Honest Foods has seen good times and downtimes in 20 years as a Chicago catering and food truck business. The company was actually in pretty good shape serving a wide range of customers, from catering weddings to supplying craft services food for locally filmed television shows and movies.
Owner Tad Delvin was not even sure if his business would be picked up by Marcus Lemonis and The Profit, and later admitting he discovered an error in the processes was not detected by show producers. Tad didn’t know this at the time and began preparing a presentation for investment money he would use to make kitchen improvements.
Marcus was put in the unusual position of meeting with a business that appeared to be performing well overall.
Honest Foods on The Profit
The Profit Season 4 Episode 5
Food catering is typically a seasonal business that sees peaks in the summer and valleys in the fall through the winter, which is especially true in the Windy City. The great city of Chicago is still a toddlin’ town full of passionate residents who wear their feelings and intentions on their sleeve. Marcus quickly discovered that Tad was just such a blunt, energetic Chicagoan. Marcus watches as the crew prepares food for a high volume to customers in the neighborhood. The process was dizzying and not organized to maximum efficiency.
Marcus makes impactful suggestions to improve the menu listing and presentation. The quality of the food is great, there is no debate about that. However, the employees do not seem to have a clear sense of what their jobs are and should be. Tad is handling more responsibilities than the owner typically takes on. The long list of his jobs spans from product acquisition to accounting and sales. An Honest Foods baker named Roni tells Marcus that the business is certainly successful, but the feeling among the staff is that Honest Foods may have gone as far as it can go.
In the kitchen, control seems to be a major issue for Tad, who picks on everything including telling Marcus how to chop up onions. The Honest Foods owner then easily loses his temper when an order needed to be bumped up. He raises his voice and gets more aggressive as the staff continues on working barely acknowledging Tad’s outburst.
Temper seems to be a major issue for Tad. His outbursts and anger are affecting the kitchen staff, bringing a sense of chaos. Marcus seeks Tad out to try to determine why he is so angry and aggressive when dealing with his business. Some health issues a few years ago nearly cost Tad his life and his business and he takes it all very seriously. Marcus suggests that being able to control his temper would Tad better able to handle the day to day operations, which would lead to happier employees and bigger profits.
Looking to the Finances
A net profit of 8 percent is not bad, but Marcus said that diversification would help to increase that rate and generate more revenue for the business. Streamlining the preparation and presentation process could add up to 30 percent production time, increasing revenue to around $650,000. With that in mind, Marcus makes Tad an offer of $300,000 in exchange for 33 percent equity in the business. He would handle the bills and make the changes to the operation that he has laid out. Tad still wanted full control of the company, but Marcus explains that is not this works, and Tad agrees.
Marcus meets with the staff to outline the changes ahead and urges them to think outside box and to be creative with their presentations and interactions with their valued customers.
Marcus and Tad discuss the addition of a food truck to the business. They found a model that would cost $55,000 and promises to generate up to a half-million dollars, with a net profit of around $180,000 for the year.
A catering job for a Chevrolet dealership offered the first opportunity for Marcus and Tad to roll out some of the changes. While presenting a dynamic look with a well-planned car-themed event, Tad’s temper and control issues reappear, doling out contradicting instructions and raising his voice when dealing with his staff, with an especially tense exchange with Roni. Overall, the staff does a great job of putting Tad’s issues aside and getting the job done.
The client is thrilled with the event, recommending another 200-person event they would like Honest Foods to cater to. When discussing this positive report and the direction Marcus is taking the business, Tad again gets defensive and aggressive. Eventually, Tad relents and tells the team he will work on his communication and temper.
Camping World is one of Marcus’ largest investments and arranges for a 1,000 person contract for their 50th-anniversary celebration with them for Honest Foods. Marcus advises Tad not to screw it up.
Honest Foods adds a few more food trucks to the business, but underneath the progress is an unhappy employee base that is sick of the way they get treated by Tad. They threaten to walk off the job before Marcus steps in with bonuses to celebrate the expansion of the business.
Tad simply cannot control his temper or his mouth. He and Marcus get into a bitter argument that sprang from a disagreement over truck repairs and costs. The two talk it out and come to a decent understanding on how to communicate and conduct business in a professional manner.
The improvements are dazzling and highly effective at taking Honest Foods to the next level.
Honest Foods After The Profit
Tad and Honest Foods took the improvements and suggestions Marcus made to lift up the business. Online reviews are mostly positive, with customers raving about the staff and the food for both catering events and the new food trucks, Pono Sweet Truck and Meltdown Grilled Cheese.
Marcus continues to be associated with the thriving business, having built up great relationships with the team and their owner.
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