Earlier this week I reviewed the high-end online butcher shop, Meat the Butchers. I also had the chance to speak with Hadar Almog, Meat the Butchers’ Director of Marketing, and discuss the history of the company, their commitment to quality and sourcing, and what makes their home delivery service such a great choice. Read on to learn more about this truly outstanding company.
Grillseeker: Meat the Butchers is a family-run business that was started by your father. How did the company start and how have you expanded on his original vision?
Hadar Almog: Originally my father came to this country as part of a relocation program for high-tech work; he was an electronics engineer. After we arrived here, the company closed down leaving him without work or with any means of supporting our family. He started working in the meat business as a driver for a poultry company and – to make a long, long story short – he ended up purchasing a small meat company with one or two trucks, less than $900,000 in sales, and about four employees. Today, we have over 300 employees, 2000+ customers, and a 75,000-square foot plant in California… and it all started with his vision.
My brothers and I came in to the mix in the last few years and what we do is bring the next generation into in an old-world business. Anything to do with butcher shops is always referenced as old-fashioned. Meat the Butchers is doing something brand new: we’re bringing Hollywood chef-quality product that you cannot find anywhere else right to your doorstep, anywhere in the US.
GS: You mentioned that you and your brothers work for your father’s company. What does it mean to you to be part of a family business?
HA: I don’t think anyone can draw a perfect world when it comes to working with siblings and parents. My father owns the company, my mother is a very strong-willed and very smart business woman, and my brothers both have amazing qualities. But at the same time, each of us has an ego and all of us want to succeed so sometimes there are challenges. At the end of the day though, we all prioritize the progress and the success of the company. Each of us has our own way of doing things but we all share the same vision: to make people aware of the choices that they have and to communicate the importance of how we source prime cattle and how we curate it.
GS: You mentioned the importance of sourcing and your company is very open and proud about your product quality. Is it challenging to find farms that produce the kinds of product you want to provide?
HA: Yes, it is very difficult find producers that are actually what they claim to be. You have to really understand the meaning of “sustainability”, “grass-fed”, “organic”, “no hormone”, “no antibiotics”, and “all-natural”. When somebody puts those terms on a product, you think you’re getting something really organic and fresh-off-the-farm when, in reality, that’s often not the case.
It’s really hard to track though. Traceability and integrity can be lost in this industry and we pride ourselves in 100% traceability and 100% integrity. If you called my customer service department and wanted to know where your piece of protein came from – right down to the day it was picked – I can give you that information. So, if I write that a product is grass-fed, it’s grass-fed. (Hence why I currently have only four grass-fed offerings.)
GS: With a limited number of farms producing meat at such high standards, how do you maintain focus on premium quality as you expand your service area?
HA: Well, it’s kind of a complicated question. My father and brothers personally visit every single one of our farms and purveyors. They go on trips throughout the year and all over the country to meet with family farmers and with companies who only purchase from family farmers.
Right now, we offer products above and beyond what you can find anywhere else and we make it available for delivery to every home in the US. I feel that we’ve curated a beautiful, perfect, sustainable, all-natural, and very high-end selection. If we sell a product marked “prime” it’s prime of the prime, if we mark it “choice” then it’s upper-choice which is equivalent to your everyday prime that you’re seeing at big supermarket chains.
GS: Do you ever feel like you’re being forced to make choices between what you are able to offer and the quality? For example, you mentioned that you only have four items that are grass-fed available right now.
HA: Yes, we’re not going to be able to sell something that we know for a fact is unattainable. Hence why some of the products we have are limited, like our grass-fed program. High-end grass-fed programs are hard to come by. The same is true with dry-aged meat. We have four very large dry aging rooms, maybe the largest space in California, and we still don’t make enough. So, we offer a limited supply. I can’t know what my competitors are doing, I only know what I’m doing which is 100% transparent and 100% honest.
GS: Your dad’s business was originally focused on butchering and delivering locally. Now that you offer the same high-quality meat through home delivery, what are the challenges you face in getting product to the customer? How do you protect the product on its journey from your fridge to theirs?
HA: Our products have been available to home consumers for over ten months now. And the only challenge that I’ve seen is the shipping. Most people judge shipping rates as an extra expense that’s not included inside the total amount of effort they will make to obtain a product.
We understand that challenge and have gone above and beyond to try and make our products accessible. We have discounts of 50-60% on all of our overnight standard shipping to the entire US. In Zone 1, which is Southern California, we pretty much offer free shipping on almost everything. If you do live in other zones, that shipping is a little more expensive but we offer shipping credits if you spend over a certain limit. We also run a lot of promotions for our subscribers and they always get different percentage discounts on top of our shipping credits.
There are some companies on the East Coast that sell really beautiful high-end, hand-selected cuts just like us and they sell it online. They do ship mostly frozen – we only sell fresh product – but if you look at the prices you’ll see that we’re probably 40-50% cheaper. We don’t markup much more than our wholesale because we are working to deliver high end product at a reasonable price.
GS: You make a good point, people often think of shipping as an extra cost instead of part of the experience.
HA: Absolutely. Say you’re going to the supermarket or to the butcher shop. Well, it takes you time, you have to drive your car, it costs you gas, and you have to park. Not to mention that usually when you go to a store you don’t always just pick the thing you need. You buy several other things you didn’t plan on purchasing and end up spending more than what you would have spent on the best piece of protein you will ever eat. And anyone who’s experienced our product can personally vouch for how incredible it is. I wish that I could relay that taste through the computer but sadly that technology doesn’t exist yet!
While technology can’t help you taste this amazing product through the screen, Hadar and Meat the Butchers are offering my readers 20% off so you can taste the difference yourself. Simply create an account, select your products, and use code SEEKER20 at checkout. Be sure to visit my review (link) for product recommendations.