A meat shop is a great business to start if you can find a suitable location. Meat will always be in demand and is consumed by almost everyone. It has also been observed that as a family becomes more affluent, people tend to consume less rice and more meat.
Unlike simple buy-and-sell businesses, a meat shop requires more care because meat can easily be contaminated or spoiled if mishandled. Much of your profit also depends on how knowledgeable you are of the meat cuts.
There are many things you need to know before embarking on this venture. A beginner would do well to note the following:
Read and understand the Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines and its implementing rules and regulations. This is the Republic Act 9296, enacted in May 2004 to enhance food safety, particularly of meat and meat products. You must know about its provisions to avoid violations and penalties. The law covers many things you need to know, like proper labeling and other standards.
Get the proper equipment. Having the right equipment will enable you to cut meat faster and more efficiently. Among the needed equipment are the band saw, meat slicer, meat grinder, freezer and weighing scale.
Know the yield from a carcass. A carcass, as defined in the Meat Inspection Code, is the body of a slaughtered animal after bleeding and dressing. It is extremely important that you know the cost of your meat and how much saleable meat you can get so that you would not be fooled.
Know the different meat cuts and how to cut from a carcass. Invest time in mastering the different meat cuts and how to do the cutting. Even if you do not plan to do the actual cutting, you need the knowledge to be able to supervise the person who will be assigned.
Learn how to process meat. The cost of meat is very expensive and every part of the carcass must be sold to avoid waste. Since it is certain that you will have excess inventory left unsold, you should know how to do meat processing so that you can minimize spoilage.
Consider having a generator. Meat products spoil easily under room temperature. Bad weather may cause unexpected and lengthy power outages. There are also places where electricity is simply inadequate. Study if buying a generator would be worth the expense.
Have reliable and accurate weighing scales. Your weighing scales must be accurate. If your scale shows too much, not only will you be in possible trouble with regulatory agencies, but in time, you will lose the trust of your customers. On the other hand, a scale that shows less than the actual weight will make you lose money.
Get only from reputable suppliers. There are many suppliers to choose from—poultries, piggeries, slaughter houses, importation, etc. What is most important is that the meat is of good quality, has passed inspection, and that the supplier is a legitimate source.
Train your staff on food safety practices. Always have your employees practice food safety and proper hygiene. Have regular refresher training so that this critical task will never be forgotten. One case of food poisoning could destroy your reputation, besides the expense and legal liability.
Have excellent customer service. To have great customer service, your personnel must be well trained regarding the meat cuts and their characteristics. If your staff can give good advice to customers on their meat purchases, then they are likely to come back again. Besides product knowledge, your staff must always look hygienic and be courteous to your customers.
Always do marketing. Independent meat shops usually lack regular marketing, while franchisees often have their programs set by their franchisors. Meat shops are easy to market because the demand is always there. You only have to make people aware of the quality and affordable price of your products. Give out flyers and/or have promos to create and sustain interest in your shop.
To know more about the business, BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts a seminar entitled, “How to Start and Operate a Meat Shop Business.” Contact (02) 727-5628, (02) 727-8860, (0915) 205- 0133 or visit www.businesscoachphil.com for details.
The above article was originally published by the Manila Bulletin. C-4, Sunday, November 18, 2012. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.