“Dear FVP Gals: We offer some really unique sauce recipes in our restaurant that bring people coming back to our restaurant! We’ve thought about turning them into retail products so we can sell them within our restaurant and perhaps even in grocery stores. What do I need to do to get my sauce sold in retail stores?”
Reply from FVP Gals:
Dear: Let’s get our famous sauce on store shelves!
If you already have a recipe that is well-loved by your customers, you’ve already validated the idea. Sometimes that’s the hardest step! Now, let’s explore some important considerations for bringing your product from idea to execution. Below we have highlighted five questions to ask yourself while preparing for the next stage of your business.
- Is your recipe scalable? Knowing that you already have a base recipe for your sauces, consider converting your recipe to a format that can be easily manipulated to produce different quantities. Establishing where you plan to sell your sauce (i.e. in-house vs in-retail) and to who (local community vs larger population) will help clarify your production quantities and scaling.
- How will you ensure your sauce remains fresh and safe for your customers? Food safety and quality assurance are key components of any food production facility and require strong management plans that include Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points and Good Management Practices among other preventative controls. Understanding the shelf life of your current product, how different processing methods can contribute to food safety and quality assurance, and how to develop a strong food safety program are good starting points as you begin your journey to retail.
- What kind of packaging will you use? Your choice of packaging will depend on several factors including:
- a) Functionality – Does the shape, material, and size of your packaging ensure the food safety and quality of your product?
- b) Regulatory – Does your product label include all the necessary information required by law (FDA)? This includes a nutrition facts panel, ingredients list, weights, and much more!
- c) Appearance – How do you want to communicate your brand to your customer on the label? Once you’ve gotten all the necessary regulatory and functionality pieces down, you can start to have fun with the design of your package.
- How will you price your product? Each question asked above will be impacted by your budget and desired profit. You can determine the price of your product by exploring a variety of factors like the price of similar products in the marketplace, the total cost of all inputs (labour, ingredients, food safety, etc), and the standards of your target retailers.
- How do you extend your restaurant’s brand to your product? Begin by concretely defining your brand and outline how your product aligns with this brand. If you’re already a well-loved restaurant in your community, you most likely have pre-existing interest in and support of your business. However, if you intend to sell your product in retailers outside of your community, how will you communicate your brand to customers that don’t know you? Think about what your goals are as a producer while also considering who your target customer is. For example, your retail product could act as a local souvenir for tourists. Culinary or food tourism highlights the value tourists place on experiencing local culture through food and drink. Give them something to bring back home that acts as a conversation starter! FVP provides education and partnership opportunities for amplifying your restaurant’s desirability for culinary tourism. Find out more in our Recipe to Retail program!
In this article we’ve outlined some of the many factors you should consider when creating a retail product. Although daunting, remember, you’ve already got a head start! Moving into the retail space can be an exciting opportunity for restaurant owners, and we are here to help you. FVP offers several forms of programming aimed at helping small food industry stakeholders launch their products. For support with turning your restaurant recipes into retail-ready products, please visit: https://www.foodventureprogram.com/recipetoretail
The Food Venture Gals
Sima & Kiran
Contributor: Saffron Locas-Hoeltken
The Food Venture Gals are the founders of Food Venture Program; a leading organization in North American food and beverage product development offering online programs to help food entrepreneurs turn their recipes into retail-ready products!