Business Done Right Example – Local Pig / Pigwich
We had some free time this weekend and decided to head downtown (Kansas City) and explore a bit. For lunch, we stumbled across Pigwich and The Local Pig. If you’re not familiar with them, The Local Pig is a butcher shop in the East Bottoms that specializes in locally sourced, humanely raised meats and Pigwich is the ‘food truck’ that they tacked onto the back of the shop (*not actually a truck, but an old railroad car).
Not only did we end up having a great lunch and buying burgers and sausages for later this week, but it was also a great example of how a small, local business can thrive in today’s ultra-competitive environment. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the owners but here are my observations from just being a customer for one day along with some lessons for anyone else looking to stand out in their business.
The Local Pig and Pigwich basics:
The butcher shop and the food truck are open daily from 9:00 am to 7:30 and although it’s a small operation, they have a nice variety of meats (duck, pork, beef, lamb, sausage) along with charcuterie and some other smoked and prepared items. While we were in the shop, they were doing a brisk business – with a 1/2 dozen people waiting even though it was the middle of the afternoon.
The restaurant is also small and very simple. Their standing menu has 1/2 dozen items (with chips and drinks) and they run a daily special that’s different each day of the week. We had a double cheeseburger and the Banh Mi (spicy meatball sandwich) and both were excellent. Both had some unusual flavors and the meat (as you might expect) was very good.
Seating at the restaurant is simply outdoor picnic tables (shaded, but not covered) and although most people were sticking around to eat, we did see several take-out orders. There was a pretty good line to order when we got there around 1:30 but by mid-afternoon, they did slow down.
The overall perception? Without knowing any details about their revenue or cost structure, I suspect the business is doing very well. The food truck prices were reasonable, but not cheap and the butcher shop prices were a bit more than you’ll pay at your local grocery store, but it’s also a different product (local, fresh, etc.). We haven’t cooked the burgers or sausages we picked up yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Their cost structure for overhead is likely low – it’s in a rough part of town and their building has been around a long time with not a lot of other stuff around it. Overall, I would suspect they are able to generate a good profit margin on what they’re doing.
What works and lessons to learn
A few things stand out to me in terms of what’s making them popular and why they’re succeeding:
1. They are keeping things simple.
Both operations are streamlined, with not a lot of complexity in terms of the number and kinds of products they’re selling. That allows them to deliver an excellent outcome on what they do and you’re either going to appreciate what they do or it’s not going to be your thing. It’s hard to overstate how important that kind of simplicity is when it comes to running a successful business. Over time, everything becomes more complex – so having a simple foundation makes it a lot easier to handle growth.
Can you make your business simpler? What would that look like?
2. They are playing to their strengths and driving extra revenue.
Adding the food truck at the back of the shop is just brilliant. Period. The butcher shop gives them expertise and access to high-quality meats, what better way to showcase those products than to offer them as fantastic sandwiches that people are going to talk about? And it gives them a chance to drive a lot of extra revenue – we bought lunch, and then bought from the shop – effectively doubling what we would have spent on one or the other.
What extras could you offer that people really want and would be easy for you to offer?
3. They are hitting popular trends.
There’s a lot of talk these days about local food, farm-to-market, etc. and The Local Pig is a great example of that trend. I don’t know if they purposely took advantage of the trend, helped create it or just happened to be in the right place at the right time, but it’s a great way to stand out. The other trend they are following is offering a subscription service for weekly (or bi-weekly) deliveries. Not only is this something people are interested in and talking about right now, but it’s also a great business model that helps create a stable cash flow.
What trends are impacting your industry? Are you on the right side of them?
Can you apply any of these ideas to your business?
Obviously, every industry is different, but if you want to be a long-term successful small business owner, then you need to find ways to stand out… and to drive interest and The Local Pig is a great example of doing things the right way. If nothing comes to mind right away for your business, it might be worthwhile to carve out some time and really dig deep (maybe with a SWOT analysis?) to see if you can come up with some ideas that might help you upgrade your business.
Last thoughts – not everything is perfect with The Local Pig. I like their website, but it might be a little too simple. They would benefit from having their story on the website (tell us about the owner, how they got started, more on what they believe, etc.) and I suspect long term that they would benefit from a better location. Actually, what I’d like to see them do is open a 2nd location in South Leawood (near my house…), we could really use something like this in our neighborhood…!
What do you think? Have you been to The Local Pig or Pigwich? Share your thoughts on what they’re doing in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach