New pie manufacturing facility to create 20+ jobs

By Lorraine Mullaney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Social network service

Top quality ingredients and social media have fueled the firm's growth, says founder Phil Kiernan
Top quality ingredients and social media have fueled the firm's growth, says founder Phil Kiernan
Gloucestershire homemade pie manufacturer Mad About Pies plans to set up a second manufacturing facility in the Forest of Dean, which will create at least 20 new jobs.

The firm moved production to its existing factory in August 2011 to meet demand created by a new catering contract with Worcester Warriors rugby club. But the business has continued to expand since then and it has already outgrown the facility.

In addition to the Worcester Warriors contract, the manufacturer has catering contracts with Cheltenham Town Football Club and supplies Budgens and numerous pubs, delis and golf clubs.

Mad about Pies founder Phil Kiernan told “We’re looking for another site now because we’ve outgrown the unit. It’s ​[the growth] is all down to the product. It has to be good quality. There’s actually meat inside our gourmet pies.”

Kiernan has used social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook to build the profile of his brand. He has given all of his staff Blackberry smart phones so that they can post news on Twitter and Facebook every day. 

Social networking

“You don’t see the benefit of social networking immediately,”​ he said. “It takes time to build it so you have to keep at it to take it all the way. All of our blogs are daily. 

“It used to be about who you know but now it’s about who knows you. Everyone’s got a computer in their house. Data is very important to us. We run competitions online, which are all purely for data gathering. Times are tough out there but if you keep banging on enough doors you’ll do well.”

Kiernan has also accessed the world of television by tying his product in with celebrity chef Martin Blunos, who is a guest chef on BBC’s Food Poker​ and ITV’s Cooks!​ He also makes pies using Bombardier real ale, which sponsors Al Murray’s Happy Hour ​on ITV1.

“It’s all about brand loyalty,”​ he said. “Once you have other quality brands endorsing the pie people will keep going back to it. Working with Blunos is like having a dragon on board.”

Wider markets

The tie-ins give the manufacturer access to wider markets. Bombardier is owned by Wells & Young’s, which runs a chain of more than 200 pubs. “It’s only a matter of time before we get our pies on their menus as well,”​ said Kiernan.

His estimated date for the move to the new site is September. But he is currently in talks to secure a catering contract with Southampton Football Club and, if negotiations go well, it will happen sooner and create more than 20 jobs.

Kiernan also plans to run a number of apprenticeships for students at local Hartpbury College. 

“We want to keep the product in the Forest of Dean, we’re just waiting for news on new contracts,” he said. “The only trouble is that other businesses don’t move as fast as we do.”  

To read about the government's pasty tax u-turn, click here​.

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