Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jessica Baumgart, Founder of Delicious Denver Food Tours, located in Denver, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business, Delicious Denver Food Tours, provides amazing, curated foodie experiences to Denver visitors and locals. Our walking food tours feature tastings at award-winning, locally-owned restaurants. Our experienced foodie guides tell the stories behind the restaurants making Denver's dining scene so exciting. Our guests are visitors or locals but most of all foodies interested in learning about our amazing city through its food scene.
Tell us about yourself
My three passions have always been food, travel, and people. Luckily for me, running a food tour company allows me to work in all three spaces. As a traveler, I fell in love with taking food tours worldwide. When I moved to Denver, I started a business teaching private cooking classes in clients' homes. Shortly after, I started my food tour business as a side hustle to my cooking business. But after a few short months, my food tour business took off, and I shuttered my other business to focus solely on Delicious Denver Food Tours. What motivates me every day is providing amazing experiences for my guests, my team of foodie guides (without whom I could not run my business), and my restaurant partners. They are pivotal in making the Denver dining scene what it is today.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a food/beverage and travel-based business, my biggest accomplishment is surviving the pandemic and coming out stronger than we were before. COVID was a game-changer, and many food tours immediately closed up shop. Still, we stuck with it, made modifications, and waited things out. On the other hand, our hard work and patience have paid off, and we're doing much more business now than we ever did pre-pandemic.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It's both the magic and the hardest part, but no one's coming to save you. Once I realized that I felt much more empowered to make hard decisions and lead the business. In the beginning, I looked to others for answers - and it is important to get advice and have mentors - but there is no right or wrong way to run my business. I'm ultimately responsible for making calls and working hard to back those up.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My first tip is always put your customer first. I see people launch a business based on their passions (and those are important too), but they ignore what their customers want and what the market can sustain. Secondly, make incremental improvements. I thought I had to have all of the answers before taking that first step, but the reality is that you're building the plane as you're flying it. Don't be afraid to start. Finally, take care of people. Take care of your customers, your team, and your partners. Be willing to lose money to take care of people. I think this pays off big time in the long run in terms of staff retention, loyalty, and building a team that will exude the same passion you have for your brand and business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I heard that was impactful for me a few years into my business: "The climb is lonely." It's important to find and connect with other entrepreneurs to share that burden, learn best practices and find support in the community.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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