Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/282647

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Page 87 of 131

the restaurant to put your sauce in an anonymous bottle for the table? • Will you do private label for larger chains? • Do you have your distribution network in place? Without this, you may get lots of interest but you will not be able to ship to supply multiple locations. • Is your pricing model going to allow three tiers (master dis- tributor, regional distributor, and end foodservice user) and still allow you to make money? • If you get a larger order from a national chain, is your manu- facturing capacity sufficient to meet the demand? You need to be sure you can produce enough volume and that the consistency of a larger produced batch tastes the same. Also determine if you have any constraints on raw ingredients, especially an unusual one. Once all of the above is settled, you should participate in regional and national foodservice shows and use your connections to get an endorsement. Q: We've heard some suppliers work with chefs to tweak product formulations to make something special for their kitchen. Is this profitable? S.E.: If you are manufacturing your own products, creating custom blends is not only profitable, but also a great way to be inspired and keep your finger on the pulse of the market. We have found establishing a reasonable minimum is key: a minimum that is worth your time and money, but not so high that it dissuades your customer. If you are using a co-packer for pro- duction of your branded goods, then you may not have as much flexibility with mini- mums. But having additional business with your co-packer, as long as you are main- taining healthy profit margins, can work well for all parties. As Ari Weinzweig, co-founding partner of Zingerman's Community of Businesses, says in Building a Sustainable Business, "We must have the courage to charge what we need to charge to stay in business in a healthy way … by using good business practices, careful costing, effective purchasing." Q: Is it necessary to have a special foodservice distributor to sell to restaurants, hotels, and caterers? And what types of packaging is easiest for restaurants? J.V.: It is necessary to work with the right distributors to get your products to your target customers. There are foodservice distribu- tors, retail distributors, and those who distribute both foodservice and retail. As for packaging, for this type of product both the 8-ounce and 1-gallon would meet a restaurant's needs. The kitchen, in preparing dishes, would be interested in the 1-gallon containers, and would have a lower food cost. The 8-ounce bottles would be perfect to place on the tables to be used as a condiment and at the bar as an ingredient for mixing drinks. Q: What kind of marketing would you recommend to attract the attention of foodservice clients? C.H.: Talk to your current foodservice customers to find out what they like about your products and turn those into selling points for prospects. Create a sell sheet that has these points as well as additional potential uses for the foodservice industry. By all means, include information about your award. Also, it's important to have something on your website that states you sell wholesale for retail and foodservice. Also ask current customers who they use as distributors and find out if it's possible to get an introduction. We started in the foodservice sector by doing just that. We pur- chase many ingredients from a regional food- service distributor and decided to suggest they offer our products to their customers. It worked and it's successful; we are now moving to include our products in their other regions. Lastly, consider exhibiting at state, regional, or national restaurant and food- service shows as well as the Fancy Food Show as a way to get in front of a lot of food- service buyers. Q: For front-of-house, what concerns and priorities arise when buying condiments for tabletop use? N.W.: There are several things you need to consider: • Will you have a standard packaging size or will you allow Denise Purcell is editor and Susan Segrest is a contributing editor to Specialty Food Magazine. PHOTO: A&B AMERICAN STYLE SPRING 2014 85 startupSpotlight_SPRING14.indd 85 3/17/14 3:59 PM

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