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I recently sat down with Chef Mike Gayon of Four Seasons Catering in Covington, Kentucky to discuss how he started his catering business and how Lendio helped him get the financing he needed to fund his new expansion. Chef Mike has built a high end catering business with moderate prices in the Cincinnati Market.
One of my favorite quotes from the interview is “Julie was absolutely phenomenal. She bent over backwards to make sure that everything got taken care of.”
You can watch my Google+ Hangout interview with Coach Greg above and read the transcript below.
For more information about Four Seasons Catering, visit https://www.4seasons4you.com/
BURKE ALDER: Welcome to the American LaunchPad powered by Lendio. Today, we have our guest Mike Gayon from Covington, Kentucky with his business Four Seasons Catering. Thanks for joining us Mike. Glad to have you here with us.
MIKE GAYON: And pleasure to meet you here today.
BURKE ALDER: So tell everyone a little bit about your business, how you got Four Seasons Catering started, we’ll start there.
MIKE GAYON: Well, we started Four Seasons about 2 1/2 years ago. And we started in a small shared kitchen over here in Florence, Kentucky. Our idea was to bring a high end catering business that was moderately priced but had a little flash to it to the Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati market; and we’ve been doing that. We’ve been having a good time with it. We’ve grown. We’re now in our own space. We actually have a small breakfast-lunch cafe in downtown Covington; and we’ve got our big large kitchen in the back. And we’re just pumping out more and more great food and we’ve got neighborhood accessibility here now so we have people that walk in the door in the morning and get their cinnamon rolls and get their breakfast sandwiches and all that stuff. It’s kind of nice than doing the kitchen that we were doing before because we really didn’t have anybody besides other big businesses in there and we didn’t have a license that allowed us for people that walk in the door so it’s a nice change.
BURKE ALDER: Yeah, that’s great. To see the progression of great food, great location; from catering to now having people to stop by; and if you’ll save me a cinnamon roll next time, for tomorrow, that’ll be great.
MIKE GAYON: Probably could overnight one now to you if you’d like…
BURKE ALDER: That’s awesome. You guys are great. What kind of really drives you in your business?
MIKE GAYON: Well again, we came up here from Florida. We had some restaurants in Florida and we got out of the restaurants there and came up here because my wife’s mother who’s in Cincinnati got sick and I needed something to do. And I’ve been working like 90 to 100 hours a week down there running restaurants. And I decided although I loved doing it, I’m getting a little older, and I decided that I need to find something where we could actually still do what we love to do but not have to work quite work so many hours and not to have quite somebody, a burden on us. Like a dining room, servers and all that kind of stuff provided. So we ended up doing the catering and the thing is it has been really successful. We’ve had great support from the city of Covington and Cincinnati and we’re members of all the organizations down here. Some of the businesses that helped us out like K&P Law that regularly ordered from us, and Duke Energy, and Procter & Gamble who were big folks here. They’ve just been great about ordering from us because we’re smaller business and they’re giving us the opportunity. And given the opportunity, we’ve excelled every time.
BURKE ALDER: That’s awesome. It’s great to really hear your success and to see all the people you’re actually influencing, all the businesses there and so that’s really awesome. Tell me a little about your – why you’re looking for financing?
MIKE GAYON: Well when we started this, we wanted to try and keep to where we didn’t borrow too much money from anyone, so we have grown the businesses. However, we just got to the point where Gateway Community and Technical College has picked us up to do their food service for them; and I didn’t have the cash to buy the equipment that I needed to be able to get the operations going there. And while they helped out and I do, you know, in saving us out, I still didn’t just- I was that little bit short that I needed to have to be able to making it function without getting into my operation capital because I don’t want to make – put myself in a situation to where I’m short of cash flow. That kills businesses.
BURKE ALDER: Yeah.
MIKE GAYON: And so we got a hold of you and you guys were phenomenal. You came with the money quick. You know, everything was exactly right.
BURKE ALDER: Yeah, that’s great. How was your experience with Lendio? You kind of offered some insights into that. How did Lendio helped you achieve that?
MIKE GAYON: Well again, the process with Lendio was actually quite simple. Went online and got the information. Faxed you guys a few little things like our business license and some of our information or banking and stuff like that and you guys had an offer for us within 24 hours. Julie who is our agent with you guys is absolutely phenomenal. She bent over backwards to make sure that everything got taken care of. I even think she stayed over late one day to make sure that we got everything done, what needed to be done.
BURKE ALDER: That’s great to hear. Yeah, Julie is awesome and she kind of represents just this hope that we have when we built this business which is helping you feel like you have someone who’s your partner on our end, so that’s great to hear. Any advice you would give to future restaurant owners out there? Any advice you can give them on starting a business?
MIKE GAYON: Well, the important thing is make sure that you do your research well. Knowing the nature you’re going to fit in. Knowing if there’s an agent for you there is huge. And number two, don’t go into a situation undercapitalized. If you have to borrow money, that’s okay. Make sure that you got a way to pay it back though and keep multiple lines of income working for you. We’ve got the catering business. We’ve got our old Deli Sandwich thing. We’ve now got the thing we’re doing over at Gateway Community College. So you know, we’ve got three pretty strong lines of income coming into the business and what that ensures is that if we have a slack for couple of months in one area, we have two to cover.
BURKE ALDER: Great, well I heard your friends out there call you Chef Mike. So Chef Mike, we really appreciate your time today on Lendio’s American Dream LaunchPad. So thank you for all that you’re doing for your community there in Covington, Kentucky. And thanks for never giving up and making things happen. We appreciate having you on the show today.
MIKE GAYON: Thank you for having me on and thank you folks in Lendio for making it possible for me grow.
BURKE ALDER: Thank you. Have a great day and we’ll talk soon.
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