effective management tools to monitor and review his business. These include a forecasting spread sheet that gives him a clear picture of activities and objectives, rather than simply ‘beating last month’s figures’.

Phil continued: “I have certainly felt the benefit of the mentoring programme as it has given me time to step outside the business and look at it with greater objectivity. The 50-50 balance of mentor meetings and ‘homework’ was just right as there wasn’t an excessive amount of time out of the business, but enough to make real progress.”

Phil added: “The systems I have put in place have made it much easier for me to monitor the business and work out a more planned and sustainable approach moving forward. I really enjoyed the programme and would recommend it to any business that fits the criteria.”

Ann Holcroft, operations manager at Orvia, commented: “When we first met Phil, it was obvious he had great growth potential. However, he didn’t really have adequate systems in place to allow him to plan and control his growth aspirations. His mentor, Malcolm Timms, helped Phil to refine existing processes and introduce new key performance indicators to ensure full performance control. We are very pleased that Phil’s business is growing and we wish him continued success.”

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