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Justin Tunstall, retail consultant, shares his cheese selling experience

“Time, gentlemen (and ladies), please”

I’ve read opinions in this magazine that shops should always be open if there’s a chance of customers being around. That’s fine if one has an adequate supply of trained staff that can be put onto adjusted rotas and thus spread more thinly – the marginal cost of opening for the extra time would then run to little more than electricity for lights, tills and scales. Small shops seldom have that luxury; our world has the constant challenge of scheduling staff to cover core hours around sickness, holidays and other unplanned events. Naturally, should the additional business add proportionately to turnover, then it’s worth looking at increasing headcount, or at least boosting the overtime budget

“Monogamy: overrated?”

How many partners have you had? If it is a small part of your business, it may be that you use just a single supplier. If it plays a major part, multiple suppliers may be needed to achieve the range that you want

“Q – score more than 10 points”

It’s an oft repeated cliche that we are a country of shopkeepers; also that we Brits respect, indeed LOVE a queue. Consequently the line of customers that most cheesemongers experience in December could be seen to represent the British Christmas as definitively as a Robin on a greetings card, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol or The Queen’s Speech

“Substitute”

When The Who’s Roger Daltrey sings “I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth,” one might be forgiven for thinking that he came from a family of habitual deli-sample guzzlers

“MasterRind”

What qualities make a good cheesemonger? That’s a question we were looking to answer recently at the British Cheese Awards, where a competition was run to identify Britain’s Best Young Cheesemonger, sponsored by Anthony Rowcliffe & Son, now in their third generation of cheese specialist

“Captain Chutney triumphs once more”

I learned something today – the real difference between cross-selling and up-selling. Business jargon is ever-developing; new terms can mean new slants for consultants, even if the principles have been in operation for centuries

“Raw! Huh yeah. What is it good for?”

Our dog, Dexter (the cereal killer), is fed a diet called Raw Meaty Bones. Akin to the ‘paleo’ regime for humans, the idea is that dogs should return to the foodstuffs available to their antecedent, the wolf. There’s something attractive about the presumed authenticity of food as fuel, from a time before processing and genetic modification

“I signed up for origami class, but it folded…”

Last week I did two things out of character: I bought cheese from a supermarket, and I watched a ‘RomCom’. I won’t name the shop; the film was Love Actually

“Keeping It Fresh”

When we have a winning formula, we can be resistant to changing it. There’s an often quoted two year time period during which new businesses will succeed – or fail

“The Gong Show”

Pass me my white coat and my cheese iron: let’s go cheese judging!

“What’s in the recipe?”

I’ve a pension that matures next year – I know I don’t look that old, but my byline mugshot was flatteringly lit and goes back a year or two, just like the one I used on the dating site where I met my wife

“Pedanticism – pedantry, actually!”

What does one do when a customer is just plain wrong? During the August melee I had somebody in the shop who was adamant that he didn’t want Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire, but her Cheddar

“Train staff and they leave; but even worse – don’t train them and they stay “

My wife is a physiotherapist (good call, eh?) and is obliged to demonstrate ‘continuing professional development’ in order to renew her accreditation

 
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