II. Executive Summary & General Company Description
Grab-N-Go Snax are a selection of prepackaged, single serving snack foods which will be sold out of food carts conveniently located around the core downtown Portland business district. Our new enterprise caters to the need for downtown office and business workers to gain quick and easy access to healthy breakfast, break and lunch snack food options. Grab-N-Go Snax offers a wide selection of high quality fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, grain and gluten-free products. Products are cleaned, cut, portioned, packaged in re-sealable recyclable packaging and refrigerated for immediate consumption. To augment our name brand product selection, we’ll offer a variety of products in this category offered by other name brand companies, such as granola bars, trail mix, bottled water, fruit juices and energy drinks.
To start, activities of the business will include stationary food cart vending in the high activity food cart vending groups, called ‘PODS’. Supplemental activities of the business will be to participate in special events vending. Special events include city wide water front events, Saturday Market, sporting events and holiday celebration activities.
In a preparation area that will be set up for processing, packaging, and storing food products, work will be done each day to prepare products for delivery. Products for the day’s sales will be transported in refrigerated storage containers to the food carts early each morning. Vendor services will stock their carts and displays in preparation of opening for business.
Customers and passer-bys will notice the brightly lit awning, colorful displays, smells of fresh fruit and sounds of nature in a clean environment open early in the morning for their convenience. They will see a wide selection of food items for breakfast, or to eat later for workday snacks. Customers can grab items for purchase for themselves from the on-board displays or refrigerated cases. Vendor services will scan the UPC codes and processes the sale quickly via POS system.
For the future of the business, it is our plan to promote the sale of our own Grab-N-Go Snax name brand product selection through refrigerated vending machines, fitness health clubs and in-office delivery. Our catering services will accommodate the need for refreshments during company meetings and parties to businesses in and around the core downtown area.
Our goal is to develop a strong business model, brand name and reputation so that as the business continues to grow into other locations and communities, becoming more recognizable, we can develop Grab-N-Go Snax into an operation that can be franchised. We like the flexibility a LLC provides to allow the option to hire professional management that would not necessarily be owners. This would allow us to offer employees (potential new franchisees) the opportunity to learn the ropes of the business and experience what it might be like to operate their own Grab-N-Go Snax food cart before they make the decision to invest in our business as a franchisee.
My background of working downtown Portland for the past 30 years and being a customer of a lot of the food carts in the downtown area has provided me with the drive to make this unique business concept a true success story among the growing trend of food carts here. I have worked as Administrative Assistant to Directors of companies and Project Manager and coordinator for projects that required budgeting, multi-tasking and attention to detail. My strengths are with organization, human relations, patience and dedication.
Besides devoting a lot of my own funds that will go into this venture that I believe in, I will be committing a lot of my time and energy to making sure every aspect of the business operational needs are met to meet the customer demands. Outside of the day to day product preparation, on-site vending and management of business affairs, I will be networking and connecting with other Administrative Assistants, Event and Meeting Planners and with businesses in the downtown area to sell our in-office delivery and catering services.
IV. Products and Services
Products: See Appendix A (not included in this document) for examples of wholesale costs and pricing comparisons of local retail & grocery store competition. * Fruits: apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, grapefruit, melons, cherries, berries, * Vegetables: carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli,
* Nuts: almonds, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, soy, trail mix, granola mix * Dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese sticks, pudding, vegetable dips * Beverages: water, vitamin water, sports drink, fruit drinks, fruit juices, vegetable juices, dairy drinks, fruit smoothies, Products will be displayed in a highly lit environment while activating physical senses. (e.g. sight-lighting of colors & textures; sound-background musical sounds of fresh water falls, breezes, birds , etc; smell-odors from fresh fruit juices)
* Parked truck/trailer: Daily on-the-street vending. * Mobile truck/trailer: Special events vending – fairs, markets, entertainment venues, promotional events, sports events, * Catering: Regularly scheduled in-office supply replenishment, meeting room delivery. Customer service is highlighted with a smile, cheerful attitude, immediate attention to the customer’s inquiries, recommendations for specials and new products, appreciation for their business and request for feedback via our web page.
These items are offered fresh, dried and refrigerated from early in the morning, to catch people before work and school, to late afternoon. Products are intended to fulfill the desires of those seeking healthy and nutritional breakfast, pre-lunch, lunch and post lunch time snack options. Snacks and drink items represent alternatives to those high in sugar, fat, cholesterol, caffeine or carbonation. Grab-N-Go Snax objective is to promote the image of providing high quality healthy snack food options, quick and easy to obtain with freshness guaranteed. Products being offered will be healthy, pre-packaged, single serving, ready-to-eat snacks and drink items.
V. Marketing Plan
Currently the food cart business is growing and thriving in the downtown Portland area. Owners of parking lots and open spaces are looking to expand and convert available space for this business use because of the increase in space revenue and the ease of which the city has made it a viable optional use of their property. Because of the local and nationwide publicity for many of the local food cart businesses, more downtown workers and visitors to the downtown area now consider experiencing a food cart meal. The advantage of Grab-N-Go-Snax is that there are a lot of busy downtown workers who do not tend to eat breakfast, they don’t remember to purchase snack items in advance, do not remember to bring them to work when they do, and when they do want a snack for a break, do not have a lot of healthy snack options convenient for them to choose from.
Busy professionals know they want and need to move towards healthier food selections, but need convenience and speed of ownership to change their current habits. They need a place close by their work for that quick turn-around time during a break or before they enter their office building in the morning. Promotional objective will be to change downtown workers’ behavior, not only around the kind of snack foods they do select, but actually adding the activity of taking time in the morning and during breaks to include snacks for nutritional and health reasons. Within the promotion is the message of how quick and easy it is to obtain a selection of quality healthy snack foods. I want our customers to see the convenience and ease of taking a new step that contributes to their health and well being.
I plan to communicate this message with colorful unique signage outside the food cart to grab attention with matching post card size business cards. I have also planned to promote the cart through the nearby business office building tenant newsletters, providing coupons and a drawing with on-line website registration. The purposes of the registration and drawing would be for obtaining e-mail addresses for on-going communication and promotions. There will be bonuses and discounts offered for frequent customers. I will be listed in the website created to promote Portland’s food cart businesses www.foodcartsportland.com and I will create a press release with a twist on the food cart business. The purposes of the press release will be to create a buzz around the food cart concept not only in the local market, but nationally in order to get free press stories and media attention.
Plan for success: I plan to expand the business by offering products and services for catering to the downtown business offices. I also plan to make consignment agreements to sell product through the local fitness health clubs, whose customers workout early in the morning, on breaks and through their lunch hour. I will be expanding the business to include personnel needed for developing orders, product preparation and delivery. I will promote the catering side of the business by selling face to face to the local business office administrative staff, typically responsible for making in-office food arrangements for meetings, parties and for employee benefit.
Our customers are middle class, educated at or above a high school education, mostly white, men & women that work, play and go to school in the downtown Portland area, though most do not live in the downtown area. For lunch, most all of our customers walk within a one to 3 block radius of a group of food carts called ‘pods’.
The majority of these target customers’ ages range from their mid 20’s to their mid 50’s, most of which are already getting messages of healthy eating and control of obesity from multiple media sources as well as their employer’s health benefit provider. From my experience and relationships with colleagues that work downtown, they lead extremely busy and sometimes stressful lives at work, try to work out to stay fit when they can and don’t always eat right or as often as they should. From my visual survey of workers entering offices in the morning and exiting during breaks and lunch hours, very few bring food from home.
VI. Market Research
From my visual survey of existing food carts in both the high density target markets, there is no other food cart offering fresh, healthy, pre-packaged, single serving, ready-to-eat snacks and drink items. Since I will be offering more nutritional beverage options consistently at a lower price, I will also be targeting to gain their lunch hour beverage business, even though they may be purchasing their lunch food at a food cart nearby. This strategy will also serve to allow customers to view all the snack options available for their future consideration.
Our pricing objective is to beat everyone’s price on beverages and be competitively priced on like items offered at other food cart vendors and local corner convenience stores nearby. The more desirable items, pre-packaged mixed product sets and items not offered elsewhere is where I will make a higher profit margin. Using a Loss Leader strategy – Beverages will be offered at lower prices consistently every day. This will ensure the customer remembers that the place to always get a great price on healthy beverages is specifically at our food cart.
For specific ‘like’ items that can be found at in-office building vending machines and indoor convenience stores nearby, we will set our price lower than the indoor store to encourage customers to venture outside of the building for the savings. Prices on identical food items that can be found at the customers’ local supermarket outside the downtown area will be priced higher for the benefit of convenience and freshness. Based on research of urban grocery store pricing, we expect to be able to set our product prices at least 20% above what customers would pay outside the downtown Portland center.
Our distribution objective is to be situated where there is the highest density of daytime office workers in the downtown Portland market, close to other businesses that customer frequent. Currently the two desirable pods (groupings of food carts) are located on SW 5th Avenue near Stark and around the block of SW 10th Avenue and Alder for their proximity to high density population of workers. (12/13) Being located at either the 5th Avenue or 10th Avenue pods would be most desirable because of the foot traffic from the surrounding businesses and transit mall. From my visual count, there averaged 100 – 165 people on one side of one block throughout the 12:00 to 1:00 hour being served by 13 to 15 trailers per block length. During their lunch hour, most customers are drawn to the area because of the variety in choices of food from the high density of food carts.
These two food cart groupings are close to our customer’s offices and on their way to and from transportation options. (parking garages, Max train, Tri-met buses, etc.) Because both pods are located within parking lots, there is a lot of flexibility for delivery of goods and situation of the trailers. When the weather is wet or windy, being located outside office building retail space, is not as convenient, but does reach more customers from a variety of businesses all around the pod. If it is possible, it is our goal to incorporate clean solar energy as part of our uniquely designed cart to be able to operate at special events where electricity may not be conveniently located or expensive to purchase.
VII. Operational Plan
We have selected to start the business with a fresh new trailer concept, rather than take over an existing business or invest in someone else’s franchise. Our food cart and catering operations have many elements that are not currently offered from any food cart currently in the Portland markets.