Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Keith, Co-Founder and CEO of JustCook Kitchens, located in Edmonton, AB, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

JustCook Kitchens builds and operates tech-forward food halls as a way to make it easier for chefs and food creators to start and scale their food businesses. JJustCook'smain goal is to help food brands thrive so we designed the concept around them. We are more than a landlord — we're acting as a partner. Our processes are designed with technology in mind for every step of the chef and customer experience and help streamline operations both in front and back of the house while allowing customers to order from multiple restaurants on one bill.

Due to our business model, we have two streams of customers: chefs or food creators to fill up the offering of our food halls and basically any foodie looking for a great place to try new, delicious foods. For the former, we're looking for exciting brands that are bringing something unique to the food scene and wish to reach wider audiences. For the latter, we're the perfect spot for groups, be it family, friends, or colleagues, as we have options for almost any cravings under one roof.

Tell us about yourself

I've had the entrepreneurial itch for some time. I come from a family of entrepreneurs who has started restaurants, travel agencies, and other hospitality and service businesses. I have been very passionate about starting something of my own and especially in a space where I could help small businesses thrive. After finishing my MBA, I worked with Luke (JJustCook'sco-founder) on a telehealth startup he built, and I knew building businesses would be my calling.

In May 2019, Luke and I started discussing going into business together on another venture. I shared my interest in food businesses and solutions that facilitate making food more accessible. He had recently seen how difficult and capital intensive it was for a chef to start their own concept as he tried to help his brother, who is an executive sous-chef, get something off the ground. We both could see how hard it is to take a food brand and scale it effectively. So we sat down to tackle this very issue, and that show JustCook came to be.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

So far, taking something from zero to one is one of the hardest and most rewarding endeavors. I think I've been able to build a business that provides real value to others and a company that people really like working for. I'm very proud of the team I've built and the things we've been able to accomplish together!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Dealing with the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial journey for sure. It is a very normal part of business ownership, and your perseverance and attitude to these ups and downs will make or break you and the business. There are also the many sacrifices that you need to make in order to nurture the business - it can take a toll on your personal life and relationships. But with hardships like these comes endless learning and meaning, and it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Just start - find ways to get something going quickly and in a lightweight way to test things out. Your end result will never be exactly as you envisioned it and that inevitable iteration and failure is part of the journey to success.
  2. Surround yourself with people who support you through everything. TThat'snot to say that they have to agree with everything you are redoing - those that challenge you also bring a lot of value. But when things are tough, you'll need help from others.
  3. Understand your environment, adapt to changes, and keep iterating your business - don't give up! Things will not go to plan, so your ability to react and make smart choices and go in different directions will lead to success.

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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