Kitchening & Co.’s foray into French macarons was basically the accidental start of a business. From humble beginnings in 2010, we now provide French Macarons to roughly 40 stores throughout the Lower Mainland. I worked on the business part-time with Carly until 2014 where I transitioned to a much more full-time role working primarily on business development. From sourcing equipment and packaging, marketing, design, collaborating on branding, photography and streamlining processes, I have fairly regular involvement in almost all aspects of the business. We’ve seen significant double-digit growth year over for all six years we’ve been in business.
Late in 2012 as I began to spend less time doing software consulting and more time working with Carly on Kitchening & Co., I spent a lot of time looking for good software to help us figure out our recipe costs to determine whether our recipes were profitable. Much to my chagrin, I couldn’t find anything. There was a bunch of old, clunky Windows-based software, there was expensive software ($5000/seat), there was impossible-to-use enterprise software — but there wasn’t any software for normal, small businesses trying to make a go of it.
Give that I couldn’t find anything I liked, I did what any normal software developer would do: I wrote some software (in this case a web application) to calculate our recipe costs.
It made my life so much easier, that I couldn’t help think that it would be easy to turn into an affordable product for other small food businesses experiencing the same problems. Four years, thousands of users and hundreds of customers later, it turns out I probably wasn’t wrong. To this day I continue to be excited by the emails I receive from customers who are “over” their “manual spreadsheet”. I received an email from Jenna Perreault (owner of Delish Gluten Free) recently who said “Recipe Cost Calculator has saved my life”.
If you run a food business and need good tools — check out Recipe Cost Calculator and see if it helps. I’d love to hear from you.
In July of 2015, my wife Carly and I accidentally inherited The Pink Spatula. It’s a sad story, but we carry on the legacy of a dear friend. Within 12 months of taking over the business, we were able to transform The Pink Spatula into a profitable food business, more than doubling sales year-over-year and being sold to great customers in both the retail and food service industries. The marshmallows were used in fondue programs at The Fairmont Hotels as well as in limited edition desserts at Earls Restaurants across the country.
In 2016 I began working with Morris DeRossi and a small team of other food and marketing professionals to bring growth consulting to small and medium sized food businesses.
In 2008 (after a two-year sojourn in Singapore), I was approached by Kareem Mayan to work with him as the first product manager and software developer on Chimp. Over the course of the next seven years we built the initial prototype and several additional iterations, taking it to over $100M in receipted charitable donations. I worked directly with the CEO, CTO, auditors, built a double-entry accounting system and wrote code from the back-end to the front-end. Wrote all initial code to handle importing of data from the Canada Revenue Agency to list and categorize all Canadian charities as part of our online database. My roles and responsibilities over the course of those seven years were significant and varied (I don’t want to write a novel about it, and you don’t want to read it – so let’s leave it at that). Bell Canada, Unbounce and Hootsuite (among many others) have all run fundraising campaigns using Chimp.
Spent four months in late 2015/early 2016 working with Predictable Revenue to help analyze existing people and process for the purpose of bringing best practices / recommendations to the software development and product development teams. Mentored a recently promoted Engineering Manager and reported directly to the CEO. Spent time in the daily scrums, sprint planning and sprint retrospectives in order to make recommendations for positive change in overall structure and performance of the technical team.