The story of our business is so closely intertwined with the story of our founder, Lord Noon, that it is difficult to tell one without the other.
In fact, the very best way to hear it is to listen to the man himself. Here he was on the infamous Desert Island Discs show on BBC radio.
In the beginning
After one too many bad imitations of Indian cuisine from a supermarket, Gulam Noon saw an opportunity to create something new: ready meals that provided a real taste of India. And so, he set about making plans and making contacts.
In 1989, with just four recipes under his belt, Gulam Noon began trading. He’d set up business from a 6,000 sq ft unit, employed Chefs he knew and trusted and hired workers from within the local community.
He’d also built relationships with some of the best known supermarkets; Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. Promising them something completely new for their ready meal market â€“ and impressing them from day one.
Lord Noon was on the way to a charity dinner when he received a phone call he’d never forget. His factory was on fire. His first thought was for the staff, who all escaped safely, but the same could not be said for his state-of-the-art factory which continued burning all through the night.
Several employees, who’d been with Noon since the start, cried helplessly and moved by their loyalty, Lord Noon vowed "We’ll build another factory, God willing. A better one, don’t worry". In fact, it was the close relationships with his staff and the suppliers that stood by him that helped him pull through.
Sainsbury’s offered to take on most of Noon’s employees until Noon production was ready to start again and within a month, a solution had been found and a new factory was on the way.
The new location? Southall, West London. Helping to repay the loyalty of his staff including the lady who offered her entire life savings to Lord Noon to help him rebuild on the very night of the fire.
Putting the smiles
back in place
Seeing the emotion on the faces of his team outside the burning factory was a life changing moment for Lord Noon. Making the business a success now felt even more important than ever before - and he set about building a new state of the art factory and growing his plans with an even greater sense of dedication.
It was dedication that well and truly paid off. In 1998, the business opened a second site at Dean Way (above). Followed in 2003, with a third site at Windmill Lane.
He wasn’t just building factories though, he was building relationships. Noon now added Morrisons to the existing customer base of Sainsburys and Waitrose.
All this success started to get noticed. And, in 2005, Noon was acquired by Kerry Foods; adding Marks and Spencer to the client list. A year later, the business acquired Spurway Foods, which cemented our position as the leader in the ethnic food market.
Today at noon
Today, turnover is over £200m. We’ve not only become the largest employer in the borough, employing 2,200 people, we’re recognised as the leading supplier of Indian and Oriental prepared food in the retail sector.
We create enough food to feed 1/3 of the population of London every week. But what really stands us apart, is the way that we create this food.
Our business has grown, but at every step, we’ve held on to our belief in good food, traditional cooking methods and authentic flavours.