If you run a food business you might be wondering what are the best ways to choose quality meats, educate your employees, and help your customers at the same time. Here are some questions to ask yourself before starting to ensure that you provide only quality meat and why you should strive to give your customers the best.
What is quality meat?
There are many stores selling cheap meat, and that is exactly what it is, “cheap meat”. If you get involved in that you are joining the race to the bottom, and you will lose that race because someone else will do it cheaper. The customer who wants cheap meat will have no loyalty to anyone. Quality meat is not a driver for them, price is, and they will buy from anyone if the price is right. Selling quality meat is a much better long-term prospect because you will build your reputation on the quality of your products and develop a loyalty among your customers. Cheap meat can be bought anywhere so why should anyone buy it from you?
Let’s examine what quality in a butcher shop is all about.
Quality of meat product
- Where does it come from?
- What is the provenance?
- Why is it better?
- What are the breeds?
- Is it matured properly?
- Is it butchered properly?
- Do you slaughter your own animals from your own land?
- Do you have your own animals slaughtered for you in a reputable abattoir?
- Do you favour a particular breed for its unique eating qualities?
- Are you informing your customers of all this as part of your marketing? You should be.
The supermarkets talk about quality and yet meat on their shelves is unseen by anyone until it arrives cut and packed in the store.
Quality of staff
- Are they properly trained?
- Do they fully understand what your unique selling point is?
- Are they passionate advocates of fully traceable, quality meat products?
- Are they foodies?
The quality of your premises is vitally important. You may have the best meat in the world but if you are selling it from a run-down, grubby premises you won’t attract many buyers and you will probably attract the attention of the health authorities and that could mean the end of your business.
A bright, clean, welcoming store is essential here. You only get a single opportunity to make a good first impression, and if that first impression is not a good one you won’t get return business.
- How do the staff look to your customers?
- Are they in clean, sharp uniforms?
- Do the uniforms have your brand or logo on them?
- Do they welcome your customers and do they have the skills to help the customer make the best buying decisions?
- Is your customer service the best it can be?
- Does your customer feel “special” or are they just people you sell meat to and take money from?
There are also invisible factors to consider, body language is very important, a smile and a welcome when people visit your store all have an effect on the “feel-good factor” that comes into play when a customer makes a decision about where to shop. The ethos of your business should be an attraction and should be carried through every facet of the business. Integrity, honesty and a passion for food are very important to your customer and they should see this in the reactions of your staff and yourself when they visit your store.
- How is your pricing done?
- Do you help your customers make their purchasing choices by having everything priced and with clear cooking instructions?
- Do you have recipe cards available for every product?
- Do you have a website telling your unique story?
This is the 21st century and without a website you will get local business but you really should be trying for a broader reach – to make your store a destination.
- Do you use a blog to keep your customers up to date on what you are doing?
- Do you have a loyalty system that helps you keep track of what your customers are buying and rewards them for continuing to buy from you?
- Are your staff fully HACCP trained and if they are do you tell your customers about it?
- Have you won any awards for your products and if so are you telling your customers?
- Do you make your own sausages, cure your own hams or make unique meat pies?
- Are you telling your customers about this?
You cannot assume that the customer knows about your quality product, quality premises and quality staff if you don’t tell them about it.
- Is your equipment up to date and working efficiently?
- Do you visit trade shows and other butchers stores to see what is happening in your industry?
- Do you make your store a destination or are you just selling meat?
- Do you strive to produce innovative products that nobody else has?
The supermarkets sell meat that is pre-packed and pre-cut and there is nobody there to answer any questions the customers might have, so there is an opportunity for you as a quality driven butcher to educate your customer.
Talk about what you do well.
Ask yourself all these questions.
Drive your business forward based on quality.