In our first of an up and coming interview series, we talk with our client Chef John from Fork & Lean about his new company and the journey along the way.
If you're a local business in the Hamilton area and would like to be interviewed for this series, please reach out to us and we'll set something up!
First things first, tell us about your business.
Fork & Lean is a new Hamilton prepared meal service that focuses on the healthier side of life; Gluten-free, dairy-free, and no added sodium, Fork & Lean focuses on putting together awesome creative meals for busy individuals looking for healthy alternatives to get them through the week.
What made you decide to start your own business vs getting a regular job?
Happiness and service - I have a passion for culinary and saw a need for this service; fast food is everywhere and for the most part isn’t good for you. A regular job wasn’t getting me anywhere and was topping me from what I really wanted to do and provide.
Had you run a business before or was this your first time?
I did run a similar business some years ago in a very small form, cooking for people who had severe health issues but this is my first on a larger scale.
They say that to be successful in business, you should be passionate about your industry. Why do you love what you do?
I love what I do because I love creating. I also love the challenge of cooking healthy food and making people happy. The combination of these two things mixed with my interest in nutrition and overall well-being results in unrelenting passion, the fuel of our company.
If you could go back in time, what do you wish you could have done differently?
That’s a great question and my answer is… nothing. I am here now and I couldn’t be happier; it’s what I do in the present and future that counts.
What is something you’re very glad you did when starting the business?
I’m glad we started slow – this way we were able to grow at a comfortable rate and learn to be the best for our customers.
We all know that things don’t always go as planned. What’s the most unexpected or wildest thing that’s happened along the way?
Our company’s initial product was a macro-nutrient designed soup that had everything blended in for essentially the best protein shake out there.
Outside of work in your downtime — assuming you have any, ha! — what do you enjoy doing?
Spending time with my growing family, writing a cookbook, eating, and exercise.
We all know that this is the age of digital and social media. How important has your website and social media been to your business?
Social Media has been Awesome. As of right now we rely on word of mouth and social media marketing to grow our customer base. It’s also really fun creating pictures and promotional material and being able to share it and check out other companies and customer posts within our community.
Being a local based business, how important is it to be active in your community?
I believe it is always important to be active within our community.
Community involvement helps local businesses grow, helps support families, and can provide well-needed education. Being able to take part not only helps you grow, it also helps others; it’s essentially the collaboration of a large developing family which is incredibly important to be a part of.
What does supporting local mean to you?
It means a lot. This is our city and we love what people are doing. So many great people and products and to be able to support it builds the communities infrastructure; we can’t wait to continue to develop with everyone and grow in to something big and amazing.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
We see ourselves getting our own centralized Storefront in Hamilton along with many new and different products along with the best nutrition advisement in town.
And finally, what’s the best piece of advice you could give fellow business owners starting out on their journey?
If it feels right, just get started. Even if it’s a slow start it’s still a start, things will come together in no time if your passions and intentions are true.