A fine business at Rooney Fine Foods

A fine business at Rooney Fine Foods

Rooney Fine Foods was started by John Rooney in 2008 on the family farm just outside Dromore, Co. Down as a farm butchery providing high welfare, premium quality ‘farm to fork’ meat to a growing number of customers who not only wanted the best quality meats, but also wanted to know the provenance of their meat.

Fifteen years later, Rooney Fine Foods has grown considerably, but the focus remains firmly on those same values which they started with, and for which they have now become known for.

Five years ago, the butchery moved from the farm into the new Moundview Eurospar in Dromore. Since then, the business has grown significantly with John now leading a team of 15 dedicated staff who help prepare their range of meats and products and look after their valued customers.


While John leads the business full time, the entire family are involved, either on the farm looking after the animals, helping in the shop, or taking care of the necessary business admin, explained John’s wife, Caroline.

“Our business has been built on quality and customer service.

“Because we rear our own cattle using traditional sustainable methods, then dry age our beef, we have earned a reputation locally for consistently excellent steak, and now, not so local, as we have customers who travel considerable distances just to get our steak.

‘Our business has been built on quality and customer service’

“As we have grown, we have had to source other meats and products from suppliers. We have sought out and established relationships with like-minded local suppliers who also focus on quality and provenance. We only source and use products from local suppliers who we trust and who we know will enhance our reputation for quality.

“This often means we may be more expensive than others, but we won’t compromise on the quality we know our customers expect, and we know we are also supporting our local food and farming sector in doing so.”


Since moving into their new shop in Eurospar, Rooney’s Fine Foods have developed an extensive range of freshly prepared oven-ready dishes using their quality meats and ingredients.

“This has been a new and important change in the business over recent years,” said Caroline.

“While we still have many traditional customers who prefer to order directly from our counter, we also have a new customer group who want convenience with quality. Our oven-ready range has been very successful, and we continue to develop it and incorporate new ideas and flavours based on what our customers are buying.

“We have also seen a new demand for gluten-free products from a number of our customers and we have developed a range of oven-ready products specifically for these customers.”

‘Word of mouth locally remains a very important marketing staple, and we often get new customers to our shop who have been recommended by friends’

While there are no plans to develop the business into the wholesale meat sector, there are local restaurants and convenience stores who purchase their meats directly from Rooney’s, as they “recognise the consistency and quality is there for their own businesses”.

In this age of technology, more and more businesses have turned to social media to help highlight their store services and offerings, using their social media channels to engage directly with their customers.

“We have used social media to promote the business since moving into the Eurospar. Our main platform is Facebook, but recently we have also begun using Instagram,” said Caroline.

“Our online marketing highlights our key attributes of quality, provenance, and customer service. We encourage and receive a lot of feedback from our customers on Facebook, particularly pictures of how they have cooked our meats. Our marketing is focused on our quality, rather than on offers and price.


“While social media has been very effective in creating awareness of our business, it is the quality of our meats and our customer service that converts a new customer into a return customer.

“Word of mouth locally remains a very important marketing staple, and we often get new customers to our shop who have been recommended by friends, or who have tasted our meats at friend’s dinner parties.

“We get to know our customers and their families, and we take an interest in what’s going on in their lives. We also support our community’s various clubs and groups where we can.”

Last year Rooney’s Fine Foods were encouraged by friends and colleagues from Eurospar to enter the 2022 Neighbourhood Retailer Awards and Caroline said they were delighted to have been shortlisted in the Butcher of the Year category.

“We were delighted to have been chosen as a runner-up amongst such established and larger businesses. The awards evening was incredible and there was a real energy and enthusiasm throughout after Covid and lockdowns.

“We have often talked of submitting our steak and sausages for food awards, and after our experience with the Neighbourhood Retailer Awards, we are hoping to do this in 2023.”