J&R Meats beefs up efficiency

J&R Meat Company streamlines orders, packaging and marketing to serve customers efficiently

PORTERVILLE – The coronavirus pandemic forced families around the country to prioritize staying home for dinner rather than dining out. As a result, businesses such as J&R Meat Company had to adjust to the surge in demand for meat while also ensuring the safety of their staff.

The Porterville meat market minimized store traffic by only allowing call-in orders, and then they would call customers back when their orders were ready. Owner Kelly Stock said having customers call in their orders helped streamline his business.

“We had to hire additional help just for the call-in orders,” Stock said. “It prevented people from coming in and waiting around [in the store] for their orders. It also gave us more of a systematic way of finishing orders.”

They also placed sanitizing stations outside of the market and recorded every employee’s body temperature when they came to work, to ensure that no one was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Since more people were staying home and cooking their own meals, the demand for meat skyrocketed. This caused suppliers to increase their prices, which didn’t affect J&R Meat Co. in the beginning. Due to the inventory they acquired before the price hike, the meat company was able to keep their prices low for a while before being forced to raise them.

“Meat became difficult to acquire. Grocery stores were ordering more meat so the suppliers had to accommodate for that,” Stock said. “There was a shortage in the supply chain to get the products to us, so we had to do a lot more work to get our products here.”

The increase in demand for meat caused the company to become more strategic about their distribution methods. They ordered a stuffing machine to package products faster, creating a more efficient process the company will continue long after the pandemic. Finding efficiencies wasn’t the only lesson the 37-year-old family business learned. The ongoing pandemic helped the company develop new tactics in regard to marketing their products. They have run different specials over the last few months to which customers have responded favorably. They were a bit unprepared for the rush that followed, but now they’ve learned to have specials prepared before announcing deals to the public.

J&R Meat Co. is now allowing walk-in customers, but no more than two customers in the store at a time. Call-in orders are still preferred.

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