Co-Op Deli

The people involved will determine the capability of the group.  Their spending will suggest the path to take to recover and redirect that spending to the company.  A deli operation takes advantage of diverse skill levels, culinary expertise, and offers a wider product variety than would a pizza or sandwich shop.  There is no special equipment required beyond those which would normally be found in a commercial kitchen.  In the store, hot and cold display units would be required, as they would in any other food service operation.  I see a deli type business as an entry level, barebones food service business from which all others can spring with the addition of specialized equipment and a staff with improved skills.  Anyone who has made dinner for a family would possess the skills for preparing the product.  If a recipe can be followed, the product selection can be customized according to the whim of the customers.  The co-op members serve as the core of the customer base, and can be utilized to perform product testing in a soft opening format.  

We can have cold cuts and cheeses the day we get our health department license.  A slicer, scale, calculator and pen, wax paper and ziplock bags and we are on our way.  We can take a whole ham at $1/pound, trim and carve it into manageable size, then slice it into cold cuts.  The quality is a leap ahead of the supermarket store brand 'baked ham' at $3.69 for 12 ounces.  

Put some turkey in the oven, slice up the breasts for the best turkey sandwich you ever had.  Turkey meat has a grain.  It has structure.  It should contain turkey and those few items added during baking, perhaps honey  Check the ingredients on the package of "Turkey Loaf" offered in your supermarket.  We bake the turkey, we've got the drippings to put to use to make a beautiful gravy.  Today's menu includes an open faced turkey sandwich with gravy and potato salad.  The rest of the turkey we use for pot pies, tetrazini, soup, salad, or any of a hundred other dishes

Tomorrow we bake pork loin.  If you've never had a sliced pork sandwich, you're missing out.  The day after tomorrow is meatloaf day.  Meatloaf sandwiches, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, and if you've ordered ahead you can take a whole pan of meatloaf home-we'll have it ready when you get here.  Roast beast and corned beef, prepared in our own kitchen pays our people rather than some company in New Jersey.  

We've got the bakery putting out bread.  We've got the deli with cold cuts and cheeses.  We've got fresh produce from the farm.  Adding on a sandwich shop can be done just by adding staff.  

We've got the bakery putting out bagels.  The deli is well suited to cream cheese blends.  For the fresh bread, herbal butter.  Salads from the produce strongly suggests we make our own dressing.  Take the day old bread, whip up a batch of croutons.  Better yet, use that bread in making garlic bread for Lasagna Night or stuffing to go with the turkey and gravy.  

As an extension of an already existing food service, the deli brings variety and much potential for ancillary sales: A sub shop would do well to offer potato salad with a sandwich or whipped butter with our fresh baked bread.  As a stand alone operation, the deli can be extended into these other enterprises:  We already have the cold cuts, let's make sandwiches.  We already have the meatballs and sausage, let's serve meatballs subs at lunch and spaghetti for dinner.  

A deli gives us the opportunity to take advantage of items found at a good price.  A supplier offers a sale price and volume discount on Boston butts, we can  make our own italian sausage.  200 families can go through a pile of sausage.  Hard to say what sort of volume the general public would use.  In the deli, sausage and peppers go on the menu served over rice.  

The deli is the foundation upon which to build a market with the general public.  Lunch can be a major draw.  Sandwiches and subs are on the menu as soon as we have the ingredients and staff lined up.  Hot foods ready to go adds a new dimension.  This aint a burger joint.  I stopped nto Burger King a few months back when I was working ot of town.  Forgive me.  It was the only place in town serving food and time was of the essence.  As I recall a quarter pounder with cheese #1 value meal ran me around 10 bucks.  We can do a whole lot better than that.  There are take out containers that are more generalized than a burger box.  We can put out a real meal.  BBQ pork with mashed potatoes, green beans, and a hunk of corn bread.  Sliced turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, a yeast roll, and whatever vegetable came in from the farm.  Stir fry vegetables over rice with a dinner roll.  Pasta with sauce, meatball or sausage and garlic bread.  Some of these can be produced at such a low cost we would probably compete effectively with the local burger joints.  At dinner, single meals is fine.  Serving family size meals and expanding the menu turns us into a Supper House.  A dining room makes us a restaurant.  Do we want to add a drive thru?  

A deli allows the co-op to redirect additional aspects of the family food spending: prepared foods.  The ingredients at our disposal would allow endless creativity.  The farm uses the deli as a market for its products.  The best produce is sold as fresh produce.  The bifurcated carrots go in the soup.  The misshaped tomatoes go into the sauce.  The oversized zuchinni become zuchinni parmesan and vegetable lasagna.  The marketable percentage of our crop production is greatly increase when we have a use for 2nd quality produce.  We put in the time and effort to grow it.  If it would be composted, but is instead utilized as an ingredient, it's effectively free.

Cooperative Enterprise, Plan Outline