How can you keep your customers interested?

Standing out is increasingly important in a competitive market. Our expert gives tips on the best way to attract and retain customers.

Training: Taking the next step

Helping your staff take the next step in their career can benefit your business and there are plenty of options available to help them learn. 

What is the best way to tackle outstanding payments?

Small to medium-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable to late payments and customers entering administration. Here's what to do if you are affected by this.

Budget relief a ‘sticking plaster’ for long-term problem

Philip Hammond’s first Budget as chancellor has been criticised for not offering enough relief to counter a business rates increase. 

Sharp support: Is your equipment up to scratch?

A theatre production is only as good as the technical crew behind the scenes. Without the team pulling the strings and making sure everything you see runs smoothly, you won't have a show. Similarly, the meat you present to your customers is only there because of the work that goes into it.

Find the right fit: How the appearance of your shop can help boost business

It might sound vain, but appearance really is everything. That certainly is the case when it comes to your butchery business. If you don’t create the right ambience, then you run the risk of deterring potential customers. 

Artisan butcher Damon Buckingham ready to open doors

Top independent butcher Damon Buckingham took some time out from setting up his new business Buckinghams Artisan Butchery to speak to Meat Trades Journal about his road from manager to business owner. 

Chemical Warfare: Understanding hygiene and cleaning regulations

When you run a business, finances can be tight. So imagine getting hit with a fine of £6,000, £9,000 or even £15,000. What would that do to your bottom line? These are all fines that butchers have received over the past 12 months, after being found in breach of food hygiene regulations.

Taste test: how added value products can expand your customer reach

With Christmas behind us for another year, and the season of the 'January Blues' upon us, it's the time of year when your customers will be keeping an extra close watch on their bank balances.

Looking ahead to 2017

The past 12 months have been tumultuous for the meat industry and beyond. As the sector dusts itself off after a messy 2016, we look at what the industry hopes to see in 2017.

Integrated approach: How the latest EPoS and labelling systems benefit butchers

Butchers are facing an onslaught of evolving demands from harried, price-conscious shoppers accustomed to cash-free transactions, escalating labelling requirements and potentially a reduced workforce as the National Living Wage puts pressure on operational costs. Installing the right EPoS system can streamline the operations of a butcher’s shop, creating a more efficient business from stock control through to labelling and sales, allowing shop staff to focus their valuable labour hours elsewhere.

Delivering at the Livery: New WCB Master Stuart Thompson

Stuart Thompson is the latest Master at the Worshipful Company of Butchers. Rod Addy sits down with him to discuss his plans for the WCB. 

A new approach to staff training

Staff training is a constant source of difficulty for busy butchers, but it's a vital part of operations. Expert butcher Mark Turnbull offers up a seasonal solution.

SOS: Save Our Sausages

Declining sales and constant media attention have hit the sausage sector where it hurts. Is there a way back for the beleaguered banger? 

Luxury links: How can butchers capitalise on sausage trends?

We Brits love a good, reliable banger, whether we’re grilling them on the barbie under the sun or soaking them in gravy with our mashed potatoes. Recent research has even borne out what was always secretly known: that a full English fry-up can help cure a hangover, with the carbohydrates restoring depleted sugar levels. And we all know you can’t have a fry-up without a sausage or two.

A global affair: Travels with a freelance butcher

George Jephson has travelled the world, learning new butchery skills and applying them to the UK. He speaks to Meat Trades Journal about his experiences in the global meat industry. 

Q Guild butchers defy sausage sale decline

Q Guild butchers are bucking the overall retail trend for falling sausage sales, reporting strong growth even of traditional lines.

Getting to know... O'Doherty's Fine Meats

O’Doherty’s butchers in Enniskillen is famed for many reasons, and being the best butcher’s shop in Northern Ireland is just one of them

Tis the season to make some sales

Ok, we know it’s only September but the evenings are getting darker earlier and soon the Christmas songs will be blasting over the airwaves. So what better way for butchers to prepare for the busiest time of the year than by looking at what sold well in recent festive seasons? 

Spice up your life

Who doesn’t like to spice things up? Of course we’re talking about seasonings and condiments, and how they can add to a business. 

Food writer to present Q Guild Smithfield awards

Food luminary Tom Parker Bowles will present the 2017 Butchers Q Guild Smithfield Awards, to be held early in 2017. 

Focus on: Delicatessen & Fish

Aaron McDonald explores how butchers can expand their client base by offering a selection of delicatessen products. 

Getting to know... Brace of Butchers

Meat Trades Journal travelled to Dorset to see what Brace of Butchers has been up to since it won at the Butcher's Shop of the Year Awards, and we weren't disappointed. 

Butchers' sundires: keeping ahead of the trends

Aaron McDonald investigates what developments butchers ought to be looking out for in the sundries market

Shopfitting: Fighting Fit

Ensuring your business is looking its best can be costly but it’s vital for any butcher with long-term success in mind, says Aidan Fortune.

Cutting, slicing and dicing feature: A cut above

Whether a major processor or independent, butchers are having to cut meat to satisfy changing consumer demands.

Christmas feature: Cracking Christmas

While turkey is still viewed as the Christmas hero, consumer demand is always evolving and butchers need to keep up with the trends. 

Halal feature: Labelling under the spotlight

With the debate on stun or non-stun slaughter still raging, Oli Haenlein examines the different arguments on how meat should be labelled, given slaughter and other welfare factors.

Training feature: Plugging the gaps

Training in the meat industry has not always delivered the specific skills companies need, but a new apprenticeship scheme is about to shake up the sector, as Helen Gregory reports

Halal’s hot potato

Following incidences of pork contamination, the UK halal sector has had a turbulent year and the issue of who should be responsible for monitoring the sector is not yet resolved, as Nicholas Robinson reports.

Holiday illness

Employers could be forgiven for lacking sympathy with an employee who returns from a holiday complaining they were sick while on annual leave, so they could not properly enjoy it particularly if they are sporting a suspiciously healthy-looking tan.

In defence of meat

The demonisation of meat occurred simultaneously with the public health dietary advice to "base our meals on starchy foods" and obesity has increased tenfold since. Here are seven facts in the defence of meat to help the industry fight the "nutritional ignorance" that currently abounds.

The best yet

With less than a month to go until the big day, MTJ's Butchers' Fair Autumn is shaping up to be the best yet. The event, taking place at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate on Sunday 7 October 2012, will follow the same format as previous successful fairs, offering butchers a great opportunity to network with suppliers and peers, gather inspiration and share skills, best practice and innovation. And, with an extensive list of exhibitors, some first-class speakers and the return of MTJ's prestigious Champion of Champions and the National Pie Competition, the Autumn fair promises to be bigger and better than ever.

British Bonanza

As Aprils go, last year’s was an absolute corker. The barometer rose, the sun and barbecues came out and barely had the Easter eggs been swallowed, than a swelter of bunting and flag-waving broke out, along with collective national swooning over Kate’s dress and Pippa’s bottom.

Casings: International investment

Most shoppers will look at the brand, the recipe, the price, the promotional offer and probably the country of origin of the meat used when buying sausages, but far fewer will give a moment’s thought to the casing.

Games gridlock?

The London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics will offer some big opportunities for businesses supplying meat into London. It is estimated that the Games will generate a £750m increase in spending, the majority of which will be in the food and hospitality sector. However, with 37 venues across London and an estimated 20m spectators expected on top of normal London traffic, they could also prove to be a logistical nightmare.

Casings: Abattoir appeal

Natural casings manufacturers are appealing to processors to take more care of delicate sheep intestines, saying some operators may even have to slow down their lines a little to achieve better quality. The manufacturers are looking for better value-for-money as costs rise, more training of gut room staff in the handling, cleaning and storage of the product, and a minimum quality standard.

A point of difference

Everyone, it seems, is a sucker for a decent bacon sarnie. The booming bacon market bears testament to this fact, with strong sales of bacon over the last year. Around 90% of households buy bacon and, over the last 12 months, shoppers have topped up on more rashers per trip. Total bacon volumes in the 52 weeks to 19 February rose 3.1%, with values also up by 4.4% from the previous year.

Flawed science

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Asset management

Four months after winning the title of Butcher’s Shop of the Year 2011, Scottish butcher John Davidson is still reflecting on his hard-won success. “It’s great that we won,” he says. “Although we were doing very well before, it has given us even more credibility — and it’s nice that people think you are the best and that you deserve the accolade.”

National Butchers' Week 2012 Preview

Butchers up and down the country are being urged to make the most of this year’s National Butchers’ Week, which takes place later this month. The week, now in its fifth year and taking place from 25-31 March, is aimed at raising the profile of the vibrant butchery sector and puts the spotlight firmly on the craft skills, expertise and the great things the industry has to offer.

Model behaviour

In most butchers’ shops 80% of the fresh meat sold is cut and 20% is minced, retail butcher Allan Bennett estimates. Bacon and cooked meats are the main meats sliced, of course.

Caught in the web

Unlike the volatility inherent in the stock market, commodity prices or indeed the price of meat itself, the market for butchers’ sundries is one that does not tend to fluctuate wildly over the course of the year. Although trends do come and go, there is no doubt that butchers need a steady supply of ancillary products to run their businesses, and that these incorporate everything from twine to sausage casings, hygiene products and knives to pre-packed and display trays.

POS-itive thinking

When Aubrey Allen of Leamington Spa had a shop refit in April this year, getting the point-of-sale features right was a priority. Simple, informative POS, such as posters and recipe leaflets, are effective tools for boosting sales, but in addition Aubrey Allen decided to opt for a new printed window display, a dry-ageing beef cabinet, and a flat-screen TV showing different products and services.