We recently asked William Whitaker, the Managing Director of Whitakers Chocolates 5 questions about the current issues facing his business. Find out what he said below.
Whitakers Chocolates is a chocolate manufacturer, distributor and exporter based in Yorkshire. The Whitaker family has always been dedicated to driving high standards and producing quality chocolates, which all began with a grocer’s shop in the village of Crosshills over 125 years ago. The business has now grown into a name of worldwide renown.
Q1: William, what's the greatest challenge you as a business owner in the manufacturing sector face at the current time?
"To deal with the ever increasing cost base, whether it's wages or commodity costs, when 90% of what we produce is for other brands."
Q2: As technology improves, what's the “best” investment you have made for the business and why?
"One of the "best" investments we have made was £400,000 for one customer 10 years ago, that brings in £2m per annum. Another "best" one was investing in foil block printing equipment to produce our own personalised chocolate wrappers."
Q3: As a business with over 125 years of trading history, what's the key to business longevity?
"Continuous reinvention and evolution- not revolution! Understanding how you can use previous investments to greater benefit, when coupled with new investment."
Q4: Whitakers Chocolates was recently featured in John Prescott’s TV programme, “Made In Yorkshire..." what was the feedback like following the exposure?
"The response was very positive in that the programme allowed existing customers to fully understand what a well invested company we are and gives them confidence that we are continuing to develop the business. Many customers don't visit the factory so it was an excellent opportunity to show them the lengths we go to support them. We also received several new opportunities too."
Q5: As a Fourth generation of the Whitaker family, with your son working in the business as the fifth generation, what next for chocolate production?
"Future development of chocolate production will continue in the personalised / promotional sector, whether in individual chocolates or the new chocolate bars. My son, Robert works with our Sales Team and customers to create new images for the chocolate wrappers."
If you want to learn more about Whitakers and Chocolate Manufacturing, visit www.whitakerschocolates.com