There are many lessons to learn from the feedback of customers, and this is one of the ways that businesses can grow, according to The Rib Plug co-founder Zanele Sithenjwa. She also said that while customer feedback was essential, it was of no use if a business did not have the capacity to implement useful suggestions.
The business, which was co-founded with Mandisa Ndlovu, is based in Emndeni, Gauteng. It has been supplying precooked ribs since January this year. “When we launched the business, the idea was to empower ourselves and show those around us and in our area, that hard work pays off, and whatever you put your mind to, you can do it,” she told Vutivi News.
“We also established the business with the intention of having a second stream of income since at that time we were both fully employed. However, right now I work full-time with the business.” The Rib Plug sells beef, pork and lamb ribs that are served in 1kg packages. They are precooked and marinated. Sithenjwa said they were sourced from a factory that already cuts, pre-cooked and marinated them.
The business also offered a delivery service for those who bought two or more packets of ribs. Sithenjwa said their families and close friends spurred them on to start the enterprise. “We used to sell them to our family members and word quickly spread about our meaty ribs. Soon afterward, we would get orders from our friends, from our family members’ friends and from our colleagues as well,” she said.
“Initially we would get so many orders that we would run out of stock, but we now ensure that we have enough stock for the demand that keeps coming in,” Sithenjwa told Vutivi News. She added that people loved that their ribs were saucy and meaty. “We make sure that we carefully select ribs with a lot of meat because our clients love meat on their ribs,” she said.
“Customers love pork ribs more than they do lamb or beef ribs.” However, while their customers were enamoured with their ribs, Sithenjwa said that there was always room for improvement. “We have become aware that some of our customers have pointed out to us that the rib sauce is sometimes too sweet, and that is something we intend on changing soon. We would like to introduce different sauces so that we can accommodate those that like their ribs hot, for example,” she said.
“This has taught me that even though feedback is very important, it is equally important for businesses to have the capacity to make those changes. “We still hold our customers in high regard, so our dream is one day to own multiple stores where people can get our quality ribs from different parts of the country,” she added.