for Butcher Shop in Ventura, CA
Ventura Meat Company is a high-end butcher shop in Ventura. Established in 2011, they are Ventura’s first sustainable butcher shop and meat market.
They approached us in Spring/Summer of 2020 to create a custom online store system which would allow their customers to purchase meats online in precise weights, then setup a no-contact pickup system that would satisfy Covid-19 social distancing requirements. They knew that a pay online first / no-contact pickup later solution would be ideal for customers who wanted high quality meats for cooking at home. Due to Covid-19, the amount of people cooking at home grew rapidly nearly overnight, and this created a sudden, large demand for high quality meats, and a new group of potential customers for Ventura Meat Company.
Square was generally working fine for the client as a straightforward point of sale solution for inside the shop. Customers would select a product, our client would weigh the order, then their customer would swipe their card. Square was providing reasonable rates, but when the client wanted to start selling online, they hit a major issue.
Butcher shops need to be able to sell items as fractional quantities (e.g. 1.3 pounds of chicken). In fact, most items are rarely sold as whole integers (e.g exactly 1 pound). Not being able to sell their meats online as a fractional quantity was a total deal breaker for the client and meant that they needed to look elsewhere for an online store solution. Our client at Ventura Meat Company had raised the need for this feature to their representative at Square numerous times for several years. They were eventually told that Square couldn’t provide that solution.
Square provides account reps to their retail clients like Ventura Meat Company. These account reps can provide basic support, but are not in a position to raise custom requests to the software developers. Our client realized that in order to achieve the functions they needed, they would have to find a company that:
We did a phone interview with the client to get some of their unfiltered thoughts about the entire process of breaking away from stock solutions and building something unique. Questions in bold. Here's how it went:
We asked them many times. We had been with Square for 9 years, and they have a few premade solutions that we experimented with, but it didn’t work for us. They were good for simple credit card processing because their rates were fair, but when we’re selling meats, we needed to be able to sell things as fractional quantities.
In simple terms, Square would only allow us to sell, for example, 1 pound of chicken breast. If a customer wanted to buy 1.3 pounds, they couldn’t accommodate that through website orders. When we’re dealing in meats, things are rarely a whole integer like 1 pound. So, as a butcher shop, not having this functionality was a deal breaker for us.
Recently, after a long wait and many messages to our account manager, they did finally roll out the ability to sell goods as fractional quantities, and when they did my first thought was to find a way to migrate this into website orders.
Yes. Kind of like how I was going close to the source to get the best meats, I wanted to go close to the tech experts to get the best solution, and not have to go through a lower level account manager who couldn’t get what I needed built. I knew if I could find someone local with the right tech skills, that would be ideal.
What you guys do is lay the groundwork, and make it easier for us to interact with the technology. There was a lot of nuance in configuring everything to work correctly, and you guys were very accommodating and patient. I have definitely learned a lot and have a great deal of reverence for it.
It all comes down to quality. Some people are surprised to learn that not all meat is created equal - there is high quality meat, then there is middle and low quality. We deal only in high quality. People understand this with merchandise and other things, but not necessarily in meat. What we do is provide the best quality meat, from the best sources, that practice the best animal stewardship. We can ensure our meats are the best quality by carefully selecting our sources.
We’ve been doing this for over 10 years, and we wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t have customers coming back on a regular basis.
It’s a new idea - the no contact pickup option was purely covid inspired. Prior to covid, we were able to run efficiently using a traditional, in-store, walk-in arrangement. People would walk in, we have a large shop with plenty of space, then they would place an order and we would provide it to them.
This workflow was perfect for us at the time. But when social distancing rules fell into place, we wanted to get ahead of the issue and provide a safe social distancing option to get high quality meats.
It has been very popular. We’ve actually had the best year in our company’s history this year.
More people are cooking at home now - they are doing this to save money, to practice distancing, and because there are fewer options for eating out or carry out. When people find themselves cooking more, they naturally start seeking better ingredients. And when they’re using high quality meats, they notice the difference.
The Final Code is exactly what we needed when we had to have something tailor made for our business. To create an online ordering system that worked for our exact shop and the way we sell, we had to have something custom made for us. You were able to build what Square could not, so it was a perfect partnership for both of us.
This was a new solution The Final Code was able to create. This was really convenient, we had somewhere close to 300 orders. Having to individually email or call people to let them know it was ready would not have been possible ... some people placed the order in September so we had to notify them it was ready.
Leveraging tech to enhance people’s buying experience is a must have for businesses now. Making things easy can be the difference between having a one-time transaction with a customer, or turning them into a regular. We want to earn business by being the best, and we’re excited because we were already providing the best meats and in-store experience, and now we have a really modern digital buying experience as well. This is exactly what we wanted.
I was trying to find better meat locally and there was nowhere to find it - so I decided to start the company and do it myself. I knew I couldn’t be the only person that wanted to put better food in my body. 12 years later, it turned out I was right. We have people come in and tell us they’ve been looking for a place just like this, and we’ve also been able to turn new people on to better foods. This is what I set out to do and it’s working.
Of the businesses that closed in 2020 as a result of Covid-19, approximately 75% were food based - including restaurants and food trucks. This pandemic and recession was knocking right at our client’s front door due to their industry. Our solution was able to not only shield them from the same economic conditions that closed 800 small businesses every day in 2020, but allow them to have their best year in their decade in business.
This project is a perfect example of taking intelligent action to adapt. This client recognized that Covid-19 presented an opportunity to meet a brand new problem that everyone was experiencing (pandemic and social distancing requirements), and fill a suddenly increased need for something (high quality meats to cook at home). They chose The Final Code as a technology partner that could make it possible for them to solve people’s problems, and open their business up to many new customers, all while shielding them from the economic downturn that permanently closed 60% of small businesses.