How to Start a Butcher Shop

How to Start a Butcher Shop

Meat refers to products of constant demand, no crisis year influencing. However, selling meat and relative products, as all other businesses do, requires knowing a set of nuances meeting the beginning butcher shop owner on the stage of business set up.

Step-by-Step Guide to Business Start

The name often defines a great deal of success. It must be catching.

Make a Business Plan

You need this to plan the current and future business development. The business plan may cover 3-5 years. The first year of a butcher shop business plan must be more detailed, and more vast for the next period.

The plan must contain a description of the shop, its potential, the evaluation of the internal and external environment in business and time, specific data on marketing strategy. It is desirable to specify possible risks either, i.e. it is shown that their existence is taken into account and measures for their reduction are also planned.

Register the Business

You should learn the requirements for meat products trade in your country, go through the entire registration process on your own, or use the services of companies that provide assistance in the collection and preparation of documents for setting the business up.

The Supervisory authorities have special requirements for the meat trade and retail premises in all civilized countries. This concerns the ventilation and air conditioning systems, cleanliness and health of your staff, waste disposal, disinfection of commercial and office space.

Select a Premise or Place for Trading

The shop profit depends on the chosen place directly. So often, many entrepreneurs start a business from the place selection. The main requirement for the store location is a lot of potential buyers and the proximity of a largely residential area whose residents regularly shop for food.

It is not worth to choose the big shopping areas. The space surplus will increase the rent substantially. You may invest the money saved on rent in the goods purchase instead. Think about starting other stores if you found only a larger premise or you were offered a very favorable lease of the large store area, in addition to expanding your own range. Additional product categories will attract a broader range of customers who initially had not planned to buy meat, and help to maintain store profitability in the case of temporary fall of demand for meat products.

Purchase of Equipment

In the first stage of meat shop operation, you will need a relatively small set of equipment. You will need a washing tub to wash meat. To store meat you will also need refrigerators, freezers. Set them inside the refrigerated showcase. You will need scales for weighing products, semi-products, and scales for meat acceptance. A deck and axes will be needed for butchering and a set of knives for cutting and slicing meat.

You will need a good grinder for making minced meat, and a cash register for calculations with buyers.

This set will be quite enough in the first stage, will be enough, all other equipment will be purchased as shop develops.

Staff Employment

If you don’t plan to sell goods by yourself, you will need the seller. It is desirable that your seller had experience in this field. In this case, he or she will either lay out the goods correctly, turn the meat pieces on the more attractive side or advise the buyers the meat piece they need for cooking the selected meals. A good seller will not allow the product to stay on the counter for a long time and will help you to increase sales of the store. Encourage him or her with bonuses for good sales and don’t forget to take care of the uniform for the employee.

A butcher is the next important employee of the meat shop. Trust butchering to a professional only with experience in this sphere. Errors when butchering lead to the creation of unwieldy pieces of meat with an unpleasant look or with a large quantity of bones. It is quite difficult to sell such pieces for a profit. Unlikely, you will be glad to sell at a loss. If you are unable to find a proper butcher, try to negotiate with suppliers on the delivery of the already cut portions of meat.

The semi-finished products manufacture should be controlled by a good cook. But if you plan to sell meat and mince at the initial stage you can do without a cook. Cleaning and bookkeeping can be outsourced or you can hire part-time workers. The administrative work, including procurement, usually becomes the duty of the shop’s owner, and then only it can be transferred to specially hired Manager.

Meat Purchase

The success depends on supplier selection. As the owner of the meat store, you are solely responsible for the quality of products sold. If buyers are not sure about the freshness of your goods, you will lose the trust of the clientele, and the shop will incur losses.

When getting meat from suppliers, always monitor the presence of brands on the carcasses and ensure the availability of the veterinary certificate. At the initial stage of work, you need to find two or three private farms that will be able to deliver products on a regular basis with a periodicity of 1-2 times a week. The purchase of large quantities of goods may seem more advantageous in terms of weight, but do not forget that chilled meat looks fresh in just 3-4 days. During this time, it is necessary to sell the product, otherwise, it will dry, and then be moved into the category of unrealizable product and your losses.

At the first time, the range of meat products in your store is unlikely to exceed 25-20 positions. Choose most popular goods (beef, pork, lamb) and poultry (chicken, Turkey, duck).

Complete the assortment by a set of semi-finished products (minced meat, chops, sausages for frying, and barbecue).

Possibly, the trade of Halal and kosher meat will be a great choice for you.

You may try to sell exotic meat in big cities. Exotic meat will not lead to a substantial increase in sales but will create your store’s reputation that clients can buy absolutely any meat in your store. At the initial stage of work, you can pre-negotiate with suppliers on the procurement of exotic products in the future to be fully prepared when the time comes to expand the range.

Marketing and Advertising

You can begin advertising your butcher shop shortly before the opening. An attention-grabbing sign should be located above the entrance, 1-2 A-frame signs or the symbol of your store must stand on the sidewalk, which will attract additional attention.

It is not necessary to buy expensive advertising on television and radio, because of its inefficiency.

Do some advertising on the Internet and social networks. Facebook competent management gives a great effect with minimal cost. If you have a large store, you can try to sponsor culinary bloggers on Youtube or blogs, forums.

Don’t forget to register your store on Google My Business.

Business Growth + e-Commerce

Additionally, you can engage in the wholesale of quality products for the nearby cafes and restaurants. Talk to their owners, get in touch with the chefs.

It is necessary to consider the idea of opening more sales outlets and its conjunction into the private meat chain (торговая сеть) to increase income.

If you decide to sell a premium product or expand your range with it, you can start an online store. In recent years it is becoming very popular.

Risks, Errors, Nuances + Video

  • Too wide range. This can lead to losses. The range should be selected on the basis of the store’s location. A special demand can be seen in the area where the elderly live mostly; another demand can be registered in an area where young families live. You have to monitor constantly and study the demand in the chosen location.
  • Poor store’s look. The shop’s unattractive look can significantly reduce the profitability of a business, or even cut it off at all.
  • Too much expensive equipment and interior design. It is not always necessary to buy expensive showcase windows. It plays an important role only when your store locates in an elite district. Besides, you can buy used equipment with excellent appearance and technical features for a reasonable price.
  • Poor hygiene, smells, and dirt. Watch the cleanliness of the premises, the air vent grille work, and the staff’s hygiene.
  • Lack of advertising. Many entrepreneurs neglect it. They simply open the store and wait for buyers who must run to them on his own will.

Good luck!


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