The business is Gog Magog Hills Farm which recently rebranded to The Gog. They are a high-quality farm-shop, butchery, café and deli based just outside Cambridge employing 70 people. The business, owned by the Bradford family for three generations, and is now run by Charles and Marcus Bradford (known colloquially as ‘The Brothers’). Before People Puzzles’ Joanna Ramsdale visited the site, she was aware there were some issues with recruitment and retention. The Gog’s business had also found it difficult to maintain consistently good retail, customer service and hospitality levels resulting in varied reviews on TripAdvisor which concerned the owners.
When Joanna first visited the farm there were a number of issues regarding the culture of business, communications, morale, quality of management, reactive leadership. Joanna’s first big hurdle was to decide the roles and responsibility for The Brothers to ensure they understood how to use their skills and abilities to the maximum benefit of the business. This proved challenging for them at first as they needed to delegate decision-making to each other and to start to implement a leadership and management process.
• Joanna looked at the structure of the business and created a new organisational structure which ensured that the right people were in the right roles and understood what was expected of them and how this would be measured. The team now all had clear role-definitions and accountability and this meant that The Brothers were not relied upon to make every business decision. It also meant that the team felt positively empowered and this dramatically increased morale at the site.
• Joanna spent considerable time supporting and coaching The Brothers and this has assisted them in developing their business knowledge and leadership abilities.
• With their input, she also created a variety of new roles for the business and this has allowed the talent to rebrand the business and reach and become one of the UKs most admired farm shops. Their online and social media profile has also increased significantly.
• Each department has a designated manager who is accountable for the sales and profit of their own business unit.
• Joanna also organised the delivery of a comprehensive leadership management training programme which has resulted in the team developing commercial awareness, improved management skills and team retention.
• Joanna implemented new management into the café; trained them and improved the range and offer.
• Joanna set up a structured meeting and communications process which resulted in a consistent approach to turning strategy into action.
Since the commencement of Joanna’s work, the following successes have been realised:
• A new stock management system was introduced which has increased overall gross profit by 5%.
• The farm has for the first time won the Countryside Alliance Awards (or ‘The Rural Oscars’) for Local Food Champions which was awarded to them at a ceremony at the House of Lords.
• The Gog were crowned Independent Retailer of the Year by Jonathan Dimbleby at the Cambridgeshire Business Excellence Awards.
• Gogs have also won numerous food awards for their produce including England’s Best Burger and Butcher Shop of the Year.
• Over the last 12 months sales have consistently grown by 15% year on year.
• For the first time the business will generate a 10% net profit return.
• There was a 300% increase in net profitability.
• TripAdvisor now has amazing reviews since the implementation of new management into the café.
• New customers visit for the first time on a daily basis and are inspired by the fantastic products, service and environment which is all part of the Gog experience. The magic that is The Gog; a roaring success.
• The Gogs’ business really does operate on genuine values – they are not in it for the money. The Brothers and staff really care about the business. Their staff feel they work for people who have values and care about their people. Employees are incredibly dedicated – top to bottom. The general consensus being “is it is not a job – they are like my family.”
• Joanna’s personal feelings are that it has been a profound pleasure to have had this opportunity to help such amazing people. And to see the results. It is one of her proudest professional achievements.
“This place would never be like this if you had not turned up.” – Charles, Founder & owner