“The experts” disagree in Globe & Mail Challenge
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“The experts” disagree in Globe & Mail Challenge

Nick Rockel, a freelance writer for the Globe & Mail asked me to comment on the challenge facing Mikuni Wild Harvest. Here is the article: Formerly for chefs only, soon on store shelves .

The article reveals a notable divergence in approach between two of the contributors. Lynn Bevan, a partner at Ernst & Young, sees the business of selling directly to restaurants as “very different than a business-to-consumer model” and they are “starting from scratch.” On the other hand, I recommend they treat the step as evolutionary.

Starting an e-commerce business selling fresh produce, unless they concentrate on selling shelf stable products, would certainly be exciting but it would be more challenging than rewarding. Most shoppers like to see and touch fresh produce before they buy, so it would be a long hard struggle to get an online business revved up.

Less exciting, but likely more successful, would be the evolutionary process of selling to consumers through specialty food retailers. They would need to pick ones with a high traffic of gourmet shoppers. The step from selling to their existing market of restauranteurs to specialty retail should not require a massive investment. No major change of direction is required as the mindset of the buyers at specialty food stores and restauranteurs are in most ways similar. They can build a retail presence in small steps. This approach capitalizes on their existing strengths and would be less risky than jumping into mass marketing to consumers.

To put it another way… steadily build off the enterprise’s strengths rather than risk the business by embarking on a new model.

Agree? Disagree?

By Tom Beakbane
Mikuni has an appealing story and a good looking website (oh but please get rid of the Flash)

Mikuni has an appealing story and a good looking website (oh but please get rid of the Flash).