Going for it...

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Going for it...

Postby kil2k » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:59 pm

So, I was sitting at work the other day when we got an email asking us to do yet another pointless task to "boost the stats". I decided enough was enough, so I emailed my step-brother who owns a few pubs in London, and has a micro brewery, to ask his advice about getting into the food & drinks game.

So far I've set up a Ltd. company, got my Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety certificate, and I'm going for my Level 2 BIIAB Personal Licence course on the 8th December. I've got all the equipment I need, but the problem is finding somewhere to produce. The way I see it, I've got 3 options:

1. Find a catering van and sell hot food at locations around the area to build up cash, and the brand.
2. Find a kitchen share to rent, and sell the raw product to other traders.
3. Try to find a restaurant to lease which doesn't have a huge premium for the old equipment and trade.
4. Look for a pub WITHOUT a tied lease.

I've given out samples to several friends / co-workers, and the feedback has been phenomenal. I plan to give samples to pubs etc. too, but that will need to wait until after the wedding & honeymoon. I will also need an EHS approved place to produce before I can sell commercially. So far I'm having a really hard time, as it seems that without a lot of capital, I'm screwed. My missus loves me dearly, but if I even hinted at releasing equity in the house, it could be a very short marriage.

The good news is that I get a lot of days off work, so I can start this as a sideline while still earning a good wage.

Anyone have any tips, or advice about how I could get this off the ground?
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Re: Going for it...

Postby wheels » Sat Nov 21, 2015 8:56 pm

Given the family connection (and presumably free advice/mentorship) in the pub game, that would seem the obvious choice.

As to the others:

1. Set up costs at the quality end quite high for a fast depreciating asset (a van) and somewhat weather and pitch dependent.
2. Appeals, but margins are likely to be very small if selling wholesale.
3. Restaurant businesses are one of the most likely to fail, particularly those with a low premium. They're usually low for a reason.

I wouldn't rule out a tied pub from one of the older breweries (as against a pubco). Good ones will offer support, help with menu planning, publicity and even menu printing etc. My local brewery, Everards, even have a scheme where people can sell their own beer - Everards Project William.

Whatever you decide, I wish you good luck.

Phil
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Re: Going for it...

Postby kil2k » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:59 am

Cheers Phil. The reason I'd look for one without a tied lease is that I have a friend that got burned badly several years ago. He made the pub a success, so the brewery spiked the rent. They'd also sell him their own beer for one price, then go to freehold pubs and sell them the same beer far cheaper.

I'm getting married next weekend, so I'll start seriously considering my options after the honeymoon!


Richard
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Re: Going for it...

Postby Swing Swang » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:07 am

Regarding van. Former business partner went down the van route. Set up costs were reasonable - thousands rather than tens of thousands. Bought a very old van and had it converted to a coffee and food 'kitchen' selling home made natural energy snacks and drinks to cyclists on a very, very popular recreational route. Nice thing is that the conversion can be lifted off and bolted onto another van at a later date if desired. The authorities have been very helpful. Siting has not been an issue, and for limited periods no site licence required, and is very profitable at the weekends and worthwhile doing in his case for two to three half days per week. Going to work for him for a session or two just to get some inside knowledge of this type of business next year. Right product, right location, right opening hours. Look into it. Hope it works out.philip
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Re: Going for it...

Postby wheels » Sun Nov 22, 2015 3:16 pm

All the best for the future Richard. Best wishes to you and your bride to be.

Here's wishing you a long, happy and healthy marriage.

Phil :D :D :D
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Re: Going for it...

Postby onewheeler » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:32 pm

Slightly random thought: if you're contemplating doing the sort of food that could be sold from a van, and your aim is quality, another possibility might be to find a pub that would contemplate a deal over a food franchise. Probably you'd be looking for more of a boozer than a restaurant pub, but it could reduce the amount of up-front committment / risk and enable you to get established.

Good luck!

Martin/
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Re: Going for it...

Postby kil2k » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:43 pm

wheels wrote:All the best for the future Richard. Best wishes to you and your bride to be.

Here's wishing you a long, happy and healthy marriage.

Phil :D :D :D


Thanks! :D



onewheeler wrote:Slightly random thought: if you're contemplating doing the sort of food that could be sold from a van, and your aim is quality, another possibility might be to find a pub that would contemplate a deal over a food franchise. Probably you'd be looking for more of a boozer than a restaurant pub, but it could reduce the amount of up-front committment / risk and enable you to get established.

Good luck!

Martin/


Hmm, not a bad idea. I was already considering talking to the guy who runs the pub we're having our reception at, but the missus won't allow me to do that until after the wedding :P
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Re: Going for it...

Postby kil2k » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:42 am

It's only been three years, but who's counting? :D

Sacked off the first trial and went for it properly the second time. Chose a better name, built a temp stall, rented space in a shared kitchen and gave it a go.

Started selling the sausages hot at food markets and festivals.

The feedback was incredible. The amount of people that expected a standard sausage, then came back to tell me how incredible mine are was insane.

Currently moving in to a dedicated unit and seriously upping my output. Bought a Kolbe MWE52 and a shitload of other stuff. Refusing to compromise on quality and hoping the public are willing to pay extra for premium sausages.

It's a very, very tough road, but I'm loving it.

fb.me/CraftySwineUK
The-Crafty-Swine.com
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Re: Going for it...

Postby kil2k » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:44 am

Also, I wouldn't have been able to do it without you guys. The community on this website is incredible
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Re: Going for it...

Postby wheels » Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:58 pm

That's one heck of a piece of kit. It's great to see that you're making a go of it. It's good to see that you've not neglected the quality of the bread either. The roll on your website looks superb.

Phil
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Re: Going for it...

Postby NCPaul » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:19 pm

That's a big grinder! :D I think you could have ground the meat I did today in about 5 seconds. I wish you all success.
Fashionably late will be stylishly hungry.
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Re: Going for it...

Postby kil2k » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:14 am

Cheers! I started off sharing a commercial kitchen along with a couple of guys who run a cafe. Making even 50Kg of sausages with the Reber mincer was soul-destroying. It would take about 15 hours from start to finish! Cutting the meat in to small enough strips, getting it to temp in the freezer, then feeding it through and dealing with a temperamental grinder just wasn't an option any more. By the end it was very rare that the mincer would work properly. No matter how cold the meat was, or how many times I took everything apart, cleaned it out and reassembled it, it was determined to mush up the meat.

I knew I needed a serious bit of kit if I was going to produce enough to sell them raw, so I went hunting on auction sites for the Kolbe. Thankfully it works! Unfortunately, the guys I was sharing a kitchen with didn't have the space for a 525Kg 3 Phase grinder :P

I've just got a Simag SPR 80 ice flaker, and a Ramon sausage filler is on the way. The rest of the equipment should be arriving next week. I've also sourced a meat supplier that will be providing me with all British Red Tractor pork belly and shoulder. Now all I need is contracts :lol:

I've got a few pubs and restaurants already interested, and will be hammering out the samples and sales pitch over the next few months, as well as selling to the general public through the website.

I've also entered three of my sausages into the Great Taste Awards, so it'll be interesting to get the feedback from that.
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