When you hear the term “comfort food in a bowl,” what do you think of? I can think of a number of flavors of ice cream that would create comfort food in a bowl for me! Pecan praline, mint chocolate chip, mocha chip… I’d better stop there! Branding is all about creating some sort of feeling for your brand, hopefully positive. I’m not sure ice cream has to work terribly hard at creating a comfort food good feeling for my taste, but most other products do. Lasse Anderson is the founder of Grod’s, (be aware that you’ll have to translate the website!) a 12-seat shop that serves $8 bowls of its namesake food: hot mashed oats, spelt or barley, often with milk and a fruit compote mixed in. When lunch or dinner rolls around, the menu changes to $10 to $11 bowls of risotto, Asian-inspired congee and Indian dal.
“Every culture has a version of porridge,” Andersen says. (Maybe my version of porridge is ice cream?) “With some dishes, they take whatever grains are available, cook them and get all their basic nutrition from them. ” I found it interesting that Andersen started out by studying music in London, but switched his emphasis to entrepreneurship after buying to-go cups of porridge at the train station. It was then he decided to bring high-quality porridge to his hometown. Andersen used $50,000 inheritance money to begin and muddled his way through Copenhagen’s municipal bureaucracy to obtain permits and found his first suppliers on Google. So how did Andersen get from creating his porridge comfort food in a small shop to selling it through 7-Eleven stores and supermarket chains, bringing in nearly $800,000 in 2014? I see a couple key principles:
- Tenacity and Perseverance: Andersen muddled through the bureaucracy and paperwork to make his business happen.
- Capital: Andersen had some capital to begin with. You have to have some resources, even if it’s not $50,000 or more as Andersen had.
- Start Small: A 12-seat shop would be a small room, which is hardly in the imagination of most who start restaurants. But Andersen wasn’t sure if his shop would be a take-away or eat-in venue, so he started small.
- Expand: Andersen opened another shop, even smaller than the first. He found that people still wanted to sit and eat, but not for a very long time.
- Work Hard: Andersen attended events, festivals and started catering. He then came out with a porridge cookbook and appeared regularly on a weekly TV cooking show.
- Tell Your Story: Andersen is passionate about his love of mashed oats and has mostly advertised by word-of-mouth by telling his story, “I love porridge.”
- Hire the Right People: Andersen’s employees aren’t always the most experienced, but someone who is down-to-earth and wants to wow the customer. This creates the Positive Energy (see Positive Energy blog for more ideas!) Andersen wants and needs for his brand!
So how does comfort food apply to your business? Start with the seven ways listed above! (Read about Goal Setting here!) With a world and society that is screaming for an authentic experience, Andersen, in his own small way, is making a difference. His brand is much larger than his shops and he hopes his great brand and ideology will be spread around the world. (possibly soon in New York as a U.S. location) I hope you find inspiration in this small example to focus on your unique story that you are passionate about. Apply those seven principles above (with your own Short-Term Goals) and I look forward to your amazing success!
Subscribe to Facebook Musician Page & Monthly Newsletter! ©Deborah Johnson • Twitter: @DJWorksMusic • www.DJWorksMusic.com Check out FREE Download of 70 page Study Guide: 40 Days to Getting Un-Stuck. “Comfort in a Bowl,” by Grant Davis, Entrepreneur Magazine (April, 2015) p. 16-17
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