Good Kind of Food is a small, luxury confectionery company, producing hand crafted products using the finest sourced ingredients. Started by Rob Goodkind in January 2010, and started off with one product, which is now our flagship product, Double Dipped Honey Crunch, a handmade honeycomb, covered in either dark or milk Belgian chocolate.
Rob started his very own sweets company in his mothers kitchen. Today Rob has his own kitchen and a successful distribution channel for his niche sweets. We recently held an interview with Rob, to find out more about his business story, and how he bootstrapped his company. If you are would like to try out some ROb’s sweets, please have a look at the Good Kind of Food online store
1) What inspired you to start Good Kind of Food?
The main inspiration was being my own boss. Many times through out the years it has been made blatantly clear to me at most of the restaurants I have worked the staff are disposable, and therefore the usual business owner or manager didn’t really care about you. Now imagine your working anywhere from 80-110 hours a week for that person. I have no problem doing those hours for some one who appreciates it, and treats you like a human, except the only person I had met who would do that and employ me was me! I also LOVE SWEETS.
2) You have a business successfully focusing on a niche in the food market, what made you choose that niche in the market?
There were a few factors that helped direct my focus. Firstly walking around the food halls of the larger department stores I noticed that there was a serious lack of real luxury confectionery, confectionery omitting additives, preservatives and colourings. I also noticed that honeycomb was a favourite for a lot of people in the UK, however the only producer of honeycomb in my knowledge at that time was the Cadbury Crunchie, and that was not a luxury item. After doing a bit more research to find out the competition I found that there were no real significant competitors, I decided to do a day at the Covent Garden Market. This was one of the most beneficial moves we did, as this was a chance to sell our products directly to the public, and therefore find out which of our product range at the time was the product we should concentrate on. This turned out to be the Honeycomb, which sold out in a matter of hours!
3) You started your business in your mothers kitchen two years ago, where have you taken it now?
It seems like a long time ago now! But yes its true! For the first year of business I was working out of my Mum’s kitchen, (she VERY graciously let me have the entire space!) Now I have expanded into a commercial kitchen which is much larger, and therefore my capacity has increased tenfold.
4) What training did you do before starting your culinary business, and how long where you doing it for?
The only Training I did was working in professional kitchens from the age of 17, I have no pieces of paper, diplomas or certificates officially, and truthfully in the cooking world it doesn’t really matter if you do! I ended up being a chef for about 6 years professionally, starting off in a gastro pub and slowly working my way up to Michelin Star restaurants.
5) How was it to start your own business at a young age?
Errrr, its funny, your not the only person to have asked me this, and I never really know what to say!! Truthfully I didn’t think about it that much! When I quit my job, and two days later decided I wanted to go into business, I really had no clue! I just wanted to make chocolates and sell them! So there was a big wake up call, when I started having to use savings to buy machinery and ingredients, and my name started to go down on contracts, there was a bit of a slap to the face moment where I was like WOW I am now starting to understand how much work and energy is involved in running a business now…
6) What were the biggest challenges you have had so far with Good Kind of Food?
Our biggest challenge so far has been trying to get a foot in the door with the larger more well known stores, as their buying departments are all notoriously difficult to get in touch with!
7) What are the biggest lessons you have learned form starting your own business?
Personally I would say that I have learned to trust myself a lot more, due to all of the reading I have had to do in order to learn the business acumen. After all I am a chef by trade, and it was a very steep learning curve for me to step out the kitchen and be in the forefront, selling the company and myself!
8) Do you have any advice, and tips you would like to share with other entrepreneurs, who might be starting a business with limited resources?
I would say firstly, walk before you run. Its much better for a small business to take its time getting its feet in the market that its in, and really learning what it is that the customer wants and expects from them. Once you have found this its then much easier to implement the correct protocol or procedures across the board with all your customers.
Secondly, always deliver on something that you have said you would do, on time. The consistency of your service/s should be exactly the same for every customer, and strive for that. The trust worthier your company is, and the more reliable your company is, the more your customers are likely to spread the word!
Lastly, customers no matter in what industry are fickle creatures. They may love your product for years, and have one bad experience with it, and never use or eat your product again. Don’t be put down by this, only try to make their current experience as pleasurable s possible. For instance if I am told by a customer of mine that the bag of honeycomb they have just eaten was not nice (rarely happens!), rather than getting upset by this, I will straight away just send out another bag, with a complimentary bag of something else, why? For the sake of a few pounds you can save your relationship with that customer, and more importantly they will be impressed that your company deals with problems swiftly, and without issues.
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