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Who We Are

Most of what we do at Neal’s Yard Dairy involves a sharp focus on cheese— on finding, selecting, maturing and selling the British and Irish cheeses we like best. But none of what we do would work were it not for our similarly acute commitment to people. Every step of the way, the success of our work is completely reliant upon the high levels of expertise and enthusiasm of the staff in our maturing arches, offices and shops. Our mission is to improve British cheese, but to do so we need to develop the skills that will drive that improvement and find and support people who feel inspired to make it happen.

TEAMS
COMMUNITY
WORKING PRACTICES

Teams

  • Our 40th birthday party with friends, family and cheesemakers

  • A Borough Evening of Cheese after party

  • Setting up outside our Borough shop as part of the Borough Evening of Cheese festivities

  • A Cheesemaking Fundamentals class attended by staff and the public

Community

Many of us at Neal’s Yard Dairy are of course attracted by the cheese, but our strong people culture plays a huge part in keeping us passionate and engaged. We have an average tenure of five-and-a-half years, and many of us have been here a lot longer.

We work dynamically, which helps to keep us engaged. As well as more traditional career progression paths, we offer our people the chance to grow their skills laterally by exploring each of the five different ‘pillars’ of our work: cheese, people, sales, profit and process. We also provide many communal learning opportunities, from subsidised spots on our cheesemaking courses, to informal workshops and maturing experimentation groups.

Our sense of community is a major strength. Our people speak of “a family feel” and of “belonging”. We do our best to be family friendly by offering enhanced parental leave and being open to the idea of flexible working. At our maturing site and main office, we all sit down together each day for lunch, taking turns to cook using our weekly fresh fruit and veg delivery – and, of course, a good serving of cheese. All of our shops also receive a weekly fruit and veg delivery, and while a communal sit-down isn’t possible while we’re open for business, we actively encourage everybody to enjoy a proper lunch.

We started out as part of a community of businesses in Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, and this spirit of collaboration has been sustained throughout our evolution. We continue to build relationships with like-minded companies that share our commitment to the cause of great food and drink. We play an important role in the cheesemaking community, attending and organising events that bring cheese professionals together, and working with legislators to better understand and protect the profession.

Working Practices

Neal’s Yard Dairy’s business is run using Open Book Management, a system that requires participation, collaboration, accountability and awareness, and invites everyone to take responsibility for its operation. We all see the numbers that chart our successes and are empowered to affect them personally and collectively. Past examples range from noticing that our bins don’t need collecting quite so often, thus making significant savings each year, to securing a deal to sell a l...

Neal’s Yard Dairy’s business is run using Open Book Management, a system that requires participation, collaboration, accountability and awareness, and invites everyone to take responsibility for its operation. We all see the numbers that chart our successes and are empowered to affect them personally and collectively. Past examples range from noticing that our bins don’t need collecting quite so often, thus making significant savings each year, to securing a deal to sell a large volume of cheese to support a cheesemaker in a tight spot, but all of us can make a difference.

We also use 'Lean' production methods to ensure that we are running the business mindfully and effectively, and a 'Kanban' system for stock management. Having such systems in place allows us more time for the important business of developing our cheese and our people.

Gaining an understanding of the methods we apply to running our business can be a great learning process. In fact, many of our alumni have gone on to set up their own successful businesses, not only in the UK but across the world. Below we’ve listed some of the fabulous cheese shops and food businesses our former colleagues have gone on to create.

Au Lait Cru

Canterbury Cheesemongers  

Chorlton Cheesemongers

Crown and Queue

Jericho Cheese Company

Jones of Brockley

Kernel Brewery

Landrace Bakery

London Cheesemongers

Mons Cheese UK

Quesaria Cultivo

 

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