Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sophie Douglas, Owner of Mamma's Meals Food Services and The European Bakery Cafe, located in Owen Sound, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I have two businesses, The European Bakery Cafe and Mamma's Meals Food Service. I have had the bakery for 12 years and started Mamma's Meals in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. We have a wide range of customers. The bakery caters to all demographics; my motto is to give people 10 reasons to come in. Some people come for bread, breakfast, lunch, specialty coffees, frozen dinners, desserts, and catering. Mamma's Meals are now in 70 grocery stores across Ontario and still growing. When we started out, I wanted to provide dinners to busy families like my own. I know how hard it is to do everything, and dinner is a burden for a mother (and father) at times, the Mamma's Meals are supposed to provide a healthy choice for families.
Tell us about yourself
I purchased the bakery as a pre-established business, which was 12 years ago. Since then, we have expanded in many areas of what we offer. I was originally motivated by my family; I wanted to work in the day, and I've had my own business previously and felt I was more suited to it. I am motivated in different ways by the two businesses; I like the bakery for never having the same day twice and the pace. It is a very busy spot, and I think the pace keeps up with how fast my brain seems to be moving.
I am motivated by Mamma's Meals to see its growth and the speed of its development, and I also like the fact that this is something I have never done, and I like the challenge. Mamma's Meals was a result of Covid. We needed an additional revenue stream to support the bakery and keep the staff employed. At that time, I was motivated just to keep the doors open, to establish Mamma's Meals, and increase revenue; there wasn't much choice.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
When I am somewhere, and I hear other people talking about their experience at the bakery in a positive manner, I also get the same feeling of accomplishment on Google Reviews (for the most part). I would also say that it is a pretty big accomplishment to still be here, I don't think a lot of people understood how hard Covid was on small businesses. When many people were home, we were all still at work, working harder. Only this month am I more or less back to where I started when it all began.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
At the end of the day, it always comes back to you. You ultimately have to fix whatever is broken, and I mean that in a broad sense.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be realistic with your goals, time, and money.
- If it is not working, change it. Don't beat a dead horse.
- Sometimes it is good enough, don't work yourself to death.
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.