Many retailers are investing in food counters for their stores but while delis and food to go ranges are increasingly common a small but a growing number are introducing a butchers counters to their businesses.

One of the originators of this trend, David Charman, gives his advice on making a fresh meat counter work

Independent convenience retailDavid has had a butchers in his store, a petrol forecourt and shop, for four years. “It took some time to win customers’ trust,” he says. “At first we relied on sales of locally-made sausages. Then people bought chicken, and then their Sunday lunch joints of lamb and beef. Finally, we’ve started supplying turkeys for Christmas – this year, we sold 350.”

Staff training: You need a fully-trained butcher; we advertised and hired one that way. He then trains up a few other staff to varying levels. Beyond specific butchery skills, it’s not too different to selling a Mars bar: our EPoS system can sell products by weight, so everything is barcoded at the butchery, then paid for at the counter with everything else.

Food hygiene: A butchers is actually relatively low-risk in terms of food hygiene because it is all going to be cooked, as opposed to the bakery section where we store hot food and perishable items. The butcher oversees it and, with our member of staff who has overall responsibility for food hygiene, ensures other staff understand Environmental Health guidelines.

Marketing: We didn’t do an awful lot of marketing: we have signage outside, distribute brochures, and post weekly specials on Facebook. But word-of-mouth is much more important than all this – that’s what turned people into regular customers for our butchers.