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How to Run a Butchery in Canada

Explore this article and sharpen your strategies for your butchery business.

Canada's meat industry is a promising and important part of the economy, and it employs a significant amount of people in the food processing sector. It was one of the first food businesses to establish bulk production processes for global markets.

The Canadian butchery business includes the production, refining, canning, preservation, and advertising of meats such as cattle and veal, sheep and mutton, hog, chicken, goat, rabbit, horse, and wild game like venison and bison.

In Canada, meat is commonly eaten, with an average yearly household meat expenditure of about $1,480 (in 2019). This is exciting news for butchery owners!

Butchery businesses are a staple in the community, offering fine cuts of meat and competent service. To be a successful butcher, you need passion and knowledge, as well as solid business sense and a commitment to building a consistent brand.

Differentiate Your Offerings

Customers who stroll into your shop want something different. Once a customer enters your premises, you have the upper hand in persuading them to buy your products. You could do the following:

  • Chuck steak is an excellent (and less expensive) alternative to rib-eye steak
  • Offer an omnichannel experience, which combines online and offline ordering
  • Provide your clients with a variety of relevant recipes as well as culinary suggestions when they purchase your products
  • Start a home delivery business or a carry-to-car service
  • Give a coupon for a discount on the next visit
  • Start a BOGOF (Buy One, Get One Free) promotion or provide a discount on future purchases
  • Consider a reward system based on a loyalty card or a token collection

Understand Legal Requirements

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) establishes several regulations that apply to all food and meat commodities. Apart from that, you would generally have to check provincial professional certification and license requirements from the respective regulatory body.

  • Completion of secondary school is a requirement
  • Completion of a college or meat-and-fish-cutting training program, or a three-year meat cutting apprenticeship is necessary
  • Understand the ante-mortem examination and procedures for food animals
  • Review the benchmark to sell edible meat products

Learn From Market Research

The current demand for butchers in almost every province in Canada is very promising, since the meat, beef and poultry processing market is the largest in the domestic food manufacturing sector.

Likewise, the Canadian meat industry is a leading exporter. An estimated $7.6 billion worth of products are sold globally.

However, it’s important to note that issues like disease outbreaks and health risks of consuming red meat do impact Canadian appetites, leading to a decline in red meat consumption.

Understanding the ebb and flow of your market is vital, as it will equip you with knowledge that you can apply to your operation.

The Growth Potential

In 2022, the meat, beef, and poultry industry in Canada is foreseen to grow by 0.8%.

From 2019 to 2028, new job vacancies (resulting from expansion strategies and substitute demand) for butchers, meat cutters, and fishmongers are predicted to reach 7,900 - with 7,800 new job seekers joining this sector (comprising school graduates and migrants).

In Canada, the average butcher income is $34,125 per year ($17.50 per hour). Entry-level jobs start at $31,200 per year, with the highest-paid individuals earning up to $41,305 per year.

Industry Facts

  • There is an estimated deficit of 2,400 meat cutters in Ontario.
  • Canada employs about 22,000 butchers, meat cutters, and fishmongers, both in retail and wholesale.
  • Alberta pays the highest salaries compared to other provinces.

Marketing Ideas to Increase Footfall

There are several avenues available to market your business, so find out which one will work best for you and capitalize on it.

  • Transform your meat shop into a premium slat-bay style steakhouse.
  • Sell organic natural meat - healthy, organic and sustainable food has seen enormous popularity in recent years.
  • Selling Halal and Kosher meat is a good strategy to target different customers.
  • Consider email marketing to notify your customers when new products are stocked.

Financing Options Available to You

To maintain, grow or develop your business, you may need some financial help.

  • Business grants and financing can help you.
  • The Canada Job Grant (CJG) reduces the expenditures of conveying third-party skills training to new and existing employees by offering grants of 50-100% of training costs up to a maximum of $5,000 to $15,000 per employee.
  • You can also consider bank loans, or request help from families and friends.

Exit Strategies

You might not be ready to sell your business, but it’s important to consider the stages below to formulate an exit strategy:

  • To understand the true value of your business, you must conduct an accurate valuation. Every business owner - no matter the industry - should know the value of their company.
  • After you've got a full view of your finances, think over a few exit options to see which one is suitable for you. Will you sell the entire company? Or would you like to stay on and oversee certain parts of the operation?
  • Communicate the decision to all relevant stakeholders.
  • Keep your business running optimally during the selling process.

Megan Kelly

About the author

Megan is the Content Manager for Dynamis and researches and writes for She is an expert writer and aspiring digital marketer.


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