With so many friends in the industry, Interact wanted to pass the microphone off to a few of our favorite food industry professionals. Food Force is a boutique food industry recruiting and staffing agency, specializing in hiring strategy and organizational design. They firmly believe in partnerships, and hand-crafted, long term partnerships. They are experts in the food biz, and have insight into what every new startup requires to get off of the ground. Lauren Weiss is an NYC Copywriter for Food Force, and here’s what he had to say:
So you’ve got the next great idea for a startup. You have the vision, you have the passion, and with the help of Interact you’ve got a beautiful brand and package design. Now what?
Building a business solo is out of the question, so you’re going to need a killer staff to help you get the job done. At Force Brands, we spend our time recruiting the best in the food and beverage biz to help young brands grow into the brands everyone knows and loves. We’ve boiled it down to five key teams that’ll have you up and running in no time:
You’re not making this product for yourself, after all; you want to sell your product to the masses, so you need to build a team of people dedicating entirely to making that a reality. These are the people working with retailers, wholesalers, and distributors to make sure the product is making its way to shelves and households wherever you want to be. Depending on how expansive you want your reach to be, from the bottom up you’ll need sales reps, state and regional sales managers, divisional sales managers, a VP of Sales, and a Senior VP of Sales.
Alongside the team handling the sales themselves, you need a team to make sales happen – that’s where the Marketing team comes in. These are the experts who will make sure your brand is in the public eye, and the department should be divided between those managing the brand internally and those working in the field to bring the brand to people. You’ll need brand ambassadors (think: the people handing out free Popchips to people at events), a Field Marketing Manager to manage them, and a Trade Marketing Manager for working with retailers.
Internally, you should have a team of people managing your brand identity online and with the media. On top, a Chief Marketing Officer and VP of Marketing should be overseeing all brand and marketing-related activities to raise awareness and keep a positive image.
With great sales and marketing comes great financial responsibility. These number-crunchers are the glue that holds a company together and makes sure you aren’t over-extending yourself as you try to reach new markets and expand. After all, the last thing you want is to find yourself with a growing company, a huge vision, and not enough money to make it work – that’ll end badly for both you and your employees. Key players for this team include a staff accountant, an accounting manager, a controller overseeing everything, and the Chief Finance Officer to make the decisions that will keep your company financially viable in the long-term.
Just as you can’t build and run a company solo, you can’t produce a product on a large scale without the help of a large operations team. Depending on your product, you may be working with multiple manufacturers and distributors all over the country or even the world. Internally, you’ll need distribution and manufacturing managers to liaise with these companies and keep production on track. Higher up, you’ll need a Logistics Manager to oversee distribution and transportation of the product, as well as an Operations Manager overseeing the production of the product itself. In larger companies, the VP of Supply Chain and VP of Operations should oversee the managers and keep every element of distribution and production on track. The COO is the highest rung of this ladder, and keeps the machine running on all fronts while building toward a bigger future.
An often overlooked but vital team is the HR team. They’re the ones who make sure employees are happy, disputes are settled diplomatically, and new hires are competent and useful for the future of the company. A few key people to consider bringing on: an HR Coordinator, to schedule and track all necessary items for HR to run smoothly; a Talent Acquisition Manager, to find your next great employee for you; an HR Generalist overseeing training and benefit programs and liaising between departments; a Director of HR to design and implement best practices; and an HR Strategic Business Partner at the highest level, to work with execs to determine the direction of company staffing needs and policies.
No matter what team you’re hiring for, it’s important to look for people who can bring a level of expertise you don’t have already. Hire people who are smarter than you, grow at a steady and reasonable pace, respect your team, and your business will go beyond your wildest expectations.
For more on hiring strategies and food & beverage jobs, visit www.forcebrands.com!