So, you charge headlong into opening a delicatessen, with no background in retail, but with loads of passion … oh, and the opportunity just ‘popped up’ so you’d be mad not to take it.
The doors fly open in October, the Christmas surge comes and goes; you make a pretty good start. People are finding you – they seem to like you; they’re interested in your product selection … wow, they even buy some of it … and they are coming back for more.
We have ‘regulars‘, people whose names we know, who pop in for a chat, who lend us books and write out recipes and who invite us for Sunday lunch.
So far, so good
But there is SO much to learn! The challenge, of course, is to step back from the day-to-day to listen and learn. This is NOT a treat, this is an essential.
The High Street Delicatessen is a Retail Member of The Guild of Fine Food … the Guild provides incredible training options, designed and delivered by experienced practitioners, with an eye on the practicalities. These courses are fuelled by candour and openness, by lessons learned (mistakes made) and they happen in an environment that inspires and informs in equal measure.
Now, 5 months in, it’s Mr Deli’s turn. The course takes place at the Kensington branch of Whole Foods Market. The link to Gonalston is maintained as the course is delivered in part by Georgina Mason, owner of this hugely successful farm shop. Charlie Turnbull uses all his experience of running eponymous deli ‘Turnbulls‘ (in Shaftesbury) to breakdown the numbers, guiding prospective food business owners through pre-set up financial considerations. This was a significant wake-up call for Mr Deli as the realisation that there is much work to do to refine the cost base, the product range and the financials required to make a living!
Inspired, overwhelmed, swamped with notes, invigorated …
NOW the hard work starts!