- As a butchery renowned throughout the UK – let alone its Yorkshire home – it would be easy for David Lishman of Lishman’s to rest on his laurels. After all, if it’s not broke don’t fix it, right? Instead, he has invested in catering to growing demand, taking on increasing numbers of customers and boosting efficiency into the bargain. We find out how he went about making this change happen, and the results he’s seen so far
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WHAT PUSHED YOU TO OPEN ON-SITE SMOKING, CHARCUTERIE AND BAKING AT LISHMAN’S?
We have been smoking bacon and baking pies for many years. Making charcuterie is more recent, but we have still produced this for the last eight years.
The reason for increasing volume of these products is because there is more demand. I have personally seen that in the last three to five years eating habits have changed dramatically and food is consumed much more on the go, or with very little planning in advance. Charcuterie, pies and smoked meats lend themselves to the ‘pick up’ impulse purchase which consumers buy to solve the issue of the next meal.
HOW LONG DO YOU ENVISAGE IT WILL TAKE TO MAKE YOUR MONEY BACK FROM THESE INVESTMENTS?
We have used ‘asset finance’ to purchase the equipment over five years. I am fairly confident that there will be a reasonable surplus over and above the repayments.
AND FOR LISHMAN’S AS A BUSINESS TO REAP THE REWARDS?
The rewards have been evident from the start. Because we are able to produce more volume with the same effort, we are able to take on more customers and are saying ‘we are unable to fulfil this’ a lot less often.
WHAT’S THE VALUE IN EXPANSION FOR INDEPENDENT RETAILERS?
We initially made the expansion just to keep up to date. Certain parts of the premises were becoming less suitable to work in. For example, we would have to move a tray of pies before we could start making the next one. It makes us more efficient, which is hugely important, especially with the increase in labour costs we are currently seeing. Every time we have made a sizeable investment in property and equipment people notice it, and customers seem to be attracted to the shop. People like to see investment and small businesses moving forward.
WHAT SHOULD THEY CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING THE PLUNGE?
Invest in something which you know will generate sales and which you have tried and tested. We were already making charcuterie and pies before the expansion and we were bursting at the seams, so we had a pretty good idea that things would work out for us. I am not a big risk taker – I like to know there will be a return on my investment.
Personally, I wouldn’t overstretch myself financially. We don’t want to become much bigger, we just want to keep getting better and generating an income which satisfies ourselves and keeps the team employed.