Sunday morning, after a very busy Saturday night in the smokehouse. What's there to be worried about you ask? The hard truth is that the 14 months of Covid carnage have taken their toll.
In February 2020, two and a half years after we started the Meat Monsters experiment, we had our best ever financial month. We didn't need to dip into our projects (dwindling) subsistence budget, the business had paid everyone AND had enough left over to give us a small wage. It was a proud moment, especially given the choices we had made about the ethos of our business and the extra operating cost that meant.
Then three weeks later, on March 24th, in approximately sixty minutes, through a handful of emails and some telephone calls, we lost nearly £7,000 pounds of revenue from cancelled events, party orders and masterclasses.
National lockdown was now an unavoidable reality.
Fast Forward to October 2021, and we are, above all, glad to still be here and to have survived. But we've lost almost a year and a half in terms of our business plan, and our initial relief at seeing the easing of Covid's tight grip is now faltering in the face of record increases in the cost of meat, fish... and now fuel.
What ever your political leanings, Brexit has resulted in big price increases on produce, products and services. You can't add effort, administration and red tape and not expect to see additional cost.
You can't shrink the available labour pool, especially for traditionally unpopular jobs, and not expect to see wages rise in an attempt to fill vacancies.
So what does that mean for "Meaties" (the increasingly popular slang name for Meat Monsters in Ellon).
We have a significant ace up our sleeve. We have a smokehouse that had additional space and capacity built in. Our original plan was to solidify our base in Ellon, and expand.
We had assumed a strong balance sheet after two years of trading would have been the basis on which to secure investment funds (having used our own reserves to get Meaties up and running). Clearly Covid has scuppered those plans. So we turned to Crowd Funding, hoping to secure support from the community. Somewhat of a "Hail Mary".
After an unbelievable start, it's now looking like a real challenge to hit our target.
Ironically we were expecting to see a large amount of small contributions and hoping to see a few larger contributions. the reality is it's been the opposite.
So with 9 days to go, there is another hard truth.
If we can't secure the support to expand. We have some massive decisions to make in 2022, on whether we commit to a lease renewal, in the face of a return to full 20% VAT for hospitality businesses and the return of £10,000 of business rates.
So, hit up our crowdfunding page https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-full-monster/. Make a small contribution, enjoy the rewards and also the satisfaction that you are helping a local business to add more local employment, spend more with local suppliers and do it in an ethical and sustainable way.
Meat and fish - up 22.9% - registered the biggest price increases for any one category in the survey, with fresh fruit and vegetables up 14.7%