Jul 26
by Doug Piper

Butcher? Apprentice? Chef?

More state lockdowns and lockouts appear to be the new norm for Australians. Butchers have been given an excellent opportunity to get back on your feet and increase butchers market share of the fresh meat trade and on the other side the foodservice sector have been crippled by the worldwide pandemic.

There are many talented chefs currently pondering what the future will bring for them and how uncertain times will be moving forward.

If you are one of the fortunate butchers who have been able to grow and maintain your business and wondering how you can sustain the long hours, you have been doing due to labour shortages in the trade there may be an unseen benefit.

If you have not been able to find a young apprentice butcher, have you thought about employing either a chef or a mature aged apprentice, someone with food skills. There could be quite a number of chefs around who may be an asset to your business.

A chefs life is a hard one, some of them have to work evenings, breakfasts, lunches or all meals, weekends just like a butcher, but a split shift would be something I certainly would not like.

Have you looked at employing a chef to join your team? They are used to working long hours, most have some meat knowledge, good knife skills, good hygiene and above all cooking knowledge, they can give your customers cooking tips and suggestions of what else will go with their meals. Many of these tradesmen and women can hit the ground running then you will need to invest time teaching them the rest of the trade.

A chef can be an asset to your business. Add value to your range of fresh value added products (pastries, marinades, stir fry’s, wet dishes etc), as well as give you some great ideas for a variety of flavours and combinations for your sausage and burger or meatball trade, or even branch out into an instore-cooked range of meat products.

Many butchers have fully qualified chefs who have also completed their butchery apprenticeship working for them. These people can make your life so much easier and bring a lot of value to your business. They are the experts at reducing waste in your business by utilizing everything right down to the fat.

The shops I have seen that employ a chef are all thriving; the shops do not smell of fresh meat or hypo anymore, mouth-watering aromas of cooked foods hit you as you enter the shop. A great range of cooked and/or raw products displayed in the window, stylish window displays using different garnishes rather than curly leaf parsley and fruit.

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