What does your business do?
Currently making foods and beverages for events through out the year within the Fairgrounds concession. Also, catering for parties, drop off business events and VIP Guest at the Fairgrounds.
When and why did you start the biz?
In January, 2015, I took over the contract at the Fairgrounds. My intentions were to be able to advertise for Catering events by preparing fresh homemade foods to the public within my city of Jacksonville and the surrounding area. My passion for cooking has been years in the making. Growing up I helped my mother in the kitchen from about 9 years of age. She catered for personal friends and family for weddings, holiday events, etc. She always wanted to open her own business but the time never presented itself. I have worked in Transportation for 30 years and started the concession as a second income in hopes to put myself in a financial position to open my own small restaurant. I have found the location, been able to purchase most of my equipment and just waiting on city permits to get my doors open.
How Many People are in your Company?
Where's your office?
Currently under contract with the Jacksonville Fairgrounds running the concession. We general have events every month. some months every weekend (Gun Shows, Pet Adoptions, Antique Shows, Car Shows, Jaguars Football games, etc.) The location we are trying to get the doors opened on for the Breakfast & Lunch TO-GO is in a small strip mall at the entrance to a neighborhood with a busy intersection and heavily traveled.
What's the toughest part of running your biz?
Keeping up with the paperwork, taxes, etc. Managing time for large events of 100 or more people with multiple foods to purchase and prepare can be a little hectic if employees are running late, or the delivery truck did not deliver your full order and you need to run out in the middle of preparation.
What's the most fun part?
When all my food is prepared and I am fixing and serving orders and my customer tells me, "That looks so GOOD!", and better than that is when they return to the counter over other customers ordering and tell us. "That was delicious!"
Anything you would have done differently?
At the concession we opened and immediately started serving good home cooked foods, so all has been well and the catering came as we wished. With trying to open the new Breakfast & Lunch TO-GO, we wish we had checked city codes and requirements prior to obtaining location and signing the lease.
What's next on the horizon for your biz?
Once the new location is open we will be moving forward trying to get our homemade sauces (currently sell our sandwich spread at local events at the Fairgrounds, and would like to also try to sell our cocktail & tartar sauce) and smoked chicken salad in local stores.
What advice do you have for others?
Following your dreams. If you have a vision you should move on it. I always been a believer that if you like what you do you will do better that the person that is in it for the money. It needs to be something you truly have a passion for.
How do you use Idea Cafe to help your biz?
I will be looking for business ideas and new innovations. Advertising will be big on my agenda, marketing tips, etc. Looking at others information in the industry to see if there maybe faster ways of obtaining needed information for any future business moves.
School (where, still in school, degree)?
Nathan Bedford Forest HS, in Jacksonville, FL, graduated in 1981. Only went FCCJ for one semester for college.
Prior jobs or business?
I spent 30 years in the Transportation Business. I started as customer service representative in a large trucking company and moved on up into management. I always did well in this business as I enjoyed going to work We always had parties within and everyone brought food. I took great pleasure in hearing folks say I don't normally eat that , but I love yours. I knew I wanted to change careers but was not really sure how to go about it.
What are your pets' names?
Man, 1 Eyed Jack & AJ
Do any of these pets help with your biz?
No, just my sanity. But they love the left overs.
Is there any one person or event in your life that led
you to go into business for yourself?
We finally built our Catering Business to a point where I could leave my full time job and give Catering and the Fairgrounds my full attention.
Anyone you publicly want to thank?
Yes, My boyfriend. He has been by my side all the way. He always tells me what he thinks and gives me suggestions when I am not sure which way to turn.
2832 Oak Creek Lane
Jacksonville, FL 32221-2029