When we received the first major interest in our bagels back in 2015, we were so accustomed to saying YES—the strategy that had brought us from zero to the national stage—that we didn’t pause to fully think through the deal and simply said we would make it happen.

In our typical full steam ahead mode, we went about inventing a retail business from scratch, working towards what we believed would be our big break in grocery stores. We designed boxes, reengineered our production line, invested in packaging equipment, and established a distribution infrastructure. We were ready!

After shipping out the first order we waited and waited, but a second order never came! Determined to establish Bantam as a name in the grocery store aisle, we knew it was time to pause, take a step back, and understand what had happened. Without realizing it, we had set ourselves up for failure with that first deal by agreeing to sell our frozen bagels in the bakery section—a part of the store that was so unaccustomed to selling frozen product that our bagels, when they finally did show up at the store, were either displayed at room temperature (eek!) or were so buried between ice cream cake displays that they were hardly noticeable. It was then that we began attending trade shows, learning from other brands, establishing a broker support system and approaching grocery stores smarter and more prepared than ever before.

By shifting our strategy to the right section of the grocery store and arming ourselves with a support system who knew the landscape, we re-launched into grocery aisles and went from 0 to 5,000 stores in under a year, carving out full Bantam-shelves one at a time, and bringing new customers down the aisle who hadn’t shopped for frozen breakfast food in years.

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