Chef Federico Duarte, Head of Business Design and Co-Founder at MILL Food Intelligence, sat down with the Managers Abroad team.

In this podcast, Chef Duarte talks about how their consulting firm has been assisting entrepreneurs to succeed in the food and beverage industry in China.

In 2014, Federico and his team decided to bridge the gap between food-related consultancy and business strategy consultancy. Thus creating a food consulting firm that transforms ideas into scalable products and business concepts.

With their expertise in the kitchen and business acumen, MILL Food Intelligence currently assists three segments in the food industry: the product manufacturers, food services, and culinary education.

Here are some takeaways that can help food entrepreneurs increase the chances of their business’ success, according to Chef Federico Duarte.

1. Plan extensively, then execute swiftly

Plan extensively, then execute swiftly

Most food entrepreneurs make the mistake of “winging it”, but Chef Federico thinks otherwise. For food and beverage related businesses to succeed, extensive planning is needed. Some forget the importance of planning ahead of time and open too fast, only to realize that they won’t know what to do when challenges hit them. Food entrepreneurs need to make sure that their game plan is well formulated, and once it’s foolproof, they can execute these plans at full speed.

2. Make sure you understand and keep updated with food regulations.

Make sure you know and understand food regulations

Food entrepreneurs sometimes overlook the importance of understanding food regulations. China is very sensitive when it comes to food, and legislators are very strict in implementing them. It pays to be up to date with these regulations so as not to earn any violations that may hurt your establishment’s reputation, or worse, get you shut down completely.

3. Understand your competition and come up with unique offers

Understand your competition and come up with unique offers

Nowadays, eating is no longer just about sustenance. Going beyond the taste buds and creating unique experiences for your customers through your food, ambience and services should also be on top of your list. The information you get from extensive research and planning will help you develop, design and create products and services that will set you apart from the others.

4. Pay attention to your company culture

company culture

One thing that food entrepreneurs should pay a special attention to is creating a company culture that encourages its employees to be passionate about what they do. If the staff is motivated to care for and love the tasks assigned to them, and then they will be able to give the best service to their patrons. In the long run, investing in your team will result to growth for the business.

5. It’s all about the experience

It's all about the experience

No longer is food all about sustenance and taste. Nowadays, dining has turned into an adventure of sorts. From the exotic to the avant-garde, gourmands are always in search for the next big thing and spread the word about it on social media. That is why it is also crucial for food entrepreneurs to come up with strategies to improve their products and services and help their customers have the best experiences possible while in their establishment.

In the future, Chef Federico is hoping to expand their services outside of China, targeting the growing food markets in Southeast Asia and the US.

Want to know more? Listen to the podcast here.


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