Growing the experience at Ludlow food centre

Part of the Earl of Plymouth’s Oakly Park Estate, around 8,000 acres of Shropshire countryside, Ludlow Food Centre has become an attraction in itself since it opened in 2007.

Winning everything from BBC Good Food Show’s Midlands Best Farm Shop Award in 2014 and Butcher of the Year in the 2015 Farm Shop & Deli Awards to gold awards at the last World Marmalade Festival, the centre also boasts a certificate of excellence on TripAdvisor.

When the centre first opened, the ‘live theatre’ experience was a relatively new concept in foodservice and customers relished the fact that they could view the artisan producers making their food – from cheese and dairy ice-cream to speciality bread – through glass windows in the different departments of the food hall.

However, keen to enhance the customer experience further, the management team decided to grab the bull by the horns last year and make some key changes to the centre’s design.

Managing Director, Edward Berry said:

We had started thinking that the interaction was a bit like going to the zoo, watching people do their job through the glass, which is very different to going into the enclosure. We wanted customers to be able to meet the producers face to face for a heightened element of interaction and an extra level of personal customer service.

To achieve the vision, the bakery needed a whole new counter and display area and commissioned Nuttalls based on its extensive experience and high quality workmanship.

To showcase the bakery’s artisan produce, Nuttalls created new, versatile retail display counters with oak veneer valances to complement the centre’s rustic feel and solid surface worktops with bespoke housing for bread slicer and accessories. The new display counter also incorporates an area for fresh cream cakes and patisserie.

Crucially, the mobile counters feature shelving on both sides for assisted service and can be reconfigured into a walk-through self-serve format and freestanding displays. To allow the bakers to come out and interact with the customers, Nuttalls also installed a fire regulations compliant, glazed oak sliding door to the kitchen.

Edward Berry adds:

We want to show off what we do and with this display, we have amplified the customer experience,” said Edward. “The flexibility of the counters means they can be used for assisted service and then opened up when the bakers finish at 3.30pm so customers can go behind and help themselves to bread and cakes and pay for them at the main counter. They look great and while customers have to adjust to the new format, they really like the new design.

The positioning of our business and brand is key and we work hard to keep that point of difference from the multi-nationals. Nuttalls took our vision and came up with a solution that met our practical and aesthetic requirements. Overall, we were very happy with Nuttalls, from the customer service and quality of workmanship to the finished article.

Already recognised as one of the UK’s leading shopfitters, The Alan Nuttall Partnership Ltd specialises in interior fit-out, main and principal contracting, retail display design, manufacture and installation of fixtures, signage, foodservice and refrigeration equipment for retail, commercial, hospitality, leisure, foodservice and the public sector.