Scrumpy Pig – how technology helped bring back a passion for cooking
Richard Brant had made a successful living in the catering industry working for a variety of food producers and events companies. But when he took redundancy in the summer of 2014 he also took the chance to get back to what he loved most – cooking.
“I’d been an NVQ assessor for the hospitality sector it wasn’t really hands-on, so I really did miss the chefing side of the work,” says Richard. “It came to the point where I thought I’d like to create something myself and before you know it I’d created Scrumpy Pig – The Farm Shop.”
Scrumpy Pig specialised in high quality sausages and other pork products from local suppliers. Richard worked hard to raise the company’s profile – tapping into weddings, christenings and functions wherever he could. Very quickly the business started to grow and expand. He got his first permanent premises when he heard through the grapevine that an established sausage butchers were leaving their unit at Botany Bay in Chorley, Lancashire.
Within just seven months he’d expanded into the adjoining unit and created Scrumpy Pig – Smoke ‘n’ Grill. He invested in a custom made BBQ smoker and cooked pork shoulders, beef brisket and chicken to sell as pulled meats along with freshly made sausages and beef burgers from the farm shop. The speed with which things moved was both exhilarating and daunting at the same time.
Getting the balance right
“It was very daunting and it took a lot of practise, a lot of man hours. The hardest part of being self-employed is about having the right balance with family life. The technology has really helped me keep up with the pace.”
Further expansion led to Scrumpy Pig – The Hog Roast & Catering Company, offering specialist hog roasts for weddings and events. He brought in a manager who could increase his social media presence and manage an ever-increasing number of part-time staff, though Richard still likes to retain control wherever possible. The team is often on the road, travelling to weddings, parties and events where they’re in high demand. Meanwhile, the shop and the rest of the business still need to be looked after.
Managing on the move
Microsoft Office 365 from O2 Business means that Richard can create documents and save them to the cloud instantly, as well as use Outlook straight from his laptop. So he can manage his admin and his business wherever he needs to be, and that gives him more time to do what he loves most.
“Business has always been quite mobile, and in the beginning I used to do a lot of admin work on the laptop using a USB stick. It took time, and I wasn’t always connected. Now, I’ve got five different devices that are linked up to Microsoft Office 365.
“To be able to have all the admin in one place, that can be shared throughout the team that I’ve built, is so much easier. And that means that I’m able to get hands-on again, like I used to. It’s really helped to bring back the passion of cooking food.”