Monday, January 31, 2011

up the tripe business and hello to the new business

when i judge a good business idea i always notice the reaction of the individual when I tell them the concept. Whenever i talk about the tripe concept the individuals either go "what a great idea", I love it, or they go UUUURGHE, sies, Offal. The fact is over 90% of people who tasted and heard about the concept loved it...and thats why i called it "I love tripe". I dont want to beat around the bush but this is a "black" concept, and while white people stick their noses up at it it amazes me that they would probably try it when travelling in Italy but resist when at home. Sies man, thats not nice. As I said before this is a concept whose time is now. I will see the appropiate financing and cook and sell shortly. As far as the world tripe festival goes i will wait till winter when i feel this concept will be even stronger.
This means that i need to make the very difficult choice of a new business for February. I have been dying to do the soccer cooperative for such a long time now that i think a coop will be exciting and different to what i have already done, namely a Trust(stickfighting) and a franchise food model. I will add in the franchise docs still for the tripe model as well as the recipes for you to try. Nick and I are also going to do a tripe cookbook so you can all indulge in this lekker food.

Friday, January 28, 2011

feeling exhausted today

i am feeling so tired i can hardly write this post. Running new things is so hard when you are doing other things, dealing with children, other people's emotions. I have always said that to be an entrepreneur it would be better being single and young. Soooo tired of all the other stuffing around. I am wrapping up the tripe franchise idea and am excited about it. Funding will come as it always does and i'm in no rush. i do however want to do the tripe cookbook as well as the world tripe festival asap. i havent decided on March business yet. I have a few options. The soccer fan coop, the green board, the stock in a box, ball watching, or talent spotting???? decisons decisions. all innovative, fresh and new concepts....all exciting.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My reflections on franchises ( food)

Setting up a food franchise seems like such a simple exercise and yet it has proven to be very diffulct due to the amount of detail needed. Also unlike other businesses the level of investment is much higher as there is testing needed and daily costs that cannot get recouped quickly. the rewards are however large and the final product will be worth it. My feeling is that we have put everything in place now and I need to get some financing for the franchise. I did lose quite a few days ( 10) in the month due to holidays but this is no excuse. The risk for me is to put all my own money in i need to drive this business on my own saving operational costs. Hoever i have so many other things to do that this is not practical right now. So with all the 12 businesses it seems that testing the concepts, launching them in the public eye, building a business case is the way forward for me. if they take off like rocket ships then great. My biggest expense is paying staff which is just too risky right now. Is this an entrepreneusrhip lesson? I suppose it is. If you start a business you need to manage it yourself for a few years until you can hire a manager, not the other way round. For me there is no rush but i didnt start this business with employment in mind i started to test new innovations in the marketplace so this is what i will do. in the last 3 days we will wrap up the business case and costings and start marketing to investors and financing institutions. The other leson for me is that i will have so many business cases that have been well reserached which means i wont have all my bread in one basket. Some will get the financing and others wont.

Monday, January 24, 2011

what a day! the food business is hard!

Alex and I went to the streets today to market and sell our tripe. Alex was running late and i was getting stressed, as he coudlnt find the containers for the day. at about 10.30am he arrived in his dads bakkie and we went down the road, parked in a loading zone, lit up the gas and started to sell within minutes. There is so doubt about the demand for the product and generally all the recipes were very well liked. We had curry ( needed a bit more and needed more seasoning), chilli tomato ( the most popular), onion and ginger and coriander. The people liked all the flavours and most people said they would buy again. There were so many lessons today...
1. The lids need to be on all the time
2. People use other words for tripe like pens ( stomach) and offal when marketing
3. The bowls we used need lids ( as many people like to eat at their desks)
4. We need to have salt sachets as well as spicy sauces
5. People also like home made steam bread and pap ( as tripe has plenty of gravy)
6. Tripe needs to be watched carefully in terms of its sell-by date/ this makes it a daily fresh product
7. The warmers need to be simple and without gas which is expensive
8. the cleaned tripe we bought from the supplier was frozen and was less than the weight we bought it for

with all these learnings the next steps are:

1. franchise financing
2. Costing of the whole model in detail
3. Logistics in more detail
4. a cooking facility for daily tripe
5. The detailed booklet for the tripe business

The business model will be to sell the franchises for around R50,000 and these franchises are trained to follow the tripe model. they will purchase the cooked tripe from us on a daily basis with our recipes only.

The food business is a tough business. The detail is so intense that any little mistake can lead to disaster. However there was a real demand for this product and we sold 70 servings in 2 hours. There is money to be made here and plenty of jobs created as well as opportunities for young black entrepreneurs. There is also a huge amount of work to be done as well.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

selling tripe on the streets

my biggest philosophy in life is to be a doer. It literally is the hardest step to take for most people. It goes beyond thinking and planning and just doing and learning and building confidence. Today we will sell tripe on the streets and see what we can learn. We will see what the public thinks and says. It will be exciting and it will be tough. As an entrepreneur this is something that you need to do rather than someone else. I am excited and concerned what people will think. Will they like it, or put their noses up to it? who knows! Maybe you will see me on the streets selling tripe. Today is the first day of a new business and i will tell younall about it tomorrow.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

tripe franchise costs

Alex is meeting with a business banker from FNB tomorrow to discuss franchising and financing for franchises etc. Should hopefully come out with some good information and information packs. It is essential that all details pertaining to starting a new franchise is acquired. Its not as easy getting the correct information but hopefully through our experience others can learn from our mistakes and experience.
We are good to go with the cooking of the tripe this weekend. Just hired the gas cookers, gas and pots – collecting tomorrow. Buying all ingredients tomorrow as well – total cost of R1061 for the weekend hire for all equipment, R400.00 of which is a deposit – so total hiring costs are R661.00 for the weekend.
we havent really costed the whole start up process but that is the beauty of the way i do things. I do them first then work on the costs. Sort of backward but i beleive this is the way forward for many businesses otherwise they just dont get off the ground. i am driven to getting things done and then hoping for a snowball effect. I asked my friend Dorria Watts who is the best PR I know for names of magazine and newspaper foodies which she has given me. Alex and I will send them a outline of the tripe franchise idea as well as some samples. Just hope they take to the idea as quickly as the media took to the stickfighting concept.
Just got a price list from A&S Distributors. Alex 's brother brother put himm onto them – they supply restaurants, stores with product. So our costs will now go down because the costs of a majority of the ingredients will be going down. Will be able to calculate new costs with this price list. We can use financials I sent you for February trial period though as we need to finalise issues such as cooking of tripe labour costs, transport costs of tripe from place of cooking to traders in town, other cooking costs such as equipment, premises etc. I will do some homework on these items and start putting together the final franchise numbers that will go into the franchise document.
T-shirts are being collected tomorrow as well as cooking equipments as mentioned above. Packaging will also be purchased tomorrow. cant wait to se the T-shirts on the streets.
on the promotion side we will only do a small run in the beginning and i have decided to sell from the start, even before promoting the product. My thinking is if it sells from day 1 then it will sell all the time. Thinking what Donald Trump would do on the apprentice.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the tripe business is gaining momentum

its all getting very exciting as we near to the launch of our product on the streets of cape town. Alex mother and mother-in-law will be making the product and we have our locations set out on various street corners. We will cook on Sunday and start to promote on monday. The T-shirts are ready and will say. " I Love Tripe". On the same day i will send samples to various radio stations and journalists with the promoters and their t-shirts. After monday we can reassess and see where we are in terms of the business. I have encouraged alex to docuemnt every little detail as we want it to be a franchise operation. we have also decided on a venue for the first tripe festival (probably in the world) which will be a small park in a small suburb in Athlone. I want it to be really local and for the locals to really buy into it. when other people start arriving and producing their tripe they may get a big surprise and become excited about future events. The prize for the best tripe on the day of the festival will be R1,000 and the recipes have to be produced. what alex and i are learning is to keep a detailed record of everything, even every converstaion we have for a franchise operation, and that cleaning and cooking tripe is an onerous process which has become a USP for us...strange.

Friday, January 14, 2011

dreams and visions of a madman

14 days into the tripe business and its all going really well. i am really happy with alex and i am convinced that the tripe festival is going to be a real hit. i can see it already. a small park, a few tripe stands, lots of community action as people come and sample and buy all the different products. a winner for the day and one big happy rounded face of a woman from the area. As i hand her the cheque of R1,000 i am drawn to her success and her pride in cooking something she has been doing forever and perhaps the recipe that has been used for centuries. i can see myself taking a whole load of scrap papers with recipes scralled over them and i can see myself poring over them and shaking my head. Wow i'm thinking this is so awesome. i can see the cookbook on the shelves and i can see queues of people buying tripe of the streets. all of this giving me joy. if i can see it already then i know it will become real. i only wish that everyone can take their own visions, and dream them and see them and keep doing this until they are real. What a great feeling. This is what an entrepreneur is all about. That great feeling.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I forgot to mention in my last blog that I also want the first Tripe festival probably in the world.
In order for the tripe business to get off the ground there are a number of details we are working on.
1. Permits. And you know how i hate permits. These include health and safety permits and hawkers licences. On the tripe business however the health permits are a good thing when it comes to food but lets see how comprehensive they are. if they are like the "entertainment permits" we received for stick fighting then i am not sure i will be too impressed and i'm not too worried about this.
2. The process of purchasing the tripe and various suppliers. These are looking positive and i dont see any problems.
3. Cooking the tripe...not sure who is going to do this yet???
4. recipes and testing of recipes. There are 4 varieties that we need to test on the streets in the next few days. These are curry, tomato and onion, spicy, mushroom. Based on teh feedback of people we will choose 2 for the stand. I also want an open competition for people to send recipes and bring samples to a single place over 1 day of sampling. The winner will receive R1,000 and we will use best recipes for the cookbook. The winners will also be able to have the option of becoming chefs for the business.
5. The mobile units. In a new business i dont want to expend too much capital in infrastructure until we have tested the concept fully. My friend Yolanda has some units we can use and i hope this works out. Otherwise we will be needing another a chinese bicycle! (thanks douglas)
6.The logistics of moving a cooked product to the streets ideas yet?
Ps : the stick fighting company is flourishing, the next tournament is soon and we are getting plenty of publicity

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why a Tripe Franchise?

So you probably all think I am kind of crazy doing a tripe franchise. For those of you who dont really know what tripe is the intestines of the stomach. The idea actually came to me while travelling in Italy. There I was in my first trattoria and on the menu was trippa (Tripe). So I ordered it and it was magnificent. I asked the owner if tripe was popular in Italy and he raved and raved about its importance to genuine Italian cusisine. I then went to the largest Florentine open air market and the most popular stall was the tripe stall which was considered very famous. In the queue were office workers in suits and ties and then it hit me! In a country like South Africa tripe is only seen as stinky poor man's food. In Italy the land of gastronomy it was seen as a gift and a delicacy...something that takes time to cook and revered as a popular food amongst rich and poor. Why not try and and popularise the concept in South Africa? So this is how the idea came about. Food franchises are very popular. So the business concept for the tripe franchise is as follows.

1. Formulate a mobile street tripe franchise that the general public love
2. Change people's perception about Tripe
3. Offer cooked tripe to top end restaurants for their menus
4. Publish a tripe recipe book

Welcome to "I love Tripe" coming to a corner near you!

Monday, January 10, 2011

an entrepreneur never gets to sleep

I have been away with my family for around 7 days on holiday and yet i have been in contact with Alex ( my man on the ground ) all the time building the next business " I love tripe".We have made some significant progress with the I love tripe business but more about that tomorrow. There were so many signs that this is the correct business #2. I met a farmer and we discussed tripe. I read in the succeed magazine about new food franchises and how they should do very well. None mentioned tripe which excites me even more as they hadnt thought about it. I spoke to a greek women who mentioned how her greek relatives love tripe. I spoke to an old friend from University who mentioned how much his realtives love tripe. I spoke to a politician on the plane who said the politicians during parliment love eating tripe. So even on holiday an entrepreneur never sleeps. I had alex doing the legwork, i was looking and thinking and stressing about being away, and yet trying to relax. Over the next few weeks i hope to get the first tripe stand on the streets in Cape town. I hope that everyone loves it.