Jon Plater got the food bug while working in a butcher’s shop and a bakery as a teenager. In a few years he became a chef working in hotels and catering. But he always wanted his own business. His first venture was supplying prepped veg to restaurants. He followed this with a sandwich shop, and then food preparation for a deli range. But as we all know, life has a habit of throwing in some curve balls and not everything went to plan in either his personal life or in business.
In 2012 he re-found his focus. He had just enough money to buy a hog roast machine to start an outdoor catering outfit. Chichester Hog Squad was born and he has never looked back. In a short space of time, he had to scale up to cope with the demand. He began to supply all kinds of functions – parties, corporate functions and events – some for over 5,000 people. The Hog Squad team grew to over 40 staff and had the contracts to supply four Masonic halls.
Coping with lockdown
When Covid19 arrived, everything imploded. The events industry had disappeared. The headcount reduced down to a core of two and the business very nearly went under. Jon and his associate Chris put their thinking caps on and decided to use their remaining stock of food to make meals and groceries to sell direct to people at home.
They offer a hearty menu including Sunday Roasts at £6 per meal including a vegetarian option, along with various weekday meals, deli items, puddings, and beer and wine.
Sara and Gemma were pleased to sample the Sunday menu and were very impressed with the quality and value. Hog Squad is also delivering meat boxes and offers a large range of premium olives.
Jon was one of our first listings on Chichester At Home. We invited them to get listed after Emily saw its menu shared on the Parklands Residents Facebook group. And Jon has been an enthusiastic supporter from the start. He refuses to give up, we get the feeling that’s in his DNA. And as word spread, Hog Squad orders came flooding in.
But that’s not all. Even though business was still precarious, Jon wanted to donate meals to NHS staff. Chichester At Home was pleased to be able to help connect him with Rolls Royce who delivered a batch of 40 hot meals. Hog Squad also offers NHS staff discounts on meal deliveries to their homes.
What the future holds
Jon tells us he would like to take the opportunity to thank the public for their massive support with week in week out orders: “It’s because of you we’re still going. The future is definitely bright for the Hog Squad.”
Looking ahead, Jon feels positive. All his wedding contracts have been postponed until 2021, so he knows there is business waiting. We think Jon is an inspiration – he turned the business around fast, kept it going and helped those in need at the same time. We admire his hard work and wish him the best of luck.
“Chichester At Home has helped us massively with advertising. A great job Sara, Emily and Gemma!” Jon Plater, Hog Squad