Cold pressed juices, kale chips and organic salads sound like the components of a healthy lunch. For Katy Pierce and Austin Dix, they are the foundations of their business. Since setting up MOO three years ago the couple have brought a new form of eating to Jersey, and found a way to make it a viable enterprise, employing themselves and a growing number of staff.
Nick Steel at Jersey Business, said: “I was having lunch in Moo when they were celebrating their first birthday and was very impressed by the food. They were reluctant to deal with us at first but they realised they could trust us.
“They had previously being doing everything themselves and it was good but had the potential to become better.
“We helped them secure finance to invest in new equipment to help improve their food production. The money allowed them to improve the quality of their own label products sold in their cafe. The financial support helped them accelerate growth, taking them about 12 months ahead of where they would otherwise be.”
Over 80% of the food sold in the cafe is made in house, from ingredients that are mostly of organic origin, hence the name. Katy creates the recipes, Austin costs them. The duo do their own logo and packaging design, and have created a lively social media presence, helping develop MOO as an island brand.
The biggest hurdle for the company was finance to buy new equipment such as a cold press juicer, a dehydrator, and a large, clear-windowed fridge.
Katy said: “Getting the finance through Jersey Business has helped us to grow. We wanted to be the first people in Jersey to offer cold pressed juices. The machine is expensive and takes up too much room to use during shop hours. When we got the machine in November 2014 it was a big risk because it takes a lot of time to train someone to use the machine properly too. We had to hire a new member of staff and only started selling the juices in February 2015.
“People do get the health benefits of the cold pressed juices now and can see the benefits of them so it’s starting to pay off.
“Getting the fridge was a massive boost too. It means we can sell more ‘grab and go’ food which frees up counter space for the salads, and reduces the amount of time it takes to serve people so it reduces the pressure on staff.”
Nick’s background in food production as well as his business experience has enabled him to build an on-going relationship between Jersey Business and MOO, helping Austin and Katy focus on what they are selling, and providing a confidential sounding board for new ideas.
Austin said: “Jersey Business helped us work out our business strategy. They helped us concentrate on what we are selling, and how many units we are selling each day or week.
“We can get caught up in the visual side of the shop and products or the social media side, but Nick helped us focus on the financial side.
“Everything originates from Katy and me, but it was great to talk to Jersey Business and to be able to bounce ideas off them and benefit from their experience. It has been good to get a second opinion.”
From getting up at 5am in order to make all the food themselves, to having two chefs and a snazzy new drinks line, Katy and Austin have accelerated their business enough for Austin to give up his day job so he can work full time with MOO. The cafe has developed a loyal clientele who even voted it number one ‘restaurant’ in Jersey on Trip Advisor – a position MOO rejected because they felt it was inappropriate for a food shop to hold this title.
Moo, 47 New Street , St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands
Tel: +44 (0) 1534 618396