Seminars & Workshops

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Julia Shanks speaks regularly on topics of business planning and sustainability. She has presented at conferences around the country including Slow Money’s National Gathering, SEMAP’s Annual Conference, The New England Food Show, The National Young Farmers’ Conference, and PASA. She has lectured at Cambridge Culinary, Le Cordon Bleu, Newbury College and Babson College.

Seminar and Workshop Topics include:

  • Business Planning 101
  • 25 Tips for Going Local without Going Crazy
  • Sustainable Business Practices for Restaurants and Food Based Businesses
  • QuickBooks for Restaurants
  • Basic Accounting and QuickBooks for Farmers
  • Investment Decisions and Partial Budgeting
Thanks so much for sharing your expertise with our apprentices. You have a gift for making notoriously “dry” material engaging and accessible.”
Mel Weiss, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Going Local without Going Crazy: 25 Tips to Increase Your Local Footprint
Want to bring healthy, local foods into your kitchen, and stay on-budget, too? Julia has a passion for and expertise in locavorism, and is eager to share easy ways we can all make change that connect us to the food and farmers in our own communities. The world is changing as more people are supporting local, small businesses and returning to homemade food to avoid the health, social and environmental consequences associated with processed foods from big agribusinesses. Join Julia for a discussion and Q&A, complete with recipes, ideas and a healthy dose of delicious fun.

Sustainable Business Practices for Restaurants
“Local” and “Sustainable” have been the buzz words of the restaurant industry for the last few years and this trend is here to stay.  “Sustainable” sourcing can be especially challenging for larger restaurants and food service providers, but it doesn’t have to be.  In this workshop, we will learn the basics of sustainable food sources and how to incorporate local ingredients and sustainable business practices into your daily menus and operations.

Working directly with farmers and local food producers can be the most cost-effective way to source ingredients. However, it provides its own set of challenges from cash flow to managing relationships with multiple vendors. Regional distributors have emerged in this space to help manage this connection.  And with the nature of seasonality and weather in New England, incorporating local ingredients into menus can be a source of inspiration, or a challenge. Farmers can never predict the availability and volume of ingredients perfectly. As such, food service providers must incorporate flexibility into menus.  We will discuss various techniques that work in a variety of settings.

QuickBooks for Restaurants
Do you feel as though you don’t fully have your hand on the financial reins of the business?  This seminar will present financial profiles of typical restaurants, discuss the challenges faced by owners in establishing internal financial systems, teach QuickBooks best practices, and provide practical guidance on using QuickBooks in day to day restaurant operations. We will:

  • Examine typical operating metrics and percentages for restaurants and what it should look like
  • Translate financial metrics into answers to such questions as “What do I need my average check to be to pay my rent?”
  • Break down the elements of a bookkeeping system and talk about how to set one up and keep it running smoothly
  • Provide QuickBooks Chart of Accounts examples
  • Go over sample transactions such as sales tape entry, drawer cash outs, tracking credit card receipts for daily sales, entering and paying bills from QuickBooks

Accounting and QuickBooks for Farms
You decided to become a farmer because you love being outside, working the land and making a difference in the way we eat and farm.  And when you decided to become a farmer, you also became an entrepreneur and business person.  In order to be ecologically and financially sustainable, you must understand the basics of accounting and book-keeping, and as Richard Wiswall says, “plan for profit.” In this course, we will review the basics of accounting from the income statement (profit and loss) to the balance sheet.  We’ll discuss the importance of classifying revenue and expenses so you can make important managerial decision like whether you can afford a new greenhouse or sell at a new farmers’ market.  Finally, we will cover the basics of QuickBooks, the standard in small-business accounting software.

How to Read Financial Statements
Most farmers keep some sort of financial records in order to file taxes and/or apply for a loan.  Within the numbers are details about the farms operations — its efficiency and profitability. Being able to create financial statements is the first part. Next is learning how to read the statements to garner important information about your business.

In this workshop, we will discuss the basic layout of the Income Statement and Balance Sheet.  We will go over each statement to understand how to garner information about your business: not just “Is my business profitable?” but more richly, “What can I do to improve profitability?”, “How can I improve cash flow?” and “Can I afford to make capital improvements or take out a loan?”

We will review real financial statements; and will leave plenty of time to address the specific questions and concerns of the attendees.

Investment Decisions and Enterprise Budgeting
Have you ever had a hard time weighing the costs and benefits of new opportunities, such as selling at a new farmers market or purchasing new equipment? This workshop on partial budgeting will provide you with a
framework for informed decision making. Partial budgeting analysis allows farmers and business owners to assess the costs and impact of an investment decision, such as the purchase of new equipment, a facility upgrade, or a new line of business. Julia will show you how to evaluate whether an investment is affordable given projected
returns and provide sample materials to allow you to fully understand how and why to use this tool.

Basic Accounting for Restaurants and Food Producers
You started your business because you’re passionate about good food, feeding others and eating well.  Succeeding in business is more than serving delicious food; you must also have a solid understanding of accounting and finances, and plan for profit.  In this workshop, we will review the basics of accounting from the income statement (profit and loss) to the balance sheet.  We’ll discuss accounting systems (such as QuickBooks), and the importance of classifying revenue and expenses so you can make important managerial decision like which customers are most profitable or how to profitably price your products.  Whether you’re thinking about launching a food business, or just want to get a better handle on your finances, this workshop is for you.


To have Julia speak at your next conference, please send us an email.

Tips, Tools
And Templates

Writing a business plan? Looking for investors? Getting set up in QuickBooks? We’ve got the tools and templates you need, from planning a startup to growing your business.

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Our Services
What We Offer You

Whether you’re just starting out, or expanding your business to the next phase of growth, Julia Shanks Food Consulting can help you succeed. Click below to find out more about our services.

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Have Julia Speak
At Your Conference

Julia speaks about small business accounting, business planning and sustainability. Recent conferences include NY Veterans in Agriculture and Women in Sustainable Agriculture.

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