THE EXPERIENCE OF A RUSSIAN BUSINESSMAN FROM GREECE.
57-year-old Sergei Kupriyanov is a professional meat seller. Having Greek maternal line, he emmigrated to Greece in 1998 and opened a butcher shop there safely conducting business until the year 2012. The country’s debt crisis, which began five years ago, led to a sharp drop in people’s ability to pay. “I stayed only with a thick notebook with records of bills from my clients who just couldn’t pay,” said Sergey. According to him, any anti-crisis measures in the business no longer helped. Greek people switched to subsistence farming. The only business that survived was livestock breeding.
Sergey found partners in Kazakhstan. This is a country where people love meat and as Kupriyanov says that they only eat meat. He has managed to organize a modern livestock breeding farm for two years and built a network of shops “Antrikot” in Karaganda. Sergey talks about selling meat with reverence comparing his business with the production of handmade chocolate. The entrepreneur told “Delovaya Sreda” what conclusions he did from the experience of the crisis in Greece and participation in the development of beef production in Kazakhstan.
THINK ABOUT THE IMMEDIATE NEEDS OF CUSTOMERS!
People in Kazakhstan love cooking meat themselves. Russian people are not afraid of semi-finished products and beef in vacuum packaging. And nobody knows what is in the forcemeat manufactured in Europe. When I developed my trade approach to meat, I imagined a tired woman who was still cooking after work to feed her husband and children.
DEVELOP YOUR OWN CULINARY DURING A CRISIS!
When the crisis began, I was trying to survive and keep the business. I tried to find a new approach to customers. I began to preare my own production of semi-finished and finished food products such as chops, steaks, rolls, schnitzels from all kinds of meat. My customers liked my products because they did not have a shelf life. They could buy them, bring home and cook. Two neighbouring rival shops closed and I almost increased the sales twice. I could not resist the crisis only because people had no money and they began to take meat from their relatives in the villages.
DO NOT BE GREEDY, TREAT THE CUSTOMERS!
My staffs do not ask the customers what they want to buy from my stores. We are interested in what the buyer wants to cook. I allow them to taste the products. I have installed an oven, so our customers can have a try and feel the result, which can be achieved with our meat. This allows me to explore the consumers’ taste. In addition, the “word-of-mouth” works.
BUTCHERING MEAT IS ART!
People come to the shop just to see how we work. A meat shop should be clean as an operating room. Cutting meat should not be done on wrapping paper but in a way that customers can see the working conditions in which you process the meat. The technology and cutting tools you work with are important. Once, I saw how meat was carried on a rusty cart to the trading floors of a supermarket in St. Petersburg and it happened before the eyes of passing customers. This is unacceptable.
CREATE YOUR OWN FARM FOR FATTENING ANIMALS!
You will not depend on suppliers and if you do everything properly, the quality of your meat will profitably differ from competitors’ products. There are two types of veal: dairy – 1 to 8 months calves, which eat only milk, and semi dairy – 9 to 12 months calves, which gradually switch to eating grass. I have noticed that very few people in Russia and Kazakhstan think about meat quality at the stage of rearing animals. They begin to feed young calves with forages, and eighteen-month-old calves are ready for reproduction. Specially bred animals degenerate, and this affects the quality of meat. We were afraid to take meat from the wholesalers in Kazakhstan, so we grew the cattle themselves.