In our latest entrepreneur interview, I had the chance to chat with Shelly Gautreau, owner of Southern Consulting. Her company provides a wide-variety of consulting services, and specializes in the food and beverage industry. Check out our Q and A as she details her success, and shares her expert insight.
- Q: Can you provide us with a profile of yourself and Southern Consulting?
A: My profile may be found through linkedin.com.: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/shelly-gautreau/26/a1/6b3
- Q: What sparked the concept to create your company?
A: Southern Consulting came about after years of a friend telling me that I needed to start my own business. I wanted to offer clients a different type of consulting; one where we worked closely with the client to ensure project objectives are surpassed and for them to have a better understanding of the process we used to get there.
- Q: Your company provides a wide-range of services; can you expound a little more on your food and beverage offerings?
A: We are able to offer clients turn-key restaurant, bar and event services. Clients come to us during the initial development stages of their concept and we assist them with everything from layout, permitting and vendor procurement to branding, menu development and training. We also help current operating restaurants and bars to clean-up their operations. Our team breaks down each area of operations, addresses problematic areas and then creates solutions. The F&B industry is our passion and it really shines through in our work.
- Q: What is 1 serious mistake that many new restaurant owners make? Also, how can they avoid this mistake?
A: A lack of organization would definitely be #1 on the list. This means having a game plan and remaining organized so that you are prepared. Owners should ask themselves: Do I have enough funding not only to open but operating capital? Is my concept cohesive? If not, how will I remedy this?
Restaurant owners need to be prepared to be in it for the long-haul and to not be discouraged but persistent in reaching your operating goals.
- Q: There has been a recent trend of breweries, burger joints, and restaurant startups opening all across the globe (cupcakes, yogurt, pizza, etc). What is your take on the small business movement that is going on right now?
A: I’m ecstatic! The entire ‘foodie’ movement is phenomenal to me. Many people are going out of their comfort zones in trying new foods or drinks which is sparking new concepts and fresh blood into the industry. I grew up in a traditional Cajun family where ‘farm to table’ was the norm. Some of my youngest memories are of walking barefoot in my grandfather’s garden and picking vegetables. Fishing, hunting and living off the land is a way of life for us (Cajuns) that has been passed down for generations. I love that the new concepts have opened doors to allow me to share my experience and culture with others.
- Q: What is the most challenging and rewarding aspect about running your business?
A: The most challenging aspect of running my own business has to be the sacrifice of a personal life. The ability to share my knowledge, passions and experience with fellow consultants and clients makes it all worth it when my head hits the pillow at night.
- Q: Is Southern Consulting just for businesses that are located in the south, or can anyone take advantage of your services?
A: We work with clients from all over the globe. In utilizing technology, we are able to work remotely for many projects. We also enjoy accumulating frequent flyer miles.