It is early on a crisp autumn morning when we visit Marrfish. The sun is not up, but activity is humming at one of East Anglia’s premier seafood suppliers
Many of the orders are neatly lined up and ready to go, packed full of gleaming fresh fish. This is one of the unique aspects of the seafood wholesaler, in that the quality of fish is visibly noticeable.
“We deliver to somewhere in the region of 400 customers” Ben English, Marrfish’s co-founder and Operations Director, tells us.
In 2008, Marrfish was founded as part of the Andrew Marr International Group sourcing high-quality fish directly from the group’s many fishing vessels in Peterhead, Scotland.
The wholesaler takes fish direct from the vessel supplying hotels, restaurants, and gastro pubs across London and East Anglia.
Fresho began working with Marrfish as our first UK customer, and the partnership has flourished ever since. “That’s something we’re quite proud of”, says English. “We’ve been searching in the region for about 10 years”.
Since then, “Marrfish haven’t looked back. Never have done” says Managing Director, Andrew Jackson.
Why did Marrfish choose to work with Fresho?
Ben: Marrfish was searching for a computer system that would help drive our business forward. Many seafood wholesalers in the UK will use accounts-based packages or production-based packages, but ultimately, nothing can combine the two.
When we were introduced to James (Andronis, Fresho’s co-founder) by one of the Marrfish directors, we realised quite quickly that Fresho could give us this combination and help drive our our business in a certain direction.
How has Marrfish's operations changed with Fresho?
Andrew: Before Fresho life was a very manual, laborious task. Very handwritten and it hadn’t really changed for a number of years.
Fresho helps us in the fact that everything is visible to all of our team, whether it be on a phone, or a tablet.
We can get our customers to interact with the business so we can show them our full portfolio of products and pricing. Chefs can order online and see the whole range of products. We can see what we are selling with the click of a button.
We can see what we’ve sold tomorrow and what’s going out for the rest of the week. It makes stock control a lot better for me, from a buying perspective.
What has been the best part of working with Fresho?
Ben: The most impressive thing about working with Fresho is the after-sales care. With regular site visits, they’re continuously out with our customers, teaching them about Fresho and how best to use it in their business.
But also the openness to development. When we’ve asked for things to be done, we’ve subsequently integrated a transport routing system.
But to make that work, there were certain reports that we needed to have, w. Written specifically for us to enable us to do that. And it was no trouble for the Fresho team to dive in and get hands-on with us to make that happen.
It’s forever changing for the greater good.
And actually, if you were to have your own system, it would take a lot of effort, patience, and money to get to where Fresho is today as far as a platform.
Do you have any advice for other seafood suppliers considering technology like Fresho?
Embrace technology. It enables your business to be more effective by reducing your cost to serve and you reduce the cost of order capture. Everyone is online ordering.
My customers can see all of my range, and prices, and it helps them develop their menus better because of the increased access.
The average invoice value has gone up. The number of SKUs that we sell to customers has gone up. When my customers ask what we have got it’s there in front of them on their screen or tablet.
As we leave Marrfish, it’s clear the business is on a growth trajectory. The pandemic inspired them to open their home delivery service which now sits alongside their wholesale offering.
How are online payments helping Marrfish extend credit terms for customers?
Ben: Fresho offers us the opportunity to provide an online payment system for our customer base.
We were able to say to all of our cash customers that we no longer took cash, but if you put in a credit card upfront, we can take payment on the day and it would be processed like a bill as normal.
The added benefit is that we can also approach other customers that search for longer credit terms and stretch out their terms. We offer a seven, 14, or 30-day credit depending on the risk to Marrfish. They can then extend that up to another 30 days by putting their credit card into the system.
We’re in a little period of uncertainty, and actually, we want to stretch our cash flow as much as possible by using the credit card function that’s on Fresho.