Small Business Supply Chain - Spud Fish and Chips

How did the owners of Spud double their supply chain throughput?

Spud Fish & Chips
Spud Fish & Chips. Spud Fish & Chips

When the owners of the Spud Fish & Chips in Juanita Beach, just outside Seattle, decided to open a second Spud - they knew they would need to staff up... and they worked meticulously with designers and architects on their new restaurant's look... and they made sure to let the local Edmonds' residents know about the new Spud opening near the ferry terminal.  

But they never imagined that optimizing their supply chain would be one of the biggest challenges that they would face.

 

To keep their supply chain optimized, the Spud owners knew that they needed to continue to supply their customers what they wanted, when they wanted it – while spending as little money as possible getting that done.  As any small business owner will tell you, there are an infinite number of things to tackle every day – and when you’re opening a new restaurant (while still running one, a half hour drive away) – you’re juggling infinity squared.    

That said, let’s just focus on two of the many items that make Spud a great and special dining experience.  (Or as Road Food describes the Spud dining experience – “Legendary – worth driving from anyplace”.) 

Item 1 – The Cod

At Spud, a customer can order their “legendary” fish and chips with a choice of cod, halibut or salmon.  All their fish is purchased fresh.  And you can't go wrong with whatever choice you make.  But let’s just deal with the cod right now.

  Their cod fillets are hand cut.  That’s right.  Spud uses employees who are trained in the art of filleting their cod so that each cut meets their very exacting standards. 

To keep pace with the demand increase of the new Edmonds restaurant, Spuds' owners are evaluating how to best optimize the filleting process.

  The first leg of their optimized supply chain (“supply their customers what they want”) is largely dependent on that cut of cod.  The process by which it is filleted ensures that the customer experiences a moist and delicious bite each time out.  There isn’t a machine that can replicate the cut.  And it’s a skilled labor (i.e. high cost) process.  So to get their customers what they want, when they want it – Spud needs to focus on quality, speed and delivery. 

But attention has to be paid to the last leg of their optimized supply chain (“while spending as little money as possible getting that done”).  To keep any new business running, keeping costs down is essential.  They’re not going to skimp on the choice fish they purchase.  And they’re not out-sourcing or automating the artistry it takes to produce their fillets.  A small business owner is many things – and supply chain manager is one of them

Item 2 – The Tartar Sauce

At Spud, they make their own tartar sauce.  And if a customer wants that tartar with their fish, it costs twenty-five cents.  There is the occasional customer who is flabbergasted by having to pay for the tartar.  They argue that there are restaurants who give their tartar away for free.

 

I would argue that, 1) the restaurants who give their tartar away for “free” are making up that cost elsewhere, so it’s really not free, and 2) even if it were free, that free stuff isn't made using Spuds' special recipe.  I mean, you can probably get your hair cut for free but chances are you’ll have a more enjoyable and rewarding experience if you pay someone to do it.  Trust me, spring for the two bits and get Spud's tartar. 

Spud is transparent with its supply chain.  There is a cost involved in making their tartar and they’re showing their customers that cost.  Again, their supply chain is focused on quality first. 

Because their food is fresh, to double their supply chain throughput, Spud’s owners have had to become experts at demand planning, production planning and customer fulfillment.

  Since 1935, Spud has been hand-slicing and batter frying every customer’s order when the customer places that order.  Do yourself a favor, if you’re in Kirkland (yes, that Kirkland, Costco aficionados) or Edmonds, Washington – treat yourself to the optimized supply chain of Spud Fish and Chips.