McAtamneys set to double their ready-meal output with refurbished kitchen

McAtamneys set to double their ready-meal output with refurbished kitchen

McAtamneys Traditional Butchers are poised to double their output when it comes to ready-made meals and pre-packed meats and vegetables.

The food chain, which started as a traditional butchers in Kilrea 80 years ago and now takes in 14 stores, is well ahead of the trend towards convenience, focusing on ready made foods and pre-packed meats and vegetables in formats that are handy for the customer.

“That kind of range has got massive in maybe the last five or six years, so that’s kind of where we’re seeing the business grow, “ operations manager Declan McAtamney says, in a feature-length interview for the forthcoming edition of Neighbourhood Retailer.

“We have a kitchen in Portglenone that supplies all our stores with ready-made cooked products and they also supply external stores as well as having a contract with Musgrave.

“The Gourmet Kitchen opened in and around 2012, and there are now about 40 people working there and producing about 25,000 units a week.

“We do a lot of your home-cooked products like cottage pie, chicken curries, lasagnes, all that kind of stuff you would cook at home yourself.”

His brother Mark adds: “We’re now in the final stages of signing off, where we had to do a refurbishment and a completely new layout. It means we’ll be able to do a minimum of double the output within the next three to four months.

“We’re just about to hire a product development chef to improve the existing lines and come up with new lines, with an emphasis on healthy meals – a convenient healthy range is what we want to achieve.”

However, the traditional over-the-counter service is still very much to the fore in McAtamney’s, as Declan explains: “We rely heavily on that service – we’ve that reputation for good beef and good customer service, so that’s a big chunk of our business.”

But Mark admits the serve-over business has shrunk in the last few years in response to customer demand.

“We can see the convenience nearly overtaking it in the last year or two. The convenience displays in our shops are getting bigger while the serve-over counters are getting smaller gradually over the last four or five years,” he says.

To read the full interview, stay tuned for the upcoming edition of Neighbourhood Retailer.

Caption: Father and son Oran and Declan McAtamney