Business development

Talho Moris’ Butcher Shop: Fresh meat business in Timor-Leste

A cool and clean atmosphere welcomes customers entering Talho Moris’ butcher shop at Bemori Street in Dili, Timor-Leste. A refrigerated display unit showcasing the various fresh meat cuts helps the consumers to choose what they need. Unsurprisingly, the shop is always full of customers.

Feature | 28 March 2016
Kunfi Maria Sequeira, Owner and Manager of Talho Moris' Butcher Shop, together with her employees
A cool and clean atmosphere welcomes customers entering Talho Moris’ butcher shop at Bemori Street in Dili, Timor-Leste. A refrigerated display unit showcasing the various fresh meat cuts helps the consumers to choose what they need. Unsurprisingly, the shop is always full of customers.

Coming from their own personal experiences of the difficulties in finding good quality meats, Carlos Jose Vongue and Kunfi Maria Sequeira, saw a good business opportunity to open a butcher shop in the heart of Dili. However, neither of them had any business experience, and they were doubtful about making a profit from the business.

In the midst of their deliberations, they learned from one of their relatives of a business counselling programme conducted by the Institute for Business Support (IADE). Without further ado, they contacted IADE and received consultation to formulate their business plan.

In addition to promotion, we also improved and prioritized service quality. I always remind all of my employees to be pleasant, put the number one priority onto meat hygiene and quality as customer satisfaction is very important."

Kunfi Maria Sequeira, Owner and Manager of Talho Moris' Butcher Shop

“Neither of us had a business background. We proposed this business idea to IADE through its Business Incubation Facility (BIF), a programme that offers a package of business management support, technical training and access to finance to micro and small enterprises.. We have received much assistance and support in building this business. We obtained a loan from our family,” said Kunfi, recalling the beginnings of the meat business.

As BIF clients, they received assistance in preparing a hygienic butchery place and storefront, learned proper meat cutting techniques, purchased meat cutting machines, and promoted the store’s products through TV and newspaper advertisements for seven months, as well as the continuous distribution of flyers and brochures.

To ensure international standard of the meat cutting techniques, their employees were given training by experienced butchers from Timor-Leste and Australia.

“Our cutting knives are specially imported from Australia,” said Kunfi.

Both Carlos and Kunfi admit that the first six months were the hardest period for both of them. The couple had to visit each restaurant and hotel in Dili to promote their fresh meats.

“We did not have many consumers in the first six months. I was desperate and even questioned my decision to open my own business,” said Kunfi, who was seven months pregnant at that time.

“In addition to promotion, we also improved and prioritized service quality. I always remind all of my employees to be pleasant, put the number one priority onto meat hygiene and quality as customer satisfaction is very important,” said Kunfi, who now acts as manager. As a result, all employees are always equipped with boots, head covers, gloves, and full-body plastic aprons.

The various promotional efforts began to yield results. More customers started to visit and those customers spread through word of mouth of the high quality of the meat that could be bought from Talho Moris. To attract more customers, the shop has launched several promotion programmes, including price discounts during weekends.

IADE programmes are supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) through its Business Opportunities and Support Services (BOSS) Project. Jointly funded by Irish Aid and NZAID, the ILO-BOSS project works in partnership with IADE to deliver business development services to micro, small and medium enterprises, unlock business opportunities by developing functional value chains in specific sectors and promote better coordination and alignment of private sector initiatives."

“We are also very flexible, as our intention is for all Timorese to be able to afford high-quality, fresh meat. Therefore, our customers can buy meat based on their purchasing ability.” said the mother of a one-year-old daughter.

From only one bull per week, today Talho Moris is able to sell 60 bulls per month, with an average of two bulls sold during weekdays and four bulls during weekend days. With a total of six employees, the daily income has increased by 50 per cent for regular days and 100 per cent during special occasions such as Christmas and New Year.

Moreover, the Talho Moris meat shop supplies fresh meat to various supermarkets, hotels restaurants in Dili and institutional buyers such as the Timorese army. The couple expects to gain back their investment capital this year.

In an effort to expand sales, Talho Moris meat shop will open a new outlet in Dili.

“In addition to opening a new outlet, we hope that we can expand our meats to chicken, pork, lamb and fish. We wish to open a one-stop-meat-shop to fulfil all of our customers’ needs,” said Kunfi, enthusiastically expressing her dream.

IADE programmes are supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) through its Business Opportunities and Support Services (BOSS) Project. Jointly funded by Irish Aid and NZAID, the ILO-BOSS project works in partnership with IADE to deliver business development services to micro, small and medium enterprises, unlock business opportunities by developing functional value chains in specific sectors and promote better coordination and alignment of private sector initiatives.

The article was written by Helder Mendonca and Prudencio Barbosa Moniz, staff of the Institute for Business Support (IADE) under the Minister of State, Coordinator of Economic Affairs (MECAE) of Timor-Leste