Paul Finney started his career as a personal chef in 2000, and now his company delivers over 100 meals a day.
"I saw the need to help the sandwich generation," Finney said about the pot luck supper club he started for six families that were members of his church. After spending many years as an award winning restaurant chef, Finney said he wanted to spend more time with his family, so he and his wife Alison started their own business that could become the healthy fast food of the future.
Timothy Becker: Paul, you have a very unique business, what services do you provide?
Paul Finney: I have created a niche with my chef service. For 15 years I was in the restaurant business. Almost ten years ago I married, and then my daughter came along. For quality of life reasons I started my own business.
Timothy Becker: What did you do first when you started out on your own?
Paul Finney: I cooked in people's homes as a personal chef, but I wanted to do more. Two years ago in May I started the delivery service.
Timothy Becker: How did you come up with your business model?
Paul Finney: I started to see the need when my grandmother came to live with my mother. I wanted to help the “sandwich generation” that has a responsibility to help their parents, and take care of their children. We started delivering meals to six families from our church. It has now grown to delivering 100 meals every day.
Timothy Becker: You brought your business to a new level?
Paul Finney: I always wanted to serve more people. I created the chef service business. I'm like a 21st Century milkman. I bring people fresh meals instead of fresh milk. My customers leave their insulated carry-all boxes out and I replace it with a weeks worth of fresh meals.
Timothy Becker: How long have you had your commercial kitchen operation, and how has the space worked out?
Paul Feeney: We have been here on Green Road since last August. I have been looking for years for the right space. This space has been like Mana from heaven. Now that we are here, I offer a fresh new menu of five different entrees, a new soup and a salad of the week, as well as different breakfast muffins and a new desert every week.
Timothy Becker: Has your business grown with your new location?
Paul Finney: My sales have quadrupled. The internet, word of mouth, and local traffic has helped us increase sales. Customers really enjoy the simple convenience and trust us with our ability to provide healthy homestyle meals. Some customers have been with us since day one and have ordered from us for over one hundred weeks in a row.
Timothy Becker: How would you describe your typical customer and what do you offer them?
Paul Finney: Over half of our customers are seniors. The balance are families, couples, and individuals that are too busy to cook. The most frequent special request is for low-salt foods. We are very restrained with salt, unlike prepared foods and restaurant meals. We offer individual, twin size and family meals.
Timothy Becker: What unusual meal choices do you offer?
Paul Finney: The menu that we do is American homestyle, with a gourmet flair. We offer everything form country beef stew, to artichoke encrusted salmon, Dijon chicken fricassee, and seafood stuffed sole. In addition to our fresh meals, we offer favorites that customers can pick up here anytime, such as chicken potpie, seafood stuffed sole, and mac and cheese.
Timothy Becker: Do you offer your meals in supermarkets?
Paul Finney: We do all our retail sales out of our own location, or you can order by phone and we will deliver.
Timothy Becker: How do you price your meals?
Paul Finney: The potluck supper club which includes six meals, two pints of soup, salad, muffins, and dessert starts at $50 a week.
Timothy Becker: Have you thought about franchising what you do here?
Paul Finney: I would like to open a second location in the future. We are still in our infancy, but I plan on there being an October Kitchen in every town. What makes us different is our new menu every week, and our meals are fresh, not frozen.
Timothy Becker: What do you think about competition from fast food operations?
Pail Finney: We are the antithesis of fast food. Fast food is simply hunger reduction. There is a great deal of concern about how healthy fast food is for you. Our motto is “nourishing people”, that is our mission.