Starting Our Own Gourmet Business
by Ray Dudley
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How to Start a Food Business by Someone Who's Been There!
First things first
(After I started writing this article I realized it would be rather wordy so I decided to make this topic a "multi" article type of topic and will conclude it in the upcoming articles.)
Applesauce Tip: The benefits of applesauce, especially when combined with exercise and supplements are tremendous and can easily fit into your fitness diet for it's nutrition, fiber and cleansing properties.
Today, I thought I'd do a follow up to my original applesauce article. Applesauce recipes are on the horizon, but, for now I figured that since I got the ball rolling with a “tasting” of what it was like to work for myself and, more specifically in the food industry, that today I’d elaborate a bit on some of the different aspects of how we got started.
When last we met (last blog article that is) I talked about how we came up with the business concept itself and "generally" how we moved it forward. Today and with some future articles, I'd like to touch on some of types of things that we found we had to encounter before we could ever hit the streets with our delicious product.
I Can Name That Tune
One of the first things we did was to register our name with the state. This probably wasn't all that necessary at in the beginning, but, we just felt that if we were going to put in a lot of work, and since we really liked the name and thought it was kinda catchy, we didn't want anyone to beat us to the punch and register it before we did. Plus, there's a certain amount of pride involved in knowing you've got an business entity registered. Yeah, ego boosting, but, hey, it's worth it! It wasn't free to register, but, it wasn't going to break the bank either. Nominal actually and it allowed us to keep the registration for 3 years to boot.
Mom Know Best
Since I already spoke about how we arrived at our flavors let me just hit a few basics here. We needed something that really stood out in the market which is why we stayed away from the cinnamon applesauce so prevalent in many homes. For precisely that reason, EVERYONE made cinnamon apple and we didn't want to have to compete with "mom's homemade recipe". Mom's is ALWAYS the best, believe me. It could taste like burnt asphalt, but, mom made it. Nuff said.
We tried started with flavor combinations that we complimentary to apples. Like maple/cinnamon. Every have apple pancakes? With maple syrup? Seeeee? Good combo. Then we came up with the cranberry/orange combination. Apples and cranberries just go together. Take my word for it. The orange was added to compliment the cranberries and was a GREAT idea. The flavors are tremendous.
Pineapple/banana. Yeah. Uh, well this one was our stretch into the world of the unknown. But, it's turned out to be one of the best sellers we have. I think one of the reasons is that we generally do our store tastings with all of the applesauces in a warmed state. That’s why we like to demo our products in serving dishes that are heated. This was a deliberate decision on our part because we felt, and still feel, that the warmed up product really brings out the flavors much better. Plus, we got the added benefit of applesauce wafting through the air! And let me tell you, it's a primal smell! People can smell it as soon as they come in the front door. Instant Pavlovian response. And, yes, there were PLENTY of combinations that just didn't tickle the palate. We tried kiwi, mango, blueberry, strawberry and all combinations of them. Nothing really jumped out at us except the ones we ended up with.
One of side benefits of the flavor combinations and the warmed up aspect is that the applesauces started reminding people of things other than applesauce. For instance, it was quite common to hear someone say that the cinnamon/apple tasted like apple pie. MANY people served our product warmed up on ice cream or warmed up with a handful of their favorite granola. Beats a Twinkie any day!
Pretty As A Picture
So, after we created working recipes, it was on to the logo. This meant thinking a little more than we were prepared for. We ended up working with a graphic designer to help us move things along and this is when it got interesting. He needed to know things like, who were we trying to market to? What was the age demographic we thought would be purchasing our product? What "feeling" did we want the logo to invoke? Homemade or Cutting edge? Fun or more stoic? Did we want any type of picture or was it enough to work with just the font? Jeesh! Gives me a migraine just remembering it all.
We eventually settled on bright colors and very upbeat logo that had a funky font and a cool looking apple slice. Believe it not, it took us MONTHS to create the logo. We tweaked more things than I ever thought could be tweaked. There was font style, font size, font position, picture placement and size, color selection (thank God for women), slogan (we decided against one), how many items would be one the label, etc. MONTHS I tell ya, months!
Well this is getting a little lengthy so I’ll cut it off here. Next article I’ll deal with some things like finding the right cooking process and packaging. Plenty to be said in both of those arenas!
Applesauce Recipe Tip:
While making applesauce is hard to screw up, if you really want to make a great impression try using apple cider as the liquid for cooking down the apples instead of water. It's already concentrated and FULL of flavor. And it goes GREAT with coffee!
Til then, go out and enjoy your local orchard. Apple picking, hay rides and snugglin’!!
Ray has been an investment broker, an entrepreneur, an actor, writer and minister. Recently, he's turned his focus to the internet in an effort to share his life's lessons.
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