The Saucy Truth Behind Business Growth

If you’re anything like most Texas residents, you probably consider yourself to be somewhat of a salsa connoisseur (each of us here at Rethink certainly does). And if you’re a true connoisseur you’re probably intimately familiar with Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa.

Operating under the parent company Renfro Foods, the local Fort Worth business is known for its unique and particularly spicy line of salsas. Its prestige has grown in recent years as Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa has received more acclaim from the media; in 2005 the national food magazine Prepared Foods named Mrs. Renfro’s salsa one of the three most innovative flavor-makers (right alongside Coke with Lime!), in 2010 they were named by Women’s Magazine as one of the top foods for women, and most recently in 2018, Renfro Foods was named one of the top three finalists for Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In fact, Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa is quickly transforming from a local brand to an internationally recognized household name. Their products can now be found in 7 countries outside of the United States, as well as within major national distributors such as Kroger and Walmart.

What has boosted the company from a local mom-and-pop to international growth and success? Our Brand Junkies podcast sat down with Doug Renfro, the President of Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa, to discuss just that.

Doug: “When we first started selling salsa, my uncle and I would go to stores, the buyers would give us the sign of the cross and run screaming out of the room, saying, ‘We don't need any more salsa.’ Because there was mild, medium, and hot. So when nobody was looking one day, I threw some black beans into our medium salsa, and I got some habanero, which at that time was crazy sexy exotic unusual. And we went to the buyer and said, ‘I know, I know, I know. You have a ton of salsas. What you don't have is a black bean and a habanero extra hot salsa, at a value everyday price.’”

By looking past the current trends to possibilities of the future, Doug was able to fulfill a need before others even recognized it as being there. His innovation helped Mrs. Renfro’s grow into a flavorful business, but he didn’t stop there.

Doug: “Every morning I go through two or three news apps. They'll always have lifestyle, cultural, food trends. I get probably 20 publications in the food and beverage space. I basically am an information hound. I read constantly.”

Doug recognizes that it’s only by staying up to date that you can be ahead of the innovation curve. He uses a sheer absorption of knowledge to push past competitors and keep moving forward.

Doug: “To me, social media is the great leveler of the playing field for us versus the big guys. Also, the world has changed. Even if we could afford to do a big television commercial, where would you do it, you know? When I was a kid, there were three channels. Maybe two more minor ones. Now there are 800 channels, and people like me and you don't watch commercials anyway.”

Even Doug’s marketing strategies are future-focused. It’s because of his dedicated consistency to innovate his business (along with excellent, creative salsa flavors) that Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa has blossomed into the flavorful business we love today.

The Takeaways:

How do you innovate your business? Are you stuck in a proverbial rut?

Could you maintain your current customer base if you change your ways?

Do you stay on top of the current and upcoming trends in your community? Are you willing to be an “information hound,” always seeking new information to expand your realm of expertise?

To learn more about Mrs. Renfro’s Salsa and a myriad of other really bitchin’ stuff, check out our Brand Junkies podcast - available on Stitcher and SoundCloud.

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Renfro’s instagram

Photo courtesy of Mrs. Renfro’s instagram

David Valentine