- M&M Meat Shops
M&M Meat Shops (Les aliments M&M in Quebec) is the largest specialty frozen food store chain in Canada. The company is headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, and has locations in all ten provinces, the Yukon and Northwest Territories; the company formally had operations in the Midwestern United States under the MyMenu brand that was discontinued in early 2011.
M&M was founded by Michael (Mac) Voisin and Mark Nowak in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1980. Voisin and Nowak's original business model was to provide good quality meat at lower prices. The partners discovered that flash frozen meats retained their freshness, but because they could be stored over a longer term, could be sold at a price comparable to supermarket meats.
M&M locations are generally small outlets in strip malls, consisting of several freezers, a counter, a conspicuous price list, and a cashier. It is also very common to find juice dispensers somewhere in the store to provide customers with complimentary juice. M&M claims to have higher sales per square meter than businesses in comparable locations, and lower overhead costs than other speciality food retailers.
M&M opened its first new franchise in nearby Cambridge, Ontario, in 1982. Mac's brother and co-owner, Greg Voisin, became director of franchising in the mid-1980s. Since then, it has expanded to over 470 stores across Canada. M&M entered Quebec in 1992 and in 1997, it entered the western provinces by acquiring the business of Jeffrey's Food, based in Edmonton, Alberta in 1993. M&M opened its first store in Yukon in 2004 (at Whitehorse) and in the Northwest Territories in 2006 (Yellowknife). Mac and Greg's brother, Guy Voisin, as well as sister, Janie Simpson, also work for the company.
Although it originally focused on cuts of meat, it has expanded its offerings to appetizers, pizza, pasta, seafood, desserts and single serving dinners which includes meatless items to appeal to vegetarians. Recently, M&M has added a line of specialty ice cream.
In 2008, M&M ventured outside Canada for the first time, opening stores in the Midwestern United States under the banner MyMenu. Other than the new name (chosen to reflect a from-the-ground-up operation that "[helps] people put menus together"), MyMenu stores are similar in design and layout to the M&M locations in Canada, featuring freezers, a sales counter, and the blue-and-orange M&M color scheme. The company started with 8 original MyMenu stores—5 in the Madison, Wisconsin market and 3 in Fort Wayne, Indiana; these were considered "test market" locations, with the company hoping to convert them to franchise ownership before adding franchises in other Midwestern markets. A difficult economic climate that affected sales and franchise financing efforts prompted MyMenu to close 2 of its Madison stores in early 2010 and all of its remaining Madison and Fort Wayne stores in early 2011. Despite this setback, MyMenu continues operations and has changed its focus to co-branding opportunities with established retailers in existing locations; the first co-branding effort was the October 2010 launch of stand-alone MyMenu departments at three locations of general-merchandise retailer The Andersons in Toledo, Maumee, and Columbus, Ohio.
A world record
M&M Meat Shops has twice held the world record for longest sausage: first in 1983 and again in May 1995 with a 46.3 km (28.8 mi) sausage produced in conjunction with Schneider Foods, its biggest supplier.
- ^ "M&M Meat Shops expands into U.S.", from Toronto Star, 7/30/2008
- ^ "MYMENU OFFERS FRESH TAKE ON FROZEN MEALS", from madison.com, 7/31/2008
- ^ "MyMenu to close two local stores but will look for two new franchise locations", from Wisconsin State Journal, 2/23/2010
- ^ Source: 10/12/2010 press release on PRNewswire.com
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