From the spare room to a multi-million pound operation that recognises the values associated with being a family business.
Started by husband and wife David and Elizabeth Kerfoot in 1980, The Kerfoot Group has grown from a business started on £300 in their spare room to an £80 million turnover business with David receiving an MBE in 2008 for his services to business and the community in Yorkshire.
The Kerfoot Group has now established itself as the UK’s leading provider of specialist oils to the food and cosmetics industries and is the only independently owned firm in its field. Along with his wife as Executive Director, David also works alongside his son, Thomas who is Commercial Director of Kerfoot Speciality Oils and his daughter, Jennifer who is Commercial Director of Kerfoot Packed oils.
For David it was always important that his children got their hands dirty from an early age and that they didn’t expect to be handed a job on a plate. Both siblings had worked with the business in their school and university holidays and therefore were known and more importantly, respected, for their hard work by other members of the team as David explains:
“We have a very open culture within the business where everyone has an opportunity to progress so it was important that we weren’t just handing jobs over to family members without any previous work experience. When they eventually joined the business it was not at the ‘top’ but a question of proving their worth and earning their present positions on merit”.
Although The Kerfoot group is the only independently run company in its field, it wasn’t until his children joined the firm that David began to see the value in promoting the business from the family perspective. He soon found that people appreciated the certainty in heritage. He acknowledges that people appreciate the story of coming from a small and humble husband and wife duo to the great story of success that they are today. In fact they have become far more involved in other family business networking including attending events and entering the Coutts family business awards.
So what does David believe is the secret to running a successful family business? “Firstly we take great pride in working closely with the local community in our social entrepreneurship promise. It’s always important to ensure that giving something back is intrinsic to the culture of the business. Secondly, you need to be well prepared when considering what to do with business once it reaches a certain size. No matter how many top class managers you have in place, the whole business needs to embrace the fact that the business is run by you and your family, on a daily basis”.Back to all news