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Branchfood

The hot new hub for Boston food Startups

· food tech coworking,Entrepreneurship,Boston

WooHoo! My First Flog!

That's what a food blog is called right?

So just what is Lauren Abda cooking-up over at Branchfood? A whole lot of things. My first week working out of the Branchfood space was just as I would have expected: Welcoming, Sunny, Full of great focus/working vibes & Stuffed with delicious impromptu snacks.

Branchfood welcomes all food-related startups and it has a particular focus on Food Tech. There is a massive wall of 5 large monitors at one work station that actually managed to dwarf my editing station. The team is coding something or another and it is AWESOME.

Another example of this kind of food tech company is My Web Grocer. I wasn't even trying to kiss-up to them, but I walked into the office the first day with my library book detailing the story behind Trader Joe's. (You see how I tricked you into e-visiting the ole' BPL rather than Amazon.com?) I'll just cut to the chase and share the most valuable info thus far. Apparently, Aldi & TJ's recipe for success is to prioritize low cost and high quality.

  • Offer reasonable prices on a line of distinctive products that can't be purchased anywhere else, thereby creating a bond with customers.
  • Have more products that are ready-to-make rather than ready-to-eat to attract those who want to be involved with their food.
  • Take a hard look at existing products and don't be afraid to drop those that customers don't need. (They don't need 20 varieties of the same toothpaste or 10 sizes of the same laundry detergent*.)
  • Hire, train and retain people who enjoy interacting with customers and are capable of suggestive selling.
  • Develop relationships with suppliers based on the research and development of new products* not on promotional allowances.
  • Know your customers. Find out about their lifestyle and how you fit in-not the other way around. Ask them what they like and don't like and how you can make things better.
  • Build stores of a manageable size with a specialty focus.
  • Pursue innovation. Don't just copy what the competition is doing

*Connotes upcoming blog topics.

As for the business structure, I really aspire to follow all of their values: 1. No waste or frivolity for executives 2. Simplicity 3. Modest Leadership 4. Secrecy 5. Fairness to staff and suppliers 6. focus on customer 7. Trustworthiness and predictability to provide the highest cost at the lowest price possible.

Anyone who worked with Unagency knows that #7 was a particularly big priority the past two years. We worked really hard to provide a consistent level of service to all startups. That is why I have tried to focus on specific, easily replicable offerings. It takes a village to pull it off!

Chef's Table ~ Season 1, Episode 3

"I like to have a bunch of gypsy chefs helping. What we have is what it’s called in spanish ‘maestranza,’ which means getting help from those around you. It’s a very beautiful word, it’s very romantic”

"I like to have a bunch of gypsy chefs helping. What we have is what it’s called in spanish ‘maestranza,’ which means getting help from those around you. It’s a very beautiful word, it’s very romantic” - Francis Mallmann

What could be more fitting during Unagency's first week in Branchfood than watching my first episode of Netflix's Chef's Table? Now that is the perfect combination of digital + food. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love being a gypsy and never have enough creatives. When I looked-up Mallaman's reference however, it became all the more fitting as it has a military connotation and usually refers to an arsenal, dockyard or machine shop place/workers.

Took this picture on Thursday as we were editing our final Unagency project before shifting gears to food collaborations and new ventures.

Tom came to work with the Unagency shortly after leaving college. He'll find this hilarious because I referred to his first year as bootcamp. But hey - he's definitely flourishing with a great work life balance, taking challenges and getting great clients. These Unagency collaborations with fledgling startups were feats of wonder. I can't believe how much we accomplished as just a small team helping clients with even smaller budgets. Coordinating talent for last minute shoots would have been cost prohibitive if people weren't already working in a studio-like space with flexible schedules. Low cost, consistent quality, and happy digital artists can be achieved but it takes a freakin' maestranza. 

I am thrilled to be working out of the Branchfood space for a little while with my roving studio and only hope that our food collaborations will make Lauren Abda proud. Perhaps first-things-first, I should refine my food photography skills so next week I am going to harvest some food photography tips by having a little chat with fellow gypsy Bonni Pacheco.

(The post is on Medium:

Photo by Bonni Pacheco

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