Philip Dennis Foodservice

The Philip Dennis company has come a long way from the original butcher’s shop in 1912.

As we stand in Philip Dennis’ warehouse, former chef turned butcher and development manager, Tim Herman to our surprise tells us: “the building we are in now is full of solar panels, and we have a windmill that produces a lot of our own electricity. Tim adds: “wherever possible we are trying to help the environment, but our main environmental win comes from our farm being so close to us. There aren’t many places around that can say their beef is moved from the farm to be processed and then out to the customer all within 20 miles”.

Cultivating a strong relationship with the chef is an integral part of their business, Tim explains: “What is rewarding is being able to go out and talk to chefs, find out exactly what they want and then be able to match a cut of meat or a steak exactly to what they want on their menu. That makes them happy and in turn it makes their customers happy. I feel a sense of achievement when I see the final product and the chef confirms that yes, that was exactly the right cut”.

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The focus on the history of a product is becoming increasingly important for consumers and therefore for businesses, as Tim highlights: “to keep it local is vital, especially for me, as even though we are quite a big company most of my customers are local. For most customers nowadays it’s all about provenance, so if I can say exactly where the product has originated, they will be eager to put it on the menus. People like to ask, where did your beef come from today? At West Country PGI we give them a certificate to verify that they are using our beef. They can put that on their carvery or on the walls of their restaurant, so when people ask, they can discuss the origin of the product and be happy with knowing it is a definite brand that has come from the West Country”.

Why do their customers continue to invest in their products? Tim discloses: “we have quite a few local farms, particularly one on Exmoor, which we have the patent from Exmoor National Park to use their beef. We have loads of local restaurants and pubs on Exmoor and a lot of them want to use that meat because obviously it is so local to them and provenance means everything to those customers.”

In addition to ensuring a high standard of authenticity of their products, strict procedures are in place to ensure each product has the same standard their customers know and love, Tim recounts: “our finished product is where the good quality needs to be, but it starts from where we buy that product, then source it in our butchers, grade and asses it for each customer and their requirements. We examine them all and make sure our QC’s check it before it leaves the door, so we are always proud of every single product that leaves our doors”.

We asked Tim, what would you say is the most popular meat at Philip Dennis? “It changes with the seasons, we tend to find that in the summer the chefs are looking for something a bit lighter, maybe something Mediterranean. But for instance, I have one particular lamb cut, a lamb sirloin which can be done with Mediterranean veg in the summer, in the winter with a beautiful red wine jus, and it can even be done with Asian flavors. So, you can move that one particular cut of lamb in each of the four seasons”.

With Philip Dennis’s long traditions, excellent reputation and loyal customer relationships, Tim affirms the aspect of his role that is the most important to him: “you are always looking to place the right piece of meat with the right season, this ties in to our affiliation with the chef and how we can help them bring the customer the high quality meat they know and love”.