Exeter food wholesaler changes business model overnight with six-figure HSBC UK CBILS loan

Covid-19 News | Financial Services | Food & Drink | Funding | South East

An Exeter food wholesaler, which usually services the South West foodservice industry, has secured a six-figure finance facility from HSBC UK to extend its service to members of the public amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Family-owned J&R Food Service, which supplies frozen, chilled and ambient food predominantly to pubs, cafes and restaurants across the South West, is using the funding to facilitate its new home delivery service, set up to provide essential food deliveries during lockdown.

Since lockdown began in March, the business has seen more than 9,000 registrations for the home delivery service, including many elderly people.

The loan from HSBC UK is part of the bank’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which is available for existing customers with a group turnover of up to £45m. The Government guarantee will secure bank loans to viable businesses with a sound borrowing proposal.

James Jordan, head of corporate banking in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, said: “J&R Food Service has shown incredible agility and ingenuity at a time of considerable uncertainty for the food service industry. Having lost almost 95% of its wholesale business, it quickly transformed itself into a consumer-facing business using the power and reach of social media. With the extra money behind it from HSBC UK, the business can still pay suppliers and furloughing staff has been kept to a minimum as the team responds to thousands of requests for food each day. We’re delighted to have played our part in the future of this fantastic business.”

John Whitechurch, chairman at J&R Food Service, added: “HSBC UK’s support over the last few weeks has been tremendous, especially that of our relationship director, Paul Lane, and without this new round of funding, we’d be in a very different position to the one we’re in now. With the foresight of our MD, we’ve turned J&R Food Service from a wholesale business into a much-needed retail business almost overnight and thanks to the bank’s speedy response, we had the cash flow we needed to get it off the ground. Not only has this allowed us to serve our local community at a time of crisis, but it’s ensured we’re financially fit for the future.”

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