Plan ahead to make it a Merry Christmas

Working ahead can ensure that you'll be hearing jingle bells through your tills

With Christmas nearly upon us, no doubt the planning for most butchers will have started a few months ago. Consumers will be looking for value for money and butchers will be striving to bring extra profit to the business to make up for any quiet months. Balancing the whole process can be challenging, but with extra care and innovation, Christmas can be very rewarding.

Speaking well in advance to wholesale suppliers and having a good relationship is the key. For me, speaking to suppliers and keeping a finger on the pulse helps set the preparation under way. My mantra has always been never cut corners to save extra pence on buying a cheaper product; although you will make an extra percentage that year, you will more than likely lose a few customers the following year all due to the quality not being there.

At the beginning of November, most of our beef will have been purchased to make sure the whole stock rotation of maturing is correctly achieved, so that customers are happy and returned sales are sought after.

While the poultry side is more challenging, because of the use-by date and the need for it to be fresh, we will only take delivery one day before Christmas Eve. This means working through the night to finalise all the orders. Being organised is the key and having a good system in place for taking orders is vital, because there cannot be any room for mistakes.

Tom Wood is owner of Tom Wood Artisan Butchers and captain of Team GB in the World Butchers' Challenge.

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