As main thoroughfare for towns, the high street reflects the history of a place and its people, with its social habits and economy reflected in the shop windows. We were therefore intrigued by a recent talent show for various occupations, entitled Young (Whatever) of the Year, with the first episode finding talent from the world of butchers.

We thought we’d have a butchers at what such an occupation, that has seen its numbers dwindling well before the enforced changes businesses are currently seeing, can tell us about business, other than it`s not only Michael Jackson who can lay claim to the steel glove.

Master butchers require precise skills, as does any successful business, but the metaphors don’t end there. Good butchers know every vertebrae and joint of their carcasses and how to get the best cuts, not only for their customer, but for their benefit in terms of profit.

Watching the butchers` shop can be a reflection of current market forces as so-called cheap cuts are taking centre stage of the butcher’s display. Cuts of meat, never until recently, seeing the shop front are now proudly displayed. It seems that, in a downturn, customers are turning to their local butcher’s knowledge for less expensive cuts. Not only in finance is the word economy being used; watch any celebrity chef.

Tidy butchering, with precise cutting,  is as necessary to the butcher as is efficiency with an accurate approach, and relates to many other businesses along with not too much fat or wastage. Working with the whole product a butcher has to be adaptable to their market conditions. If it’s hot – it`s BBQ cuts. If it’s cold – it’s the trimmings. It is no different for other businesses in order to survive. Nothing is wasted. What butchers use for displays and what they keep ‘out back’ alters along with their costing yields; reflecting customers demands they baseline accordingly.

A walk down the high street can show more than which businesses are coming and going, however, as for the young butchers, we can’t offer any comment on what making a Viking boat from a saddle of lamb and a cabbage leaf could mean for business and don’t think we’ll hear the phrase “I have confidence in my sausage” can be adapted for too many.

(Image credit: David Armano  Article credit: Copyright SUF)