Making decisions for your food enterprise
This resource has been developed from the second event “Making Informed Decisions” of the monthly webinar series: Like Peeling an Onion that explores the layers of community food enterprises.
It looks at how to make informed decisions for your business with decision-making approaches and insights from community food enterprises.
Event Two Insights –
A big thank you to Amelia Bright of Prom Coast Food Collective & Miranda Sharp of Melbourne Farmers Markets who shared valuable insights into their operations.
Prom Coast Collective –
- Farmer-led partnership established 2017
- Use the Open Food Network platform as a hub shopfront
- Able to set up the shopfront quickly and without capital
- 20 – 30 farmers now involved in PCFC and all manage their own stock and prices through Open Food Network shopfront
- Amelia and Sally dedicated a lot of time to training / upskilling other farmers to use the platform, now its all routine and working smoothly for all involved
- 2018 started doing metropolitan order drops which doubled the sales figures of PCFC
- February 2020 started doing home deliveries. This was prior to Covid-lockdown so they were able to manage with a huge increase in orders during the lockdown
- Wix for Emailing customers > have a strong open rate of 75%, send out between 3- 5 emails per order cycle
- Routific used to decide most efficient delivery route and notify customers once their order has been delivered.
- Slack for internally communicating with the PCFC farmers to send weekly order reports and packing lists
- Facebook to communicate to shoppers. PCFC are finding it increasingly challenging to get as much traction on posts organically as previously (see this article as to why). Have found more PCFC orders come through if a PCFC farmer shares/promotes through their networks.
- Reports in Open Food Network platform. See how PCFC use the reports here.
Melbourne Farmers Markets – Melbourne, Victoria
- Started on Miranda Sharp’s kitchen table in 2002 as one monthly market at Collingwood Children’s Farm
- Now a social enterprise with 300+ producers and (pre-covid) 20 markets per month across 7 sites
- The markets are all accredited by the Victorian Farmers Markets Association
- Decision-making processes on stallholder mix at markets incredibly complex and based on varying market specific contexts: physical size, location, viability of existing stallholders and more.
- Have determined the market model that appears to be most sustainable: weekly market at about 35 – 40 stallholders (consisting of 75% primary producers, 25% value-adding food businesses)
- The Uni Melb FM market is a different model (currently not running due to Covid-19): primarily food-to-go with emphasis on sourcing direct from Victorian producers. Challenge of it being a viable market for handful of primary producers attending: used lean experiment for Uni Melb FM to trial a veggie bag pre-sale system. Pre-sale provided certainty to veg producer that the market would be worth their while to attend. Quick, easy collaborative experiment.
- Trybooking is used for stallholder fee payment therefore used the platform to quickly implement a pilot project for veggie bag ordering at the Uni Melb FM.
Notes from group discussion:
- Increasing emphasis on pre-sold produce across farmers’ markets and food enterprises found by webinar participants to reduce risk and increase certainty for producers.
- Some decisions not necessarily all data-driven particularly when it involves building strong relationships with customers / producers.
- PCFC and MFM have found gut-feel / experiential data decisions are informed by intimate knowledge and experience.
- PCFC able to continue making decisions based on experiential data as they don’t have significant capital and therefore risk involved.
- What is the percentage of wages for a food enterprise that is sustainable? EdiGrocer are at 20% and Amber Creek Farm are at 25% > discussion that 30% is what makes it viable.
- Webinar participants have found good responses to SMS mailing lists with text message reminders but noted it can be costly.
- Webinar participants noted certain points of their transactions that they pass the responsibility and onus to the customer (i.e. PCFC don’t use insulated packaging for varying reasons which also ensures customers are more diligent with correctly storing/refrigerating their delivery goods, EdiGrocer only offer certain days for delivery based on customer location).
- Facebook moving towards paid reach rather than organic reach. Here is an article on how to increase your organic reach on Facebook.
- Webinar participant has found this resource helpful Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook 2019/20 for information on the ‘top veggies’ people buy, where grown and how much people purchase.
Further ResourcesDecision Making Tools:
- Ease Value Matrix: a method to help you prioritise tasks and make decisions based on value and effort involved. View the matrix and see further steps and details in this article by Laura Trotter.
- Lean Approach Hypothesis Testing: a method to help you identify and test your assumptions by creating a hypothesis, experiment and then validating this. Download this easy to use template by Stephen Bolen.
- Mailchimp Marketing Analytics article
- Guide to Instagram Analytics
- Facebook: Business Suite, Ads Manager, Events Manager
- Open Food Network Platform UserGuide: Reports
- Lean Start-Up: a method for identifying and testing assumptions
- Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook 2019/20 for information on the ‘top veggies’ people buy, where grown and how much people purchase.
View other resources from series:
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