The son of an Air Force Sergeant, Julius West lived in many parts of the United States as a child. He enjoyed sampling dishes from the different areas he called home, and spent many hours in the kitchen with his mother where they prepared traditional, homestyle dishes. This inspired Julius to open his food truck in 2012, and his delicious shrimp & grits quickly became the most popular item on the menu. He recently decided to retire his food truck and focus on selling his bottled shrimp and grits sauce.
Julius engaged TAP because he needed help with a sales and marketing strategy for his new business. He also wanted direction on managing his finances.
Julius and TAP
TAP consultants, Christine Iozza Lukkes and Souha Alameddine, worked with Julius to better understand the Sarge’s brand, its target market and its competition. The consultants suggested changes to the company logo and website to better reflect the focus on the new jarred sauce. Knowing it would be difficult to build a following for a new product solely online, they made recommendations on how to get Sarge’s Sauce to market via local groceries and fish markets. They emphasized the importance of sampling and suggested taking it to events such as fairs, festivals and farmer’s markets. Christine and Souha reviewed Julius’ FaceBook campaign and suggested testing out different targets segmented by geography, age and interests. The pair also created P&L and cash flow worksheets so Julius could get a better understanding of his revenues and expenses. Finally, they researched potential grants and showed Julius how to apply for funding under programs like the Restaurant Recovery Fund.
Where is Sarge’s now?
With TAP’s help Julius is taking Sarge’s Sauce to the next level. He recently got his product into three grocery chains and has received interest from food service companies. Sales have increased 15-20%. He eliminated some marketing channels that were not effective and is working on updating his logo and product labels. Julius also introduced a new product, packaged ground grits and is excited about its prospects. He uses spreadsheets that TAP consultants created for him to keep track of his finances and says, “TAP put us on a good path and taught us to focus on what is most important. I am more discerning about keeping my expenses in line.” Julius is energized by his business’ growth and is hopeful for the future.
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