16 January 2007, 16:45 PM
  • Rob Ward at Green Fields Farm discusses the best ways to beat those January blues and plan for the year ahead

Wow, what a Christmas – there still seems plenty of people prepared to part with their money, which makes January all the more important. At ‘Green Fields’ we have had a surprisingly buoyant start to January, but there is something about this time of year that always puts me on edge. I love it when it’s busy and hate it when it’s quiet, but the problem is not letting my team think the same as me.

Let’s face it, we all need a break, a sigh of relief after we reach the ‘summit’. Unfortunately, descending off this summit is boring and expensive. It’s all too easy to let staff ‘fall asleep’ after the hectic Christmas period - they do need a break – but for less time than they think. However, I’ve found that analysing weekly sales as a ratio of turnover is the medicine I need for the January hangover. It takes seconds to work out and can immediately be shared with the team. It can also be used as a tool from which to improve on.

Planning ahead
I also regard the start of the year as a time to think – currently I believe the healthy eating ‘thing’ is getting a little boring, but ‘well being’ and ‘personal development’ are becoming more important to people. So, the challenge I have set myself is to make sure our customers see us as part of this development.

When I start to think about all the great opportunities out there in our industry, my enthusiasm for the future is renewed. So, although we are only a couple of weeks into the year, we’ve already set ourselves some goals – We’ll be sourcing more regional and local products, increasing the range of ready meals is on the cards, whilst well-being will also be covered with better information and signage in-store. On the personal development side, we’re already considering ways to increase food knowledge, with ideas such as a link up with a local cookery school or creating a supper club, in the running. 

As the year evolves, I hope to share with you our experiences (good and bad) in-store, as we try to implement these changes. We also hope to expand our store in 2007, which means a new planning application, so I’m sure there will be plenty of challenges to tell you about!

So, here’s to the future – and a fantastic 2007!

Rob Ward owns an award-winning farm shop and delicatessen called ‘GreenFields’ in Shropshire, more information about his store is available on www.GreenFieldsOnline.co.uk. Rob also helps other retailers – visit www.on-ward.co.uk or call 07773 777097.

If you are interested in contributing to our ‘Deli Diary’ section, please email nicola.mallett@aceville.co.uk, or call 01206 505981.