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A haven for meat lovers
By Hazel Tan
HUBER’S Butchery’s decision to set up an online butchery store, in addition to its physical shop, has paid off.
Brothers Ryan and Andre Huber, who established Huber’s in 2007, learnt the trade from their Swiss father Ernst, who studied butchery and cooking in Switzerland.
The name today is synonymous with fine meats in Singapore. From 10 employees, the staff has grown to 130, and the butchery sells about 1 million kg of meat annually.
Its focus has also expanded from wholesale to retail — opening a 50-seat bistro and an online shop (www.hubers.com.sg) with its very own YouTube channel that has a following of 10,000 and growing. Its video “How to cook steaks the traditional way” has more than 2.8 million views to date.
A variety of top-quality meats at Huber’s Butchery’s store at Dempsey. Photo: Huber’s Butchery
Says executive director Andre Huber: “My father thought most people want to buy meat in person to see, touch and smell the freshness of the meat.
“He was reluctant to open an online store, but I went ahead to do so. We have since made our return on investment many times over. It is also the part of the business that is witnessing the highest growth.”
Growing the family business. Mr Ernst Huber with sons Ryan and Andre Huber. Photo: Huber’s Butchery
Thinking like a customer
Huber’s attention to detail in every aspect of the business, especially on enhancing the customer experience, is laudable.
“It is about doing everything a little better than our competitors. It takes a lot of effort to ensure every single component of the business is performing at the high level it needs to,” says Mr Huber.
A case in point is its mobile responsive website.
While most websites list meats in portions of 200g, Huber’s is able to charge customers for the exact weight of their purchase online.
In addition, by engaging Adyen, the payment solution that companies like Uber, Netflix and Spotify use, Huber’s is able to charge the balance on the same credit card that was used to place the deposit through Adyen’s proprietary encrypting technology.
“This means that customers only need to make the payment once upon order. Huber’s will then charge the exact amount to the customer’s credit card after preparing the order — saving the hassle of collecting of the balance upon delivery for both the customer and our delivery driver,” says Mr Huber.
Mr Andre Huber believes in leveraging on technology to better serve his customers. Photo: Huber’s Butchery
Making it easy
Leveraging apps for its delivery management system has also enabled Huber’s to up its game.
All its delivery drivers have an app on their mobile phones — a made-in-Singapore delivery tracking system called Detrack. This allows managers to track the deliveries, especially helpful when staff need to handle customer calls.
Mr Huber says customers called the salesman to find out when deliveries would be made. The salesperson would then have to call the office, check which driver delivered to that location and then call the driver.
“This process wasted a lot of time. Sometimes when we can’t get hold of the driver, the customer has to wait for a long time before being notified.
“With the app, the driver just needs to click on the delivered tab and take a picture of the signed invoice upon delivery. This picture is automatically e-mailed to the customer and to the Huber’s e-mail address as the proof of purchase. This is why our call centre gets fewer calls asking for certified true copies of missing invoices these days,” he explains
While business disruption is becoming the norm, those who are in the business of making food retain their appeal,believes Mr Huber.
“The way we deliver food to the consumer may be disrupted, but the traditional way of making food is still the best. We are constantly on the lookout for the latest trends and technology to help our business become more productive and relevant,” he adds.