Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Janice Pascaretti, owner, and head chef of High Octane Cafe & Bakery, located in Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
High Octane Café & Bakery specializes in providing the highest quality breakfast and lunch options in a modern upscale automotive-themed environment. We provide unique breakfast, lunch, and dessert – breakfast stuffed bagels, breakfast tacos, loaded breakfast tater tots, and stuffed cookies. Unique cookie varieties include banana chocolate chip cookies, Oreo stuffed cookies, and Nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies, to name a few. We take pride in making everything fresh, from frying donuts every morning to grating the cheese that goes in the stuffed bagels.
The automotive theme came about by combining two passions – cars and food. Considering the proximity to the "Motor City" and the number of automotive enthusiasts in the area, it seemed like a logical pairing. Cars & Coffee events were held onsite during the first three years. Hosting these events helped grow our clientele and made us a destination spot for automotive enthusiasts.
Tell us about yourself
I worked in the automotive industry for 12 years as an electrical engineer. During that time, I worked for numerous companies but could never find a company where I enjoyed my job and also liked my boss. I always wanted to get out of Corporate America and be my own boss! Since I have always had a passion for food, and with the persuasion of my business partner, opening my own cafe/bakery seemed like a logical option. I love discussing food, eating food, dreaming up new recipes, cooking, baking - pretty much anything involving food. Even today, after running my own business for nearly four years, I am still passionate about food!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, just growing a brand-new business from scratch is incredibly rewarding. The business has made it through road construction, a pandemic, the elimination of onsite car shows (due to landlord), and continues to grow! We have been able to adapt and overcome every challenge thus far. We built a food truck to host offsite car shows to continue developing our original business model! I am also incredibly proud of my stuffed bagels! I created them because I love the idea of a portable, easy-to-eat breakfast on the go. It's amazing to see the growth of the number of stuffed bagels we've sold throughout the years! It makes me so happy to see how many people truly enjoy them!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about owning my own business would definitely be taking time off. I work six days a week at the cafe, and even when I'm not at work, there is still work to do. During the first two years, I typically worked 11 hours a day. There were nights I worked until midnight or later to finish an order I never should've taken in the first place! When the pandemic started, we shortened our hours, which helped save my sanity! I was able to get back into my regular workout routine, which significantly improved my state of mind.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Being organized is essential to being a successful business owner! If you aren't an organized person, definitely hire someone who is! There is so much that needs to be tracked and documented on a regular basis.
- Don't be afraid to say no and know your limitations. I'm finally at a point where I don't just say yes to every special order that comes through, and it's a great feeling to have a better work/life balance.
- Be prepared to hear everyone's opinion! Everyone has an opinion about everything, but the joy of being your own boss is that you get to make the final decision! Your business, your rules!!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We truly appreciate all the support from the community! We wouldn't have made it this far without everyone's support!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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