Premium burger producer Muddy Boots to open own chain of shops
Founders Miranda and Roland Ballard decided to take the step after refusing a partnership with the supermarket giant that would have taken their burgers to the mass market.
Although the company’s burgers are sold in 100 Waitrose stores and its contract with online grocer Ocado has grown by 400% this year, the tie-up would have led to a major increase in brand recognition for the small producer.
However, in an interview with The Telegraph Miranda Ballard said: “We didn’t want to be seen as a volume product. Mass always undermines premium.... We use top end, high quality, British beef. And while we wouldn’t have compromised quality, everyone we spoke to said that listing in Tesco would make them see us differently.”
The Ballards see the new chain of shops as being traditional butchers with a modern twist with “no hanging carcasses and blooded white.”
"We’ll have longer opening hours, and we’ll serve wine and charcuterie in the evenings. We’ll have a fresh lunch menu every day and our products will mostly be packaged with the use-by date and cooking instructions, rather than out in slabs of meat. We’re not actually competing with traditional butchers, we’re competing with the supermarkets,” Ballard told The Telegraph.
The couple plan to open up to 10 shops over the next six years with the first launching in Crouch End in North London in February 2014. Ballard added: “We’re starting with London but we plan to spread beyond the capital. If we wanted a quick sale we could have just fattened the carcass with the Tesco deal but we’re obsessed with growth. We dream of being a national food brand.”
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