CASE STUDY: Weckerlys

Building a Business One Batch at a Time

Weckerly’s Ice Cream got its start in autumn of 2012 inside the kitchen of West Philadelphia’s
Green Line Café. It was there that veteran pastry chef Jen Satinsky put her experience to work
lovingly preparing rich, French-style custard ice cream- one small batch at a time. With her
husband, Andy, at her side bringing his organizational skills, love of communication, and plenty
of encouragement into the company, the husband-and- wife team got busy scooping at local
markets and events.

Over the following three years, Weckerly’s built up a reputation for sumptuous servings of ice cream, succulent sorbets, and transcendent mini ice cream sandwiches. Each creamy creation is inspired by the seasons and carefully crafted with hand-picked, locally sourced ingredients that include organic cream and free-range eggs combined with fruits, spices and herbs at the peak of their ripeness.

Grasping the Financials

After partnering with a variety of local farms and distributors and seeing the growing demand for their desserts, the Satinskys quickly realized that they needed a better grasp of the business’ financial side before they expanded any further. “We did not have a good system in place by which to record and track our financials,” says Andy. “We knew our overall expenses and sales, but had poorly organized categories. I could print out a balance sheet, but it wasn’t working as a tool to help us make good business decisions. We knew that we needed to grow, but it was difficult to identify which sectors would be best to focus on, which products provided the best margins, and how to effectively track our inventory.”

A Fresh Perspective

That is when they turned to Rebecca at Kitchen Table Consultants for assistance. After Rebecca spent some time talking to Jen and Andy and getting to know how their business operates, she systematically began to highlight the areas of the business that needed to be strengthened. “Working with Rebecca was very good for us.” explains Andy. “Her opinion on certain matters of the business often differs from our own, but this has been of great value. It is good to have someone with such rooted financial acumen and business experience available to challenge and inform our decisions.” She also taught them how to capture financial information in a way that was more meaningful and useful. According to Andy, this setup allowed them to see their business in a whole new light. “Rebecca first created a new chart of accounts with categories that made sense for our business. She then helped us to delegate our income and expenses to the correct classes, and showed us how to use that information as a tool. She also created a system that allows us to monitor our manufacturing runs, giving us vital information that we use to predict labor needs, see the variation in food costs, and estimate our output capacity. With a better grasp of how their business was operating financially, Jen and Andy were also empowered to use that knowledge to make sound business decisions for the future. “Rebecca worked with us to create a set of projections for the whole year of the business. We studied these extensively, identifying our best opportunities, where we needed to cut back, and where it was best to push. This became an indispensable tool as we grew throughout the year, allowing us to make educated decisions about things like increasing staff and financing a new delivery vehicle.”

Forging Ahead

Today, Weckerly’s has outgrown its home in the kitchen of the Green Line Café. Their now famous frozen desserts are hand made in their micro creamery, currently located in Northern Philadelphia’s Globe Dye Works building. Aside from scooping at local events, Jen and Andy have been expanding the catering side of their business as well as partnering up with local retailers. “We have seen our business grow beyond expectation this year,” says Andy. “We feel as if we have a better grasp of what we are doing, and what we are capable of.” The results have been amazing. “We have so far doubled the previous year’s revenues by the end of the third quarter and have already surpassed our projection for this year.” The future looks bright for Weckerly’s going forward, and a plan is already in the works to add a small scoop shop of their own in 2016.