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People management case study at a upmarket pie company.
The first 200 words of this essay...
In 2003 Camilla Stephens started a pie business that struggled to become profitable. It needed to be refinanced and downscaled in 2004, but from a smaller base it began to grow. Before starting the business, Camilla had been Head of Food at Starbucks UK and also Deputy Editor of Good Housekeeping magazine, so she had a terrific understanding of food trends. Seeing the success of Innocent Drinks and Green and Blacks, she focused clearly on hand-made, very high quality, high-priced pies. Think Chicken and Red Pepper rather than Chicken Balti.
In the early years the pie business supplied local cafes and caterers, but in 2006 Camilla (with new partner/husband James Footit) developed the Higgidy brand. This proved an incredible turning point. Within 18 months Higgidy was stocked in Sainsbury, Booths and Waitrose supermarkets, giving national distribution and a big boost to sales.
Suppliers to the big supermarket chains usually automate their production process to boost output and to benefit from economies of scale. Higgidy, however, remains resolutely a producer of hand-made pies. This means that higher sales = more staff. In 2004 the business had 10 staff; by 2010 they had 140 (see graph
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