This week’s Idea: Why did meat sales surge on “Meatless Monday?

with Neil Godin

Meatless Monday? Never heard of it. Nor had hundreds of other Vancouverites who swarmed a new biz called West Broadway Meat Co. on a recent Monday. Why did their meat sales surge on Meatless Monday? Because Head Butcher Lorne McMillan put the word out that they would hold a public butchering of a 350-pound water buffalo on that day. That’s why.

Lorne McMillan carves the leg of a 350-pound water buffalo.

Lorne McMillan carves the leg of a 350-pound water buffalo.

The event was a huge success – with many dozens following the butcher’s every move, through a viewing window in the shop. But the event wasn’t without its challenges. As meat lovers looked inside, protestors loomed outside. Lorne and his team were picketed by enraged animal rights protesters – some of whom went as far as issuing death threats. “That was really too bad,” Lorne told media and customers, “because our mission is to sell humanely raised local meats.” (The water buffalo was raised on a Fraser Valley farm and was slaughtered at a facility in nearby Chilliwack). However, Lorne told a Metronews reporter that there will always be people who take issue with the slaughtering of an animal – even if it’s humanely raised. “Even people who eat meat have a hard time dealing with the mortality of their dinner at times.”

Your call to action  

Regardless of your position (carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, or?) we can all learn from Lorne’s brilliant example. (BTW, I’m a “fishetarian,” personally, but I also indulge in organic chicken – and, occasionally, a succulent rack of lamb. And, on rare occasion, a deliciously rare tenderloin steak. Hmm. Do I really qualify as a “fishetarian?” Maybe not.)  Anyway. Look at all that Lorne is accomplishing:

  • He has differentiated the business. By offering only humanely grown all-natural and organic meats – all from local sources.
  • He holds carving events (a whole pig the previous week).
  • He invites the public behind the scenes, via the viewing window.
  • He creates huge buzz – both word of mouth and what we call “word of mouse.”
  • He keeps customers engaged by offering classes on everything from sausage making to preparation of exotic meats and poultry.

Back to Meatless Monday. Not only did Lorne and Co. enjoy their biggest sales day ever, he also firmly established his relatively new store as a true star of his West Side neighborhood – and established it with the media as well. Thinking about Lorne’s success, just two words come to mind: “Well done.”

See you next week.


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