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Latest Inspiration – Clover Food Lab

September 14, 2010

A friend from business school recently emailed me to tell me about a conference on entrepreneurship he was attending at MIT where the founder of Clover Food Lab (owner of a few trucks and a restaurant now) was speaking about the food start up world.  In fact, Clover was an inspirations when we were writing the business plan when a different friend who was in Boston at the time pointed me towards their incredibly insightful blog.  The founder (Ayr) avoids too much press (a strategy I first read about in Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table – another inspiration and must read for any aspiring restaurant entrepreneur), which is tough for the company considering his trucks’ long lines, his determination to source locally and his production of strictly vegetarian (and utterly gourmet) food.  The idea is that it is very easy to be misunderstood or quoted out of context by the press and sometimes this exposure is the basis for public perception instead of people just eating your food in person.   We were also very cautious of getting reviewed early on before all our hiccups were worked out but we’ve slowly come around and are pushing for some press now as we try to grow our catering business.

The real inspiration though from Clover is Ayr’s ability to use predominantly local produce.  Ayr has gone to great lengths to source his suppliers traveling all throughout New England to different places depending on the season.  For Coup de Taco, it’s something that has been on the back of my mind since we opened but has stayed there as we focus on getting our operations down and growing our customer base.  I haven’t been able to find local produce cheap enough to maintain our profitability but admittedly I haven’t put in enough time.  Maybe if I focused more on the local produce and farm raised meats the customer base would grow naturally – no hormones or antibiotics needed!  Something I continue to consider…

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