Regal Foods was set up by Younis Chaudhry in 2001 after he invented some puff pastry fingers.

Initially supplying to small Asian grocers and corner shops the pastries were an instant hit. 

Fairy cakes followed and, in a relatively short space of time, the business has become a force to be reckoned with.

It has a multi-million pound turnover, employs hundreds of staff and supplies to mainstream supermarkets like Morrisons, Asda, Tesco and larger independent stores. 

The brand has grown to encompass around 300 products ranging from baked goodies to crisps, fruit juices, popcorn and even sauces and spices. It featured in the top ten of cake brands according to business publication The Grocer alongside iconic names such as Cadbury’s, Mr Kipling and Galaxy.

Mr Chaudhry’s son, Waqar, joined the business in 2009 as part of the company’s restructuring and now holds the position of Sales Director.

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Waqar (pictured), 28, said: “It was a long hard journey to get where we are today.

“The puff pastry fingers were launched in 2001. It was the new millennium and everyone wanted to try something new and different and so they really took off. We were one of the first brands to feature in the World Foods aisle at Asda.”

Quality is non-negotiable and Mr Chaudhry’s philosophy has always been ‘be the best or nothing’. 

“I’ve been part of the business ever since I can remember. I would go in on weekends and mop floors or unload the trucks so when I graduated with my MBA from the Bradford School of Management it was natural I would join the family business. Cake is in my blood.” 

Cake may be in his blood but Waqar didn’t get any special treatment just because he was the owner’s son.

He spent time in every department including packing, distribution and sales, meeting customers.

“I turned up on my first day and was told to load trucks. I said but I have a degree and was told that only when I know what job every person in the business does that’s when you truly value them.”

Charity work is a vital part of the ethos of the firm. 

Waqar said: “My dad says that we should be of benefit to the community we are in.

“We see our customers as family and that is how we got into charity because our customers would tell us what projects they were involved in and asked if we wanted to take part.

“It’s great to send money overseas to other countries but charity really does begin at home.”

The firm feeds the homeless on Sundays and every Diwali and Vaisakhi food is donated to temples and gurdwaras in Bradford as well as focusing on one charity every year to support, last year working with the Amir Khan Foundation.

“This year we are working with the Penny Appeal. Whenever customers buy certain products bearing a sticker we will make a contribution to a UK food bank helping the hungry and homeless in this country.”

The company also distributes thousands of crates of juices to mosques throughout Bradford during the holy month of Ramadan every year.

Diversifying goes hand in hand with the charity work and Regal Food Products Group Plc released their huge 500g sharing packs of crisps. 

“A lot of work has gone into developing the crisps, it isn’t something that just happens overnight,” he said.

“As a brand, we are always leading the way by diversifying our product range and keeping one step ahead of our competitors. We are always looking at new markets to enter and the crisps have taken off more than we could have even anticipated.

“The feedback from supermarkets has been really good.

“They took two and a half years to develop and are a ‘Rolls Royce product’. Again we wanted to create something different and produce crisps in huge bumper bags. We now rival brands like Walkers.”

The brand launched an egg- free range in 2009 for those with dietary or religious restrictions and a sugar free range for diabetics.

“We are working on a new gluten free range too.”

Even though Waqar, who is married with one young daughter, is very busy with work he also tries to give back in other ways.

“My old school, Challenge College, invited me to do a talk to help inspire the young kids. That’s also something I am very passionate about.”

Article by Anila Baig