Podcast: Rodda’s managing director shares Cornish clotted cream maker’s inside story - PKF Francis Clark
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Podcast: Rodda’s managing director shares Cornish clotted cream maker’s inside story

In this month’s episode of our Business Noodles & Doodles podcast, Mark Greaves talks to Nick Rodda, managing director of Rodda’s, whose clotted cream is enjoyed around the world. Nick is the fifth generation in the family business which was founded by his great-great grandmother in 1890.

Nick talks about:

  • Being a multi-generation family business
  • Getting the balance right
  • Gaining B Corp accreditation
  • Positives to come out of the pandemic
  • Cream or jam first?

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Here are some of the excerpts from the conversation.

The next generation

“Each generation has a job to do, they have a role to fulfil. All my ancestors have built the business to where it is today, but it needs the next generation to take it on to the next step.

“I’m very cognisant of making sure that the business does evolve and go onto the next generation. I’ve got two family members, the next generation, in the business now and with that you start bringing in some fresh thinking.”

Getting the balance right

“About 13 years ago, three of the directors retired as they were all very much of a similar age. That was an opportunity to bring in some non-family people with different thinking and different backgrounds.

“The board still maintained that family feel, because the retiring directors were still shareholders in the business. They still attended board meetings and contributed during that handover period.

“But it was important to get those fresh, different ideas as well as putting in some different corporate structures. It’s all been a great benefit to the business. And I very much believe there’s the right people, at the right time, in the right place. So these things do come together, and people do retire, and somebody else comes in and takes on the mantle.”

Gaining B Corp accreditation

“We do lots of good things here within the business, it’s within our DNA. We live in a beautiful part of the country, which makes you want to care for the environment. We like working with the people, creating employment, but also helping people with charitable causes as well.

“We really wanted a benchmark, a barometer, to see where we were, and how do we look to improve to be better. So we embarked on the B Corp campaign to get that accreditation, to get that benchmark of where Rodda’s was actually sitting.

“It was quite a long process and one of the downsides of being a family business is that we didn’t have a lot written down, we just did it. So we had to go away and get the paperwork in place. We got a great score, and we got our accreditation on the first time of trying.

“We see this very much as an endorsement of what we’re doing, but it’s also telling people that Rodda’s, when they buy some of our products, are giving something back to the community, whether that be through our environmental or charitable works – it’s not just a straight for-profit organisation.”

Positives to come out of the pandemic

“Before the pandemic, there were lots of barriers to doing things – holding meetings, ways of working – and I think most people believed these could never be changed. Fast forward two years and the world’s been turned upside down, things are being done hugely differently.

“As a business, I think it’s taught us there is a different way of doing things and we shouldn’t be so constrained by what we have done.

“With the advance of technologies over the next few years and different ways of working, for me, I think it just opens up a whole new world of opportunity for Cornwall, and for businesses to trade around the world. We shouldn’t be quite so insular in our thinking. For me, it’s really lifted the lid off the Pandora’s box.”

Cream or jam first?

“The clue is in the title – the ‘cream’ tea. When you think of a cream tea, what do you think about? You think about the clotted cream.

“You’ve just got to think about how you build a cream tea – you add your strawberry jam, which gently soaks into the scone – you’ve got your perfect platform then to put the biggest dollop of Cornish clotted cream on top of your scone.

“You just can’t do that if you do it the other way around, it falls off, it just doesn’t work. I’ve never tried it, but I just can’t imagine my brain fathoming how to put it the wrong way around.”

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