I seem to come up with several ideas including many for businesses across many sectors. Occasionally my mind has to bat them off because they come at me so furiously at times.
And they appear suited to a variety of places but the best need to be sustainable. After all, in commerce, why sell one of something to someone when there are options to sell and resell and resell all over again to customers.
The best business example of this is of course the food industry.
But the food industry is as mature as a stock of forgotten Stilton. And often as impenetrable as a stock of forgotten Edam. However I must stop these silly cheese based analogies to concentrate my best business brain cell on finding a chink in this already well developed market.
So let’s take a look at who does best here.
The most successful must be the high volume, massive turnover, big brand supermarkets. Unfortunately to take on these giants would take a lifetime of hard work originating from a small base and this is where my forte falls unfortunately short. By about thirtee-nyne.
The next most successful food based businesses must be the big brand burger and chicken establishments and it is here I see a possible way to sneak a crack into the firmament.
You see these fast food emporiums concentrate mainly on the meat part of the meat and two veg combo. A burger outlet will mainly offer burger and fries or burger with salad or even burger alone. The chicken outlets do the same only replacing the term burger with the phrase fried chicken. And the Asian variants do the same this time invariably leading with the curried meat. Even the original fast food outlet in this country leads with fish and whatever.
What is missing is the option in these places to vary the ‘meaty’ or ‘fishy’ bit. So, I think it’s time to lead with the chips.
I could propose a chips shop, offering chips with fish, chips with burger or chips with chicken, all within one establishment. But chips are as unhealthy as fries so let’s drop the whole frying thing and offer a simpler, basic potato option.
My proposal is to start a chain of take away food outlets with the emphasis on the potato. And as jacket potato outlets already exist and new potatos are inconsistent and have a habit of rolling all over the place I suggest trying the mashed potato option.
Imagine a smart new food outlet headlined by a healthy, tasty mashed potato choice. With a variety of additional side extras from meats like burgers and chops, via sausages to curries and stews. Plus a variety of vegatable choices such as peas, carrots, beans etc. All topped as desired with butter, black pepper, gravy or sauces.
Mashed potato is simple to produce, there are automated potato peeling machines, and cooking is a simple boiling and mechanised mashing procedure. The product can even be mass produced in a remote location, freeze dried, easily stored and transported then enlivened by simply adding boiling water.
To further identify this idea from other more established branding and presentation I envisage that mashed potato based take aways should be offered on a circular platter with the non-mash options added within the circle.
This design would help with containment of any looser items such as peas and for liquids such as gravy during transit.
Additionally the design has some familiarity, resembling the classic rice and curry presentation and allows for simple mixing prior to consumption. In fact the brand Ring-o-Mash was inspired by such a take away design concept.
This concept would be unique, tasty, healthy and could be marketed as suitable for vegetarians, vegans, followers of halal choices or those with allergies.
Setting up a business like this would be relatively simple. As a basic cottage industry it could be started from home, providing you have a working kitchen. And on a more industrial scale the concept could be expanded or franchised.
And the best bit is that it is premiered right here.
So are you looking for a new business idea? Do you have the skills to set this up? The necessary food hygine certification? The kettle? If so please feel free to go for it.
I only ask that you show credit where credit is due by acknowledging me as the person who came up with this idea. And for about 3% of turnover when you are established in more than three counties.
And a free lunch on Wednesdays. Because I love mash. Covered in sprinkled cheese.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas and Food sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 16 Apr 2019
The header image is an original sketch drawn by the author to illustrate how a new mashed potato outlet might look on the high street
The additional image is an original sketch drawn by the author to illustrate how a ‘ring of mash’ take away meal comprising mashed potato, sausages and peas might look if presented in a uniquely designed circular polystyrene take away box