Question :
Kia ora Manaaki team,Thank you so much for giving us a hand up in May to find us a temporary kitchen. It gave us a lifeline to keep us going. Since then, we’ve been working on securing our own kitchen since June. Sadly, the agreement to lease for the property fell through on the day before we went into Level 3 lockdown.We were disappointedby the landlord’s cold attitude and even more devastated by the outcome. It’s not easy toaccept everyone’s 2+ months of hard work dissipated just like that. It’s heartbreaking to think that we have let our bakers down, plus two other social enterprises that we’re sharing the kitchen with.We’ve looked at hundreds of properties online and 20+ in person, scanned through 30+ real estate agents’ website database. So far, nothing suitable, yet. We’ve grieved. We’vere-grouped. And we’re ready for a Cookie Comeback Challenge! Time is not on ourside and our reserves are dwindling down. We can’t do this on our own so we’reseeking everyone’s help and support – Kitchen, Sponsorships and ChristmasCookies. Check out the social media post and the details.Support Required:1. What’s the best way for us to reach the right landlords, commercial real estate agents, property fitouts and corporate sponsors?2. Our reserves are thinning – What funding options do we have as a for-profit social enterprise?Knowing there are folks like Manaaki who cares for the vulnerable communities gives us the courage to keep going.Thanks Andy, Pat and Monty!Kia kaha and be kind to each other,Graeme Haddon & Eric ChuahCo-founders of The Cookie Projecthttps://thecookieprojectnz.com/

Question submitted 26/08/20 @ 06:51am
Industry: Business Growth
  • Morena to the Cookie Comeback Challenge!

    First question, for the landlords often this is through the agents like Chris from Colliers, Blair from James Group and Lloyd from Bayleys – at least they have lots of relationships and I know they believe in what you are doing. Beyond that, gaining profile into your target market of landlords who would be ‘up’ for a partnership and investing in the long-term with a tenant. I have found most landlords right now are in so much pain from their own income that their first focus is supporting their tenants, 2nd focus is shifting any vacant premises for anything they can get, and ultimately they only get to supporting causes when they think they have their own house in order. You guys are great at profile – keep pushing that.

    Corporate – again this is something you are really good at – and you ask, have you tried Foodstuffs lately or Countdown? If in doubt, ask again.

    Funding options – you know as much, it is super hard right now, to find funding as there are not really funding buckets that I am aware of beyond unemployment benefits, or starting up benefits if you are on a benefit – there are some flexi-wage schemes in place with MSD that migth be worth exploring – I think your situation is one of tens of hundreds of social impact organisations who’s runway of cash reserves are really challenged. It would be good to see Government respond – I know that Louise from Akina Foundation is working at that – but we need more being done.

    Who is your local MP – worth talking to him/her?

    Sorry to have read this post after hearing about your progress.

    Where are you on Foodstuffs? And also can you remind me what type of kitchen you need and how often, for how long, and typically during what hours of the day?

    Finding Our Kitchen

    Hi John
    They have a comprehensive outline of what they are looking for on their web site. See link.
    Cheers Liz

    Hi Graeme and Eric
    Have you looked at whether the perfect place is currently for sale? Maybe we could find some investors to fund you into a building.

    Hi team,
    Have you contemplated getting in touch with other bespoke bakers in AKL that might have idle capacity in their kitchens ie. loaf, wild wheat etc?
    Would you be interested if a premise was available in Dunedin? If you are, reach out to me at jonathan.cameron@elevatecp.co.nz

    also the social enterprise everybody eats in Onehunga might have space / connections.

    Morena Graham and Eric – let us know when you work through some of these options, I also thought overnight about the Food Bowl out at Auckland Airport? I quite like Liz’s suggestion.

    Morning Eric and Graeme – just heads up, the good people at A/Teed are hunting for some solutions, and I also had an email this morning from the CEO of the Food Bowl, who is keen to see what they can do to help/assist, Andy

    Kia ora everyone – apologise for the delayed response. Had a few days off to breathe and self-care.

    Hey Andy – thanks for taking the time to reply. Really appreciate it. Our thoughts:
    1. Landlord – Finding the right one that aligns in values is tricky. Have approached all the major property agents.
    2. Corporate – Yes will definitely approach Foodstuffs and Countdown.
    3. Funding
    – We approached Minister Sepuloni and Minister Salesa about funding support on the back of Gov’s announcement of allocating the biggest ever funding boost, but we don’t qualify for the $1.7b annual funding because we are not a service provider http://shorturl.at/mrHY9
    – We’ve arranged a meeting with catch up with MSD next week to explore options
    – In the meantime we are deploying tactical campaigns to generate cash.
    – Worst case scenario, we are considering pivoting to make non-bake product range which will reduce production footprint and overheads to get us through the next six months.
    – Keen to also explore Liz’s suggestion of bringing in investors.
    4. Local MP – Jacinda Ardern and Melissa Lee. Will reach out to them.
    5. Food Bowl – Looks like a great option. We’ll be keen to connect with their CEO.

    Kia ora John! Thank you for response. Appreciate you taking the time to support us. Our thoughts:
    1. We currently supply to 8 NW stores in Auckland. We don’t do a world-class job in managing this channel. We’re looking to recruit a distribution and partnership manager.
    2. We’re looking for a permanent kitchen as the preferred solution to optimum productivity, efficiency, and staff engagement. That means, baking any of the four days a week from 8am – 4pm, with run-of-the-mill commercial baking equipment, fridge space to store our butter, dry storage facilities and close to public transport. Our products are made from 5 simple ingredients for easy storage (butter, almond, wheat flour, cornflour and icing sugar)

    Kia ora Liz! Thank you for your response. Appreciate you taking the time to support us. Our thoughts:
    1. We thought about the idea of purchase or built from scratch, but decided to park this as the next phase after we build up some experience in running our own kitchen full time for the next 2-3 years. We’ve been co-sharing kitchen over the last two years at Eat My Lunch thanks to Lisa’s generosity.
    2. That said, with the right investor and world-class talent in the management team, this will open up new possibilities, accelerate our growth and scale our impact to a national level with direct sales distribution, ie Local Cookie Reps who are self-employed Kiwis with disabilities as our direct sales team on the ground.
    3. Our business fundamentals are solid with self-sutainable margins and proven impact model. If we have the opportunity to purchase, we’d be looking at open warehouse, or ex-catering business, or ex-bakery. We went to check out this ex-bakery place in Penrose on Friday and the landlord is looking to lease with intention to sell at the end of lease (2.5 years), it requires a fair bit of work to fit out but ticks many other boxes. We’d love to tee up a time to have a chat on Monday to explore the investor avenue – Our email is nomnomnom@thecookieprojectnz.com

    Kia ora Jonathan! Thank you for your response. Appreciate you taking the time to support us. Our thoughts:
    1. We’re reaching out to Baking Industry Association of New Zealand to see if there’s any kitchens with idle capacity. If you have any connection to Molly Woppy or Kea
    2. Unfortunatley, Dunedin may not work for us because the management team and trained bakers are based in Auckland. Our good friends at Cookie Time also offered production support for us in Christchurch.
    3. We’ll reach out to Nick from Everybody Eats and explore their space. We met Nick a few weeks ago and he’s very helpful and genuine.

    Thanks everyone for your input, suggestions and feedback.

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