This week’s Start-up Spotlight focuses on the office ‘fruit box service’, The Fruit People, who are Ireland’s largest office fruit delivery specialists. Brothers Barry and Brian Dennis founded the company in 2013, a few years after leaving college. As is the case with many entrepreneurs, they began their journey in a garage (their grandfather’s) to sort fruit and deliver it themselves to offices in the early mornings. Since then, the duo have acquired over 1,500 companies as customers.
The Fruit People source products from several Irish suppliers, such as Keeling’s and O’Malley’s Fruit & Veg. Each day, a team visits the wholesalers and select the highest quality produce. This is than brought back to their Glasnevin warehouse and screened for quality, after which it is delivered to customers from 4am onwards. The scale of the business means they can have up to ten delivery drivers on the road at any given time. All this just for one box of fresh fruit! But, the results speak volumes; the company goes through 60,000 bananas per week. They also opened a new warehouse in February, which increased their workforce by 50%, and attract 30 new clients each week.
Most would be satisfied with the current growth, but not the Dennis brothers. They recently launched The Snack People, which offers a healthy snacking alternative to the typical office offerings. In an interview with the College Tribune, Tom Hayes, Head of Product Development with The Snack People, told me that the goal is to boost employee productivity and morale, whilst also helping clients attract talent by offering healthy benefits to their employees. This €500,000 investment involved ‘developing products to meet the demands of the health-conscious workforce’. Tom graduated from Commerce in UCD in 2017, then from an Msc in Food Business Strategy from Smurfit in 2018, and is now heading a division within The Snack People.
From humble beginnings to leading their industry, the short journey has, so far, been one of many successes for The Fruit People. It may sound cliché, but it’s clear that if you do something you love, you will strive.
Alex Lohier – Deputy Editor