Growing your food business: Part 1

Learn how to grow your business from a direct sales or small wholesale business into a large-scale wholesale business. Michigan food processors offer tips that they have learned through the school of hard knocks.

In this article, the owners of Fricano’s Pizza talks about tips for business expansion for food processors. The tips were given as part of the Making It In Michigan specialty food conference in Lansing, Michigan in November 2014.

Doug Fricano, of Fricano’s Pizza in Comstock Park, Michigan, sells their famous Fricano’s “il Sugo” Spaghetti Sauce wholesale, and now has it in 40 Spartan Food Stores. Fricano said a critical step for his business and any other is finding out whether they can duplicate the taste and consistency of the family recipe when producing the recipe in bulk. He found food sampling by patrons and others to be critical in finding the right bulk formula that matched the family recipe.

Fricano also advised processors to allow the product to “grow its own legs” and lead them in the direction of sales that the market demands. This takes patience and confidence in your product. “You can’t force growth or sales through pouring money into the business,” he said, but believes the product creates its own growth if it has the potential to succeed.

In following the above words of advice above, Fricano believes businesses should use their current production facility until they literally outgrow their capacity instead of trying to jump to the next step before they outgrow where they are. Since a new facility or use of a co-packer will mean more expenses and the need for more sales, make sure you have the orders and are ready for this step before leaping into it.  

The MSU Product Center hosts Making It In Michigan, Michigan’s premier specialty food show and conference, each year in November in Lansing.

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides business counseling for product development and marketing strategies that will help Michigan entrepreneurs commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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