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SF Small Business Week. Celebrate Small Business.

“Fulfilling our vision one bite at a time.” Interview with Ladera Granola CEO, Brian Tetrud

#SFSBW2015 asked small business owners and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish.

Today we hear from Brian Tetrud, Owner, Ladera Granola.

Tell us about your business in one sentence.

Ladera granola is a natural food manufacturer dedicated to healthy and delicious food.

San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base? 

Our customer base in San Francisco is growing as the population becomes more focused on quality.

Our Granola is typically more nutritious than the traditional ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. San Franciscans are increasingly more aware of the importance of healthy active lifestyles and are seeking our products to fuel their active lives

San Francisco has been labeled the healthiest city in America. The commitment to healthy eating and active lifestyles is at the center of our philosophy. Our granolas are renowned for wholesome, natural ingredients, their awesome flavors as well as their low sugar and high protein content.

What specific business strategies have you implemented to build loyalty and enhance your ability to serve the newer generation of customers?

The growing demand for healthy foods has spawned a new generation of companies with strategies that inundate consumers with health related claims but whose products are high in sugar, sodium and fat and low in protein. Most of the products from these companies contain many unhealthy ingredients. We communicate openly and honestly with our customers. We create a personal connection at the store level and showcase our products with 7 or 9 total ingredients.

The cycle of high sugar consumption, diabetes, and obesity in America is not an unstoppable epidemic. We want our community to be able to reduce sugar intake without reducing the happiness we experience from eating our favorite foods.Ladera groupshot-1

What marketing tactics and strategies have been most successful for your business in this new environment?

Our in-store demo program has proven to be our most effective marketing vehicle.

Food is an individual experience. Everyone has different tastes, needs, and desires. We have a demo team dedicated to handing out samples at grocery stores. This allows our customers to try our granolas to see how much they really like them. This also helps us create personal connections with our customers and better understand what aspects of food they are most passionate about.

What is the one lesson you would like to share with other small business owners—especially those who are struggling to change the way they do business in the current climate?

Changing demographics and psychographics continually shape consumer demand. It is important to understand this shift and consider how your product offerings and services fit into the changing consumer preferences.

What is it about running a small business brings you joy and satisfaction?            

I enjoy seeing the product of my labor. In a small business the outcomes of my actions are concrete and visible. When I help my production team produce granola, more granola is produced. When I do a demo at a grocery store, I see sales increase. Ladera’s mission is to make great tasting, nutritious food accessible to all – and we are fulfilling this vision one bite at a time.

At a larger firm, tasks are more and more specialized to the point where you are just one step in a process. It is harder to quantify the value of your actions in an environment like this. In a small business like mine, the product of one’s labor creates a clear and meaningful impact and our outreach is tangible.

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