Misuzu and Ruriko can’t hide their surprise from their Grandfather’s appearance.
『 First of all, how’s your business? Are you having problems? 』
「 Business? The bakery? 」
『 Is there anything else? 』
Jii-chan sounds harsh.
「 Err, for now, it’s sold out every day, but we’re only selling the amount I can make, I think that the cafeteria sells more, they need to sell as well 」
It’s a matter of time before it reaches the red or even black.
We’re making bread from a legit workshop after all.
『 That is not a business report 』
「 Hmm, I think so too. Sorry 」
I can’t show any substantial numbers.
「 Grandfather, it’s only been a month since Danna-sama started selling bread. Besides, Danna-sama’s just started taking bread-making lessons at school. It’s challenging to present complete market research and sales objective, it’s meaningless 」
『 I’m not asking for that. Instead, I want to hear something that’s coming from you 』
Coming from me.
『 How do you feel after making your own bread and selling it for nearly a month? 』
「 I understood that just making delicious bread won’t do 」
『 Go on 』
Jii-chan shows interest
「 In our school, there’s also a manufacturer selling bread other than me. I thought that the taste wins over the price, so I didn’t mind pricing the products a bit higher 」
Katsuko-nee accepted all the prices I calculated for the bread I make.
「 But, a classmate of mine asked me “could you make it 50 yen cheaper?” today. In short, my bread is thought to be a bit too pricy compared to the other seller. The boys value the size of the bread and the amount they eat than the taste of the product. I’m also a high school boy and yet, when I become the seller, I only looked at how I made it and the cost of it, I lost the senses of the buyer 」
That’s what I’m reflecting on.
Even though it’s also Katsuko-nee’s first time selling bread.
I believed that everything Katsuko-nee says is right and closed my eyes.
「 All I did was do what Katsuko-nee says, make the bread according to her recipe, and sell it at the price she gave me. I’m not managing a business. I felt like I’ve been a fool recently 」
To be honest.
“I’m still studying now” is just an excuse.
Minaho-neesan even paid for the equipment used in the bakery.
Actually, Minaho-neesan shouldn’t be paying for Megu and Mana’s living expenses.
I should be earning money for their expenses using the sales from the bakery.
『 Just delicious bread won’t do, I may have praised you for noticing it in just a month, but still, it’s not enough 』
『 Hey, was it even necessary to sell bread in your school? 』
『 Try to look from the perspective of the customers, the students in your school. Don’t include your situation 』
「 My situation? 」
『 Isn’t that right? Isn’t it just you who made the decision of wanting to study how to make bread and how to run a bakery at your school 』
『 In the first place, does your school have a directive that all students must buy bread from the cafeteria? 』
「 No, they don’t have that 」
『 Then, evaluate the standard student’s lunch 』
「 Most of them bring lunch from home. Also, the cafeteria usually sells udon or curry. Then, some guys buy a lot of bread for their lunch. As for me, I’m a seller. What’s left is those who purchase some lunchboxes from convenience stores by morning before going to school. Oh, there were also some who buy bread from outside stores. Then, what’s left are delinquents leaving the school during lunch break and eat outside 」
Nei during her legendary delinquent days seems to eat French cuisine course with Margo-san outside the school during lunch break.
They come back to school long after the lunch break, mostly when the 5th period has ended, and the 6th lesson starts.
They seem to go back to the mansion to skip classes.
『 That’s a lot of alternative options for lunch 』
「 Yeah, that’s right 」
Bread is just for those who forgot their lunch or those whose wallets are crying, or those who never change their meals.
On the other hand, those who eat lunch boxes but still not full buy bread to fill their belly.
Actually, it’s not the mainstream lunch in our school.
『 So, about your bread. For example, if you stopped selling starting next week, will the students have problems? 』
「 I don’t think so. I suddenly started selling since September 」
For the first term, it’s established that the bread comes from the dealer.
「 But, you see, when I started selling bread, their choices have increased. Before, those who don’t like the bread from the dealer had to buy food from the convenience store by morning, but now they choose the bread I bake 」
『 Hey! Don’t change the topic, those who don’t like the bread from the dealer aren’t all customers of your products, are they? 』
『 You need to think of the convenience of the business side. Does it really make sense for consumers to increase if you increase the choices? Think about it 』
『 For example, there are ten ramen shops on a ramen alley. They all have different individuality from the ramen they sell. Then, an 11th ramen shop opens up. Can you say that it’s a good thing that the choices for the consumers’ increases 』
『 Are you the type that doesn’t mind eating ramen every day? 』
「 No, well, I’d get tired if I eat it continuously for a week or two 」
『 Right? Only ramen critics will eat ramen every time. However, I don’t trust critics who only eat ramen. If they don’t eat other good dishes every day then, they can’t make proper criticisms, can they? Ramen critic is also part of cooking critic 』
『 For example, the company you work in decided to eat ramen for lunch today and so, you go to one of the ten ramen houses, well, ordinary people are full from eating one bowl of ramen. If it were delicious then they’d talk about coming to the same store again, but. Would you go to the ramen alley the next day? 』
『 On the next occasion you go to the alley, there would be a conservative who’ll say “It was delicious at the shop we ate at before, let’s go there again,” and there would be an adventurous person who’d say “no, let’s try out this store next,” which type are you? 』
「 If there’s ten of them then I’d try the other shop 」
『 Then, are you going to compare each shop with each bowl? 』
「 I don’t think so. I’ll pick which shop has it delicious among several ones, then after that, eat only from the two or three of the best 」
I don’t like ramen that much, however.
『 So what is delicious? How can you know that one specific shop is the best if you haven’t eaten from all of them yet? 』
「 Oh right, I wasn’t clear. If it’s ten shops, then I’ll remove those that don’t seem to serve delicious food. If there are no customers in that shop if it’s dirty, or when they don’t have a menu printed out. If we except those stores, the remaining would only probably be half. What’s left is to test out which has it better 」
『 Though you say that you’ll eat, each ramen shop will sell various kinds of ramen. Even those ramen shops that you excluded by chance might have ramen that is more delicious than others. If you don’t eat the most delicious ramen in that shop, you might never choose that shop again 』
「 Then nothing can be done. I just have to give up thinking that I was unlucky 」
『 Are you giving up? 』
「 Well, it’s just ramen, isn’t it? I won’t die from just learning that I couldn’t eat the best tasting ramen 」
Why are we even talking about this?
『 Now then, let’s go back to the former question, do you need an eleventh shop in the ramen alley? 』
「 No, I think, if there were already ten shops in that alley, even when the eleventh shop comes in, depending on the feel of the store, they might have delicious ramen so everyone would want to try it at least once 」
That 11th store will have a decent amount of customers coming in.
It’s only a question of whether they’d accept the ramen as delicious or not from there.
『 Okay, then, the ramen shops increase one after another on that alley. Eventually, it reached a 99th ramen shop. Now then, is the 99th ramen shop necessary for the lane? 』
99 ramen shops in a row?
「 Grandfather, we can’t comprehend the purpose of your question. There’s no objective answer on such limited example 」
『 That’s right, I’m purposely narrowing the range of the topic 』
『 Let’s continue with the ramen alley. If you’re competing with the same product, then the customers will come to your door 』
『 You want to run a bakery with Katsuko-kun in the future, don’t you? 』
「 Yes, I’ll start a bakery once I graduate from high school 」
I’ve made my resolve.
『 So, how many do you think are the bakeries in this country? 』
『 You can buy freshly baked bread anywhere easily nowadays. You can even find them in supermarkets, the stores are increasing 』
「 No, but, Katsuko-nee and my bread are handmade, they taste good 」
『 Didn’t you just say that you noticed that just having a good taste doesn’t make it better? 』
That’s right, I did say that, but.
『 There’s a massive pile of bakeries out there. You can buy bread anywhere, even their price is reasonable. Also, Japanese people don’t necessarily need bread for survival. If there’s no bread, then they can eat a pastry or whatever they want 』
Jii-chan’s speaking loudly.
『 Do you get it? Starting your own bakery means competing with other bakeries. No, not just bakeries, but also other eateries. Modern Japan has too much food. If a consumer thinks “Let’s buy bread.” or when someone returns from work and say “I’ll buy something delicious for the family,” will they pick up your product? Not the bread from another bakery selling in town, or not other food, but your bread 』
『 Think on that level if you really are eager with your business 』
Oh, I see.
I’m only selling inside our school cafeteria.
I’ve been thinking that I’m only competing with the merchant selling their bread through our cafeteria.
It’s as Jii-chan pointed out.
The students bring a lunch box, food bought from outside, merchant’s bread, my bread, and others go eat out. There are 6 choices.
I need to produce bread with those options in mind.
There’s no need to compete with them.
If many bring in lunch boxes, then increase the dessert-like bread.
There’s a lot of problems to think about.
Actually, Nei already talked about it.
There’s a demand for sweet bread during lunch break when everyone just ate their lunch box.
『 If you’re going to start a bakery in the future then it’s the same as starting the 99th ramen shop on the alley. An ordinary bakery is found anywhere 』
That’s right, I need to think about that too.
Really, just making a delicious bread won’t do.
There’s already plenty of perfect and famous handmade bakeries already.
We have to break in there.
That’s just the same as opening the 99th ramen shop on the alley.
『 You really are too earnest 』
『 If I talk about this with my students, most of them don’t even listen to my story. In the end, they also try to argue, saying “Kakka is right, however” and something as such 』
「 Danna-sama’s a splendid man 」
「 I also respect Onii-sama 」
No, look, Misuzu, Ruriko.
Did I do something to be praised like that?
『 Well, I might’ve intimidated you a but, if you want to raise your flag yourself in this world, that’s how it is. Would you still do it knowing that? 』
「 I will. Katsuko-nee and I will open up a bakery. No matter how hard it is, we’ll overcome it, we’ll do anything to sell our bread. That’s what I decided on 」
「 Dear 」
Katsuko-nee who’s been silent all this time mutters.
『 I see, that’s good enough. Then, let me tell you my secrets in business 』
『 The true essence of businesses is deception. Don’t forget that 』
『 Listen, customers don’t really want anything you offer. There is no such thing as an absolutely necessary 』
I don’t get it.
『 For example, you stopped your business in school, will there be anyone having problems with that? If the bread you make is much more delicious than the mass-produced, no, it probably is, but, if you stopped making it, will there be a student who’d ask you “The bread you make is better, I beg you, please make more?” 』
「 I don’t think so 」
『 No wonder, nobody will have troubles even if the merchant’s bread is also abolished. Even if it’s the school cafeteria. If the options are reduced, then they’ll all just bring lunch box from home. Or perhaps, they’ll buy some food early in the morning. The students getting out of school during lunch to buy outside will increase, but that’s how it goes 』
『 Returning to the ramen alley conversation, there’s no one troubled if the 99 ramen shops all disappeared. Even if ramen shops vanished from this world, there are still other delicious food available. This world is endlessly wide 』
Even if it’s an extreme logic, I can understand that.
Realistically, ramen won’t be going away.
『 Therefore, even if you and Katsuko-kun start your own bakery, it’s only your own ego in the end. It is something you want to do, the world nor the customers have nothing to do with it 』
Oh, I see.
Even if I open up a shop now; the people on the roadside won’t be that interested.
Our current bakery sales in the cafeteria are only managing itself because the students have only six choices when eating lunch in a closed space.
Their choices are few.
But, if Katsuko-nee and I started a bakery for real,
The bakery’s customers will have tens of thousands of other options.
It’s not just with the other bakeries, we’re also competing with all the other food businesses.
『 When someone sells a product to another, they guarantee the worth of the price. That’s the ironclad rule of business. When you lose trust, you can’t continue your business. However, if your products are like the same as all the others that are already overflowing, what will you do? How can you make customers buy the bread you make instead of the bread from the other bakery? 』
『 You already know that just being delicious won’t do. The customers won’t come to you with only that difference 』
Our products are much more delicious than the dealer’s products. I’m confident of that.
But, it’s 50 yen more expensive than theirs.
Most students would choose the dealer’s bread than ours.
Taste isn’t a fundamental solution.
「 Sorry, I don’t know. Please tell me. Jii-chan 」
I bow my head to the camera.
『 Didn’t I tell you? It’s deception. You need to find ways to trick your customers 』
Seeds of deception.
『 Find an added value on your bread, show what’s different than the other stores to have customers buy yours, eat yours 』
『 Branded clothes are expensive, especially for women. 』 Depending on which item, clothes cost less than a thousand yen or hundreds of thousands of yen. However, nobody complains about it, that’s the added value of the brand 』
『 The added value must please the customers. They’re pleased with it; therefore they pay the added value even if it’s expensive. It makes the customers happy. Furthermore, if you add value to it, it’s worth increases. The added value shouldn’t be given to customers for free. It not being free is what makes it an added value 』
「 Sorry, I don’t get it 」
『 It’s about making something that costs 1000 yen to make, has an added value of a brand pricing it at 100,000 yen. The difference is 99,000 yen. Even if you remove the expenses, you’ll be able to buy the item for 30,000 yen. However, if you add the value of the brand, it has an absolute price of 100,000 yen. If you lower the amount, then the brand’s value will be broken 』
「 No, I understand the example but, that’s only for the clothing brand, right? I’m opening a bakery, not a clothing line 」
If we succeed in adding a brand to our bakery, we can’t sell 100 yen bread for 10,000 yen.
『 That’s obvious, do you think I’m giving you the idea of adding value to the bakery? If I do that, it would be my business, wouldn’t it? You need to think on how to add value to it by yourself 』
『 But, don’t forget this, it’s the added value that makes customers feel happy. That’s what I need you to learn. Furthermore, that “making them feel happy,” is what deception truly is 』
Jii-chan repeats himself.
『 A start-up company is often founded by a bigger company from one of the generations. They say “Our company thinks of your happiness first.” They often show up in economic magazines and business news on TV saying “our project was successful because we have the customers first in our minds” 」
Yeah, they exist.
『 Those who know that it is deception are okay, but some are swallowed in by their own deception that they believe it’s true 』
『 Managers who believe in the words will say “Our company serves the society” or “Let’s become a company that contributes to this world.” They’re the type of business that exploits their employees, forcing donations and volunteer activities from the employees. They’re too enthusiastic with charity work 』
「 Why? 」
『 They think of themselves as a “company that thinks of the customer first,” therefore they would like to be recognized by the world as “a company that has a meaning in this society” Therefore they make side steps 』
『 Actually, IT companies and food chain do this. I don’t know whether they really think of the customers first but, they’re a company that doesn’t care if a worker collapses. Many companies do the same service 』
Just like the one we’re talking about.
That 99 ramen shops.
『The worker intends to develop and expand the company. They have the strong will to break into the world. And yet, the world doesn’t care about it 』
Nobody cares if a company is gone.
『 When the company grows bigger and succeed, the people from below will say “This is all thanks to the valued customers.” They believe it themselves, but when they become a listed company, the world will not care about them even when they’re gone. They’ll get pissed off from that. Furthermore, they want the people, society to recognize them. That’s only the ego of the manager of the company, but they replace that ego with flowery words. “Our company contributes to the society so much, the world needs us,” they say. They’ll start some charity work oddly, forcing their employees to donate and volunteer, all activities are done by the name of the company only to sell their activities. However, only the person himself will think “If we do this, the world will accept our company” 』
『 Managers who are swallowed by their own deception falls into that pitfall 』
I don’t get it.
『 In reality, if you make a profit, then return it to the employees and shareholders. You don’t need to force your employees for volunteer work. Well, companies like that don’t grow upwards anyway. 』
『 What you should remember that you built your own store out of your own ego. Know that you only bother other people and drive yourself into them 』
It’s all selfish intent.
『 And if you want to penetrate the will of the people, find a seed of deception to plant. Make an added value. Customers will give money on what you offer, as long as that “something makes them happy” However, that’s all just deception in the end. It’s nothing but trickery. You must not be swallowed by your own lies! 』
Jii-chan summarized the conversation.
『 That’s all my advice for you and your business. Don’t forget that even if you die 』