The people of the Hawke’s Bay grow good food. They know good food. And when they want to indulge they know Bellatino's Food Lovers Market will provide. Owner Larni Wedd adores beautiful food, so in 2019, after a long career in hospitality, she returned home to the Bay to share her passion.
“I’ve always loved both the bounty of food that can be found within New Zealand and the breadth of what can be sourced from other regions and across the globe.”
A couple years ago Larni made a pact with herself to knuckle down and spend the next decade growing her business. Right now she has her flagship store and cafe in Havelock North, and she recently opened another store in Bay View, near Napier. Before she reaches her expansion goal there’s work to be done on growing her business beyond her two stores, bringing her highly-regarded culinary selection to more New Zealanders.
“The goal is another four stores, so six in total, but I'm not about the cities. I really want to be a hero for local producers in the regions.”
It’s an exciting time for Larni, and Philip Mean, her husband and business partner. And she credits Upstock with giving her more time and space to execute their expansion strategy. Using the app from home she can keep an eye on both stores while also getting into the focussed flow needed to look at the ‘big picture'.
"Getting on Upstock has been absolutely life changing. I can finally keep track of everything that's been ordered and received. Now I can hand over the order management to my team, and spend my time growing the business."
Larni is renowned for the delight her luxury hampers bring, laden with the culinary treasures of the Hawkes’ Bay. When it comes to growing her business using Upstock, she definitely feels like she’s the one being treated.
“It'll absolutely become software that you can't do without. It feels like a gift, I definitely think it makes my life better.”
More from our chat with Larni:
What are your expansion plans?
You know you can hit a saturation point, so maybe only one more here in the Hawke’s Bay, if I can find the right site. I’ll look to other regions, rather than cities, because I'm not going to be able to compete with Moore Wilson’s and Farro. My stores will be smaller and definitely showcase more local suppliers, and there will certainly still be some European options, but that's not a big part of what we do. So yeah, that's kind of the game plan. Possibly a restaurant as well; my background's in restaurateuring.
What have been the biggest benefits of using Upstock?
The key thing is visibility, my staff can see what I've ordered and I can see what my staff has ordered. We're cutting out all that miscommunication, which is great. We're communicating all day, every day and when I’m sitting at home, I can see it all instantly.
How has it changed up your ordering process?
When I'm doing the ordering myself I just walk around the shop adding items on my phone. I do that a lot.
How valuable has Upstock been to upgrading your workflow?
I actually think Upstock should charge us! I’d want a discount though! Compared to some of the things I actually pay for, it’s really good – and there's not a lot of software that makes life good.