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Entrepreneurial f The Premier Magazine For Food Entrepreneurs

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Including: Aaron McCargo Jr. Clint Jolly Kyle Ransford

July 2017 Issue 13

How To Get More Customers & Not Overspend On Marketing

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The Perils Of Discounting Your Products & Services

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Industry Experts Share Hiring Principles & Strategies

Fabio

Viviani


Entrepreneurial f Che

Magazine

July 2017 Volume 2 Issue #13 Publisher Rennew Media, LLC Editor Shawn Wenner Cover Fabio Viviani Cover Photographer Nick Garcia Graphic Designer Rusdi Saleh Staff Writer Jenna Rimensnyder Contributing Editor Kaiko Shimura Contributors Amy Riolo, Chris Hill, Deb Cantrell, Jeff Grandfield, Dale Willerton, Nick Fosberg Photo Credits Laura Devries, Nick Garcia, Matt Armendariz, Jon C. Haverstick, Jeff Ross Special Thanks Bridget Cheng at Bread & Butter PR, Joyce Cavitt at Flutie Entertainment, Kimberly Riccardi at Coyne PR, Ira Gostin at 120 West Strategic Communications No content, for example, articles, graphics, designs, and information in this publication can be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. For advertising information, letters to the editor, or submission inquiries, please email: Contact@EntrepreneurialChef.Com Entrepreneurial Chef donates a portion of advertising & editorial space to C-CAP, CORE & Chaine des Rotisseurs.

All Rights Reserved © 2017 Entrepreneurial Chef Published by Rennew Media, LLC 2

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Editor’s Note

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s time goes on and technology evolves, it has never been easier to launch a product or service. However, simply having a product or service does not equate to a successful business. Moreover, the process of building a lasting business is just as hard as ever. Typically, a hurdle most face is merely deciding to take action. Getting past the fears accompanied with taking a calculated risk, overcoming inertia, and continuing action steps despite obstacles and adversity, all create a barrier one must overcome to blazing a trail as a successful entrepreneur. Yet, despite a small percentage of the population who take the leap and fly on their own, one fact remains – it can be done. The lie sold by marketers or gurus of products or services to aid in the process of building a business is that it can happen quickly. You hear things like “6 months to 6 figures” or “Triple your customers in 30 days,” and while they may have experienced these short bursts of success, many fail to share the countless hours of work that preceded these snapshots in time. So what’s the point? Simply put, in this issue we worked to glean success principles from our guests to help create proper expectations and inspire your belief system to do one thing – take action. Whether you read about the timeframe it took for them to finally experience success or get advice such as, “Create a business plan,” “Have the right amount of financial backing,” “Start small,” “Keep it manageable,” and “Be patient,” all of these valuable points will no doubt help with your own entrepreneurial journey – so pay close attention. As always, I sincerely hope this issue gives you fresh ideas, inspiration, and actionable advice. Cheers, Shawn Wenner


Contents Editor’s Note............................................2

23 36 42 66

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Aaron McCargo The Flavor of Bold ...................................4 Ready for Culinary Leadership?......... 19 Fabio Viviani The Art of Building a Multimillion Dollar Chef Brand ................................. 23

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How Do I Market To Customers Without Spending an Arm and a Leg?.............................................. 36 Publishing: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional.............................................. 42

48 62

Clint Jolly The Culinary Storyteller ....................... 48 10 Questions to Ask About the Landlord and the Property.................................. 62 To Discount or Not to Discount.................................... 66 Kyle Ransford The Story of Chef’d .............................. 70

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Hiring Principles & Strategies........................................... 82


n o r a A rgo Success Story

Ca c M g r Ca c M n o r Aa

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r o v a l The F d l o B f o

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Success Story

Aaron

McCargo Jr., also known as Big Daddy, was the winner of The Next Food Network Star, and subsequently starred in his own show Big Daddy’s House which aired for seven seasons on the Food Network. With appearances on NBC’s Food Fighters, Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, Spike TV’s Bar Rescue, The Today Show, The Talk, Rachael Ray, Dr. Oz, The Chew and more, it’s safe to say McCargo has a God given talent the world has readily embraced. Despite the myriad of success McCargo experienced thus far, words like humble, honest, and humorous are just a few ways to describe this renowned chef. Hailing from Camden, New Jersey McCargo developed a passion for cooking at age 4 when he began using his sister’s Easy Bake Oven. By age 7, he began cooking in his family’s kitchen with parental encouragement. With an entrepreneurial spirit, McCargo ventured into selling cakes and cookies to childhood friends in high school. By 13, the hopeful joined the Cooper Hospital University’s Kitchen Junior Volunteering program. After attending Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts, McCargo began a career working in casual and fine dining restaurants, was the executive VIP catering chef at Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and has tasted success as a chef-owner & operator of a catering company and several restaurants.

With a preference for meats and bold, spicy flavors, McCargo calls the food he cooks “soul food,” and has carved quite the culinary niche for himself. Catapulting his success, McCargo’s victory on Season 4 of the Next Food Network Star became the catalyst for his celebrity status. Despite the countless number of hopefuls he called competition, McCargo bested them with a hard fought victory. After winning the show, he would be granted his own called Big Daddy’s House, which would crush rankings and cement his celebrity chef status. 5

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Outside of the on-screen appearances, you cannot miss McCargo’s path to fame in places like the New York Times and Essence Magazine, where he served as a contributing editor. Moreover, McCargo has been the spoke sperson in the Great American Dine Out and partnered with Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry in helping millions of children fight against hunger. Despite his hectic schedule, McCargo always finds time to motivate the youth in community schools and events in his hometown of Camden. McCargo even initiated the PlayToWin charity that is aimed at helping male youth raised in single parent homes in Camden who had at risk behaviors. And due to his philanthropic efforts, Mayor Gwendolyn Faison honored him by declaring September 25th as Aaron McCargo, Jr. Day and gave him keys to the city in 2008. Playing into his entrepreneurial spirit, by 2010, McCargo’s cookbook entitled, “Simply Done, Well Done” entered bookstores nationwide offering up the delectable menu choices showcased on his series in an easy to prepare, simple way making his good cooking available in people’s kitchens everywhere. McCargo also launched a product line of spices – McCargo’s Flavor of Bold – and barbecue sauces – Jersey BBQ – thereby furthering his quest to make flavorful, bold foods available to everyone. Today, “The Sauce,” his latest product, travels across the country with him as he showcases how novices and professionals alike can make easy, great tasting, flavorful food consistently with this masterful creation. In our interview, we follow McCargo’s full culinary journey. From walking two miles with cakes to sell in high school to leaping full time as a food entrepreneur, McCargo shares the good, bad and ugly. With talking points such as, “Create a business plan, determine your financial requirements, stay humble, be organic and let people see the real you,” McCargo’s advice aims to help any aspiring food entrepreneur make their mark.


Success Story

& QA The

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Aaron McCargo

Where did the attraction to the culinary industry begin?

As far as I can remember, I loved cooking. When I got to high school, my mother forced me to take a cake baking class at Wilton to keep me busy and off the streets. I remember going to the class, everyone looking at me, and thinking, “This isn’t for me.” After a couple months though, I made friends with everyone in the class and learned a lot. After the class, I started a little cake company in high school. I remember bringing a cake to a friend – moist, icing drizzling, all sorts of tasty – he loved it and started spreading the word. Before you know it, I had order after order coming in. Then came Valentine’s Day, and I was making about 15 cakes. At that time, I walked the cakes two miles to school – in the dead of summer. I stuck it out two years until I graduated high school. 6

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Originally, I had no plans for culinary school because of all the stories I heard. I was pretty rebellious at that age, so I didn’t think it would work for me. But my mother didn’t give me an option. Somewhere around my third day after graduating high school, I had to make a decision with my life, so I decided to attend Atlantic Cape Community College’s Academy of Culinary Arts. I realized the cake baking thing was something I wanted to do, and there were more businesses hidden inside of me.

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What helped you develop your culinary style and influence?

Throughout high school, I had multiple jobs around food – wholesale establishment, pizza shop, McDonald’s, etc. – and my best training to this day was at McDonald’s. I learned about being organized and things like, “If you can lean you could clean,” and those lessons stuck with me.


2 Success Story

Today, I tell any young cook or chef to work in a fast food joint – learn the basics of how to keep organized, keep clean, and be consistent. After culinary school, I linked up with a buddy for a job, and on my first day I cleaned 8 cases of chicken breast, 12 cases of cantaloupes, 2 cases of romaine, and butchered salmon. I thought I was going to go dig ditches! I said, “No this ain’t for me!” That’s the hard knocks of cooking though, something I think we lack today because everyone looks at TV cooking, but they don’t want to put in the work. They don’t understand you have to do the prep, understand the food; you have to touch it and smell it to know when it’s good or bad. I also worked in fine dining establishments and places like TGI Fridays and Lone Star. I kept my hands in those types of places [TGI Fridays & Lone Star] for the volume, for that experience; because you don’t get that in fine dining or a lot of restaurants. Working at all those places helped me to become the chef I am today; where I don’t take nonsense, whether from the staff, purveyors or from myself. When I’m putting food out to the customer, it has to be perfected and right all the time. 

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For the individuals, trying to find their own style and put their stamp on the industry, what’s your advice for them? Do what you love the best about cooking. For me, I went to culinary school to become a pastry chef, and I enjoyed it in culinary school, but I realized it was tedious without a lot of action, so it wasn’t for me. A lot of folks force themselves into certain things, fine dining or catering for instance 7

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because they chase after the money. I say chase after what drives you, what brings that excitement. Is it the rush at a steakhouse? Is it the intricate plating at a club? Is it high volume turnovers at a big franchise? Find out what you want to do and hone in on it, and let that be your career start. You can always change it, but find out your passion and the money will come. 

My experience taught me how to be a successful entrepreneur by giving the people what they want and creating something exceptional they’re not going to forget. — Aaron McCargo


Success Story

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When did you take that entrepreneurial leap full time?

I started a little restaurant in a bar around 25 years old. My mom had a couple of dollars to lend, and I started Aaron’s Kitchen. It was scary because I had never been in a bar environment, so I didn’t know what the people liked or not. I was making things like crab cakes and curry chicken, and quickly realized it wasn’t working, so I changed to cheese sticks, cheeseburgers, and greasy food. Today, a lot of culinarians go into restaurants doing what they learned in school, instead of learning what the people want. My experience taught me how to be a successful entrepreneur by giving the people what they want and creating something exceptional they’re not going to forget. After the bar, I opened my own restaurant in Camden, New Jersey called McCargo’s. That’s

You overcome fear by knowing whether or not your product will sell, if you’ll have repeat customers, and if you’re going to take home a check at the end of the day. — Aaron McCargo

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when I put my stamp on everything. I changed the dynamic and educated the customers on what I was feeding them. I took the same menu that didn’t work at the bar, brought it to a sitdown environment, and really added my spin. I soon realized that by doing it right, the people would come. The 60 seat restaurant was packed every day for lunch, and I was doing what I loved. From ribeye sandwiches to crab cakes and California Caesar salads, things that weren’t traditional in the city of Camden.

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For people looking to make the leap full time, what advice do you have to prepare them to start flying on their own?

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Write a business plan and know the amount of money you’re going to need from the start. Up to this day, I preach that because people get ideas and don’t understand the cost that’s involved in opening up a restaurant – or any business for that matter. For me, I had a turnkey operation and just had to customize it to fit my needs, but it still took so much financial backing that I did not realize at first.

I always tell folks “Make sure you stack your paper.” Have enough money, enough backing, and have a business plan that points out everything you need – from labor, expenses, certificates, inspections, day-to-day operational bills, water, electricity, and so on. Also, make sure you’re paying your taxes. If you don’t know much about creating a business plan, go to the SBA, Small Business Administration, and take a class. Learn as much as you can about creating a business plan. It doesn’t have to be 30 pages deep, but make sure you know your numbers before you start anything.


Success Story

r e g n a n e a t c s a u t o . y n d a o d c o n f a u e , o h d Y r foo n in t u o i o s y s in no pa ron McCargo e t s — Aa a t 9

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Success Story

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Did you have fears you had to overcome when you were just getting started in business? If so, what were they and how did you overcome them? My biggest fear was it not working. Food may taste good to you, your friends, orat home, but when you open the doors and put that menu on that table – especially if folks have never seen the type of food in your area – there’s a fear if they’re going to see it like you see it. It takes time. It took me a lot of time to convince customers with my food. It was me educating and training palates to appreciate the finer things – items from scratch, quality products, and great tasting food. The fear was, “Will they buy it? Will they understand it? Will they be willing to pay for it? Will they come back? And will I make money?”  Personally, I didn’t take the check [in the beginning] because I didn’t plan properly. I overstaffed and paid above the hourly rate because I didn’t want turnover. I sacrificed, and it was scary when I didn’t take a check home for my family. It came down to not having the proper financial backing. From my perspective, you overcome fear by knowing whether or not your product will sell, if you’ll have repeat customers, and if you’re going to take home a check at the end of the day.  10

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What were some major business lessons you learned along the way that will help others? Beginning at the top – start small. As big as your eyes may be, and as much talent as you have, start small because you can always grow. Keep it manageable. I took the route of 60 seats, and at the time I thought that was nothing, but I realized that even with 60 seats there were a lot of expenses. Plus, I wanted to put out the best China, and I shouldn’t have. I should have done paper plates, standing room only, no servers, just get a number and bring [customers] food. Again, start small and keep it manageable. You can always grow from there.

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When did you begin to feel like you were starting to make it from a business standpoint? What was that time period? It was after I closed the restaurant and took a break. The original partner in the restaurant moved out, and I partnered with someone else, but they didn’t see it like I saw it. At that point, I decided to walk away rather than cook miserably every day. I always say, “You can taste anger


Success Story in your food, and you can taste no passion in the food.” I didn’t want to put out [bad food] because I had built a reputation. After that period, I started my own catering company and saw that I could do what I did at the restaurant, but on a bigger scale, with more money, less labor, and less overhead. I realized it was the way to go and I started to see some sunshine. It changed my way of thinking, and I decided to revisit the sit-down restaurant later and focus on bringing money into my household. To build my catering company, I relied on word of mouth – it goes a long way. When folks know you cook, they will tell others. There are always weddings, graduations, parties, etc., and people spread the word about you with their friends and family when you’re good. I always think of myself as my main marketing tool. I listenedto conversations [with people] and jumped in to offer my services. If I heard someone say there was an event upcoming, I would jump in and ask if they have a caterer.

Have enough money, enough backing, and have a business plan that points out everything you need. — Aaron McCargo

Also, if you put your stamp on your food and put your heart into your first gig, people will tell others. If you have an event with 100 people, at least 25 will tell someone if you served great food. It’s all about networking through word of mouth and making sure that your first impression is your best impression.

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How did Food Network Star come about and what was life like after winning?

The reason I tried out in the first place was my wife watched the show and said “Hey, you should do this Next Food Network Star thing,” and I said, “Hell no, I don’t want to be doing TV!” Truthfully, I’m a shy guy, and I really am to myself. A lot of folks think it’s a joke, but it’s true. So even though I convinced myself that I’m not a TV guy after I won, I had no choice, and I didn’t know what to do. I never knew about TV, entertainment, celebrities, none of that stuff. I had never been in an environment to know a celebrity, let alone have millions of people watching me. It was honestly scary because I’d never thought I’d be on TV. 11

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Success Story

It’s all about networking through word of mouth and making sure that your first impression is your best impression. — Aaron McCargo

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Success Story One day, I met Robert Flutie in New York, and he said, “I like your style, I like your flavor, and I think we could do things together.” We talked and connected so I signed with Flutie Entertainment and the world started to change. Opportunities came, endorsements came, partnerships came, and the best part was I had the opportunity to do my food on TV for the world to see. It was a chance to do me with no holds barred. To this day, that is the blessing from God. I’m really blessed to have a talent that I love and can call my job. It’s not even working. It brings tears to my eyes to know I’m so blessed to have come from where I’ve been and have a gift to share with the world.

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When you look back, what were some of the unexpected lessons that you learned when getting thrust into the limelight? The production of it all. There are times when you’re just standing around waiting when you have to repeat things over and over again. Then all the traveling and even having to tape two shows in one day. All these unexpected things that I wasn’t privy to when I started. Along the way, you have to keep that smile on your face; you have to keep that bubbly personality. Also, understand you’re taking a lot of orders from people who see you as a personality to draw ratings and viewership. Another part is that your life still goes on. If you have kids, spouse, or some sort or a 13

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relationship; all those things still go on. And even though you have fun and the lavish life of being a celebrity, you have to question, “If this ends today, what do I do?” You have to keep that in the back of your mind. I tell people now that it’s a great experience, it’s a great blessing, but you can’t lose yourself. You have to stay humble, and that will take you a long way. Be yourself, be organic, and let people see the real you.

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With business ventures and opportunities coming your way, how do you evaluate them to ensure it’s the right move for you? You’ve got to look at yourself, see what you’re made of, and not sell your soul. When things come down the pike, you have to see if they’re what you believe. There are organizations who want a celebrity name, they pay top dollar, but I won’t sell my soul [for money]. You always have a say in whether or not you do something. You have to be careful and trust your team. A good management team won’t bring you anything that doesn’t fit you or your personality. I have a relationship personally with the Flutie team. We spend time getting to know each other off the clock. They know what I like, what I stand for, my spiritual beliefs, my beliefs about family, the products I like and use, but it took a long time for them to get to know me. A good management team should [know you], and then you won’t have to worry because anything they bring you will increase the value of your brand.


Success Story

As big as your eyes may be, and as much talent as you have, start small because you can always grow.

— Aaron McCargo

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When someone is ready to sign with a management company, what’s your advice for them? Make sure you know the percentages between your cut and their cut. Whether it be book deals, products, shows, etc., make sure you know those percentages. Find out the details of their duties. A lot of folks go for big agencies, there’s nothing wrong with them, but I chose a boutique agency because I liked the fabric of their culture, who they are surrounded with, and the talent they had. Check out the talent on the roster and talk to some of them. I talked to some of Flutie’s talent as part of my due diligence. When I talked to some of their talent, they told me how great the team was and how well Flutie Entertainment took care of them – from booking flights, hotels, and being there even when they were sick. Make sure you have an attorney or someone that’s savvy to look through the contract because there’s deep stuff in there you could overlook that will catch you off guard. 14

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You’ve been able to diversify your talent in many areas, such as the creation of “The Sauce,” so can you share how this came about? About four or five years ago, after I did my first cookbook, my wife said every time I made something it had a unique taste. It’s God that gave me the idea of The Sauce because I heard what my wife said and I started playing around with sauces. It started with a barbecue sauce. I wanted to make a barbecue sauce with heat, almost like a hot sauce. And then I wanted something with a little mustard, but I didn’t want it to be a South Carolina-type sauce, so I kept creating. I made a few batches and finally had something. I’ve always identified myself with big, bold flavors, and now I have The Sauce that’s all about big, bold flavors. It allows folks to go into the kitchen as a novice or professional and make something consistently good every day, whether it’s a protein, starch, veggie, or some sort of dressing. All you need is The Sauce, and it does everything for you.


Success Story

You’ve got to look at yourself, see what you’re made of, and not sell your soul. — Aaron McCargo

online and begin doing demos across the country. And that’s been our way of getting The Sauce out there, and now we have orders coming. [At the end of the day] it’s just me networking, using my brand, using my mouth, and letting The Sauce do the speaking for itself.

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product?

How did you go from the creating “The Sauce” to having a packageable

Through the help of my social media team, who are not just crafty with social media, but products as well. They taught me about trademarking, bottling, labeling, and all the details to capture the eye of the customer. As chefs, we just create. We don’t know about packaging, colors, thestyling of the letters and all those details. The team started breaking all the categories down. Determining the colors, lettering, bottles, how it would be measured, types of recipes – all of these areas. We wanted something easy for consumers to use on a regular basis. Something that allowed people to make easy, great tasting, flavorful food consistently. So, we sat down and brainstormed for about two weeks. Finally, we found the right size bottle, scoop, a funky label, and kept the ingredients organic and very simple. The stumbling block was how to get it on the supermarket shelf because that required much more detail. We decided to first sell 15

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In looking back from where you are now, for individuals who want similar levels of success – personal brand, restaurants, cookbooks, etc. – what’s your advice for them? Don’t just talk to yourself, that’s a bad move. Don’t do it. Bounce things off people. Surround yourself with good counsel and ask them if you have a good product [or service] that will make a difference and is marketable. Find people around you who will be honest. Always create a business plan and definitely make sure you do demographic homework. [Determine] where you’re going to do business and who you are targeting. If you’re targeting kids, make sure it’s kid-friendly. Make sure you’re worried about peanut allergies and things of that nature. If you’re targeting the elderly, make sure it’s low sodium or follows other dietary restrictions. If you’re targeting millennials, make sure it’s simple and fast. Sit down and think about these things because it makes a difference in who you’re pitching and how successful you’re going to be.


Success Story

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From a business or entrepreneurship standpoint, what do you know now that you wish you knew when starting out? From the top, financial backing is everything because you run into so many unexpected things. Whether you’re starting a catering business, a restaurant, product, a cookbook, there are so many unexpected costs. If you go in with a set number and you’re off, it can stifle your product or project to the point you may get discouraged and quit.

Surround yourself with good counsel and ask them if you have a good product that will make a difference and is marketable. — Aaron McCargo The second thing is to be patient. Things don’t happen overnight. This isn’t the microwave project when you start a business. You’ve got to be patient. You also got to understand youhave to be your biggest supporter because if you don’t support yourself and back yourself mentally, you will quit on top of hearing all the negative comments or all the negative feedback that comes. You’ve got to prepare yourself mentally to be patient and to know that it will come. It just takes time. Finally, keep it consistent. Don’t cheapen your brand. Don’t remove ingredients [just for the bottom line]. What you set out with, stick to, and that’s why I said, in the beginning, to keep it manageable and start small because you can always grow. 16

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What opportunities exist out there today for aspiring food entrepreneurs to pursue?

Get back to the basics of making really good shelf products without a lot of fillers and junk. The shelf life might not be the same because you’re making it from scratch, but if we get back to that artisan mentality of making things and showcasing the food for the masses; it’ll make a big impact. There are chefs who are up and coming that are jumping into the real catchy things – food trucks, carts, competitions – but they have more talent. I’d say to “settle down.” Think about how you can make a difference in the food that’s being sold to our children, and to our families, and let that guide you. And just brand that – a natural & good product. [Another thing] is to really bring home cooking back to the table by creating products to make cooking easy at home. It will keep people from buying so much processed food. I think if the up and coming chefs would not put so much focus on trying to be on TV, but try to make sure that we do a good job in whatever we do, give the best food, the best quality to the clients and to the people that are supporting us, [I think] that’s the biggest impact we can make in the world today.


Top Ten Takeaways from Aaron McCargo 1

Successful entrepreneurs create what consumers want – something exceptional they won’t forget.

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Word of mouth is one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools – leverage it.

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Make sure to have enough financial backing for the unexpected challenges that appear, because they always appear.

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Never sell your soul for business opportunities – stick to your values.

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Be patient, things don’t happen overnight despite what some may attempt to get you to believe.

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Surround yourself with great counsel who will be honest with you about your business ideas and efforts.

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Never cheapen your brand by downgrading your products or services simply for the bottom line.

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Most successful entrepreneurs experience fear, but the ones who act in spite of fear become the success stories. You may have talent and ambition, but start small in your entrepreneurial ventures. You can taste anger and no passion in food.

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CORE supports children of food + beverage employees navigating life-altering circumstances/conditions. Learn how you can help at COREgives.org

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Leadership

Ready for

Culinary Leadership? By: Chris Hill

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Leadership

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hortly after the release of my book, Making the Cut: What Separates the Best From the Rest, I was speaking at a culinary school. Afterwards I held a Q & A, one of my favorite ways to connect with an audience. After fielding a handful of questions on leadership, vision and creating an awesome career for yourself, a young lady raised her hand, asked a question and I responded. The gist of it was this: she was looking for a summer job and was wondering if I could help her find one by tapping into my chef network. I asked her what kind of job she was looking for and her answer surprised me. She didn’t know. I can’t remember exactly how I answered her, but I know inside I was saying to myself, “why should I put myself out there by doing a favor for you if you don’t even have the slightest clue as to what you want to do with your career?” Vision: noun (in the context of creating a vision for your life, business, career): a vivid mental image, especially a fanciful one of the future. The most important step to becoming a leader is one’s ability to create a compelling vision for their life, their career and their business. But, most of us don’t really do this. We want a job. We want to start a business to make money. We run our households and our kids grow up. We do all of these things, but we don’t create a vision. We don’t write it down. We don’t spend time thinking about and asking ourselves: “What do I want my life to look like 20 years from now? 10 years from now? 1 year from now?” Until we ask these questions, we end up being pulled in different directions and reacting to the way life is around us, versus taking actually taking life by the horns, and figuring out what the proper steps are to move us closer to that vision. 20

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I can’t seem to find the exact statistic that is floating around out there (all my research turned up different numbers), but you’re definitely 50% more likely to achieve your goals (perhaps 70%) if you write them down. So the first step is to write down your goals for different parts of your life and business. Make them specific. Give them a timetable. Make sure that you can track them; i.e. don’t just say you want to lose weight, instead, say I want to lose 20 pounds by August. Keep them somewhere close by so that you will see them regularly and remind yourself of them. Then, share them with someone you trust – your spouse, business partner, best friend – anyone that will hold you accountable. This does a couple things: It helps give you clarity. To go back to the idea of losing weight, if you just let your friends know that you want to lose weight in the coming year, you aren’t going to hold yourself accountable, nor will the people around you. However, if you create the goal of losing 20 pounds by June, you’ll create an action plan around that. There is a part of our brain that is able to connect with the future outcomes that we want to create and that allows for us to, in a way, experience the outcome before we even get there. This reminds us of why we started in the first place and helps us to keep going when things aren’t going well. To better understand this concept, think about the last time you were really looking forward to something – a holiday with family, a vacation, or even when you were a kid on Christmas and


Leadership you couldn’t wait to unwrap that favorite present that was waiting for you under the tree. When we envision something positive in the future that we are looking forward to (like a goal), we start imagining that thing coming into existence before it actually ever does. This is the reason why people say they sometimes enjoy planning an exciting vacation nearly as much as the vacation itself. Creating a compelling vision for the various facets of your life is fundamental in being an effective leader, but you might ask yourself, how so? Well, if we, as the leaders of our own businesses, families, careers, etc., don’t have a clear understanding for what we stand for and what path we want to go down, then people around us can’t buy into it, because there isn’t a real vision. They won’t understand what’s driving certain actions, behaviors, systems and processes. For example, in a restaurant kitchen, it’s critically important to maintain consistency, but why? Well, without consistency, you don’t have a top notch product and as a result, you won’t attract the quality and number of customers you’d probably like, but also, that will inhibit you from maintaining stellar employees, because they won’t fully believe in the product they are selling. So, you have to first create a vision and know why you have that vision. Then you must make it compelling for the people around you by clearly articulating what it is you stand for – why you have that vision and what it means to you. If you can get your staff to truly buy into what you stand for and as a result become ambassadors for your company (not just employees), it’s as a result of getting them to understand the vision you’ve created.

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The long story short is this: if you want to be a leader, the first thing you need to do is create a vision, understand what’s driving that vision, and then clearly articulate that vision to your followers. Do that, and you’re well on your way to becoming the leader your team and organization needs.

Chef Chris Hill is regularly featured on TV shows in various markets throughout the Southeast. His writing & work have been featured in numerous publications, in addition to authoring his book “Making the Cut: What Separates the Best From the Rest.” He speaks at various colleges & universities regarding culinary media, branding, social media, and the realm of food writing.


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Success Story

The Art of Building

a Multimillion Dollar Chef Brand

Fa b i o Viviani 23

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Success Story

Fabio

Viviani’s passion for food was ingrained at a young age while growing up in Florence, Italy. Between his training in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine at IPSSAR Saffi and working with culinary icons such as Alessandro Panzani and Saverio Carmagini, Viviani owned and operated five restaurants in Florence, a farmhouse, and two nightclubs by the time he was 27. Although successful in his entrepreneurial efforts in Italy, Viviani was ready for a change. In 2005, he relocated to Ventura County, CA and opened Café Firenze in Moorpark –the start of a new era. Teaming up with DineAmic, Viviani opened Siena Tavern in 2013, which received accolades from Michigan Avenue and Chicago Tribune, to name a few. In 2014, he debuted both Mercato by Fabio Viviani, an Italian concept, and Fabio Viviani Wine Collection. By 2015, Viviani continued his entrepreneurial pursuits by opening Bar Siena and Prime & Provisions. The following year, Viviani expanded beyond Chicago to open Osteria by Fabio Viviani and several other Mercato by Fabio Viviani locations. Now, with the introduction of Portico by Fabio Viviani and his recently purchased lobster fishing company, Viviani is continuing to make his mark in the industry. What appeared as an overnight success after debuting on Bravo’s hit reality series Top Chef, was really a 20+ year grind averaging 120-hour work weeks – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Viviani may have been thrust into the limelight, but by no means was success haphazard. Even his guest appearances on national television shows such as Good Morning 24

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America, The Rachael Ray Show, The Chew, and headlining global food events and festivals, all seem to fit into an entrepreneurial ecosystem Viviani has thoughtfully created. Outside of his appearances both on and off-screen, Viviani has teamed up with places like Chef’d, a subscriptionless and customizable meal kit delivery company, and international brands such as Arnold Premium Breads, Bialetti Cookware, Bertolli, Johnsonville Sausage, and Legends of Europe. He has authored four successful cookbooks: Café Firenze Cookbook, Fabio’s Italian Kitchen, Fabio’s American Home Kitchen and just recently released his fourth cookbook, Fabio’s 30-Minute Italian. And if that’s not enough, Viviani has his own lines of cookware, culinary gadgets, launched his Know-How Leadership Academy, and collaborated with Chicago-based Sapphire Apps to release Food Porn Emoji by Chef Fabio Viviani. In short, Viviani doesn’t know what it means to plateau. During our interview, he shares the factors that shaped his success, tactical strategies for marketing and branding, and mindtools all food entrepreneurs should acquire to thrive in today’s market. Throughout our discussion, it becomes abundantly clear that Viviani has a knack for business and entrepreneurship. Almost effortlessly, he drops pearls of wisdom for aspiring food entrepreneurs and helps them to realize the choice they all possess – either fall victim to the 40-hour work week, or dive head first into your passion and build your culinary empire.


Success Story

& QA The

with

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Fabio Viviani

When you look back over your career, what helped shape your success?

With 16 restaurants currently, 4 more opening, and businesses in many branches of the industry, when I look back on what has shaped my career, I think of consistency. It’s consistency with your brand, consistency in what you do, and you have to keep building a brand in a way that you’re not just flying by the seat of your pants. [With consistency] people recognize what you do, and if you’re mainstream or broad enough, it’s a good business plan. And with a stainless steel work ethic, you can make everything happen. The problem is that a lot of people want to be something that they’re really not. I see an issue in the culinary students today who want to be famous before they want to be a chef. They want the money before they want the knowledge – and it will never happen for them. They 25

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want a career in the culinary arts but will never have a successful career within the first 3 years because they seek the wrong things. Instead of seeking continuity and knowledge, they seek money and fame – and it just doesn’t arrive. It’s not that easy. My “overnight success” has been 20+ years in the making. I’ve been doing this profession for 20+ years on average of 120 hours a week.

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For those working to develop their style and stand out in the crowd, what’s your advice for them?   You got to beat them all on the head. You got to work harder than anybody else, be smarter than anybody else, be funnier than anybody else, more entertaining than anybody else, and people will come to you.


Success Story Unless you are Ferran Adrià and invented molecular gastronomy, you’re not really inventing anything. The reality is you’re not going to invent a new style of cooking that nobody has ever seen before. Just make sure that whatever you do, you do at your best, because there are probably another thousand people who are doing it. Chances are, you’re spinning something that exists already in a little bit of a different direction, which is not enough to give you an edge. My cooking style, it doesn’t have an edge. I cook Italian-Mediterranean comfort food. I just do it better than most people, and that’s why in 9 short years, I’ve built a multimillion-dollar restaurant business.

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When you made the entrepreneurial leap for the first time, what was that period like for you? I was making $45,000 a year as a chef in a restaurant at 19, and I decided to tell the owner to reinvest every dime I was making into ownership share. So, every month, I was gaining a little bit of the business, and in a few years, I owned a substantial part. At the time, I wasn’t making a salary. I was eating at the restaurant every day and night, and I was living with my parents. I didn’t own a car, fancy watches, shoes, so I had no expenses. It allowed me to buy a piece of business. Most people are not willing to make that sacrifice. I literally had no vacation, no days off, nothing for a solid 5 years. At the end of those 5 years, we had more restaurants because not only did I buy about 20% ownership in the first one, but we opened a few more together. The owner of the original restaurant couldn’t believe I was that determined to have my own business. I sacrificed everything for the one thing I wanted more than anything, which was

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I think starting easy is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of consciousness that something could go wrong, which is the base of business. — Fabio Viviani


Success Story my own restaurant. The owner handed me a piece of the business, and I spent 5 years without having a salary paying it back. It’s not about the circumstances you are in that define what kind of success you’re going to be; it’s how you react to those circumstances that’s going to define if you will succeed or not. Most people “want.” They want the nice car, they want the nice shoes, they want to go to Coachella, they want Friday nights off, they want the girlfriend, they want. Unfortunately, everything gets in the way [for them]. I didn’t want anything but the restaurant, and I wanted it for the longest time. I was working 120 hours a week, every day. I had nothing else to do with my life but the restaurant. And now, 99% of my friends I employ, I take 3 months of vacation a year if I want, and I’m very successful, but I worked harder in the last 20+ years than some people in the culinary business will do in a lifetime.

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From a business standpoint, were there tough times in your journey? If so, how did you get past those? Yes, and I literally didn’t do anything besides work my a** off and try to get noticed. That’s the only thing you can do. Unless your mom and dad are rich and they open your restaurant with their money, but even then, I don’t think it’s enough motivation for you to succeed because it’s too easy. You just got to work. I wish there was a formula, but you just got to work your a** off. You got to work harder than anybody else, be smarter than anybody else and forget everything else. There is no compromise. You can’t have your cake and eat it too; there’s no way. [And 27

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especially in the beginning] there’s no balance. Whoever tells you it’s about balance, it’s not. If you want to excel in anything, you have to give 100%, and there’s not going to be balance for a very long time. My life is only getting balance now because I don’t have to work for a living. I still work because it makes me happy, but until a few years ago, I had no choice.

You got to work harder than anybody else, be smarter than anybody else, be funnier than anybody else, more entertaining than anybody else, and people will come to you. — Fabio Viviani


Success Story

It’s not about the circumstances you are in that define what kind of success you’re going to be; it’s how you react to those circumstances that’s going to define if you will succeed or not. — Fabio Viviani

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Success Story

5

What are some ways you’ve been able to build your personal brand or businesses? Any tactical strategies, or was it more organic in nature? It was organic in the sense that I always went where my customers were. I appeal to a certain crowd. I’m the kind of guy that when I opened my first restaurant in the United States, I went and scouted every restaurant in the area that was possible competition. I met the servers; I met the managers; I met everybody. I made myself aware of who these people were – where they shopped, where they lived, what they did – and I started to connect with them. [I do] the same thing on social media today. Every time I open a restaurant, I figure out who the competition is, who their followers are, and then reach out to them individually and personally. When we opened my latest restaurant, I literally sent about 20,000 emails to every person living in that area and invited them for a drink with me in my restaurant – and the restaurant now is booked 3 months out.

5

I literally went on Instagram and Facebook, found the nice restaurants, figured out who followed these restaurants – some had a thousand followers, some had ten thousand – and I personally direct messaged or commented to every one of those people saying, “Hey, I know you like this kind of food, I know you’re a big fan of this restaurant, I would love for you to give me a try. My name is Fabio Viviani. I would love to see you there and shake your hand.” 20,000 times! And people are wondering why we’re busy. The problem is that the tools to do this are available [to anyone], but people are too lazy. And then they complain because success doesn’t come easy.

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With a stainless steel work ethic, you can make everything happen. — Fabio Viviani

6

For individuals working to build a brand for their businesses or themselves, what advice do you have for them? You have to be compelling and interesting. If you’re boring or if you’re not a person that is pleasant to be around, people will not gravitate to you. We’re talking about hospitality, so being personable is everything. If you think you’re the best out there, that nobody’s as good as you, and people just don’t get it, you’re designed to fail. You have to create engagement. You do this by being consistent, being good at what you do, and you have to literally knock some doors down. When I started to write a blog about business – that now gets thousands of views – I had nobody reading because why would people read a blog about business from a chef. So, I literally went to my LinkedIn account and connected with every single person and said, “Hey, would you mind taking a look at this? Like it or comment on it.” Now, we have thousands of people reading [the blog]. Sometimes, just the fact that you opened a door doesn’t mean that customers will come through, it just doesn’t work like that.      


Success Story

You may think you have an awesome product and think there is a market need, but it doesn’t actually mean there is. — Fabio Viviani

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Success Story

Doing market research is very important and vital to the success of the eventual operation. — Fabio Viviani

If you do good at one thing, the same customer you have for one vertical of your business could definitely be a customer for another vertical.

7

You have a lot of ventures in place – fourth cookbook, Fatty Pope wine, online cooking series called Fabio’s Kitchen – can you talk about how you’ve been able to successfully diversify and scale in different areas? Recycling resources. Meaning, if you have customers already, you recycle them. In my restaurants, I have a million people going through every year, so that’s a direct way for me to reach them. Now, do the people who come to my restaurant drink wine? Yes. So we use the same database that feeds our people, and now we sell them wine. We connect with them on social media. Now, are a million people going to watch a show? Maybe not a million, but a hundred thousand for sure, so we have an online series. Are those people going to buy books? If they like us enough, they do. So, that’s recycling resources. 31

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However, I own a real estate business and a tech business, so are my customers for the restaurant going to be tenants in my buildings or purchasers of my technology platform? Probably not. Those are different verticals. It’s important to keep things in the same area.

8

With food and hospitality, there are many things you can do. For example, if you have a restaurant, you can [introduce] outside catering, publish a cookbook and sell to customers, create a cooking series, there are so many things you can do with the same customer base. You just have to put in the work.

8

What’s your process for evaluating whether a business venture is worth the time, energy and money required?

You have to do your homework. You have to figure out if the market is ready. If you’re capable of delivering the message. If the price point is correct. If you have enough finances to pull it off or enough to supply a few months without sales. It’s a business decision. If the numbers make sense, the business will make money. If the business makes money, then it makes sense. If it doesn’t make money, it’s a hobby. And I don’t need a hobby because I don’t have time for a hobby.


Success Story

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Are there specific red flags you look for when evaluating a business venture?

Yes! If the market is too small or if there is no case study. [When most people start out] they are too optimistic and don’t really consider the worst case scenario. They think, “That will never happen.” Of course, it will happen! The question is, “Can you make money in the worst case scenario?” If the numbers don’t add up and the mathematics don’t make sense, those are big red flags. Most red flags people don’t see because they’re excited, they’re passionate, and they’re blindfolded by the hope of having a good business rather than the certainty of a viable opportunity. I never know if I’ll have a good business, but I can tell if it’s a viable opportunity. 

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10

For food entrepreneurs trying to sell to today’s consumers, what’s some of your advice or insight as it relates to selling their products or services? First of all, they have to see if the consumer is interested to begin with, which comes from very good market research. You may think you have an awesome product and think there is a market need, but it doesn’t actually mean there is. I would start very small and do some test runs to see what people think. I would give a lot of stuff away for free. And if [people] like it, ask what they’re willing to pay. If they’re willing to pay, do a little test to see how many are really willing to pay. When you give people free stuff, the minimum they’ll do is tell you it’s amazing and “of course” they will buy.


Success Story

While I do believe you always seek progress rather than perfection because perfection eventually will come with progress, you have to do things right, or eventually, you’re going to find yourself doing it twice. — Fabio Viviani Why? Because you just gave it for free. So, they’re not going to say, “No, I’ll never buy this crap.” Yet, that’s what people will say when they actually have to buy something. Doing market research is very important and vital to the success of the eventual operation.

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What’s an opportunity you see in the food industry that other food entrepreneurs could be pursuing and how would they get started? One business is subscription services for meal delivery. A lot of people have the need to eat at home without cooking there. I think a very, very big sector of the market in the next few years is going to be food delivery. Busy families, working moms with kids, and although I preach that everybody has to cook, there are not a lot of people who actually have the time. That’s a big market I’m going to exploit in the next few years.  How to get started? Start small. Start with base one, then base two, and then base three, and then you get married, and you have kids [laughs]. 33

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You got to start easy. Otherwise, you burn your bridges; you get burned, you lose a lot of money. I think starting easy is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of consciousness that something could go wrong, which is the base of business. Something will go wrong, and the reality is, you should test the market. I’d rather lose a finger than the whole hand.

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Lastly, what’s the best business or entrepreneurial advice you want to leave our readership with?

Do it right or do it twice. Which means you put your best efforts to do everything right the first time because any serious entrepreneur understands the importance of achieving your best results first.

While I do believe you always seek progress rather than perfection because perfection eventually will come with progress, you have to do things right, or eventually, you’re going to find yourself doing it twice. If you do a crappy job, eventually you will have to do that again because someone will call you out. So, do it right, to the best of your ability, or do it twice.   Photo Credit: Nick Garcia & Matt Armendariz


Top Ten Takeaways from Fabio Viviani 1

No matter your circumstances, you control just how successful you will become or not.

2

Though you may experience some levels of success, seeking money and fame can leave you unfulfilled in the long run.

3

Work to seek progress over perfection.

4

Once you create a successful business and revenue stream, find ways to recycle resources to open new opportunities.

5

There are no shortcuts, or magic formulas, just time and hard work.

6

Though you may have big ambitions, it’s perfectly acceptable to start small.

7

Just because you “think” you have a great product, doesn’t mean it actually is by market standards. Find ways to test your assumptions.

8

If a market is small and/or there are zero case studies, be cautious about going all-in from a business standpoint.

9

Just because you open the doors to your business, doesn’t mean customers will appear – be thoughtful in your planning.

10

The overnight success does not exist, there is always years of hard work beneath the surface.

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Orders Placed. Invoices Received. Inventory Managed. History Recorded. Click. Done.

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Sign up at bluecart.com and download our free mobile app to simplify your orders today.


Marketing

How Do I Market To Customers Without

Spending an Arm And a Leg? By: Nick Fosberg

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Marketing

I

If you’re like many bar or restaurant owners, you’re looking to grow your business.

What if there were a way to ensure your marketing dollars are well spent, and achieve actual results? Something that will lock in your regulars and ensure they have an experience worthy of sharing with all of their friends?

The trouble for many restaurant owners is they just don’t have the time to learn new strategies, principles, and game-plans. 9 out of 10 restaurants have fewer than 50 employees. Someone has to actually run the business. And it’s incredibly stressful trying to juggle everything at once. Of course it makes sense to delegate where appropriate, and utilize your team to complete the tasks you don’t want to bother with, but it is important to understand the working parts of how to grow your restaurant – your business, your livelihood. This info is intended to help you put in  the necessary effort to breathe life into your restaurant. To ensure it provides for your family and your employees’ families for years, decades, and beyond.

Your competition is most likely clueless how to use it effectively. They may not even be using it at all. Most restaurant owners feel like marketing is a waste of money, and it doesn’t drive results. Studies show that 70% to 80% of people research a company online before visiting them, while only 25% of small businesses invest in online marketing. It’s simple. Those who capitalize on this new wave of opportunity will be the ones left standing, and those who remain stuck in their ways will not. Much of growing a business is repetitive, and thankfully, formulaic. If there is one thing I hope you take away from this article, it’s that relationships are everything.  In life, in business, and especially in entertaining your guests. You are the beer after a long day. The date night after three weeks of no sleep for the couple with a newborn. The prom date for the nervous teenager trying to make a great impression. The more you create a deeply fulfilling experience for your customers, the more they will return to see you, and spend their money with you. More referrals, and a greater sense of accomplishment knowing that what you are doing is valuable.

Digital Marketing

There are many tools that allow you to take advantage of this, and we’ll begin with driving traffic.

Digital marketing is the easiest, and most cost effective way to connect with the modern consumer in any industry, and even more-so in the restaurant industry.

The King of Traffic: Facebook

There is an obvious trend toward using technology to deepen relationships with customers heading into 2017.  The advantage of using digital marketing is its relative newness.

There are various traffic sources, and with the shifting winds of the digital landscape, new opportunities arise monthly.

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Marketing The most profitable way to getting new customers in your doors is using Facebook pay per click ads, where you can target people based on their interests, income, where they live, how much money they make, etc. There are nearly 1.79 billion active monthly users  and  1.18 billion people who log in to Facebook every day. Its where your customers are spending their valuable attention, and where you should focus a large portion of your efforts. You might be familiar with the Facebook ads manager, but what about “The Power Editor?” This is Facebook advertising platform on steroids, and it’s revolutionized the way bar and restaurant owners market their business. It’s saving owners well over 10k-20k a year on advertising dollars. In the power editor, you can target people in your area based on gender, where they live, etc. You can also target by purchase behavior with their credit and debit cards. Meaning, if you want to target people who are buying beer, wine, liquor or food at other bars and restaurants, you can specifically target these people with your offers. This is totally revolutionary for bar and restaurant owners. But here’s another key component to this: You only pay when people click on your ads and offers. Meaning you can still brand your business with  no cost  to you if people don’t click. They will see your offers, they will see your brand, but if they don’t click you don’t pay. I’m not talking just posting on Facebook, but  paying for traffic.  Facebook doesn’t give businesses exposure on Facebook anymore because they want you to pay, but the price is so cheap and the targeting is so precise, you’d be out of your mind not to pay for Facebook traffic. 38

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Facebook itself does a great job on how to use the power editor to generate traffic. I highly recommend spending some time to implement this correctly.

Retargeting Retargeting (or re-marketing/pixeling) is essentially placing a marketing focus on people who have already visited your website. At its core, retargeting turns window shoppers into buyers. How many times have you seen that item you were browsing pop up in a banner ad, or Facebook ad? That’s retargeting, and it is a highly effective way to drive sales. When someone sees your ad, they generally like to compare to other offers or see what else is out there. That’s why it’s important to be top of mind, as well as front and center. There are various ways to use retargeting,  and you can see explosive results if you focus on marketing to people who have expressed interest in what you have. As important as retargeting is, only 1 in 5 marketers have a dedicated budget for it.


Marketing

Other Digital Traffic Sources

things like behind-the-scenes video, event coverage, and offers.

You can drive traffic from anywhere there is attention. However, it’s best to focus your marketing dollars where the most relevant attention is. Here are a few other relevant sources of traffic that you may want to use to supplement your efforts.

Instagram You don’t need to be an expert photographer to share compelling photos of your offerings, but it is important to take time and make sure the pics are of high quality. #hashtags will attract people to your posts, but they are generally not potential customers, and certainly not targeted to the people who will visit you. Facebook ads also run on Instagram, so you can actually target customers on both platforms. Utilize IG takeovers and IG swaps with local businesses and artists that will drive traffic for them as well as for you. IG stories is MASSIVE (300 million daily active users). Those who funnel their attention to creating content and getting users to share it will have the lion’s share of growth.

Snapchat Snapchat is perhaps the very best storytelling platform in existence. IG stories is very similar, but Snapchat allows you to target people based on geographical location, while they are in that location. You can use Snapchat to bring your competitor’s customers to you,  over and over again. For the 18-35-year-old demographic, Snapchat is where they do most of their communicating. Many don’t even text anymore. Use the relationships you’ve built to continue providing 39

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Twitter I don’t recommend spending much time, if any, on Twitter, but it is a place for conversation and social listening. Go to  twitter.com/search  and search for keywords such as  “happy hour” near: “San Francisco” this will find people tweeting about happy hour who live in the bay area. Change the search terms to fit your area. Don’t spam people, but be a part of the conversation. Tweets such as, “Have a great time!” or even recommending a place to visit other than your own (landmarks, events, etc.) will endear people to you for being a resource or friendly and not bothersome.

Blog Comments & Facebook Groups Commenting on other blogs in a resourceful way and being part of a community can inspire interest in your bar or restaurant. Find groups and blogs of clubs, organizations and people with common interests in your community, and spend time actually communicating with people. This strategy won’t drive a TON of traffic, but when you put relationship building first, people will reciprocate.


Marketing

Banner Ads A banner ad is an ad displayed using an image or animation that links to the website of the advertiser. They are a simple, yet important part of digital marketing, and have been around since the internet’s inception. Banner ads should grab your customer’s attention to either drive traffic to your website or get them to accept your offer or lead magnet. They are integral to your retargeting strategy. People are highly visual, and this is why this form of advertising has survived this long. Because it still drives results. Use banner ads to announce discounts & sales, drive people to your events, tout your superiority, or various other ways.

Marketing 101: The central focus of successful marketing is to exclude everyone you don’t want to do business with, and only target those who want what you have to offer. If you keep this at the center of your process, you’ll see much stronger results. Ask yourself questions like: 40

Am I using my marketing dollars to blast entrepreneurial chef

the entire community in hopes that someone will bite?

 hat is something I can focus on right W now, to get more people in my doors?

If you ask a high quality question, you will get a high quality answer. That’s why it’s important to refine, trim and grow your methodology and continually place your emphasis on things that actually have an impact. Get a free copy of my book, Bar Restaurant Success, by clicking here. Learn how to attract new customers, turn them into raving fans, and become unbeatable in any market.

Nick Fosberg is known as one of the highest paid, marketing and promotional consultants in the bar & restaurant industry and he owns 2 bar/restaurants in the Chicagoland area. He’s famous for creating some of the highest grossing digital marketing promotions in the history of the bar & restaurant business – without spending a penny on marketing. All done through e-mail & Facebook posts.


Led by chef Marcus Samuelsson as board co-chair, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) transforms the lives of underserved high school students around the country by helping them pursue their culinary dreams. C-CAP, founded by culinary educator Richard Grausman, prepares talented teens for college and careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry through its enrichment programs including job training, paid internships, scholarships, and college and career advising. Who does C-CAP serve?

How can I get involved?

17,000+ students 250 public high school teachers 168 schools 5,000+ industry partners

Mentor a Student Support our Programs and Scholarships Donate Products or Equipment Host a Fundraising Event

@CCAPINC For information or to get involved: contact us at info@ccapinc.org, 212-974-7111, or visit www.ccapinc.org


Cookbook Corner: How to Write, Publish, and Promote Your Culinary Philosophy

As an award – winning, best-selling, author, chef, television personality, cuisine and culture expert, and educator, Amy Riolo is known for sharing history, culture, and nutrition through global cuisine. A graduate of Cornell University, Amy is considered a culinary thought leader who enjoys changing the way we think about food and the people who create it. In this column, Amy shares her insights into successful cookbook writing.

Publishing:

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Self-Publishing vs. Traditional

often urge readers to consider publishing options before writing their books. The type of platform you choose to publish could play a role in the type of book you create. In my career, all of my work has been published the traditional route. Though I have co-written books which were self-published, so I have a little bit of experience there as well. Please keep in mind that even within the “traditional” and “self-published” genres, there is still a lot of variance depending upon the company you end up collaborating with. General rules such as the amount of work, creative license, time frames, and marketing/distribution, however, tend to be somewhat similar within each type of publishing. Before deciding which type of publishing is best for you, it is good to ask yourself: 42

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1. What is my budget to produce a book?

If you have money set aside to create your book, then the various types of self-publishing would be available.

2. Do I need to earn an advance on this book?

If you are looking to earn an advance for your manuscript, and do not have the resources – or do not want to spend them on self-publishing – then the traditional route might work best for you.

3. Is my topic something that a traditional publishing house would be interested in?

In order to be successful with a traditional publishing house, you will need to present a proposal for a topic which would enhance their current – and forthcoming – list of books. If your book does not feel like a good fit for various companies, self-publishing would be a better route.


Cookbook Corner 4. Do I have enough of an author platform to present myself as an attractive prospect to a traditional publishing house?

Traditional companies want to work with authors who have a proven track record in selling their work. If you can guarantee lots of social media traffic, successful events and your own PR, you are much more likely to get a traditional contract. Otherwise, read next month’s column to build your author platform before publishing – regardless of how you plan to do it. It will set you up for success.

5. Do I need to publish this book by a certain date?

Most self-publishing platforms can put a book out in 1-3 months’ time, whereas traditional publishers take a minimum of 9 months, and sometimes years to release books.

6. Do I have the time/desire to manage the task of publishing in addition to writing my book?

If not, you need to hire someone to do it for you if you self-publishing, or work with a traditional publisher.

7. Do I have previous publishing experience?

If so self-publishing will be easier than it is for newbies.

8. Do I want to see my book in bookstores?

You have a much better chance of getting your book in stores with larger publishing houses. For many people, however, this is not a factor in the success of their overall book.

As a great resource, I highly recommend a website called authorlearningcenter.com, which offers invaluable tips and resources for authors. They offer a standard free trial for 30 days and have shared a promo code – “get45” – which will enable you to get a free 45-day trial. Known as the “GPS” for your publishing

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journey, there are few publishing questions they do not offer answers to. Among their great variety of information, is a chart called “The Four Paths to Publishing” written by Keith Ogorek, SVP Marketing at Author Solution and writer of the Indie Book Writers blog. I have quoted his entire article below, but it is worth actually visiting the site to see the additional videos and get more information.

1. DIY PUBLISHING DIY is a self-publishing option in which an author uses an upload tool like Booktango (an Author Solutions imprint) or Lulu to create a book and get it into distribution. Some of these solutions may be e-book only or have limited distribution, but if you follow through, you can get your book formatted and available for sale in at least one format and through at least one online retailer. Many of these options are promoted as “free” to publish, but there is a misperception that DIY means you don’t have to spend any money. Even if you choose the DIY path, you should still have your book edited, and you will likely have to invest in marketing.

ADVANTAGE Usually the least amount of financial investment needed to publish a book in at least one format.

DISADVANTAGES Formats and distribution can be limited. Most options do not have any professional services available, so an author has to find the services needed to complete the project apart from the publishing solution.


Cookbook Corner

2. GENERAL CONTRACTOR The second option an author can pursue is the General Contractor publishing path. This requires hiring a number of independent service providers such as an editor, book designer, publicist, etc., and coordinating all those activities. Typically, you will need to obtain quotes from each of the vendors, based on the project, and it will likely require more of a financial investment than DIY. More importantly, if you decide to be your own general contractor, it will definitely take significantly more time to manage the process and coordinate the activities. You also have the option of hiring someone to be your general contractor. That’s because, as this option has emerged, a number of people have begun to promote themselves on the Internet as “publishing consultants.” They usually have some publishing experience but don’t typically offer any services themselves other than helping you find the vendors you need.

ADVANTAGE

Depending on which services you choose and which vendors you use, this option can require the largest financial investment of any of the publishing paths and can take the most amount of time to manage the process.

Can require the most time and money, depending on thescope of the project.

Select the special individuals who work on every aspect of your book and promotion.

DISADVANTAGES

SAMPLE LIST OF PUBLISHING TASKS Write book

Interior design

Print books

Social media

Create title

E-book formatting

Ship books

Publicity

ISBN

Illustrations

Sell books

Events

Copyright or protect

Cover copy

Track royalties

Video interview

Edit

Distribution for print formats

Website

Video trailer

Cover design

Distribution for digital formats

These are just some of the tasks that are needed to get a book published and promoted, so you want to have a clear idea of how much work you want to do yourself versus having someone else do the work. 44

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Cookbook Corner

The biggest advantage to this publishing path is that it’s a one-stop shop for everything that you could possibly need to achieve your publishing goal. — Amy Riolo

3. SUPPORTED SELFPUBLISHING The third way that you can get your book ready for sale is to work with a supported self-publishing company whose bundles of services help you get your book and cover designed in print and digital formats, in distribution, and available for sale. In addition, these companies typically offer a full menu of professional services for publishing, promoting, and selling your book. Most of Author Solutions’ imprints, including AuthorHouse, Trafford, iUniverse, and Xlibris, fall into this category. The biggest advantage to this publishing path is that it’s a one-stop shop for everything that you could possibly need to achieve your publishing goal. Sure, it requires a financial investment, but because there is a range of package offerings and price points, it’s apparent from the start what you will get and what it will cost. This transparency is not always possible with the General Contractor path because you won’t know what you will need to spend until you get all of your estimates. 45

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Another advantage to the supported self-publishing path is that you typically have only one number to call. In the case of ASI, you have 24/7 customer service available. In addition, you have only one vendor relationship to manage no matter how many services you use. With the General Contractor path, you will likely have multiple vendors, which can take considerably more time to manage.

ADVANTAGE One-stop shop for everything you need to publish, promote and distribute your book, and you have selection, service, and convenience.

DISADVANTAGES Can require more of a financial investment than DIY, and packages may include services that you do not want or need, although some customization is usually possible.


Cookbook Corner

4. TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING

and actually publish a book, so you will need to be patient and resilient if this is the only path you want to pursue.

The fourth path, Traditional (or legacy publishing), was the one discussed in the introduction. Historically, if you had a manuscript or book proposal, you needed to find an agent to represent you. Then, he or she would take the project to publishers with the intent to sell it and get an advance against future royalties. Unlike the first three paths, where you retain your rights to the content, on this path you assign the rights to the publisher, so you don’t have the same degree of control of your book as you do with the DIY, General Contractor, or Supported Self-Publishing paths. In addition, publishers can take a long time to evaluate, select,

If you do find a traditional publisher who wants your work, you will likely find they can improve it because of their experience and expertise at making books better. They may also have a sales force in place to push certain books to retailers, so you may find support from them that you won’t have if you self-publish. However, as a result of the changes we have discussed, many traditional publishers are now looking at self-published books as a source of content that they may want to pick up. In fact, if you watch the headlines, you will see publishers acquiring the rights to titles from all three of the self-publishing paths discussed in this paper.

If you do find a traditional publisher who wants your work, you will likely find they can improve it because of their experience and expertise at making books better. — Amy Riolo

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CONTENT WORTH READING Start your FREE TRIAL and download this issue on your favorite mobile device from your preferred app store. Click and unleash the enterpreneur inside.


Success Story

Clint Jolly The Culinary Storyteller

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Success Story

As

the winner of the Food Network’s Chopped: Impossible Restaurant Challenge, finalist for the Farm to Table Chef’s Taste Challenge in New Orleans, named one of the best chefs inthe U.S. by Best Chefs America, an avid food entrepreneur and culinary mentor, Clint Jolly has no doubt created a foothold in the industry. With his insatiable curiosity and sense of culinary adventure, Jolly works to discover “why we eat the way we do.” Jolly’s belief that food harnesses the power to bring people closer and creates lasting memories leads him to explore different cultures and culinary stories to eventually share with the world around him.

Starting at the tender age of 5, Jolly could be found in tow behind his father in their northern Nevada butcher shop. By 13, Jolly was experiencing the world of food entrepreneurship firsthand as he prepared dishes for customers. With a taste of the food business, Jolly would soon discover a lifelong professional journey ahead. Despite having an inside track with the family business, there’s no denying his talent, business acumen, and hard work would become the catalyst for growing the business to a $10-million-dollar empire – no easy feat no matter the starting point. After the family business closed, Jolly would apply to a few jobs and receive offers, but eventually, he would muster the courage to venture on his own – thus Great Thyme Catering was born. Starting with a compelling vision, menu offering and working expeditiously to build his clientele, Jolly would eventually succeed in building, scaling, and selling the company. And despite a few spills along the way, like any other savvy professional, each hiccup brought a host of lessons Jolly filed away to use repetitiously as he continues his professional ascent. When Jolly isn’t catering or competing for a culinary title, he dabbles in being a brand ambassador. 49

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One of which for Rancho Llano Seco, an online marketplace in Chico, California. Being a quality resource for brands and fellow chefs, Jolly works to form a multitude of professional relationships. If there’s one thing Jolly truly believe in, it’s surrounding himself with strong professionals to simultaneously keep a finger on the industry’s pulse and be strategically positioned for business opportunities. In an effort to give back to the culinary industry, Jolly serves as a mentor to culinary students. Under his tutelage, Carson High School won five first place victories in the state’s National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ProStart Invitational restaurant management and culinary arts competition and taken second nationally. It’s no wonder in 2016 Jolly was named Nevada’s Mentor of the Year. In our interview, Jolly takes us through his entrepreneurial journey. From his younger years of eagerly learning the business, scaling the company to a multimillion dollar operation, and eventually venturing on his own. Along the way, his advice cuts through the page and his experience is practically palpable. While some buckle under the pressure of maintaining one foot in the kitchen and the other in business activities, Jolly effortlessly manages the demands of both sides and shares just how he does it all.


Success Story

& QA The

with

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industry?

Clint Jolly

Can you share a little of your background and what attracted you to the culinary

I was basically born into it! My great grandfather bought a butcher shop in Reno in the early 30’s, and the family stayed in that business to this day. As a boy, around five years old, I remember “helping” at the shop with sweeping and picking up enough to warrant a piece of jerky or two. I was helping customers before I could see over the counter, peering up at them through the glass of the display case which ironically gave me a great view of the cuts I was picking out for them. The family shop expanded with a deli when I was twelve. Summers were spent there 50

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cooking and making sandwiches. At 14, the cook parted ways and my dad told me to go make a daily special. I was hooked on seeing people enjoy my food. Two years in a vocational program, lots of cook books and TV shows, along with the blessing of having a full store of ingredients at my disposal all lead to a pretty awesome career.

2

In looking back over your career, what has been most influential on your culinary style? The history of my family in the meat business stands out the most. To this day I still use those skills and knowledge on a daily basis in designing menus, buying product, etc.


3 Success Story

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for you?

When did you first take the entrepreneurial leap and what was this period like

I was slowly brought into it by my father, starting at about eighteen years old. He taught me to think as an owner from a very young age, and when I was officially an adult he made it clear that I was in charge of my future. I invested in the company at 27 as we expanded into a second location and tripled the size of our catering operation. Then in late 2009 we closed the retail shops and I was on my own by February of 2010.

4

For aspiring food entrepreneurs looking to make the leap full time, what advice do you have for them? It’s hard to find, but there’s a point between not fleshing out your idea enough and overthinking it to the point of scaring yourself off. I say that once you are 80% of the way to your full concept it’s time to test it in a way that lets you fail or succeed quickly and cheaply. A popup, farmer’s market, guest chef events, etc., are all ways to see if your product will hit a chord. And don’t just ask your family and friends if they would buy, ask them to buy. Everyone will tell you it’s a great idea, but not all will pull out their wallets.

Convenience is the place to be in the near future. — Clint Jolly

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5 Success Story

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What has been the greatest test of adversity in your entrepreneurial career thus far and what lesson(s) did you learn?

At 27, I opened a second location and managed a $10mil/year business. We went from $3mil to $10mil in a year, then to $6mil and back up to $7mil before closing it all and walking away. Besides a test of my willpower and ethics, it was the best “real world” MBA I could have gotten!

6

For one of the companies you’ve owned and scaled, Great Thyme Catering, where did the idea come from and how did you know this was the right direction?

I spent a few months after closing the previous business finding my direction. I applied and interviewed for a few jobs and got two offers within a week. Both were perfectly fair, but would have been the first time in my adult life I would have a boss. I decided to see what I could make happen on my own. I had 12 years of catering under my belt at the time and still had the desire to work for myself.

7

What were some of the steps you took to go from idea to open for business?

I made a list of my top ten catering clients from the previous years and decided to see if 52

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I could sell enough to replace the job offers I had gotten. One afternoon later I had verbal commitments from clients to do so. I designed menus and sent off proposals, collecting a 50% deposit. I secured a rent by hour spot in a commercial kitchen and used the deposit money to buy the needed equipment. Just about all the sales from the first three months were spent on equipment to cater the next event. I had $342 in my bank account when I “opened.”

Don’t just ask your family and friends if they would buy, ask them to buy. — Clint Jolly


Success Story

It’s hard to find, but there’s a point between not fleshing out your idea enough and overthinking it to the point of scaring yourself off. — Clint Jolly

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Success Story

8

For anyone wanting to launch a catering company, or offer catering to their existing concept, can you give an idea of where they start and some initial steps they should take? In an existing restaurant, it’s fairly simple to create a catering menu using ingredients from the pantry and get it out to guests. It’s a great place to start! One advantage of catering is that nearly all the equipment needed can be rented. Get in touch with your local rental company and see what they have that can save you from investing in equipment until it makes sense. Get to know local event and wedding planners, take them treats, and help them make their clients happy. 54

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Past the food and service, we strive to design a menu that tells the story. — Clint Jolly

9

What are some actionable ways you drive new business?

Corporate clients come from smart cold calling. We just recently launched a new spring menu, dropped it off along with a gift to some targeted clients and booked 3 summer events in a day. For these, target companies that have the number of employees that makes sense for your operation. A company with 100 employees will get about 150 people at a summer event. Most of the time, an executive assistant or office manager will be the one making the decision. Make them look great to the boss by providing them with a fully laid out proposal and fits their budget and style.


Success Story

It’s my goal to give value before asking for it in return. — Clint Jolly

10

From a marketing standpoint, what are some tactical strategies you implement?

We base our marketing to wedding clients on building a memorable experience for the guests. Past the food and service, we strive to design a menu that tells the story of the couple. In this process, we use social media and newsletters to share the creations with potential clients. On the corporate side of the business. We deliver specially priced menus at the time that they are planning annual events. Early May for summer picnics, October for holiday parties.

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to date?

What has been the greatest business mistake you’ve made in your business

Thinking that my brand was stronger than it was. I attempted to sell a series of events “sight unseen” after a few months of great press. I committed to venues and entertainment, but didn’t break even on sales. We threw a couple of great parties! But, ultimately had to cancel the rest and refund money to clients. 55

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12 Success Story

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Can you give a granular look into your daily and weekly operations? Essentially, what are key levers you are pulling to run the business successfully?

Catering is all about organization. Once we are on site, we are limited on resources so everything must be loaded, labeled and ready to go. The crew probably spends as much time loading, organizing and packaging as we do cooking. An average week looks like this:

a. Monday we write shopping lists and place orders for the week.

b. Tuesday and/or Wednesday are used for loading trucks and gathering supplies.

c. Thursday is the big prep day as we start the weekend.

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d. Friday many times has an evening event, plus prep for Saturday.

e. Saturdays are the money making days, and the whole crew is out on location.

In between, I am keeping the sales team on track, reaching out to key clients and ensuring that the team is firing on all cylinders.

13

In what ways do you maximize profits in your business? To follow up, can you give specific examples? Efficiency! We try to sell similar products on consecutive events. We take advantage of preparing the same dish for 300 people, instead of two dishes for 150 each. The same logic applies to ingredients as well. This week for instance, we have pork shoulders going into three menus. We save a bit by buying larger amounts and consolidating prep time in the kitchen.


Success Story

I regularly reach out to fellow chefs and owners to stay in the loop on the local happenings and to develop business opportunities. — Clint Jolly 57

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Success Story

14

You have been able to connect with brands to create entrepreneurial opportunities for yourself, as such, can you speak a little on this to educate others how to follow suit? I have had a great relationship with Sysco for years, and recently starting work as a brand ambassador for Rancho Llano Seco in Chico, CA. I try to give value to them by connecting the companies to local chefs and restaurant owners. It’s my goal to give value before asking for it in return. I am a fan of these companies whether I am representing them or not, and truly appreciate them as partners and respect their businesses. This makes the other parts of the relationship easy!

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Do you believe it’s just as important for food entrepreneurs to brand themselves personally and their businesses simultaneously?

I do believe it’s important to brand both the business and the person. Financially, it allows you to build an asset that can be sold or the like as a business while still having a personal brand to move on with in the future. Also, it helps to be recognized as clients want to do business with people they know.

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Are there any tools or resources you use to run your business successfully?

Lots of spreadsheets! Seriously, I never thought I would use them as much as I do back in the day. In the same vein, being able to lay out a nice document is invaluable in selling catering as well.

I also make it a point to surround myself with great contractors and advisors. My business coach helps me stay on track as I grow and progress with the business. I regularly reach out to fellow chefs and owners to stay in the loop on the local happenings and to develop business opportunities.

Our industry is quickly adapting, as most are, and staying relevant is key. — Clint Jolly 58

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Success Story

17

What opportunities do you see in the culinary and hospitality industry today that aspiring food entrepreneurs could be pursuing? Good food has become the standard instead of a selling point. These days, you can get a pretty tasty meal at a walk up fast casual restaurant, ready-to-go in the grocery store or even in a street side truck. Convenience is the place to be in the near future. Packaged quality foods, quick and casual service and even service that allow people to make tasty and healthy food on their own at home are all fast growing markets. 59

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Once you are 80% of the way to your full concept it’s time to test it in a way that lets you fail or succeed quickly and cheaply. — Clint Jolly

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Do you have any final thoughts or advice for our readership of food entrepreneurs?

I would personally say to be careful in growing stagnant. Our industry is quickly adapting, as most are, and staying relevant is key. Travel, work with other chefs, or even teach students to inspire new ideas and find new ventures. We are lucky to be in a space that is exciting and is capturing a lot of attention so use that to your entrepreneurial advantage! Photo Credit: Jon C. Haverstick & Jeff Ross


Top Ten Takeaways from Clint Jolly 1

When testing out your product, do so in the quickest and most inexpensive way possible – farmer’s markets and/or guest chef events.

6

Never underestimate the power of social media and newsletters to share past events with current and potential clients – a picture is worth a thousand words.

2

If you are weary of purchasing catering equipment before launching, look to rent until you are confident in a return, then invest.

7

Running a catering business is all about organization, from spreadsheets to map out schedules, make sure your team doesn’t miss a beat due to scattered thoughts.

3

Time management is key; crews spend as much time loading, organizing and packing as they do cooking so plan accordingly.

8

When connecting with brands, give value to that company before asking for it in return.

9

Investing in a business coach can ensure constant growth and staying on track to reach your daily, monthly and annual goals.

10

Be realistic, only commit to catering events that your company can handle – if something falls through, you will lose money and a client.

4

Snagging corporate clients is always about smart cold calling, drop off a menu with a signature gift to let them know what your catering company has to offer.

5

When booking wedding or anniversary events, sell the client an experience through a personalized menu for the couple.

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Commercial Leasing

10

Questions

to Ask About the Landlord and the Property By: Jeff Grandfield and Dale Willerton – The Lease Coach

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Commercial Leasing

S

mart shoppers, typically, ask plenty of questions about a product / service before they buy, culinary entrepreneur tenants preparing for lease negotiations need to follow that example! Before you agree to any lease terms and sign on the dotted line, you will need to know all you can learn about both the commercial property and the landlord. As The Lease Coach, we have been consulting with commercial tenants since 1993 and recommend the following “Top 10 Questions” that all tenants must ask during the negotiating process either for a new or secondary location.

1

Who is the landlord?

Will you be dealing with a large institution; a bank or a small, independent, “Mom and Pop” landlord? Different types of landlords will require different negotiation approaches (for example, with a large institution, you may have to wait weeks to connect with someone there to discuss a problem while with a Mom and Pop landlord, you could simply just knock on their door).

2

How long has the landlord owned the property?

Long-time landlords will know a great deal about their own property and usually are interested in keeping it. Culinary entrepreneur tenants will also find that long-time landlords, typically, will have more realistic rent expectations as their mortgages can be fully paid off and will not have to charge their tenants higher rents to help cover this cost.

3

Where is the landlord physically located?

Local landlords with office space within the commercial property of interest or just down the street are often more accessible to tenants. We remember one of our tenant clients who often could not reach his own landlord – the

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reason was that this landlord was a 70-year-old doctor who continued to practice part-time as well as travel. Personal meetings were made more difficult.

4

Is the person in charge of property management local?

Similar to local landlords, local property managers are also more available for tenants. In this business, it is not uncommon to see property managers overseeing a number of commercial sites and traveling between them.

5

What is the building’s history?

As a culinary entrepreneur tenant, you will need to ask about both the exterior and interior history of the building. With exterior history, we are referring to building maintenance. This includes property upkeep, garbage removal, and landscaping which tenants help pay for through a property’s Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges. Tenants leasing in an older building should expect higher CAM charges to cover the additional care of such a building. Ask about what has been going inside the building as well. Are the tenants stable, has there been a high turnover of previous tenants, or has a similar use tenant previously leased space within the property and either closed the business or moved elsewhere within the past 10 – 20 years?

6

Who is doing the leasing for the property?

Is this a big leasing brokerage, a real estate agent or the landlord’s son? Be mindful of what you hear from agents as well – while they must follow a code of conduct; they can only share what they have heard from the landlord about the property. As a prospective or current tenant, you may hear anything from a less that reputable landlord who may tell you anything to get you to sign or re-sign.


Commercial Leasing

9

Who is the property’s biggest tenant (the anchor tenant)?

Anchor tenants typically attract the most traffic property, but even anchor tenants can close or move. We remember a number of tenants in a local strip mall who were surprised when the major grocery store anchor tenant moved out. Despite having a long-term lease, this grocer can often move their business but continue to pay the rent, thus disallowing any competitor to move in.

10

Is the building for sale?

Building owners looking to sell their building will have different motivations with prospective tenants. Also, consider that you may like the current landlord but dislike the new landlord.

7

Who were the two most recent tenants to move in and when?

After you are referred to these tenants, personally contact them, introduce yourself, and ask them for their thoughts and/or opinions on their own recent lease negotiations. The leasing agent may claim that he/she has only recently acquired the property listing and is unaware of all the tenants so far. Do not accept this – it is the agent’s job to be familiar with the property and who is leasing space within the property.

8

Who were the last two tenants to move out?

Similar to the above, you will want to contact these tenants and ask for details. Press for details as to when and why they moved; where they moved; and what they thought about the landlord, property manager, and the commercial property.

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Dale Willerton and Jeff Grandfield — The Lease Coach are Commercial Lease Consultants who work exclusively for tenants. Dale and Jeff are professional speakers and co-authors of Negotiating Commercial Leases & Renewals FOR DUMMIES (Wiley, 2013). Got a leasing question? Need help with your new lease or renewal? Call 1-800-7389202, e-mail DaleWillerton@TheLeaseCoach.com or visit www.TheLeaseCoach. com. For a copy of our free CD, Leasing Dos & Don’ts for Restaurant Tenants, please e-mail your request to JeffGrandfield@TheLeaseCoach. com.


Business Bites Chef Deb is an award-winning, best-selling author, sought after speaker & Senior Certified Personal Chef. For a decade, she has helped chefs across the country level-up their culinary business by teaching the same proven strategies used to grow her 6-figure personal chef company. In her column, Chef Deb will show various ways to transition from behind the stove to a true CEO and attract ideal clients to begin making the money you deserve.

To Discount or Not to Discount

I

recently came across an article on Entrepreneur.com written by Jurgen Appelo titled “When Clients Ask for Discounts Ask Them...Why?” This article reminded me of the importance of valuing your work and making sure you are attracting the type of customers who value you too. This is something that I’ve been teaching my coaching clients for years, and I think it is worth discussing. In this article, I will mostly be referring to personal and private chefs, but these principles apply to all culinary business owners. Let’s say you have a prospect who is really interested in your services, but they are still on the fence and have some reservations. They know you really want to help them get healthy meals on their table, so they ask you 66

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for a discount hoping you’ll agree and it will be a win-win for both of you. Should you offer the discount so you can get a new client? After all, you will probably make up the money you lost from the discount after a few services. Or maybe you have a friend or family member who thinks they should get a “special discount” on your services since they know you. We all have been in those awkward situations. According to Appelo, when a prospect asks for a discount, all you need to do is ask them one simple question, “Why?” Why do they deserve the discount? Is there a specific reason why that person is asking for one? There are definitely legitimate reasons why you would offer a discount - which we will talk about later - but do they expect you to give them a


Business Bites discount just because? If so, you do not owe that to them. If they are asking for a discount for no apparent reason (or a good reason at that), then they do not see your value, and they do not trust that you have priced yourself for what you are really worth.

Do you see the danger in that? If you give in and offer the discount, you are admitting that you are charging more than you are worth and opening up yourself to receive more people who expect a discount. It becomes a vicious cycle. Like-minded people hang out together, and word spreads. Offering a discount one time means you will have to continue to do so. Many chefs just starting out in culinary have a tendency to discount their services because they are anxious to get clients and are

concerned that people won’t pay the prices they have set. Don’t be tempted to do this. You are a professional chef who is providing a service whether you have years of experience or just a few days experience. However, it is also important to note that you have to be willing to adjust your prices if after doing some market research you see that you are in reality charging more than you should. Be aware of what your competition and others around you are charging, the value of your skill set and services and then price accordingly. When I first opened my personal chef company back in 2002, I used to give in and offer discounts to people because back then, I was desperate for clients. It always came back to bite me in the butt though, and I ended up

If you give in and offer the discount, you are admitting that you are charging more than you are worth. — Deb Cantrell

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Business Bites losing those clients anyway because over the long run they couldn’t afford my chef services. You have to possess the confidence to stick your ground and not give in, even when you want to make a sale. It’s hard, but your future self will thank you for it. Let me tell you a short story about something that happened to me recently. I had a new vegetarian client email and tell me that my prices were too high and that she was going to find someone else if I couldn’t somehow bring the price down. I was definitely disappointed to hear this and a little worried that she might end services, but I knew that I was not overcharging her.  Instead of offering a discount out of fear, I decided to simply explain why the pricing was what it was. I explained to her how we had to stop the kitchen each time we made her meals and how much preparation goes into cutting up vegetables and preparing them in new and exciting ways. After sending the email, I was almost positive that she was going to send me a reply saying that she was done for good. However, I received a much different response. She thanked me for explaining the reasoning behind my pricing structure and then she said she would like to continue services. Imagine my excitement! I stayed true to my prices because I knew what I was worth, and she realized my value too.  Now, does this mean you should never give a discount or run a special promotion? Absolutely not! There are appropriate times when a discount might be merited such as when a customer sends multiple referrals your way or if you really love our veterans and want to offer them a special discount you can certainly do so and that is your prerogative as a business owner. I personally don’t offer a lot of discounts in my culinary business. Instead, I offer “gifts” to thank them for purchasing a service by providing them with a complimentary meal, or if they book a catering with me sometimes, I will offer a 68

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st i l a e k Ma d n a s n o of reas when s n o ti a u sit ht g i m u yo s t n u o c is offer d siness bu ll r u o y in Deb Cantre —

complimentary dessert. For me, this works well because instead of taking value away from my services it adds values to it and people love getting freebies. Make a list of reasons and situations when you might offer discounts in your business. This way clients will be pleasantly surprised when you do offer a discount or gift, and it won’t undermine your worth but add even more value and loyalty! Writing these down will also give you the confidence you need to stand by your policies. So the next time someone asks you for a discount ask them, “why?”


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Success Story

Kyle Ransford &

The Story

of Chef’d

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Success Story

Kyle

Ransford, Founder and CEO of Chef’d, has no doubt revolutionized the meal kit delivery business. A serial entrepreneur who successfully started several businesses, Ransford’s experience coupled with his passion for cooking has fueled one of the fastest growing businesses in the culinary industry. After flipping through Bon Appétit Magazine one day and stumbling upon an interesting recipe, Ransford thought, “Why can’t I literally press a button and have this gourmet meal shipped to my door?” After researching the space, he recalls being shocked there wasn’t a company with the ability to ship fresh food a national basis. Despite thinking the idea was, “One you talk about and never do,” a year later, Chef’d was born. By partnering with celebrity chefs, popular restaurants, culinary brands and food media around the world, Ransford and team have systematically redefined the meal kit delivery experience. Chef’d brings fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes transported from kitchen to doorstep with delivery within 1-2 days from the online order date. With unprecedented growth, Ransford says it’s been a rocket ship ride from the beginning. From being self-funding, running a crowdfunding campaign to recruit early users, raising 6.25 million in the first two years, and now a strategic partnership and investment of $10 million by Campbell’s as part of a Series B round of funding, Ransford and team are well on their way. So what gave Ransford the confidence to pursue this type of business? A recent Harris Poll revealed 25% of adults purchased a meal kit in 2016 and 70% of meal kit purchasers have continued to buy them. Some even project that e-commerce food and beverage sales will reach $66 billion by 2021. Yet, the highest levels of confidence came from the thousands of people Ransford talked with along the

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way who said, “That’s a really good idea.” Whether it was Ransford’s business intuition or the wisdom of crowds, one thing’s certain, he chose wisely. Another motivating factor for Ransford and team is that roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted. Some studies suggest consumers directly throw away as much as 25% of their food. The Chef’d model works to chip away at reducing food waste by building out “grocery store” facilities that only stock pre-portioned ingredients. Plus, with partnerships formed between Chef’d and multiple philanthropic organizations to prevent leftover ingredient waste, it’s easy to see Ransford and team are quickly impacting the global problem. The impressive part we discovered with Chef’d is their customer-centric approach. They offer a variety of meal options, flexible re-ordering, and significant cost savings for end users. Additionally, in a world where subscriptions reign supreme, Chef’d offers customers a subscriptionless service. As Ransford shared, “You don’t have a subscription to your grocery store, so why would you want a subscription to your online grocery store? Generally speaking, you don’t find too many people that are jumping up and down and saying, I wish I could just get this as a subscription.” In a world where investors today are only concerned about the bottom line, Ransford harmoniously strikes a balance. In our interview, Ransford shares the incredible fast-paced journey of building one of the most prominent meal kit delivery businesses in the industry today. Along the way, he offers advice for anyone looking to build and scale a company of their own. With tips such as focusing on the right communication strategy, being honest about your customer acquisition costs and profits, not overspending on marketing and underspending on product creation, it becomes glaringly obvious why Ransford has experienced such high levels of success thus far.


Success Story

& QA The

with

1

Kyle Ransford

What attracted you to create a company in the culinary industry?

I’ve never been trained as a chef, but I’ve always enjoyed cooking as a passion. The fun part is being so focused and present that you don’t have time to be upset about something that happened at work, with family members, etcetera. One Saturday afternoon I was watching football, looking through Bon Appétit, and found a recipe that would be fun to make for dinner. I realized if I was going to make it, I would have to spend about four hours going to three different stores [for the ingredients], then spend time cooking, so I ended up just watching the 72

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football game. It dawned on me as to why there wasn’t a button where somebody would bring me all the ingredients and the right sizes. That was the idea we started messing around with as we saw some of the pioneers in the space. It was an idea I thought would go away, one you talk about and never do, but when we saw Blue Apron having success around the meal kit concept, we had something similar but with a different bend. [Our idea] would be to partner with existing people who already had an influence base – people like Fabio Viviani for example – and we would handle the backend to help them bring their food to life. We set out on that journey roughly 4 years ago, and today we’ve got about 120 partners that we help bring their recipes to life directly to the consumer.


2 Success Story

2

What are some of the initial steps you took after conceiving the idea to bring the company to fruition?

The first piece we looked for was somebody we could outsource the backend, where we would just create the recipes. When we realized there was nobody to outsource the backend, we had to create [the national infrastructure], and would eventually become the only company today that does fresh food direct to the consumer on a national basis. I hired Jason Triail as our first employee who is a chef. We retained a search person to help us find somebody from the culinary side that could help us bring the recipes to life. Then we hired a sales person to start talking to chef partners. We just kind of kept going down the path of trying to find partners, trying to create their recipes, and processing the food in various locations.

3

Throughout the journey of building the brand, what were some of the unexpected challenges that you faced?

The thing about this business that has been so interesting is everybody has given such positive feedback. It’s been a rocket ship ride as soon as we put the word out, but finding locations has been the biggest challenge for us. We got a lot of people that wanted to buy the food, but getting a facility together that can safely bring in and distribute food takes a while. Finding a building, negotiating a deal, doing the improvements – it can take 12 months, and we don’t

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have that amount of time. Locations have been the biggest challenge for us to manage the growth, but [even then] we’re growing so fast it’s very hard to figure out how big of a facility we should be trying to get next.

In food, the marketing message is the big challenge. You can create a product, but then you have to figure out how to communicate your point of differentiation. — Kyle Ransford


Success Story

Find a way to inexpensively communicate why you’re different. — Kyle Ransford

4

How did you form partnerships with such high-level chefs and what does that partnership look like? We started calling various celebrity oriented chefs and talked to a few of the TV shows and quickly started talking to agents. We ended up with a big roster of people that had been on TV, and it sort of grew from there. I think the biggest piece was the idea really resonated with everyone, especially the chefs. They want people to eat their food, and on the business side, if customers are eating their food every week, the chefs get a piece [of revenue], and it’s really interesting for them. From a dollar perspective as well as a branding, marketing, and building their reputation, I think our partners appreciate the activities they have with us. Our model is us trying to help them build their business, so we share part of the revenue with the chefs and encourage them to spend time and energy talking about the fact that people can buy their food from Chef’d. We’re not just trying to get our brand on their social media; we’re trying to get them to push their brand and allow their fans the chance to cook their food. Soon, we’ll have the ability to fulfill their cookbook, so somebody can buy not just 74

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a cookbook but one of the meals to make in the cookbook. We are actively working to build this as a channel for them and a way to communicate with their consumers.

5

For individuals trying to partner with high-level influencers for their brand/ company, what’s your advice to them? Have a service and offering that’s going to help the person you’re asking to help you. In the end, you’re asking for a relationship. Money is fine, but money will only go until it runs out. If you create a situation where you’re providing a service to somebody else that they like, especially from a business perspective, that’s how it starts. We try to make sure we’re providing value to all of our partners. It’s not about them promoting our brand; it’s about them promoting their own brand on our site. That would be my number one thing, if you have a product or service that somebody truly likes and is helping them in some way in their life, that’s a piece you can use to convince somebody to help you in return.


Success Story

You need to be able to explain how you’re gonna get customers and what that will cost, what you will make when the customer buys from you, and what your infrastructure cost will be. — Kyle Ransford

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6 Success Story

6

In a world where subscriptions reign supreme, what prompted you to offer a non-subscription service?

Venture Capitalists (VC’s) like the subscription model and everybody has followed, but I think that’s more for the investor world and not what the consumer really wants. You don’t have a subscription to your grocery store, so why would you want a subscription to your online grocery store? We wanted to be able to do what the end consumer really wants. We think the end consumer really wants to buy someone like Fabio’s food occasionally, and then if they like it, they can re-order it. We’ve been very focused not on the things that are easier for us, many things are harder for us, but we focus on what the consumer wants. We work with a variety of brands, partners

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and chefs, which really allow the consumer to have a range of options to pick from.

7

What was the initial marketing strategy that you had for the company?

Our initial marketing strategy, which is to empower our partners to do a good job, is the same strategy we continue to implement. We have over a thousand touchpoints available on Chefd.com in partnership with more than 100 different people and brands offering really great products. We focused on having a great product – something I call grandpa’s style of running a business. We’re known to have the best food and the best product. It’s known to be a little more expensive, but we have our customers who like it and order again. We have some of the highest reorder rates in the industry.


Success Story We’re focused on having a great product, letting word of mouth get out there and having our partners help us with the marketing. We tell our partners right away that the way the world eats, nobody wants one person’s food every night of the week. They want different food on Tuesday night than they want on Saturday night. For our partners, the idea is to get into someone’s household a couple times, serve them great food, and then customers will pick and choose food from various partners. It’s this amalgamation of all these people – chef partners – who are driving people to the site.

Everyone talks about things like Facebook marketing and churn rates and all these things, but it all comes back to the question, “Did somebody buy it and like it?” — Kyle Ransford

8

8

In looking back, if you were starting from scratch today with the same business, what would you be laser-focused on working to build first?

You have to have a great product. Everyone talks about things like Facebook marketing and churn rates and all these things, but it all comes back to the question, “Did somebody buy it and like it?” It costs you money to get somebody to try it, but if you have a great product, people want to buy it again. And if you have a mediocre product, you’re going to spend a lot of money getting people to try it, but they won’t buy again. I think people overspend in marketing today than they do in actually having a great product or a service that people want. 

9

What gave you the confidence to pursue this type of company?

Everybody I’ve ever talked with said from the very beginning, “That’s a really good idea.” Actually, I had one person tell me it was a bad idea, but perhaps five thousand other people said it was great. I think [the confidence] came from a bunch of people who gave us encouragement to keep going, and it’s become much bigger than we ever thought, both from an investment standpoint and size of market.

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Success Story

10

With a lot of people, food entrepreneurs, interested in the meal kit space, what’s your advice for those thinking of embarking on that journey? My first advice is to talk with us because we can help people get into the meal kit space. In today’s world, to go at your own pace is difficult. You need a national infrastructure, and that is going to cost 20 to 50 million dollars, so you’d really have to have a point of differentiation. Having said that, we share the national infrastructure with all of our partners, so we’re a co-op organization to do that. To start your own brand and push it forward, you need to look at the steps along the way and how much capital that requires. If you want to be national, we’re here to help, [if not], there’s plenty of local places such as Farmers’ Markets and different places to build a brand. With any industry though, as it grows and the players get bigger, and the dollars get bigger, it gets tougher to crack, so have a realistic plan and make sure you have the capital for that realistic plan.

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11

Can you share how the company was funded and offer any advice for food entrepreneurs looking to get financial backing for their companies? Between a very close partner and I, we funded the initial rounds of the companyand had a few investors along the way. Now, Campbell’s has just become a minority partner. The general advice is you need to be able to explain how you’re gonna get customers and what that will cost, what you will make when the customer buys from you, and what your infrastructure cost will be. You need to be able to explain those three things and be thoughtful with them, and honest with yourself about them. The initial rounds of capital [typically] come from people you know and can pick up the phone and call. Think of people that will [either] be knowledgeable about you and willing to bet on you and/or knowledgeable about the space. If you’re trying to do something with food, then talk to people in that space. Most entrepreneurs are happy to help, even if they’re not interested in investing. Know that you will have people say that [your idea] won’t work, but you have to keep moving. That is why getting people who are knowledgeable about what you’re trying to do will help.


Success Story

12

What’s the competitive advantage for the company?

13 One competitive advantage is we’re the only one doing fresh food direct to the consumer on a national basis. There is no other place that does this on a national basis. The biggest competitive advantage is customers can reorder the things they like, and no other meal kits solution allows customers to reorder the things they like. But that’s how we eat – we try stuff, like it, and want to do it again. We wanted customers to experiment, but most importantly, if they liked it, we wanted them to be able to order again.

13

For the food entrepreneurs trying to create a competitive advantage for themselves and separate from their competitors, what advice do you have for them?

different and why somebody should want that more. In food, the marketing message is the big challenge. You can create a product, but then you have to figure out how to communicate your point of differentiation. So, creating a product that has an advantage, and then communicating it, you have to get those two pieces right.

14

Meal kits are gonna become really large activities. The predictions are that meal kits will grow from, two, three billion dollars today to 25 billion dollars in future. I firmly believe that [growth] will happen in the next four, five years. The opportunity [for consumers] to buy just what they want to make and eat will grow and proliferate because the consumer has decided it’s both cheaper and more convenient. The wave is definitely here to stay, so you’re gonna see meal kits and meal solutions as a much bigger opportunity to shop as time goes on.

Find a way to inexpensively communicate why you’re different. If your mayonnaise is different than Kraft mayonnaise, be able to explain to somebody quickly and cheaply why yours is

I think people overspend in marketing today than they do in actually having a great product or a service that people want. — Kyle Ransford

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What’s on the horizon for the meal kit industry?


Top Ten Takeaways from Kyle Ransford 1

When attempting to connect with high-level influencers to get involved in your company, question if you have value to provide them first.

6

The meal kit industry will continue to grow exponentially over the years – there’s a massive opportunity for food entrepreneurs.

2

Creating a great product is half the battle, you must have the proper communication strategy in place as well.

7

Be careful not to overspend in marketing and underspend in your product or service creation.

3

For a new business, think about how you will get customers, the cost to acquire, your profits from their purchases, and your infrastructure requirements – these are key areas for overall success.

8

Once you have a competitive advantage in your business, find a way to communicate this inexpensively.

9

Be honest with yourself and others in the various growth stages of your business and substantiate with data along the way.

10

Some of the best ideas are born in the comfort of one’s home – pay attention to the problems you have and want to be solved, and someday you may have an entire business built around them.

4

5

80

People can become focused on the wrong metrics, at the end of the day, question if someone bought your product and liked it; it’s just that simple. Subscriptions models may be reigning supreme, but they don’t fit all businesses. Be thoughtful about consumers before executing this model.

entrepreneurial chef


Hiring Strategies

Hiring Principles & Strategies Being that hiring, training, and retaining top talent is a constant challenge for even the most seasoned entrepreneur, we sought to find some principles and strategies our readership can adopt immediately. We posed a question to industry experts about hiring and from all the answers, we grabbed 8 with unique perspectives to help in your hiring efforts.

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Hiring Strategies

Hire For Attitude & Reliability, Not Necessarily Skill My favorite quote from my dad is that “an ounce of reliability is worth more than a pound of brain,” which I find to be so true, especially related to hiring. The last thing you want to do is be trying to chase an employee down when they don’t show up or are late for a key production day in the kitchen or trade event. I found that with most roles, especially in a first hire, you can always train for skill; it is much harder to train for attitude. — Sashee Chandran Founder & CEO of Tea Drops

Utilize Probation Periods Everyone should start with a 90 day probationary or trial period. This allows both sides to determine if it is a good fit. Explain this in the interview and have a form they sign in your new hire packet acknowledging this. No one can put on a front for 90 days, so you have plenty of time to see what kind of work ethic they have, how trainable they are, etc. And the same goes for the associate. It gives them a chance to make sure this is where they want to be. Don’t shove a square peg in a round hole. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Keep in mind the old adage “Hire slow, fire fast.” Do your due diligence but don’t be rigid in your decision. — Michael A Young Executive Chef at Sheraton Kauai Resort

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Hiring Strategies

Revise Your Application

Do Your Due Diligence & Ask Great Questions Always do real background checks and make sure you know the history of potential hires. Do not just go by a resume or a recommendation. Do your own research and due diligence. Also, ask the right questions and ask some unexpected questions that may get them off their game – What separates you from the other applicants? How would you handle an unruly patron? Why you? Hiring is one of the most important parts of being able to grow your business, and you need to make sure you have the right people. — Chris Nirschel Chef & Founder of NY Catering Service

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You need to ensure that they have a real interest in food and service; put the applicant on trial through deep interrogatories. Don’t worry about the resume and proclamations of experience. Conduct working interviews as opposed to the traditional sit-down type. See them in action before you hire and you’ll have an idea if they’re a good fit for your restaurant. — Sammy Davis Jr. Chef & Restaurateur


Hiring Strategies

Don’t Hire Desperately Never put yourself in a situation where you need to hire people. Desperate business attracts desperate employees. Desperation may cause you to hire “warm bodies,” who often lower the rest of your team’s standards, erode your business culture and cost you most time, energy and resources. — Anna Dolce Restaurant Expert & Hospitality Zealot

Previous Job History In reviewing a resume, except for entry-level, make sure that the applicant has stayed in prior jobs for a minimum on 12 months, but preferably 16 months or more. — Richard Grausman Founder & Chairman Emeritus of C-CAP

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Hiring Strategies

Follow A Simple Formula

Get the Right People for the Job It’s important to find the right people to bring into our organizations, but most companies get it wrong here. Don’t just sort through a stack of resumes, verify candidate qualifications and start setting up interviews. Before all of this happens, you need to realize that you want to be hiring for the mission, not just to fill a vacancy, so get really clear on what your organization’s mission is and what type of person you think will help move you closer to fulfilling it. — Chris Hill Chef, Author, Entrepreneur

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There’s a very simple formula to hiring the best staff members. First, they need to be able to look you in the eye. If they are looking all over the place, how do you expect them to look your customers in the eye? Second, is if they show up early and are dressed accordingly. The last and final piece to the formula, the one key thing that matters most is asking the right question. The question I believe is most important than any other is “Why should I hire you over the 5 other applications I have sitting on my desk?” Then you sit back and listen. If they can’t persuade you, if they don’t sell you on getting the job, they don’t want it bad enough. They are not prepared. Most will stumble on that question and get stuck. Few will tell you exactly why and tell you what you want to hear. Those will be your key players to a thriving team. — Nick Fosberg Founder of Bar Restaurant Success


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Magazine

All Rights Reserved Š 2017 Entrepreneurial Chef Published by Rennew Media, LLC

Entrepreneurial Chef #13 - July 2017  

What will you learn from our featured guests?  + Fabio Viviani: The Art of Building a Multimillion Dollar Chef Brand + Aaron McCargo: Bringi...

Entrepreneurial Chef #13 - July 2017  

What will you learn from our featured guests?  + Fabio Viviani: The Art of Building a Multimillion Dollar Chef Brand + Aaron McCargo: Bringi...