Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Michael Medina, president and CEO of Medina Cuisine, located in Rockville, Maryland, USA.

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

Medina Cuisine is a full-service caterer serving MD, DC, and Northern VA clients. We are also strictly kosher certified and offer an array of catering menus from backyard BBQ to contemporary nouvelle cuisine. Our clients include corporate and non-profit organizations, a range of top hotels in the Washington DC area, and several embassies and US government agencies. Our private clients choose us because we exceed the expectations of your average kosher caterer. We strive to source the best ingredients, and many times that main ingredient is our top-trained staff, who bring finesse to every event menu. Our clients are not all foodies but do have a distinct pallet for tasty and special.

Tell us about yourself

My company was born 11 years ago when my wife and I realized that solid kosher food establishments were lacking, and it was time to bring something new to the area. I studied business, so I don't have a culinary degree, but I knew that hiring great chefs and hungry people to build a business that made people happy was the key to our success.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As a business owner, my accomplishments are always reflected in my clients' satisfaction and eagerness to keep choosing us for their events. If I had to choose a pinnacle moment, and I'm blessed to say there have been a few, I'd say catering at the White House for 1000 guests was it. It was the highlight of my career, and something caterers everywhere surely can only dream of achieving.

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

This answer changed in March 2020, with COVID-19 wrecking the hospitality industry. Restaurants were hit the hardest, but with hotels and other venues being forced to shut down, we were forced to pivot and find creative ways to survive. We did this with home delivery of meals during the week and on holidays. We also found a way to offer individual meals for various virtual events. My team gets so much credit for this. We were able to weather the storm to remain in business, find new ways to cover our expenses and believe in each other to make sure the industry bounced back.

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

Take risk. Sometimes playing it safe will impede growth. When you're ready to expand, make sure to hire good people. Your employees are the backbone and your most important asset. Lastly, be aware of the times. Technology should be your friend. A well-made marketing plan that includes a website and e-commerce (as necessary) is so important. Your clients will know right away if you are a modern company or if you remain antiquated and unwilling to grow with your surroundings.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I will add one more tip: Be good to your clients. Don't take the "little ones" for granted. Maybe they're not spending much now, but they might become repeat clients and recommend you to their friends and associates, which is key to a good reputation. Go out of your way and stay friendly. Show them you care and make each client feel like they're the reason you're in business.

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; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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