Classic Catering Is Serving Up Success
Doug and Mary Partridge met on a blind date. First came love, then came business. Where romance sparked, a business soon followed—and today, Classic Catering is now 22 years in the making.
Doug’s background is rooted in entrepreneurialism. He got his first job at 18 years old. With ups and downs, job shifts and layoffs, Doug decided to buy a dump truck to steady the course. He ran his trucking business when he was not working. When he was, he hired others to keep the business going. Mary was a food and nutrition teacher with a restaurant background. When a friend recommended they open a catering business, they wed Doug’s entrepreneurial experience and Mary’s culinary expertise and struck out on their own.
How did you fund the business?
In 1991, the couple purchased a small catering company through sweat equity. Both owners come from families of small business owners and were advised to sell everything they had before starting the company, to raise as much capital as possible. The couple traded in personal vehicles for a delivery van and put their house up as collateral to open their doors.
After one year of operating in the basement of a building, they were able to lease space and then doubled that space in 1998.
What kind of training do you have?
Doug runs the back of the house operations for the business and the best training from his perspective is hands-on. Doug’s philosophy is to hire the right people from whom you can learn. By working with them, you will learn their techniques and methods, which you can implement into your business.
What’s the best part of owning your own business?
You are your own boss. You decide how you would like to be treated. Then you can carry that spirit on with the people you come in contact with such as employees, vendors, and clients.
Any words of advice?
Customer service is key. A business has to continually generate sales to pay bills and keep their doors open. Make sure your customers are happy, and that you have created and delivered what you promised them. Those customers will keep coming back and refer your business to others.
Also, have a close relationship with your banker. Make sure you fully understand how much money you need to start the business and run it.