Why So Many Small Food Business Fail

 

We did an end of year review this week, and with increasing costs in particular electricity and packaging, our yogurt business is really challenging to make viable.  Cheese is a bit easier as more people in Ireland eat cheese, and it has a longer shelf life, so you don’t get as much waste.  The challenge with yogurt is getting it on shelves and keeping it on the shelves in supermarkets. Here’s what happens in shops around  the country. If you are interested in how small food businesses works and why so many fail, read on, if you’re not interested don’t bother its very boring.

Here are the weekly scenarios I deal with:

  1. A customer/fan goes into to their local supermarket  where we are supposed to be listed – there is no Velvet Cloud yogurt, so they leave disappointed.
  2. A customer/fan goes into to their local supermarket where we are supposed to be listed – there is no Velvet Cloud yogurt, so they ask someone in the store. This staff member promises to order it in – but that staff member forgets, goes on holidays, tells someone else who forgets, doesn’t order it because they are too busy managing the other 15 000 products in the shop. Customer goes back in again, sees no Velvet Cloud yogurt again, gets fed up and doesn’t come back looking.
  3. A customer/fan goes into to their local supermarket where we are supposed to be on sale – there is no Velvet Cloud yogurt, so they ask someone in the store. That staff member DOES order it in, customer is delighted comes back and buys. BUT next week that staff member forgets, goes on holidays, tells someone else who forgets, doesn’t order it because they are too busy managing the other 15 000 products in the shop. Customer goes in again, sees no Velvet Cloud yogurt again, gets fed up and doesn’t come back looking.
  4. A store finally gets into the swing of ordering it every week, a few regular customers for some reason don’t come into that store that week, (holidays, sick, away for a weekend, some other commitment). A pot or two of the Velvet Cloud yogurt doesn’t sell, reaches its expiry date and is marked on the stores computer system as waste. If a product is marked on a stores system as giving waste, it doesn’t get ordered again. Unless a customer comes in and ask and the whole cycle starts again…
  5. A customer/fan goes into to their local supermarket where Velvet Cloud yogurt is supposed to be on sale – there is no Velvet Cloud yogurt, so they ask someone in the store. That staff member DOES order it in. BUT when it comes in it remains hidden in the stores stock fridge, because no one in the store notices its missing, and they are too busy managing the other 15 000 products in the shop, and it doesn’t get put out on the shelf. Eventually the expiry date is reached, and the yogurt is marked as waste and the same thing happens as scenario 4.

EVERY single week, I get messages from our customers who experience this, every week I am phoning stores where this has happened, every week I try when I can to visit stores where Velvet Cloud is on sale, but I can only get to one or two shops a week.

How can you help?

Nag!

If you want Velvet Cloud yogurt and have experienced any of the above scenarios, don’t take no for an answer in your store, keep asking. I know it’s not your responsibility, it’s not your job, and nor should you have to, but this is the difference between why small businesses fail or stay small and why big brands grow and get bigger.  Actually, even if you don’t want Velvet Cloud it would really help if you nag 😊

Happy Sunday

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