Alum of Butchery: Beltex Meats
Beltex Meats is a local butcher shop. So unless you’re based in Salt Lake County, or inclined to taking whole-animal butcher shop sojourns, you’ll never witness Phil Grubisa’s handywork.And that’s a shame, but a pitfall that Phil is willing to shoulder in the name of connecting small farms and ranches with the customers who eat their meat. As a student of our Business of Butchery 2015 Master Class, Phil’s skill and devotion to the trade were evident from the get-go. Whether pulling back the curtain to cotechino, or educating customers on the perfect mix-ins for pâté, Phil gets his kicks by teaching the SLC community just how delicious whole-animal butchery can be.
When did you first decide to start a food business?
I always had this thought or drive that I wanted to be in business for myself down the road. I always had an idea that it would be this small, high-end restaurant in some quaint town out west. Wrong.
Butchery came out of a box when I first started cooking years ago. When I moved out west from South Florida, there was a whole new WORLD of farming and ranching and agriculture that really wasn’t around me growing up. I loved it. Through the years of being a cook and then a chef I learned quickly that a whole animal has so much more to offer the consumer than just a ribeye or pork chop. Eventually I started to learn from people by donating my time to fully understand the whole animal approach to butchery and it grew from there. I wanted to be a butcher not a chef!
How did Business of Butchery help you grow your business?
Business of Butchery helped shed serious light on those industry insider tips you think you might know, until you see it in action. Being able to talk one-on-one with so many accomplished butcher shop owners and employees enables you to take bits and pieces that are all so different, but you start to formulate your own vision through them. In the end everyone has to work towards the bottom line, BUT the passion you see and the way people get to their goals was great.
Also, having so many specialized instructors come in to talk about marketing, sales, numbers, etc…you learn infinite wisdom from these folks. Understanding, that I now knew how to approach the day-to-day operations was invaluable. We already launched the business 1.5 years before that, but we knew a brick and mortar was coming. Being able to go into that confidently with insight from some one-on-one conversations with shop owners was a huge help. You probably would never drag yourself out to the Bay Area and beyond to do that yourself. Business of Butchery expedites that for you.
Who is your biggest food inspiration?
Mom. Dad. My Mother and Father worked 8:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday and STILL my mother had dinner on the table every night at 6:00 pm sharp. I realized that 17 years straight eating dinner every night kept us balanced as a family. Plus she’s an amazing cook. My father owned his own tile business, so watching the labor of love everyday he went in and came home was a way I wanted to approach my own business one day. They taught me so much through food and business and all they were doing was making a living and keeping a roof over our heads.
What do you envision the upcoming years will bring for Beltex Meats?
We plan to be in business for a long time. So, for now a neighborhood butcher shop is what we want it to be. As a former Chef there’s an idea to turn this butcher shop into another avenue to move hot plated food through. Beltex DINE.
What have been the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered?
Marketing. Making people be able to see you. We started in the farmers markets in the area, but we are in a major city so there’s a LOT more people that do not go to farmers markets than do. Being able to reach them has been a hurdle we’re jumping over everyday.
What advice do you have for new food entrepreneurs starting out?
Always Be Thinking. Don’t get complacent. There’s a world of people out there doing some amazing stuff, don’t shut them out. Keep up with the times and be creative. Have a resolution for your ideas too, not just a bunch of ideas floating around the room. Get some.
Learn more about Beltex Meats by visiting their website, or venturing to their Salt Lake City-based butcher shop.
If you’re interested in the Business of Butchery, you’re in luck! Our next upcoming course is April 5 – 15, 2016. Visit our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.