Club Sammich (or how I’ve not paid for my own lunch in four months)
I practice what I preach. Every piece of savings advice on my blog, I follow in my own life. Why? Because I like nice things. Specifically, I like getting on airplanes and seeing the world. Yes I’m about to take a SECOND overseas holiday this year, but don’t think for a second I haven’t earned it. My low income is divided up carefully every week to make these things happen because I want them badly enough.
One of the things that has helped me a long way in my savings goals is that I haven’t paid for lunch on a weekday out of my own pocket in about four months. And no, I don’t always bring my lunch from home, that costs money too.
What I did instead was co-found a small business. A very tiny, itsy sandwich business that I run inside the business I currently work in. It all started with sandwich club, where four of us would get together, chip in for sandwich ingredients and build delicious sandwiches for $15 a head for the entire week. I wrote about that in this blog post.
Anna and I making the ‘Caretaker’ with our silent partner and the amazing woman who inspired the ‘Caretaker’, Rach
Anna and I, however, were far more committed than the other half of the sandwich club and they dropped off before long. At some point, we began getting requests from other co-workers to make sandwiches for us, with the offer of payment. It steamrolled from there and suddenly we were developing a business plan to sell sandwiches in the office.
With the support of the CEO and COO (both of whom love our initiative, can-do attitudes and the way we’ve changed the office culture), we launched Club Sammich at the beginning of April with the ‘Anna’ sandwich, inspired by my co-founder, Anna. We sold the Anna for $5 and it was packed with fresh ingredients that we sourced from all sorts of locations, such as farmers markets, little fruit and veg shops in the suburbs and using bread we bought at a Vietnamese bakery.
People loved it and so the following week we came out with the ‘Georgia’, inspired by yours truly. Once again, we charged $5.
We release one sandwich a week and normally do a two-day run, selling between 30 and 50 of each sandwich to our co-workers. Every sandwich is inspired by someone in the office and they are always $5 – bargain! They always include at least 5 toppings and we are incredibly generous because we both believe life’s too short to eat a barely-there, limp sandwich. We don’t just do ham, salami and other no-cook deli meats either – we’ve had lamb sausages, crispy bacon and haloumi, just to name a few.
My personal favourite, the ‘Deli Delight’ – the only time we’ve veered away from our themed sammiches
We have a massive tupperware container in the work fridge to store all our sauces, cheeses and other bits and pieces (like sundried tomatoes and olives) and we budget every sandwich so that we make a profit. Yes it takes a little extra effort and pre-planning the night before, but we produce all the sandwiches during our lunch break and have it down to such a fine art that we are in and out (including clean up AND eating our own sandwiches) within an hour.
Our first goal with the sandwich business was to never have to pay for our own lunch again and once a week be able to treat ourselves to a meal at the pub or a nice cafe near work. We’ve now reached a point that we pocket some of the profits on top of our free lunches.
The ‘Original Frankie’
Yes, it seems silly, but it’s a proper little business which we run reports on, take feedback from our customers and continue to work to create a better product. Most of all, it’s helped both of us save a LOT of money that we’d otherwise spend on lunch and that is partly how I have managed to afford my trip to Europe to attend my friend’s wedding in two weeks. (Hard work does pay off!)
Anna and I are astounded that people keep coming back for more – but then, our sandwiches are so damn tasty, who wouldn’t?