franchise discovery day, wash farm
saturday 11th february
< p>We’re looking for hard working, committed franchisees with a passion for food (and a hunger for sales) to be part of our award-winning organic home delivery company. Join us for a franchise discovery day on Saturday 11th February at Riverford on Wash Farm, Buckfastleigh, Devon. Meet the team, learn more about franchising, get the all-important numbers, ask questions and tour the farm. Call us on 01803 762015 to book your place.
franchise discovery day, Upper Norton Farm, Sutton Scotney, Hampshire
saturday 5th november
We’re looking for hard working, committed franchisees with a passion for food (and a hunger for sales) to be part of our award-winning organic home delivery company. Join us for a franchise discovery day on Saturday 5th November at Riverford on Upper Norton Farm, Sutton Scotney, Hampshire. Meet the team, learn more about franchising, get the all-important numbers, ask questions and tour the farm. Call us on 01803 762015 to book your place.
riverford vegman climbs Kilimanjaro
Andy Dwyer, from the Guildford franchise, set out to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak at 5895m, in aid of Giving Africa. Throughout his journey he carried a Riverford vegbox (empty!).
On summit night Andy and the Riverford box trekked for 7 hours through torrential rain and temperatures of -25 degrees to reach Stella Point, the second highest point on Mt Kilimanjaro at 5756m.
Due to the conditions of trekking through the torrential rain and ice for 7 hours Andy was hit with altitutde sickness and had to turn back. The highest point is Uhuru Peak at 5895m which would have been another hour of trekking - a little dangerous with altitude sickness.
This is the highest a Riverford Box has reached and although we don't have a photo of the box reaching its highest point (Andy's attention was on survival rather than photo ops at this point!) we do have Andy with box at one of their camps on the trek.
Andy is back delivering and the box is taking it easy in the office with Haley.
Andy is raising money towards the building of a much needed secondary school in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Approximately £150,000 is needed to build this school and the charity is over 3/4 of the way there in just over a year.
An exciting part of this school is the educational garden to help the children and local community grow the food for themselves and for market, giving the school a sustainable future.
The trekkers have so far raised an incredible £91,000 for Giving Africa and the donations are still pouring in.
For every one person educated a further 12 people will be lifted from poverty. If you would like to donate please go to www.justgiving.com/Andy-Dwyer
franchise discovery day
saturday 20th august
We’re looking for hard working, committed franchisees with a passion for food (and a hunger for sales) to be part of our award-winning organic home delivery company. Join us for a franchise discovery day on Saturday 20th August at Riverford on Home Farm, Newby Wiske, Northallerton, DL7 9HB. Meet the team, learn more about franchising, get the all-important numbers, ask questions and tour the farm. Call us on 01803 762015 to book your place.
Riverford dorset through to franchisee of the year awards final
Local entrepreneurs, Chris and Holly Galley, are through to the bfa Franchisee of the Year Awards Final. The couple believes their success in reaching this stage lies in their innovative use of marketing and social media to boost their customer base, and increase local brand awareness.
Chris and Holly Galley took over the Dorset franchise of Riverford Organic just 18 months ago, and in this short space of time have increased their number of deliveries by almost 200, and pushed cash sales up by 12%.
Says Chris: “When we took over from the previous owners, sales were declining. By improving customer care and processes and introducing social media – as well as other marketing methods such as cooking our fresh organic produce at local fairs to stimulate interest – we’ve taken on more regular customers. When you also consider that this is a slower time of year, because a lot of people go away and routines are disrupted, it’s a great achievement. Going into autumn and the busy Christmas period, I expect our veg box sales to increase even more.”
Engaging customers via Twitter and Facebook has helped the Galley’s new business venture, not only by encouraging more sales, but also by creating a real sense of community both on and offline.
Says Holly: “We knew we needed to work hard on the marketing, and employed a local PR woman who has helped to galvanize the Riverford community in Dorset. We’ve got more than 500 followers on Facebook already, and have found that it’s a brilliant environment for discussion. We can post recipes, give advice, talk about the impact of weather on crops, and generally let people know what we’re up to. It’s a soft approach to selling, and one that seems to work, mainly because we’re not telling people how good Riverford Organic is – they’re telling each other. It’s actually much more about engagement and helping people make an informed choice than getting them to buy a box.”
The Galley’s have also made the most of social media by listening to posted comments and finding out more about what people think and want.
Says Chris: “We discovered that a lot of potential customers didn’t know how flexible and affordable our veg box delivery scheme is. Many were unaware of just how easily an order can be amended or put on hold when circumstances change. Educating people about the service, we learnt, was almost important as teaching them about fresh produce.
He adds: “Using social media is simply an extension of what we already do on the doorstep. But it’s more useful for gathering lots of qualitative and quantitative information quickly and easily, and improving the way we run our business.”
The Galleys, who run Riverford Dorset from their family home in Motcombe, were Riverford customers for five years before they bought the franchise.
“We’ve always been passionate about Riverford Organic, and have waited a long time to finally get our own territory,” Chris says. “We bought our franchise because we love what the company is about: it’s consideration of ethics, and things such as the specific impacts that growing and transporting organic produce has on the environment. There’s almost nothing they haven’t considered in these terms.
“But it’s also a great investment,” he adds, “and we’re delighted to be finalists in the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards so soon after getting started. Last year, a fast food franchisee won. I think it would be great for an organic business to win this year!”
jim harbridge buys riverford portsmouth franchise
33-year-old, dad-to-be, Jim Harbridge has stepped into a new life. One made up of vans, veg boxes and organic food.
Just three weeks into his ‘fledgling’ business (a fully developed franchise bought from his predecessors), he has to complete no less than 13 delivery rounds in a week, learn the names of streets he never knew existed, and greet hundreds of people he’s never met before – his customers.
“It’s a big change from working in marketing and PR, and certainly hectic at the moment,” says Jim. “But it won’t always be like this. It’s just that all of my drivers decided to go on holiday at the same time…just when I started! The great thing is, I’m getting to know the rounds. And although that means working from dawn to dusk, I’m out and about and learning fast.”
Jim, who has never run his own business before, and who didn’t know anything about franchising either, considered buying the Riverford Organic Portsmouth territory when he heard that the previous franchisees were ready to sell.
“Paul and Sue had been running the business for seven years before I took over,” says Jim. “For five of those years, my wife Anna and I were loyal customers, getting our weekly veg boxes delivered by them. We loved the quality and taste of the food, and we’d found Riverford to be a forward-thinking company – always introducing new products and services, including my favourite…the barbecue box with organic cider and burgers!
“We’ve always loved Riverford’s products and excellent delivery service, but never dreamt we’d end up investing in the company. And when we found out that Paul and Sue were selling up and going travelling, we were presented with an opportunity that was too good to miss.”
Since negotiating a price for the franchise with Paul, Jim has been through a comprehensive training programme at Riverford’s head office in Devon to learn about running his organic food delivery business from the ground up. He also went out on the road with Paul to get to grips with the rounds and meet some of the customers.
“It’s been a year since we first talked to Riverford about our interest in the Portsmouth area,” adds Jim. “And now, here I am, three weeks in, bombing about, making hundreds of deliveries and waiting for my drivers to come back from their holidays. And when they do, I can start taking things to the next level. “It’s been a major transition from working in an office full-time, for somebody else, to being out and about on my own. But I’m excited about the future and enjoying the flexibility of being my own boss.
Jim also feels that when things settle down, it will mean more quality time with his family.
“Anna and I have our first baby due in August,” he says. “It’s been a lot for us to take on in relatively short period of time. For us, buying this business takes us one step closer to achieving the work-life balance we desire.
“Now, instead of being stuck in the same office all day, leaving home at 7am and getting back at 7pm – which is what my life used to be like – I’m able to drive around, meet different people, and nip home when I want without having to ask permission. It’s true that I’m working longer hours than ever at the moment, but things will improve once I settle into a steady flow.
“One thing I can say is that I’m looking forward to running a family business, doing something I’m passionate about, and being a key figure in my local community.”