Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Robert Midyette, Founder and CEO of Meritage Coffee & Tea LLC., located in Miami, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Meritage Coffee was launched as a national e-commerce brand sold via its website and selected affiliates. We have a series of single-origin coffees and roasts that represent the next level of coffee roasting and blending. Traditional in their classification but fully unique in quality, profile, and appeal. A refined presence and superior quality target success-oriented, aspirational male and female professionals.
Tell us about yourself
The founder of Meritage Coffee & Tea® spent decades as a career corporate executive directing billion-dollar food & beverage operations at nine global hotel brands and two of the largest cruise lines in the world. A classically trained chef, wine enthusiast, and lover of coffee, he had acquired unique insight into what guests wanted.
The founder had been observing consumer behavior on an international scale for decades, from his cruise line experience with millions of captive consumers sailing on vacation to the millions of guests who stayed at one of nine hotel brands, from limited service to the pinnacle of luxury. He read their comments in surveys, observed their behavior, noted what sold and what did not, and made adjustments to ensure satisfaction and profitability, all for the respective company he was leading at the time.
The inevitable nature of all organizational behemoths is that, ultimately, compromise, competing visions, and risk aversion creep into the process. Even with the best of intentions, in the end, the beautiful racehorse has somehow morphed into a camel. Having seen many “best in class” concepts whittled down by over-emphasizing the lowest common denominator, a voice chimed in his head, “…if you’re so smart, why don’t you do it yourself?”
In late 2015, in New York City, Robert Midyette launched his own brand, Meritage Coffee & Tea®, a brand tailored to the generational and cultural shift of consumers now beginning to emerge. While continuing his full-time job, Robert began establishing the building blocks of the brand, market approach, and taste profile. Once complete, armed with no more than a story about his approach, packaging samples, and a presentation, he approached one of the largest coffee producers in New York to pitch the brand and ask them to partner in roasting the custom blends he had created. The first roasts of the Reserve Line debuted in early 2016.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Many small victories come to mind, but the validation of our first press write-up (loving our coffee) and our first sale continue to be milestones that I will cherish.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Persistence to deal with the inevitable challenges, rejections, and failures that pave the road to success.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You can always amend a big plan, but you can never expand a little one.
- Start! You don’t have to have everything figured out before you begin; solve one problem at a time and keep moving forward.
- Persistence is a skill and a habit and is directly proportional to your 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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.