Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ben Pote, Founder of Wildacre Rotisserie, located in Cos Cob, CT, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I founded Wildacre Rotisserie, a contemporary take on fast casual rotisserie fare. Our customers are mostly local families and young professionals - folks in the area who care deeply about what they eat and how their food is prepared!
Tell us about yourself
I've been in the hospitality industry for 15 years, and have had the good fortune to work for a number of industry-leading companies. Wildacre is the first restaurant that I have founded, own, and run, and I'm extremely proud of the work that the team does bring the menu to life for our customers. I'm motivated by the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of our customers and team members every day and to create a community around delicious food.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'd say my biggest accomplishment to date was bringing this business to life in the midst of a global pandemic and pending recession. Despite a number of hardships and headwinds, we've managed to continue to reach new customers every day and bring them back to dine with us again and again. It's an incredibly challenging operating environment for restaurants at the moment, but we've been able to weather the storm in a way that I can feel really good about.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a solo founder, I'm the ultimate decision-maker. This comes with both tremendous freedom and a tremendous responsibility. I'm fortunate to have an amazing network of advisors and mentors that I turn to during times of uncertainty, but ultimately these decisions come down to me and me alone. At times, it's difficult to make these decisions with clarity and confidence when there is a whole list of decisions to be made. I find that during these times, it's especially helpful to isolate the decision to be made, take into account the factors on hand, and take 5 minutes before diving in.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Have a plan. Be smart about how you're writing your business plan so that you're forecasting as accurately as possible, and be conservative. Raise more money than you think you need, as it'll go quickly.
- Surround yourself with people that are smarter and more experienced than you. Build your own board of advisors, and don't be afraid to go to them with questions and advice.
- Find a healthy balance between optimism and reality. Optimism will carry you from one week to the next, but it's important to stay grounded in the day-to-day health of the business.
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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