Celebrating nearly fifty years of supplying quality meat products
Kim Isobell, Special Projects, Independent Newspapers, Cape Town
STEPPING into Bill Riley Meat, you notice that this is a place where quality is everything. With busy workmen catering for the needs of customers as they wait to be served, it is obvious that all employees are well versed in their area of expertise, as they offer advice to customers on what type of meat will work best for their planned meal. More than a butchery, this family-owned and operated meat retailer and wholesaler has become a familiar name across the country as a place to buy superior quality meats.
This butchery, launched by Bill Riley and his wife Doreen in 1969, marks its 47th anniversary this year and, in current times, has become a firm favourite, not only to housewives and neighbouring pensioners, but also to many businesses countrywide. A place where fresh quality meats is the name of the game, Bill Riley Meat started as a small butchery and is now specialising as a wholesaler too. Situated on Steenbras Road in Brooklyn, the butchery has changed from a neighbourhood favourite to a preferred meat supplier to many restaurants, catering companies, ship chandlers and hotels, as well as many B&Bs.
The butchery, which has built a reputation on understanding the needs of its customers, is currently managed by Bill’s eldest son David who took ownership of the company 21 years ago, when his dad semi-retired – even though he was still active in the everyday running of the business until he passed away in 2002.
Dedicated to quality, Bill taught his sons David, Robert and David’s brother-in-law, Peter Hill about providing customers with the best service and to always ensure that they sold quality meat products. Bill’s wife Doreen, who will be celebrating her 80th birthday on Christmas Eve, is still actively involved in the business and is often seen by customers “getting her hands dirty” behind the counter of the butchery. Believing firmly in the work ethic of selling quality products, teamed with superior service, the husband and wife team have passed (and, in the case of Doreen, is still passing on), an ethic of hard work and dedication to their children.
With the butchery’s third generation actively involved in the business, David’s daughter Monique currently oversees the administration of the butchery, ensuring that everything runs smoothly in all aspects of the business, with his son Dave Jnr – the production manager.
Undoubtedly two of the employees with the longest service records are manager David, who has been actively involved in the business since his school days when he worked at the butchery after school, helping in the front store. His younger brother Robert, who is currently involved in the shipping aspect of the business, followed suite and is equally passionate about the business.
True to their family legacy, both brothers insist on their employees providing excellent service. Operating with a level of respect that is carried through the company, the butchery has a very low staff turnover, with many of its employees having worked at the company for decades.
Staff devoted to keeping their customers happy include administrator Minnie, who has worked at the butchery for 26 years; block person Sybil, who has been dedicated to quality service for 27 years; deboner Stanford, who has been at the company for 30 years; and Carmen, who works side by side with Minnie has been working here for 22 years.
As with its staff, the butchery has maintained a solid and good relationship with its suppliers.
Known in the industry as an ideal place to buy quality meats, the butchery is especially well known for its tasty Bill Riley Boerewors. The recipe has been a family secret that has left many wondering what exactly gives it the awesome flavour which keeps them coming back for more. As for its boerewors, the butchery is always receiving large orders for all of its products, ranging from beef, lamb, pork as well as all cold meats, viennas, cheesos and various sausages.
Meeting all quality standards, Bill Riley Meat and all its staff understand the importance of cleanliness. This is reflected in the butchery’s work area where all employees from blockman to deboners are all kitted out in safety suits, ensuring that all meat is prepared and cut in clean areas, the equipment used is also thoroughly cleaned and sterilised to maintain hygiene.
Catering for its wholesale market, Bill Riley Meat has also invested in the use of five delivery vehicles that cover the larger Western Cape areas. With restaurants, guesthouses and B&Bs, in addition to all its regular customers, the butchery always strives to ensure that convenience is guaranteed.
Word of mouth has enabled Bill Riley Meat to reach most of its customers and has carried the butchery through to its 47th anniversary.