Getting in to a Supermarket

[INDENT]My brother and I operate a small pizza delivery carryout location. We started about a 18 months ago but have been doing this for over 2 decades between us, were an independent place. All of our recipes were developed by us.

Now our salads have always been a very strong point. Customers say often you should bottle this dressing. At first I thought yeah, yeah every place that makes their own dressing will have fans, so i thought nothing of it. Until a customer said it again (its said at least once every day) but said you should sell it at the local butchers markets, farm stands, etc then try to get into a local supermarket. It got me thinking maybe there might be something to it. I love the pizza business… well actually Im not too sure long hours, nights, weekends all to make the same amount of money as a normal 9-5 job.

So does anyone have any experience doing this?

Ive got the containers I want to use. Im talking with a vendor that sells tamper seals. Im experimenting with potassium sorbate as a preservative. The labels have been a little tricky Im thinking of pulling the trigger on a lx Primera 900 label printer.

If anyone can help me Id greatly appreciate it. Thanks! [/INDENT]

This has been covered a good number of times here in the Think Tank, so a search of the archives would probably turn up some additional information. In brief, BEFORE you do anything else, visit with your local SBA and health department to find out what you will need to know before moving ahead. The rules and regulations take a giant turn when you enter into the realm of supermarkets. At the very minimum, you will need to have an ingresient statement, nutrition facts statement, and an allergen statement. The format and size of these are all controlled by regulations that you need to be aware of. At present, selling product at local farmer’s markets doesn’t come under too much regulation, but every state, county and municipality is different.
Come to think of it, I might have even written an article on this topic some time ago. An archive search of my “In Lehmann’s Terms” articles would turn it up.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I have tried and failed to get into our locals here :frowning:

Why is it so hard to get your pizzas into a supermarket? Here are a fer reasons;
If we are looking at a chain, they don’t want to put a product into only one store, it must go into all of the stores in the chain.
Chains require that all products must pass corporate review before getting onto the store shelves. (labeling, food safety, etc.)
Frozen or refrigerated shelf space is at an ABSOLUTE PREMIUM in most stores, so much so that there is competition between the big boys to get their product out there on those shelves, They pay for the space or offer incentives to put/keep their product out there.
If you did manage to get your product on the shelf the big boys would take notice, put special sales incentives on their products and ultimately drive you away or out of business. Oh yes, I’ve seen it happen!
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I also have a homemade dressing that we constantly get asked to bottle and sell… probably 10 times per week for years on end.

My official response is something like “It’s too expensive to get the labeling made”, or “It would be far too expensive to make it the way that we do.”

The real reason I’ll never bottle and sell it is that I have a customers forming a long line to pay me $8.00 for some chopped lettuce and veggies… all because they want the dressing. Why would I want them to buy my dressing - which at any reasonable price would carry a very low margin - so they can chop their own cheap lettuce and veggies at home to enjoy while eating my pizza from an order where I just gave away $6.25 of margin?

Selling salads is extremely profitable for me. I’m not about to encourage people to make their own at home.

There are two schools of thought here, one is as a restaurant operator/owner which is your school of thought, and the other is one of an entrepraneur looking for a chance to make millions of dollars with a new marketable product (in this case salad dressing). In some cases we have seen where a great BBQ house is selling their BBQ sauce commercially and still making money on the restaurant side of the equation, but in reality, they are probably making more from the commercial sauce than they could ever hope to make from the restaurant, and the restaurant only serves as an advertising mechanism for the sauce. The way I see it your school of thought is the safest bet, but like other safe bets, it doesn’t have the potential to make literally millions of dollars in profits, while the long shot has the potential for the greatest income/profit generation, it also brings with it the greatest chance for failure too. I guess it all boils down to how lucky do you feel? Sorta like betting on the horses.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Excellent point Tom. I should have asked December if he was looking for a little side business or looking to swing for the fences on a new business venture.

I may very well be the least entrepreneurial person on this board… As Gordon Gekko said, “I bet on sure things” :wink:

Ditto for me too. I may not be the richest person on my block, but I am not the poorest either. Truth be known, I’ve probably still got the first dollar I ever earned.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

“Slotting Fees” can often turn a “great idea” into “game over”…