The problem being solved by Mike Salguero is significant. With health being the number one priority of today’s consumers including his own direct family members, Mike sought to figure out how to ensure the cleanest and most nutritious meat products get to people’s tables. Far too often, consumers really have no idea where their meat is coming from and with the myriad of confusing descriptors used on package labeling, it’s become hard to compare one meat product to the next.
Take for example one of the company’s customers Ismael Santos from Louisiana, “It’s hard to get that quality at a good price, and conveniently and reliably here,” he says. “You can go out and buy beef, but you’re either going to pay a ton or you’re not going to get what you’re looking for sometimes. The cost (of ButcherBox) is good compared with going to a store and buying the same quality and quantity.”
Mike founded Butcher Box in 2015 and started by delivering frozen grass-fed beef, free-range organic chicken and heritage pork to its members. The goal was to sell only meats raised without all the harmful chemicals such as antibiotics or added hormones. Moreover, the company focuses on being environmentally friendly using 100 percent curbside-recyclable boxes made of 95 percent recycled materials.
To make the whole butcher box operation work requires taking an otherwise complex operation and coordinating simplified systems largely run off of real time data and software. When a key business goal is to increase number of subscribers and retention of those subscribers, the company looks to what each consumer is actually buying and how quickly they are consuming.
“All of that is a data problem at its core,” Mike says. “We should know what members are eating and in what order. If we do our job well, we’ll know that member A is eating through X and they have a pork shoulder left over, so if we’re going to send a recipe, we should be sending one for pork shoulder.”
Moreover, data is critical to determining what Butcher Box should be marketing to each consumer. “It doesn’t make sense to show someone beef if they’re really a chicken or salmon member,” Hall says. “We’re really looking to understand the data so we can serve members in a much more personalized way.”
Perhaps equally important is the process of ensuring each customer gets her shipment on time. According to Mike, “If someone doesn’t get his or her box or it shows up late, it’s ruined,” he continues, “So really understanding our data — what’s shipping, where the boxes are — became the rallying cry of the company in a big way to understand our members and build out our data infrastructure.”
For their data and software needs, the company relies on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Its 70 employees are active users who create and read dashboards using Microsoft’s Power BI data visualization tool. It also uses Azure’s Databricks service for aggregating and interpreting consumer behavior.
With the right philosophy on operational efficiency and solid execution on leveraging data and software, Butcher Box is on its way to solving a very real need of today’s health conscious consumer.