The Beak family has worked in the meat industry for four generations – and counting. That’s an astonishing 130 years of combined experience that David Beak has drawn upon to create the perfect sausage.
There was never any doubt that the avid meat experimentalist would follow in his family’s footsteps. After graduating from university, Beak travelled the world in search of the perfect sausage. He eventually made his way to Australia 25 years ago and has built up a mouth-watering meat empire.
We spoke to the snag connoisseur about his booming business and future plans.
Can you tell me about your family’s long history in the meat business?
My family has been in the meat industry for four generations. My son will be the fifth. My family comes from South America. They moved to Argentina and worked in the meat industry there for three generations. After I finished university I moved overseas and worked in Brazil, the UK, Holland and Australia to get further experience in the meat industry.
It was always my passion to supply really high quality food and just make the whole meat experience far more enjoyable, exciting and easier for consumers. After 25 years in the industry, I saw a big opportunity in Australia for a really great sausage. After doing whole lot of market research we learned that consumers would go to the butcher for the quality sausages and the supermarket for the cheap sausages.
We then decided to do even more research around the world to find out who was making the best sausage and technology. After getting our results and doing a lot of trial and error ourselves we unravelled something very special with the Mr Beak’s sausage.
What kind of growth is Mr Beak’s enjoying?
Mr Beak’s is two years old. It has had phenomenal growth becoming the number 1 selling sausage in the retail market. Mr Beak’s sausages tastes great and looks great, are very juicy with a real meaty texture which is why they are so appealing to the consumer. We use 90% real beef in all sausages. Our Chorizo sausage, which is our highest seller, is 93% meat.
How do you cook the perfect sausage?
To cook the perfect sausage it must be cooked slowly. If it is cooked too fast the skin breaks and meat will become dry. The secret with our sausages is to cook them slightly medium or medium – well. They’re not like normal sausages because of the high beef content and because the meat is so fresh. Another trick is not to prick the skins. This will keep the moisture in and prevent the sausage from becoming dry.
What’s your favourite type of sausage?
I love sausages that are full of meat and bold flavours. Sausages originated in Europe and South America, they used the off cuts to create a great tasting product. The best sausages I’ve found from all around the world have high meat content with small amount of seasoning and spice to give you a flavour hit. This is something we’ve really tried to bring to Mr Beak’s sausages.
What’s the most challenging thing about your industry?
Innovation. It’s always about ‘what’s the next best thing’. How can we help the consumer to keep them interested. How can we give them a greater taste sensation? There is nothing better than great food. If you’re with family or friends and you’ve got a really good quality product, nothing spared with how to make it, nothing will beat a great feed. It makes for a great experience and great environment. Mr Beak’s sausage conjures up everything about summer, people having fun and enjoying themselves. That’s why it’s so successful.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to listen to the consumer. Before we launched this product we did a lot of market research and made a lot of changes to the products using what we had learnt. We only launched when they were scoring as good as chocolate which is the people’s number one favourite sensation.
Then we knew we had a winning product. The biggest lesson is to listen and keep innovating until you make a product you know consumers will love. And that’s what makes Mr Beak’s what it is today.
Tell us more about your plans for expansion?
With consumers time being tied up more and more with things like commuting to and from work, working long hours, social hours and spending quality time with the family the cry for convenient quality food is becoming more and more. We are developing new and exciting products to keep the meals fun and interesting. Mr Beak’s is full of life also keeping in mind the need for convenience.
Are there any entrepreneurs you look up to?
In retail I think of Paul Simon who started Woolworths, left to build Franklins, then re-joined and contributed to build up Woolworths to what it is today. He is one of the most inspiring entrepreneurs I’ve ever met.
Paul always had great advice even when he wasn’t doing business with me. Others that have helped me along the way include the members on my board. Another great inspiration includes Les Schirato who is the CEO of Cantarella Brothers (who makes Vittoria Coffee). Les always inspired me in marketing and launching products with the consumer at the right time.
What advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs?
Keep believing in the dream. Sometimes you have a dream, the right product for the right market but it doesn’t always work out for that time for many different reasons. Persevere. Eventually it will. Perseverance is the key. Don’t give up. One of my favourite mottos is ‘no means yes later’. So when you get people saying no just keep persevering because it could mean yes later.
What’s next for you and Mr. Beak’s?
Growing the business, seeing people grow with it. We are consistently growing at per annum which is amazing and I can help people become whatever they want to become and more. I’m excited to part of the next Australian development with consumer and chilled meals, Mr Beak’s new ideas, new products. Mr Beak’s will be become a major brand especially across the convenience food area particularly around meat and BBQ’s.