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An Overview Cape Cod Potato Chips' Operations

2771 words - 11 pages

Cape Cod Potato Chips, as its name suggests, is a local company located in Hyannis, Massachusetts which specializes in making potato chips as well as, more recently, popcorn. Cape Cod Potato Chips was founded in 1980 by Lynn and Steve Bernard. With the idea of offering healthier foods made with little processing, Lynn had started a natural foods store in the 1970s. Steve Bernard pursued adding potato chips to the mix after tasting a natural potato chip from a successful company named Maui Chips based in Hawaii. In 1980, he sold his auto parts business and established Cape Cod Potato Chips with an 800-square-foot storefront in Hyannis that could reach tourists and an industrial potato slicer he had bought for $3,000. At the time of its opening Bernard had almost no knowledge of the snack food business other than what he learned in a week-long course on potato chip making at Martin's Potato Chips in Thomasville, Pennsylvania. Cape Cod Chips began about as small as it gets, producing about 200 bags of chips a day; a far way off from the 150,000 bags of chips produced by Cape Cod Potato Chips each day now.Unlike typical commercial brands made using a continuous frying process, in which potato slices travel through a tub of oil on a conveyor belt, Cape Cod chips are cooked in batches in kettles, frying them in a shallow vat in oil while stirring with a rake, producing a crunchier chip. While Cape Cod Potato Chips certainly didn't invent the kettle chip, it is largely credited with bringing it back to prominence, drawing kettle variations from other major chip competitors such as Frito-Lay. The company at first struggled for months after it opened on July 4, 1980. The following winter a car crashed through the front window of the store, almost hitting Steve and Lynn Bernard's daughter. An insurance payment and publicity from the accident helped tide the company over until the following summer, by which time business was booming, and the company's chips were being sold through a number of supermarket chains.The company was acquired by Anheuser-Busch in 1985 for $7 million, and operated as a division of its Eagle Snacks unit. Sales of the chips were up to 80,000 bags a day by the end of the following year, reaching the entire East Coast, with sales of $16 million annually. Bernard bought the company and its factory back from Anheuser-Busch in 1996 when sales were nearly extinct and Anheuser-Busch was planning to disband Eagle Snacks. Like he had done before, Bernard built the company back up once again and sold it to Lance Inc. which bought the company from Bernard in 1999, by which time annual sales had reached $30 million. As of 2008 its sales have tripled since Lance Inc. purchase, totaling $90 million while being the 8th largest grossing potato chip brand. Currently Cape Cod Potato Chips is not only successful as a snack food manufacturer, but also is successful in Steve Bernard's original goal of being a popular tourist attraction. Cape Cod Potato...

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