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The products may be bagels, but the business strategy is modeled on an internet stet-up.

The Washington Post had an interesting piece over the weekend about a new bagel manufacturer in the San Francisco area that is endeavoring to bring New York-quality bagels to the City by the Bay. What makes Schmendricks different is that the four founders are “trying to build Schmendricks more like an Internet start-up than a food company, keeping upfront costs to a minimum, reaching customers through services like Twitter and collecting data on consumer preferences. They don’t have a physical store and are subleasing kitchen space at Asana, the start-up led by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. Bagels are sold through preordered pickups, deliveries and at weekend pop-ups, where the team sets up outside a local cafe or shop.”

According to the story, “To promote weekend pop-ups and keep in touch with customers, Schmendricks uses Twitter, Facebook and its e-mail list. For arranging pickups, it uses software from start-up Good Eggs. For accepting credit cards on site, the company has experimented with technology from Square and eBay’s PayPal unit. Those products let them track preferences of specific customers.”

“Even at a very early stage, we’re able to drive a lot of foot traffic and customer traffic to wherever we’re popping up,” says Dan Scholnick, an internet startup veteran and one of the founders of Schmendricks.
KC's View:
Again, the message is that competition can come from anywhere, and often it is not playing by the traditional rules and legacies that many other companies play by. They push the business forward, using informational and guerrilla tactics to establish loyalties and consumer investment.

And the big thing is that while in the past few years it has been clear that there is traditional time and internet time (which moves a lot faster), these days everybody is moving at internet time. To move slower may be to invite disaster.