We are delighted to announce that our wonderful franchise owners Chris and Geoff Povey have reached a commendable milestone whilst working at Oakhouse Foods.
Having worked at the company for over 25 years, since the day it began, here’s what they have to say about their Oakhouse journey from the very beginning up until now.
What is your first memory of working at Oakhouse Foods?
Chris: “Demos! Back when it all began we had no customers so a lot of our time during the first year was spent doing demos in sheltered housing. The rest of the time was spent doing door knocks - that’s how we got most of our customers really.”
What was it like working for Oakhouse Foods when you started your journey?
Chris: “Completely different! We had no computers, so all orders were written out on our paper order forms and we had to calculate it all ourselves. Nothing was automatic and everything was paid for by either cash or cheque”.
Chris: “We started off with a small van which we plugged in each night to keep the freezer going. We sold 60 products from the van in total and our bedroom was our office. The most popular dishes we sold were Balti curries, pizza, sweet and sour chicken, and ribs. We used to make up a ‘weekend takeaway’ pack with only 4 ready meals but they weren’t anything like the meals we do now, very small and not as tasty.
Geoff: “After two months of starting up, there was only one other company that ran a food delivery service. The areas we covered were Portsmouth, Southsea and Hayling Island. Now we deliver to the whole of Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex.”
Who did you first recruit to join you in your venture?
Chris: “For 8 years, it was just Geoff and myself who ran the business, until we hired Chrissie our lovely delivery driver, who still works with us today, 17 years later!”
Chris also pointed out that the first 4 people they employed still work for them today.
What are your most memorable achievements whilst working at Oakhouse?
Chris: “One year we received the ‘Top Franchise of the Year’ award for the biggest increase in sales in one year. We were treated to a stay at Le Manoir Hotel owned by the Chef Raymond Blanc for one night and it was lovely!”
Chris: “Over the years, we have enjoyed raising money for charity. One year for Christmas, I spent 3 days delivering our meals in a snowman suit to raise money for Children in Need – that was good fun!”
Chris: “Our aim is to deliver an above and beyond service to our customers, we once delivered to a customer on Christmas Day as they had just come out of hospital to ensure they had everything they needed.”
What is your favourite memory working at Oakhouse Foods?
Chris: “We have always had very good relationships with our customers – they are the be-all and end-all and we have so many fond memories delivering to them. One of my fondest memories was when we used to deliver in the sheltered homes. I would go inside and make myself a cup of tea and have to tip away their left-over gin and sherry. They were good fun customers!”
Geoff: “Another customer used to always invite us in so that we could listen to her play the organ – she used to do gigs in Blackpool!”
Chris: ‘I also remember one customer who used to make us a cup of tea whenever we stopped by and would deliver it on a silver tray in a smart apron. In the summer, he used to buy Geoff a ginger beer and serve it in a crystal glass.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Chris: “Geoff and I still go out delivering sometimes (not often) and I always try and leave the customer with a smile on their face, it is so rewarding.”
Chris: "Our customers are most important to us and we always like to put them first – we pride ourselves on a good old-fashioned service! We can’t always do exactly they want but we will always try to do our very best.”
What a fantastic achievement Chris and Geoff! Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication in delivering delicious frozen meals to our lovely customers in and around Hampshire. Here’s to another 25 years!
If you would like to explore our range of delicious frozen meals, then look no further. We're here to bring you taste, quality and variety to your weekly food shop this winter.
If you're interested in becoming a franchise owner and starting a wonderful journey with Oakhouse Foods, please follow the link here.