For those of you who have followed our company for the last year, you know what I am talking about with the title of this write up. Before August 1st, 2019, KC Cattle Co. struggled daily to keep our two feet underneath us. We had shifted from selling wholesale to focusing all our efforts on the end consumer, but how do you find new customers with a limited marketing budget? My mentality was if we got creative and had some faith eventually one of the many darts I was throwing at the wall would stick. Our leap of faith was hiring a wonderful PR firm, Light Years Ahead, that spring to help us get our brand out to the masses. It was a huge spend for us and the company, but boy did it pay off in the end.
One of the publications they had linked us up with was Food and Wine. They had asked for a single pack of our Wagyu hot dogs to grill up. Our Wagyu hot dogs were one of our worst sellers since we had launched them in April 2019. We sent over a pack and did not hear anything back. This happens frequently when sending products to different publications, so I assumed they did not like them and moved on.
It was Thursday, August 1st, 2019. I was at a neighbor’s property helping him with a couple questions he had about marketing some pork he was raising on his property. Sales and website traffic had been dead all day. At about 4pm, my phone started blowing up with orders. I was heading back to HQ and I gave the PR firm a call to ask if something had been released. They said they didn’t think so. At the same time, my wife was calling asking why our website was blowing up. By the time I made the 15-minute drive back, we had 50,000 people on our website. Food and Wine had released an article titled We Found a Hotdog that Tastes like Steak. They proclaimed we had the best hot dog in the World. Within a few hours it was the number one article on Apple news, Yahoo, and MSN. By the next morning, we had 500,000 people visit our website and 7,500 orders to get out the door to customers.
There were two of us who worked full-time at KCCC at that point. I was terrified that this was going to break my small company, but if the military teaches you anything it is how to adapt to changing circumstances. I put a plan together and got to work. Throughout the whole ordeal we were as transparent as possible with customers (also a lesson learned from the military, communication is key). We ended up breaking even in 2019 (shipping single packs of hot dogs across the United States is not cost effective), but we gained an amazing customer base out of the deal.
I had all these awesome plans for 2020 to keep our momentum going in a sustainable manner. However, 2020 had different plans for us. We have been blessed to be busier than ever during COVID-19, keeping people fed across the country when so many other small businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. Despite our success, watching this year unfold breaks my heart.
This is still the best country on our planet to be a citizen of. One of the major reasons for this is you can have completely different views than another without being persecuted for said beliefs. Being a former Ranger, and now a business owner, I have developed thick skin and learned what it means to be a quiet professional. I learned my actions speak much louder than my words. The people and businesses I admire most did/do not use the autonomy of social media to perpetuate messages of hate. They work tirelessly to be a vehicle for change in a direction they believe is right. Every single one of us has good and evil within us. It is a battle every day to make sure the good within wins out. This is what KC Cattle aspires to show our customers, employees, and community. We look forward to the challenges the rest of this year and 2021 will bring forth. Why? Because it presents an opportunity to make the World a better place one pack of hot dogs at a time.