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Keys to Running a Food Business

  • July 5, 2021
  • Post : Mohamed Aboughazala

Operating a food business has so many simultaneous tasks that need to be well managed for good execution.

It’s like a symphony, every thing plays a part and makes a difference.

Manna Dew has worked as a retail cafe, a wholesale supplier, and an online supplier. These aspects are true across the spectrum. This is by no means an exhaustive breakdown but will give you a good sense of what it takes to work in this industry at a good level.

Quality:

One of the universal factors of succeeding in food, that I’ve encountered across all types of food operators is quality. Quality makes quality. Always get your hands on the best possible raw materials, as they will produce the best product.

If you skimp on quality, it will show and it will affect your overall value offering.

At Manna Dew we use the best possible ingredients we can, and yes it means a higher cost, but overall a better product for our customers- which is worth it in every way.

We buy in Lescure butter from France, we purchase Belgian chocolate, French almonds, milk from Jersey islands, and organic free range eggs from the best local suppliers in the UK… All this works together to offer a superior quality product.

Good Reliable Team:

You will work for your business initially, it will own you. This will help you save in the initial stage, enough to hire people.  The better the quality of your team, the better the quality of your business and the more you will be able to do, reliably.

The way I see it is, as a business owner, you work for your employees, and your employees work for the business.

Train them.. Pamper them.. Look after them.. and make sure to reward them, on the basis of merit and on what they actually do for the business.

One of the key skills business owners in this area need to do is motivate your team to show up and give their absolute best every day. This is obviously an ideal and will not happen every day. Work performance is linked to having the right tools to do the job, but also supportive leadership. The more you create a safe environment, the more transparent the problems that occur will become and the more you can work together to manage and fix them. If you punish employees for honest mistakes, they will hide them from you and disown their responsibility. Have open, safe, and honest conversations and listen, adjust, and pivot in the way that addresses these issues. By no means does this mean you will resolve them, but you will be in a much better position to manage them.

Ideally you want to create an open feedback loop between your customers, employees and management so that all feedback is relayed, addressed and managed properly for better performance. Safe environments for discussions are key, and a little disclaimer, you won’t always like the results or conversations, but you will be much more able to deal with them with this mentality.

Assign employees specific roles and clear operational tasks so you can identify the problem and who’s responsible for fixing it, then you can approach that issue with a plan that enables and empowers those responsible to deal with it.

Technology:

Technology is such an incredible modern day tool. Use it. We used to do everything by hand here, which created so many management errors. As an owner I was in charge of order processing, logistics, order management, fulfilment, delivery, marketing, HR, legal, and more.

This is a huge issue with new startups because the honest truth is you can’t do it all, and you won’t do it all well. Accept it.

Today we have automated systems that simplify all this and execute it on my behalf with the click of a button.

Invest in good technology and sometimes that means paying a little extra for customisation. When you do customise your systems you will have solutions that reduce errors, speed up the process, and are scalable. If you need help with this get in touch with us and we will connect you with an incredible IT & Web development team. They cost but they’re so worth it (we have zero business interest or gain from this, we just want to give back to them as they have given us so much).

Listen to your customers (they’re usually spot on):

Today’s customer is much more than just a consumer.

They’re trail blazers… fans… brand lovers… and passionate buyers.

They want accurate product marketing, they want good deals, they want good customer service. But think about it, don’t we all.

If you listen to customers you will find out what issues exist quickly and effectively and if you do something about them will get so much better at serving them in no time. It’s an iterative daily feedback loop, and the process is more like spinning plates than it is laying bricks. You may fix a problem but it might come back, and you have to have the humility and discipline to look at it again and deal with it if it still exists. The more you do this the more your execution will improve as a whole.

Also customers tell you what is missing in your product range, what they’d love you to introduce and why. If you listen you will be able to introduce products that are more effective and more penetrative than if you did not. This is very powerful and will help you fast track your business.

Simply listen, you won’t be able to please everyone or do everything but feedback will repeat and suggestions will multiply, at that point you definitely should. They’re the most effective free consultants that will truly level you up, multi-dimensionally. Listen and you will reap rewards.

Content& Marketing:

Today’s business really needs good content. Even if you are doing well, marketing will really level you up. I was so stubborn about this before. But I gave it a shot and the results shocked me.

Not only do you grow your net, you better convert the current one. So it is more business and more effective business all at the same time. Compounded multiplicity is the best way I can explain it.

Manna Dew works on improved content, however we still have a long way to go. We’re trying to get a little more personal and show a little more of ourselves, even though I’m shy and don’t always know what to say. Social media is cool about that.

My recommendation is post the best content you can, talk to your target audience, and put yourself in their shoes. Get the best photography and filming equipment you can afford and learn the game yourself.

Photographer costs are a little on the pricey side. They’re amazing, don’t get me wrong, so if you can afford to hire one regularly, more power to you. I see it as a daily exercise and prefer to learn and improve myself so I can consistently offer quality photos without incurring such costs in an already financially strained situation. Plus with a business constantly iterating, it’s better to have the flexibility to film and photograph any time you want.

Be authentic, be honest, and show your products in a way that moves your viewers.

I’ll be honest we are not there yet, but I’m sure we will get there!

Accept it won’t be perfect:

You will not and cannot execute perfectly overnight. A lot of friends have left their jobs or started to do side gigs on furlough. They want to plan so well that they ultimately have a perfect business day 1. That is impossible. It’s just not how things work.

You will get hit from all directions, and you will lose money before you make any. Accept it, be cool with it, and be prepared- emotionally and psychologically.

Business can be tough but if you immerse yourself enough, and learn the patterns.. You can start to proactively fix the problems and deal with things much more capably. It took me 3 years to figure this out, so don’t be so tough on yourself.

Try… Assess… Decide… Pivot… Retry (this is the way)

Hope this helps all you entrepreneurs and business lovers out there.

Peace and Love

Mo

Manna Dew

Credit Photos:

https://access2eic.eu/access2eic-tools-from-technology-to-business/

https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/high-quality-ingredients-shakeology

https://smallbusiness.chron.com/form-reliability-affects-employee-performance-17633.html

https://www.analyticsinsight.net/top-5-technology-trends-that-will-shape-innovations-in-2021/

https://www.intandemcommunications.co.uk/article/what-is-marketing/

https://pixlr.com/stock/details/102103580-real-not-perfect/

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does our pastry last for?

5 days refrigerated or 60 days frozen

If you freeze please defrost overnight in the fridge and bake according to handling document instructions

How do I place an order?

All orders must be made online. We offer delivery services and/or store collection. We are not open for store walk-ins.

When will I receive my order?

Dates are determined by the delivery calendar. Dates are not guaranteed. All orders are dispatched fresh and take 1 day to arrive via DPD

Can I collect my order?

Yes but you must pre-book it on our calendar. Collections start from 11am and any collections after 2pm must be notified to 07503200020 by WhatsApp

When is Manna Dew open?

We are open Mondays through Saturdays and we are off on Sundays. Orders placed on Saturdays will be delivered (London orders) or dispatched (outside London) on Monday. Customer service is available from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm Mondays through Saturdays. Please email indulge@mannadew.co.uk or whatsapp 07503200020 with your Order Number or questions.

Can I amend my order?

Order changes can be accommodated assuming required changes are communicated to the customer service team before 5:00 pm of the day before the scheduled delivery / dispatch. To add / change items, you will need to get in touch with the customer service team. Payments and price difference for additional / changes items is required via website or PayPal.

Can I cancel my order?

Orders can be cancelled, and a refund can be processed only if cancellation is done before 5:00 pm of the day before the scheduled delivery / dispatch. Refunds take up to 5 working days to be processed. We cannot cancel / refund any orders that have been dispatched.

Is there a minimum spend?

The minimum order amount is 25 GBP for London and outside London orders.

Can I place orders in advance?

Yes! You can schedule orders for up to 60 days in advance and choose any delivery day except for Sunday.

What if my order is late?

We do our best to work with the most reliable courier companies. However, sometimes things outside of a courier’s control can cause a delay. Where we can, we will always try and proactively call you if we become aware that your order might not arrive on time. Orders can be one day late. If your order is more than a day late, we will resend you a new order the soonest possible.

What if I’m not around when my rider arrives?

Our courier will always try to call you if there’s an issue once they reach your delivery address. Please check your emails during the delivery time for any updates. If we can’t contact you and are unable to deliver the order, your rider will wait for up to 10 minutes before leaving. In this event, we will leave your goods in a safe place or with your neighbour and will let you know where it is.  These circumstances are not eligible for refunds if something happens to your parcel. To prevent this from happening, it’s always a good idea to double-check your contact and address details and make sure someone is available to receive your parcel during the delivery window.

What if something is wrong with my order?

If specific items were missing from your order, we will refund you for those items. You will be required to get in touch with the customer service team and provide proof for the missing items (e.g. photo) of your whole order.

Does Manna Dew offer subscription accounts?

We are working on adding subscription feature to our website. However, in the meantime if you would like to subscribe and receive a specific order on a repetitive basis, please get I touch with us via email (indulge@mannadew.co.uk) with the “subject: subscription”, detailing the items and frequency you’d like to subscribe to and we will respond with next steps.

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