Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a fascinating talk by Charlie Bigham hosted by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). A firm fan of his chicken and mushroom pie, I was excited and intrigued to hear how his business started and how he saw the future of his brand.

His talk was incredibly interesting as you can imagine, but one of the main take-aways I took from the night were his core values, which are clearly why his business remains so successful. So, here’s what I learnt…

  • Charlie started his business at the kitchen table, where he still believes a good business starts today (and guess what… Ceres PR also started at a kitchen table!)
  • He said, and I quote “If a business doesn’t change their light bulbs, don’t work there” referring to the fact that if you don’t care about the little details, it will impact the business – this is clearly reflected in the success of his brand
  • hey DON’T make ready meals – they make really nice food. As Charlie very interestingly stated, the phrase “ready meals” suggests compromise and they just make nice food. Fair point…!
  • Charlie rang the switchboard at Waitrose to tell them about his brand. They remain his longest standing customer. Sometimes it’s worth contacting the big players!
  • Charlie doesn’t like traffic light systems… This I found particularly interesting working in the food industry. Without going into too much detail, he felt that your main meal of the day would naturally be higher in all areas, so therefore in Charlie’s opinion, the system is flawed
  • Charlie has kitchens, not factories and has people, not operatives – keep that in mind the next time you enjoy one of his meals
  • He believes people eat with their eyes, and he’s clearly doing something right as he’s won 52 Great Taste Awards in the last 7 years
  • He employs four people to wash, dry and cut the parsley which is sprinkled on top of their bestselling meal – Fish Pie
  • If you want to be amazing, you’ve got to provide an amazing environment for people to work in
  • He doesn’t believe in compromise to speed up the growth of his business, which is why he’s never launched in Europe. His food is so fresh that it wouldn’t last long enough to supply beyond the UK
  • His food is eaten by half a million people in the UK a week – me being one of them!
  • And finally, Charlie’s motto of the night consisted of “Don’t expect to be thanked, but always say thank you” so, on that note – thank you for a great evening Charlie Bingham!

And thank you for reading my blog 😊

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