Small Business: Christmas staff - Janene Draper

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Janene Draper, co-founder of Farro Fresh on her staffing at Christmas

Janene Draper, co-founder of Farro Fresh.
Janene Draper, co-founder of Farro Fresh.

Tell me about your business

Farro Fresh is a one stop fresh food market that specialises in NZ artisan food. It has stores in Grey Lynn, the North Shore and Mt Wellington. If it's in a cook book then we tend to stock it. Customers come to Farro for everything from the ordinary to the extraordinary. We are passionate about good food and service.

How many people are going through the stores around Christmas?

Numbers double through December, all our regulars come in more often. As the air gets warmer, everyone entertains more over this period. We also get people from out of town making special trips to the store to stock up.

At Farro Fresh, people tend to not only stock up for Christmas but also for their summer holidays. They often come in with a recipe from a magazine or cooking show as they know we have all the ingredients.

We are also known for our hams, turkeys and great deals in quality produce. Hampers take off, with customers either choosing to make up their own or we have the quick fix option, pick up a ready made one in store. We also bring in a lot of one off items at this time of year, like our delicious Italian Panettone.

What sort of service are they looking for?

Our customers are sourcing the best food in NZ. They are looking for the freshest product. This is backed up with exceptional service, providing inspiration on what to cook or how to use an ingredient. They have grown to trust Farro Fresh for choosing the best produce.

What happens to your staff levels at this time?

We increase staff levels by around 10 per cent over this period.

Is not hiring more staff an option?

No, we sell more stock so we need more staff at almost every level of the organisation.

We even employ "ham and turkey runners" in the last few days up to Xmas. Their main role is to go to the chiller to collect the customer's order and bring them out to the store, ensure they have a trolley and help out with any condiments they may need.

Who are you competing with especially at Christmas?

We are competing with all food retailers, both the big two supermarket chains and the smaller specialty stores. Service is extremely important for Farro Fresh.

How do you manage the extra staff, do they just come on for a few weeks?

Many of our Christmas staff are part-timers, school and university students who move into full time over this period, which is great as they start off running with a good base product knowledge. On top of this, we have hired an extra 28 staff over this period. We have hired our extras earlier this year than previously, to ensure they are comfortable within their teams, have time to build base knowledge and are ready to go, when the rush really hits.

How do you find your extra staff and what are you looking for?

The great thing is that they come to us! We are getting emails daily but we had filled all these roles by the end of September. We are looking for people with high energy, eagerness to learn, good communication skills, and most of all, a passion for food!


Next week: A number of enterprising companies are creating apps for their own purposes and for others. There are also a number of apps being developed for small businesses to help them manage their businesses better. I'd like to hear from all of you who are particularly proud of your app especially if it can be used by others too.

- NZ Herald

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