Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leonardo Gutierrez De Aguiar, Founder of INTUEAT, located in Denver, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business INTUEAT was established in 2019. It is a personal and private chef luxury brand and digital marketplace connecting passionate chefs with discerning diners cultivating 5-Star dining experiences in the comfort of their homes. Our customers range in the affluent socialite crowd, from people who like to throw parties and who are always looking to entertain others in new innovative ways.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in a family that is deeply rooted in business. They instilled the values of hard work, dedication, and the desire to contribute to society positively. I decided to become an entrepreneur later in my life. I wanted to implement an avenue for chefs to execute their skills and passions on a daily basis. What truly motivates me each and every day is my passion for what I do, the chefs and team that I work with, and our concept that can benefit so many people. The idea of starting a company in the food and beverage industry began in 2019 with our small catering company called Chef Connect. After COVID hit, we had to pivot and rebrand our platform giving elite and emerging chefs the ability to showcase their talent to clients in the comfort of their homes. Our concept initially started when my fiancé, now wife, moved to Denver after doing long-distance. I wanted to plan an intimate experience at our home by having a chef prepare a romantic dinner for the two of us. Upon trying to book a local private chef to execute a luxury dining experience, I noticed that the process of finding a professional, high-end chef was challenging. The trouble of finding a chef for this date night, combined with everything else I had learned about myself, made it my mission to create a streamlined booking platform, which is now INTUEAT.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been keeping INTUEAT and the vision alive for the past three years and hitting the four-year mark. Being a company that started right before the pandemic is a huge accomplishment. Seeing how we've started to where we are now, recruiting the Royal Family's chef, working with the chefs of Matsuhisa, and having these top-tier chefs and talent on our team has been such a great accomplishment. Additionally, expanding to new territories and offering diners a memorable experience is another element of success that we've accomplished. I am also proud of the way I have been able to grow my team by always pushing them forward and working together to drive INTUEAT's vision forward.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest parts of being a business owner is that all the lessons you learn will not always be easy. You experience many different things, both good and bad, but you have to remember that regardless of the hurdles, you have to keep going. As a business owner, you have to learn to keep pushing through every situation and remind yourself that it is a marathon and not a sprint, and it's important to keep going and never give up.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My first tip is even in the face of uncertainty, always lean forward and be confident in yourself. If you find yourself being the smartest person in the room, you are not in the right room.
The second tip is to learn to rest and never give up. A lot of entrepreneurs and concepts give up when it is right before crossing that finish line. You have to be in it for the passion and keep pushing, even through the hard times.
My last tip is don't be afraid to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, which is "jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down." Learn to take that leap of faith, trust yourself, and see where life takes you.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
One additional thing that I would like to share is to lead by example. For me, I have found the ability to inspire my team, to be critical, and have my team buy into the vision and the mission that we are implementing. People forget that inspiration leads to productivity and ambition. It is important for entrepreneurs to take the time to inspire those around them.
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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