Independent and going strong

We caught up with Tom Robinson of Robinsons Butchers & Delicatessen of Tettenhall for a chat about the current success of the business, Robinsons’ history and his plans for the future.

West Wulf – Robinsons Butchers & Deli seems to be going from strength to strength – what is the secret to its success?

Tom Robinson – Yeah, the butchers is growing as is the demand for a butcher!! Ten years ago when supermarkets started selling lots more meat products and having big butchery counters, it was hard for us to compete on price but we will always win on quality! I believe the #shoplocal trend is booming at the moment as so many people are starting to realise quality is key and cost is second although saying that I regularly look in supermarkets at their prices and we’re sometimes on a par if not cheaper! There’s no secret to success really – if the meat is good and the service is good then your customer will return. If it’s bad meat and bad service then you don’t deserve the customers.

Good meat, good service

WW – Tell us a little about the family business – where did it start, how did you become involved?

TR The business was started in 1905 in Wolverhampton by my great grandfather Tom Robinson, who had one shop in the city centre and six children. He went to war then returned years later, had six more children and another shop! Two of the twelve children were Fred and Alan who went on to carry on the business and move it to Tettenhall where it is now. My Dad Steve joined the shop thirty five years ago and now runs it under the watchful eye of Fred, now 91!
I’ve personally been involved for the past eight years on and off doing different things in between including working in different businesses as well as travelling and doing the things you should do whilst you’re young!

Stephen Robinson with the Q Guild Smithfield Awards

WW – You’ve just won two Q Guild Smithfield awards – for best Ready Meal and best English Lamb Product. How does it feel to win these awards, and what was it like meeting Monica Galetti?

TR The Q Guild Awards are a big honour to win as they are highly recognised by other butchers and business owners, maybe more than the customers recognise them! We enter a variety of products and this year we picked up two main awards for our Lamb Beaujolais Casserole, which Monica Galetti tasted and gave her approval to! She’s not as harsh as she seems on television!
We can say our ready meal is nationally recognised as the best in the UK at a national level.

Robinsons on Tettenhall High Street

WW – Robinsons is based in Tettenhall – do you have any future expansion plans?

TR – As for expansion we have no plans to open another branch or anything like that, but maybe a few changes to the space we have at the existing area in the village! Watch this space…

WW – You also run La Grande Viande – is this a personal project of yours and how is it going so far?

TR – La Grande Viande was an idea I came up with last year to open up into the outside catering side of business but from the angle of street food. It’s my own business but with the backing and investment of my dad and the shop, which is a good starting point as it means all the meat is the best you’ll find! It’s been a good first summer considering we weren’t up and running till May! We’re pushing to make La Grande Viande very busy next year and I’m sure you’ll see us at the next Make It or Bake It (Tettenhall’s successful biannual market).

WW – Wolverhampton in general gets a bad rap – often in the press for being either the ‘worst city’ or for having ‘miserable people’. Whilst Tettenhall is a good area, do you feel there is any truth in these surveys & press reports about Wolverhampton as a whole? And if so, what does the city need to improve?

TR – I think the whole thing with the ‘most miserable’ status and ‘worst city’ is sometimes due to change! There are lots of people in Wolverhampton trying to do good things for the area and make new exciting things happen and sometimes the ideas are shelved or disregarded before they have a chance to even be looked at properly! I think next summer should be a good one for Tettenhall and Wolverhampton with some great events planned across the city, it should become a better place to live meaning we lose the reputations! But then again maybe Wolverhampton people just like a good old moan..

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