(Blogger’s Note: This is the second in a three part series on private labeling your products.)
The road to private label is filled with vats of overcooked recipes, months and sometimes years of research, along with courses of culinary disappointment. The rewards, however, can be rewarding and financially astonishing if you have the right sales team, marketing plan, and consumer allure connected with your creations. Of course everything you make tastes better than any other product ever produced. The key is to let everyone who eats know that.
Start small. In the beginning of the process it is imperative to only focus on developing a few products that you feel comfortable with. Bringing a product to market is an expensive and time consuming undertaking and to think you can instantly introduce a product line to your grocer’s or gourmet food store shelves is a fantasy.
Pick out a sauce or a rub that you have been using for a while. It should also be a product your customers crave and have frequently enjoyed n your restaurant. The product should be something that can be easily used by a home chef in a home kitchen. Pay attention to the amount of similar products in the marketplace. Stay away from Salsa, Guacamoles, and other flooded categories unless you have a recipe and a name that is worthy of branding.
Use your customers as a focus group. Talk with them and ask them how they feel about a certain sauce, jam or rub. Would they buy it and use it at home? Would they pay certain price for it? Remember aside from the cost of the product you now have to add a jar, a lid, a label, a box, shipping, packing, samples and breakage. On top of that you need a warehouse and a sales team. Add that into the price. Don’t forget to add in some profit. And, you must also be ready to weather the storm and make a commitment to the project. BTW this will be very time consuming.
When Kranston and I were getting raves and kudos for the wild rice baguette we were serving at our restaurants we quickly made the decision to begin baking bread daily to sell by the loaf. We knew the consumer would love them and the fact that there was a bakery across the street really didn’t seem to matter to us.
The first thing we did was to design a beautiful baguette bag and have them printed. There was a tremendous cost savings on 10,000 bags so I decided to order that amount. When we decided to end the project after only making 25 cents per loaf I believe I still had 9700 bags left. (I believe they are a still available if you know anyone with any interest in baking 9000 or so baguettes.
The advantages of a flooded culinary market are there are a handful of manufacturers that cater to the smaller product vendor. You do not have to stay up at night after your last guests goes home and start packing pasta sauce into jars. However, many restaurant owners and chefs do begin that way and nothing will doom a plan quicker than to think you can develop, produce, stabilize, pack and distribute your product.
There are a handful of manufacturers in the marketplace that will assist you with your research, development, test product and distribution and sales plan. Your job is to decide which of your products you want to bring to market, whether you want to stay local, regional or national, and whether you have the time, the money and the endurance to se the project through.
Tuesday: Getting Started