Pie and pastry maker Peter's Food Service has delivered a blow to rival Holland's Pies, poaching two of its senior staff to help develop the brand.

Last week's appointment of Ian Collins as sales manager for the North West of England and Ian Jannion as business development ­representative comes just three months after the appointment of ex-Holland's managing director Neil Court-Johnston as the new MD of Peter's foodservice division.

Court-Johnston said the addition of the new managers, who will be deployed to Peter's 18-strong Warrington depot, marked the early signs of progress in the company's next phase of growth.

"For a long time, Peter's has presented an exceptional opportunity to develop nationally," he said. "In attracting two 'best -in class' professionals of unrivalled quality, we deliver a clear signal of intent to everyone in the industry that we are determined to realise this potential."

Collins added: "I enjoyed being part of Neil's turnaround team at Holland's and am really looking forward to doing it again at Peter's.

"I want to play a pivotal role in putting Peter's on the map in the North West we have exciting ideas and a quality brand and I'm really looking forward to the challenge."

Court-Johnston landed the MD job at Peter's Food Service in October, less than six months after being suspended from Holland's by parent company Northern Foods over a management buyout dispute.

The foodservice division generates £35m to £38m sales a year and Peter's plans to boost this by £5m to £6m over the next three years through organic growth and bolt-on acquisitions.

Before Christmas, it opened a multimillion-pound distribution depot in Sidcup to boost foodservice sales in the southeast. The 45,000 sq ft facility replaced a Greenwich depot that was sold to make way for the 2012 Olympics and is expected to boost the company's distribution capacity in the region by more than 20%.