Lockdown didn’t mean ‘Shutdown’ for Walter Rose & Son – Here’s how they dealt with Covid-19

Walter Rose & Son

On the 20th March 2020, Boris Johnson took the extraordinary step of ordering pubs, hotels and restaurants to close.  This meant that Walter Rose & Son, market-leading catering butchers based in Devizes would lose 97% of their trade overnight.

In normal times, Walter Rose deliver to top chefs all over the country with a fleet of refrigerated vans, from Manchester to Devon and everywhere in between.  They even deliver meat to the south of France to service chefs on superyachts destined for Monaco and St Tropez!

All was not lost however, as they quickly built on their existing, lesser-known home delivery service and immediately invested in a temporary e-commerce website, immediately able to cope with the huge upsurge in online sales of meat that ensued during the pandemic and continues daily.  The final version of the new website is set to launch imminently.

Beef Wellington

Walter Rose & Son is surviving the pandemic in delivering top quality, locally- sourced meat that was destined for the finest kitchens all over the country to people in their homes in a contactless transaction.  They also pivoted to sell other essentials like pasta, flour and bread, when the supermarkets had none and it was nigh-on impossible to secure a delivery slot.

New retail statistics have shown that consumers in their thousands have turned to high street butchers during the current pandemic.

The enforced closure of hotels and restaurants posed a huge threat to the award-winning national catering butchers, but they soldiered-on regardless and can now boast a healthy online trade, great shop sales from the retail shop and are delighted to see hotels and restaurants now placing orders for take away services, as well a preparing for re-opening on the 4th July.

Water Rose and Son innovated with new ways of serving customers during the pandemic. They have adapted their Devizes butchers’ shop and deli to ensure social distancing and have also successfully implemented ‘collect from shop’ and online ordering services.  Walter Rose & Son are proud to continue to deliver meat to the door, providing to vulnerable customers with a lifeline.

van pic

Walter Rose & Son have also been working with Wiltshire County Council to distribute ‘paid forward’ meat boxes to families facing food poverty across Wiltshire.  This initiative has been invaluable and has seen around one hundred essentials meat boxes delivered to those in need at this difficult time.  Local children’s charities as well as charities for the homeless and vulnerable have all benefitted from this fantastic initiative and continue to do so.

Jack Cook, Director at Walter Rose & Son commented,

“We have been doing home delivery for 173 years! Our home delivery service has always been gladly taken-up by customers, but never to this extent, this is unprecedented. The increased demand for home delivery helped to soften the blow felt from the closure of cafes, pubs, hotels and restaurants. We’ve introduced new products and are promoting to our database and social media audience on a daily basis. We are working hard to ensure customers feel safe and confident to shop locally and continue to receive top quality, locally-sourced meat and deli goods.”  

Charlie continued

“Of course, we felt an initial loss of custom from the catering sector with only a small number of these foodservice providers continuing to sell takeaways. But having a really strong team that’s been able to pitch-in and cope with the extra demand, as well as operate a fleet of vans, means we’ve been able respond to changes quickly and serve an increased demand of customers seeking deliveries to their door.”

Jack concluded,

“Many of our elderly customers are continuing to place orders by telephone as they regularly would but we’ve seen a huge increase in orders being placed online. Being adaptive and flexible has helped us to maintain services to our loyal and growing customer base.”

Walter Rose & Son and other high street butchers’ shops now account for around 8.5% of beef and pork, and over 12% of lamb, is now sold through these specialist outlets.  It’s clear that people obviously appreciate how butchers have adapted quickly to the restrictions and served their communities well in difficult times, providing high quality meat and a bespoke service to their customers.

Walter Rose & Son Jack Cook

Walter Rose & Son is now looking forward to the scheduled re-opening of restaurants on the 4th July and is already in communication with customers on how best to service them under new ‘Covid- secure’ guidelines.  Walter Rose have maintained contact with the chefs and trade customers whilst the restaurants have been shut, even hosting a round in The Chefs’ Forum’s Chefs’ Quiz last Monday to re-engage with their much-valued clients.

Walter Rose would like to take this opportunity to wish the chefs and restauranteurs all the very best for the new chapter in their professional lives that sees them returning to their kitchens to continue to champion the hospitality industry.

Any chefs who would like to make contact with Walter Rose to discuss supply should email jack@walterroseandson.co.uk.

In the meantime, to receive a special Chefs’ Forum discount when you shop online for home delivery, simply use code: CHEFSFORUM1 to receive 20% off at the checkout: shop.walterroseandson.co.uk