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Funnells Kitchen cooking up a storm in new premises

Funnells Kitchen's new second kitchen based at Ashwellthorpe for corporate clients. Head chef Iestyn Thomas, centre, with Lewis Hubman, chef, and Donna Akerman, operations assistant, with some of their food for business meetings. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Funnells Kitchen's new second kitchen based at Ashwellthorpe for corporate clients. Head chef Iestyn Thomas, centre, with Lewis Hubman, chef, and Donna Akerman, operations assistant, with some of their food for business meetings. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

A catering company is cooking up a storm in its new kitchen, which it hopes will be the recipe for turnover to rise.

Funnells Kitchen's food for business meetings from their new second kitchen based at Ashwellthorpe for corporate clients. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFunnells Kitchen's food for business meetings from their new second kitchen based at Ashwellthorpe for corporate clients. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Funnells Kitchen opened its new premises at Ashwellthorpe after receiving more than £40,000 of grant funding towards the venture.

With a presence closer to Norwich the company hopes to grow its corporate client base to match the expansion in its wedding catering business, where its order book for the next 18 months is already looking healthy.

Managing director Nick Phillips is expecting the Lowestoft-based company to turn over £600,000 in the year to August 31 2017, which would represent an increase of more than a third (37%) in two years and a 14% rise on the preceding 12 months.

He said: “It was a slow start as Norwich was a brand new market for us, whereas our Lowestoft branch has been running for about 15 years, but it is getting there now. We are starting to get some really good companies on board.”

He added: “It is a terrific new unit and it is a really good catchment area for us.”

In late 2016 Funnells received an £8,000 grant from the Future50 initiative – of which it is a member – and a £35,000 grant from the New Anglia Growth Hub.

These funds enabled it to buy and fit out its new kitchen, which is now operating five days a week and is staffed by three new employees including a head chef.

The firm, which now employs 14 people, has already picked up new corporate clients including law firm Birketts, oil and gas giant Perenco, and Britannia Safety and Training in Wymondham.

Mr Phillips said: “The grant from the New Anglia Growth Hub propelled us to opening into Norwich, because it allowed us to purchase rather than lease the unit. As a company it made us so much stronger.

“The tie-in was that we would have growth and would recruit, and that was absolutely in the plan anyway, but we were delighted to get the grant.

“New clients like these are absolutely brilliant for a company like us because they will use catering facilities almost every day.”

He added that the company was equally committed to its wedding business, with eight bookings so far for 2017 and six for 2018.

“We are absolutely running with 2018 – I would expect that number to double,” he added.

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