Shipping Success Stories: Yau Brothers


The Yau Brothers story starts with an entrepreneurial individual who came from Hong Kong to the UK. After working as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant, Raymond Yau established his own takeaway in Southampton and began growing bean sprouts in the basement. As the beans sprouted, so did the business. Raymond started selling his bean sprouts to local restaurants and he soon switched the takeaway for a shop selling oriental ingredients.

Decades later, and the store is somewhat bigger, aisle upon aisle of the best ingredients in the business.

We wanted a way to automate the booking in of parcels so that staff didn’t have to enter in addresses or weigh/measure parcels manually. Shiptheory offered us a way to integrate with our existing setup easily and to calculate total parcel weight and book in consignments automatically, so all we have to do now is click “ship”, and the label comes out!                                                                                                                                                 Aaron Shaw - eCommerce Manager

Q: Tell us about your story so far, and what makes Yau Brothers different from other oriental supermarkets and suppliers?

A: Yau Brothers has been supplying restaurants, takeaways and the general public for over 30 years. We are one of the largest Asian food supply businesses in the South and offer a sizable range of products. However, what sets us apart from our competitors is our use of technology and willingness to integrate new solutions to optimise our workflow and efficiency.

Q: How did Yau Brothers manage to deal with lockdown restrictions and help combat the spread of Covid-19?

A: As a supplier to the catering/restaurant industry, when lockdown happened, a lot of our business customers closed their shops, and our supermarket was incredibly busy with people stocking up.

So, we pivoted. First repurposing our fleet of delivery vans to deliver food to vulnerable people within Southampton and the surrounding areas. Then analysing data to predict demand for essential items, ensuring that we could offer items that customers needed. Whilst internally developing a new ecommerce site.

Q: Do you offer chilled and frozen food delivery as well?

A: We’re able to deliver chilled items at the moment, you can find fresh vegetables and more on our site! We are looking at the best way to transport sought after frozen foods like dumplings.

Q: What's been Yau Brothers; most significant achievement to this point?

A: Our most significant achievement has been our willingness to innovate and embrace technology. Custom apps, stock management, virtual machines and more, all managed and created in-house specifically for the business. The most significant technological solution we’ve implemented has been SAP, an ERP, which forms the beating heart of our business.

As a result of all this innovation, we can manage stock better, ship orders faster and run the business better.

Q: How does Shiptheory help you with managing your online orders?

A: We wanted a way to automate the booking in of parcels so that staff didn’t have to manually enter in addresses or weigh/measure parcels.

Shiptheory offered us a way to easily integrate with our existing setup and to automatically calculate total parcel weight and book in consignments, so all we have to do now is click “ship” and the label comes out!

We also take advantage of Shiptheory’s rule system. This allows for different parcels to have different shipping methods applied to them. For example, we ship chilled food through DPD – when order details come into Shiptheory, it detects that the consignment contains chilled food and will ensure that it goes out with DPD.

The main advantage of this is that we can minimise mistakes made with manual data entry and increase the speed at which we can get tasty Asian food delivered to our customers.

Q: What does the future of Yau Brothers look like?

A: Expansion, acquisition/retaining of key talent, moving from family-owned to more corporate.

Yau Brothers has a current turnover of 9m+ with expansion plans to further increase this over the next few years. We’re looking to restructure the business into a more corporate environment whilst acquiring and retaining key talents to push the business to new heights.

Stathis Kampylis

Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Shiptheory