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Episode 36

Part 1: Independently Owned Restaurants Series

Jess Edmonds
Catering Director & Partner at Spice Hospitality Group

“When everything went down two years ago, I think the world got an incredible snapshot at understanding the stories of mom-and-pop restaurateurs. There’s not a ton of money to be made unless you have a chain. So you really have to go big or go home.”

Independent restaurants offer unique dining experiences, such as farm-to-table meals or craft cocktails. But they also face unique challenges that are far different than those of large restaurant chains.

Offering solutions to the difficulties that independents face, may mean the difference between a win or loss for both sales and marketers in the foodservice industry.

Hear about the challenges independently owned restaurants face on this episode of Lead(er) Generation.

Highlights From This Episode:

  • Learnings from the pandemic
  • Finding inspiration for new ideas
  • Validating which ideas work
  • Staying connected to the restaurant community
  • Sourcing products with supply challenges
  • Staffing, hiring, training and retention
  • Evolving as consumer and vendor behaviors change

Watch the Live Recording

Full Episode Transcripts

Tessa Burg: Hello and welcome to another episode of Lead(er) Generation brought to you by Mod Op. That’s right. Tenlo was a recently acquired by Mod Op. Visit modop.com for more information, but we’re still going with Lead(er) Generation, and today’s guest, we’re very excited to have her on, it is Jess Edmonds. She is joining us from Spice Catering, which is a part of the Spice Hospitality Group. Jess, thanks so much for being our guest. Welcome.

Jess Edmonds: Thank you Tessa so much for having me. I’m really excited.

Tessa Burg: So we know that the pandemic was really hard on the restaurant industry and food service overall. Before we jump into that topic about the resilience, and the creative solutions we saw come out of food service, tell us a little bit about your journey and Spice Hospitality Group.

Jess Edmonds: Sure, happy to. So I started working for Spice in 2008. So I am entering my 15th year, which doesn’t even feel real, ’cause time just flies. My partner and the owner of the company, Ben Bebenroth. We met through mutual friends and he was just trying to grow this tiny little BB of a catering company. And so he merged with a larger, more corporate catering company, Marigold, and he was able to sort of utilize all their infrastructure and he needed an event planner. And so we met and he hired me pretty quickly and we just decided to see if this would work, and it did. We worked really well together and we created some really fun, unique events.

Jess Edmonds: Spice focuses on regional cuisine, seasonal cuisine, trying to really sort of raise the bar on what catered food feels like. ‘Cause we’ve all experienced garbage catering food.

Jess Edmonds: So, you know, over the years we grew the company from like two of us to 50 of us. And we opened a restaurant about, no about four and a half years in of me starting in the beginning of 2012, we opened Spice Kitchen & Bar. So that became our sort of flagship, where catering continued to grow. But the restaurant was a brick and mortar where people could come and interact with the brand and they didn’t have to like hire us for a big wedding or a fundraiser to actually eat our food. So that was really exciting and really expanded our reach.

Jess Edmonds: And so the restaurant was open for about eight years when COVID hit, we made the very hard, but very quick decision that we knew that we weren’t gonna really survive that. And we can dive more into that a bit. But really when COVID hit, we were halfway through a $2 million construction project. We were in the process of building out another building in Gordon Square, right near the restaurant to how is our catering operation? ‘Cause it was growing so much and we were sharing space with the restaurant and it just wasn’t working. So thank God we were able to finish that project.

Jess Edmonds: So we moved into this space December of 2021. Yes, nope, December, 2020, we moved in and just sort of started the next chapter post-pandemic, or sort of mid-pandemic at that point. At that time we also launched a virtual restaurant because we now had this enormous catering kitchen that, you know, parties weren’t starting yet. It was gonna be a commissary kitchen for the restaurant, which didn’t exist anymore. So we sort of had to think quickly of we need revenue, there’s a lot of funding out there for restaurants. So how do we quickly utilize that and bring in some revenue?

Jess Edmonds: So Ben came up, Ben is, he’s got tons of ideas. He just generates lots of visions of cool concepts. And so he had this thought, we were inspired by a place in Philly and it was like a virtual food hall. So picture like eat street at the mall when you’re a kid and you can pick from all these different places you wanna eat. And it was like that, but it was just curbside or delivery. And so we launched with four separate concepts, winner, winner chicken dinner. winner, winner, wing shop. Woos, noodles and rice and leaf, which was a salads and grain bowls concept. And the idea was to eventually have a subscription model and get people to think about their week and order dinner on Monday and order a bunch of lunches throughout the week. And I think that we did find our market for that, but it didn’t take off as much. So we’re pivoting a lot of that into like corporate catering and wholesale.

Jess Edmonds: So we’ve been doing wholesale out at Holden Arboretum and Rising Star. So that’s sort of like our little restaurant baby right now. And then additionally, we just signed a lease for our first store for a new pizza concept that we are also launching. So all sorts of things going on, we’ve tried fine dining, we’ve tried virtual restaurant, which we’re still doing and now we’re going more fast casual and we’re really excited. So that is stated to open end of summer, beginning of fall, 2022 in Lakewood downtown, it’s called Boom’s Pizza and it is hands down the best pie I’ve ever had in my life. So we’re really excited.

Jess Edmonds: And then as for catering, you know, we’re just continually growing. I mean, we’re growing on a corporate level, on a social level, expanding our reach through many different venues. So yeah, that’s sort of the long and short story of my time with Spice and all of the different things we’ve tried, and a million other things we’ve tried in between. But those, I would say, are the standout moments for me.

Tessa Burg: You said that so quickly and concisely, but there’s a ton there. And I know even before, or you were at Spice, you were working in the restaurant industry. That’s actually, I guess how we met is-

Jess Edmonds: At a bar.

Tessa Burg: At a bar, yeah.

Jess Edmonds: Yeah. How all wonderful relationships begin.

Tessa Burg: Yes. And I, right before we got on, I said, I wasn’t gonna say the word soccer since apparently I pronounce it oddly, but your bar and restaurant sponsor our soccer team. So we get there all the time and you got to see how restaurants ran firsthand. And then plus I know that from Spice, you had so many different routes to market and I feel like Spice’s always reinventing. And what we saw during the pandemic is a lot of restaurants start coming up with new concepts and reinventing. When you reflect on that time during the pandemic, what were some of the positives that came out of trying a concept maybe that didn’t work, trying something else and maybe it did stick. What were some of the learnings and growth that came out of that?

Jess Edmonds: Yeah. Gosh, that is a loaded question. There were a lot of positives in terms of making better business decisions. You know, when everything went down two years ago and the decision to close Spice within, I mean we found out bars and restaurants were closing and we and still are so intimately in touch with our finances and the timing of how that went down, being, say, you know, end of Q1 and how our business model worked. So we were about to ramp up. And to see all of the future revenue just slowly going away. And the restaurant being that, the profit margin with food is low.

Jess Edmonds: And I think the world has actually gotten an incredible snapshot at understanding maybe the stories of how restaurant tours, you know, you really have to go big or go home. There’s not a ton of money to be made. So unless you have a chain or you can just copy paste really quick. These mom-and-pop places, a place like ours, farm to table fine dining. I mean, you’ve basically picked the most challenging thing to make money at. So realizing we weren’t able to pivot into to-go food based on the style of food that we did. It was just a pretty quick decision for Ben. Ripping off the bandaid if this isn’t gonna work. But now what?

Jess Edmonds: You know, so for me the now what is really exciting. I feel like every couple of years, maybe every two to four years, something new happens with our business that’s really exciting.

Jess Edmonds: So, you know, one thing I didn’t mention, but is a huge component of our business is our farm, Spice Acres. So Ben, his wife, Jackie and their two children live on the farm in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. They farm about nine acres and the farm model changes every year. But when that farm came along, it was like this new, exciting thing to be stoked about, you know? So like the place here, the brand never feels it’s never boring or stale because we’re always, something news’s popping up. It was like the restaurant and the farm, then finding a new building for catering.

Jess Edmonds: So anyway, I think a couple years have gone by, we were in the middle of the construction project, but things were feeling a little like something’s brewing. Like what’s gonna be next. Now, obviously we had no a clue that it would be so traumatic and world-changing.

Jess Edmonds: But honestly I think when the positives, to get back to your question, is just that we finally accepted and made change that our model wasn’t going to do what we needed it to do, which was really at the end of the day, we’d love to turn a profit and make some money. And really we were doing what we love, which is hospitality, beautiful food, wonderful service, connecting with people, supporting small family farms and all of those things together. Ben will always say running a farm to table restaurant was the most unsustainable thing he’s ever done in his life. And that is the irony of it. And it’s really quite sad, to be perfectly honest. I’m still sort of recovering from like the changes, because I think what made me fall in love with the company, the brand, my role, was the mission, which is supporting small family farms that are sustainably run and realizing post pandemic that we are gonna have to change that model, you know? And so that was bittersweet knowing, hey, we’ve brought on some really incredible talent.

Jess Edmonds: So another positive was bringing on Jonathan Bennett who came from Moxie and the whole Red Restaurant Group. He was a partner over there, and he had a couple stints in between, but we met him and it was clear that he was the expertise that we needed on our team. And it’s so beautiful when you can bring in fresh eyes and you’re sort of trapped in your little bubble and they come in and they see how you’re doing things and they’re like you’re doing it how. And then he would look at so many of the things we were doing and be like, okay, no, you know? So we weren’t doing it wrong. We were just doing it our way. And like this tried and true way. But I think being that we aren’t super money-focused or business-focused, we’re like mission-focused and experience-focused to find this human that was so smart that could take sort of the soul of Spice and how it makes people feel, so not change it completely, but help us engineer it internally to be more profitable, to be more efficient. And to just like make it better across the board from the catering operation over to how do we create a brand new, fast, casual brand that we can copy paste and have a bunch of different locations and grow it.

Jess Edmonds: So the positives were just, I think, changing how we thought, bringing in people smarter than us, which to me is like an incredible sign of a good leader is always hiring people smarter than you. And always being willing to continually learning. That’s one of our core values is always learning because literally every day I learn something new here.

Jess Edmonds: So, yeah. To answer your question, many positives that came with, I think along the way, some serious heartbreak. But I’m grateful for the experience. You know, when I think back it’s a little traumatic, but I am incredibly grateful for it. ‘Cause I don’t know, I really don’t know where we’d be right now. Like it’s hard to think how long it would’ve lasted if we kept doing it the same way we were doing it so.

Tessa Burg: Yeah. And you mentioned the heartbreak and it is really hard leaving what you know and change is hard for anybody, but you are excited about these new concepts. How do you guys find your inspiration or even when you do kind of settle on a concept, what do you do to validate like this is gonna work or this is gonna be the way.

Jess Edmonds: Yeah. Oh my gosh. Just hours upon hours of just talking through it. Data, R&D, just talking to people, investing in higher education, tons of reading, just being in tune with your industry and seeing what other industry leaders are doing out there.

Jess Edmonds: Like I said, the virtual kitchen, that would not be a thing pre-pandemic, you know, like people would be like, what? I mean, there was still sort of quite a lot to explain to people, but it made sense because everybody was eating to-go. So not having a place to sit didn’t feel so weird, after the shutdown.

Jess Edmonds: So yeah, I mean just connecting with other people, seeing how other places are doing things, taking inspiration from a place in a different market and seeing if it does something good here, the whole pizza idea that just came from an insane amount of research. And I think also being connected with the right people.

Jess Edmonds: So Nestlé is a client of ours and they, Ben has colleagues there and people that will talk to him and they share their knowledge of things that work, things that don’t, and just reading a lot of different research and studies on really quite frankly, pizza and you can’t go wrong with it. It’s never gonna go away. The pandemic only made it 10 times better. So it’s like, okay, basically, how do we find pandemic-proof food? Because if you can make it through pandemic, then you can likely hopefully, really make some money off it. So, hi. So yeah, I mean, it’s just a lot of collaboration, talking to people smarter than you, reading, filling your brain with more knowledge.

Tessa Burg: Yeah. So one of the channels I use for inspiration research is TikTok because I’m learning adult hiphop dance and-

Jess Edmonds: Oh my God, I love this about you.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, but I just need to get up and be flexible. But then, you know, as a marketer, I feel like one of our go-to resources is LinkedIn and like LinkedIn articles. And I feel like a business in general is on LinkedIn. Is it different for restaurant tours or the food service industry? Is there like niche, social places that you’re congregating, especially in the pandemic, when you couldn’t always physically get together, how are you accepting research and sort of staying connected to the restaurant community?

Jess Edmonds: Yeah, that’s a great question. Actually, I know of a friend of mine, who’s a former chef who left the industry, but he actually started a podcast during, and I remember listening to that a ton because it was very therapeutic, because it was just industry people chefs, just talking about their trauma. And when you can relate to someone else’s trauma, it’s therapy for you, at least that’s how I felt. And so that was really helpful.

Jess Edmonds: But yeah, I think talking to other people, I was most fascinated with talking to people in other markets, because I feel like they’re especially more open to giving you thoughts and ideas because they’re not a competitor.

Jess Edmonds: So one of the things I did when Ben brought me back, I didn’t have a whole lot to do quite frankly. So I just started researching catering companies in similar markets across the country that looked kind of like us, that had the same business model. And I honestly just called them all. And I created this conversation among all these different caterers and we like got on a Zoom one night and had a glass of wine and, there are places you can go, like we’re a part of like, I think it’s called, there’s restaurant associations. There’s like the American Caterers associations we’re part of. That was a newer thing I actually found out about that association through the people I met, through this caterer collective, there was nothing formal about it, but it was just finding other people. I still talked to this one chick in Boston, and someone in Buffalo, like, and I was like, well, how do you charge for this? And what do you do for this? And how are pivoting? And it was fascinating how people were just so willing to talk to me, because I think that they had some of the same questions too, and then I was willing to share with them. So that was really cool. And I don’t think I would ever have the time to do that again.

Jess Edmonds: And like I was at explaining to you before the space that was created to allow you to rethink how you wanna operate your business. When this pause happened and we stopped operating in 2020. We shut down the restaurant, we laid 100% of our employees off, including myself and Ben. And, you know, we were still obviously working. We were on just damage control. Like how do you save this? So like, you never actually stopped working, but you definitely stop getting paid. It just allowed for so much space to think about how do we wanna change for the future? Because, you know, we always are like, we’re building the plane while we’re flying it. We’re trying to reinvent so many things or improve processes. And it’s just really hard to do that when you’re like full go, events every day and so many logistics and, with any industry, I think it’s really hard to do that. So to have the gift of time to hit pause on your operations and say, okay, well, I’m not gonna work for five months. But I need to do something. How can I be productive? Well, we’re gonna change everything. We’re gonna change basically how we do 100% of everything and we’re gonna make it more profitable, more efficient, a better place to work, you know, how to create work/life balance, all of that. So I think I went a little off track there.

Tessa Burg: Oh no, that’s fine. So you’re hitting on something though. That’s a lot of positive change. Like you made the most of the time.

Jess Edmonds: Yes.

Tessa Burg: You have these new concepts, but operationally that has to be challenging. How has sourcing or staffing evolved to accommodate these new concepts? ‘Cause it’s radically different than where you were-

Jess Edmonds: Yeah, for sure, yeah. I mean, yeah. Supply chain issues affects 100% of everyone I think at this point. So that just is what it is. I have to order things just way farther out, you know, disposables, to-go containers, paper, plastic, like just everything. You just have to expect it to take longer. Serving pieces, things I could get in two days from web now takes sometimes a month, you know? So really having to think way farther ahead on what my needs might be for an event next month. And that sucks, ’cause sometimes you don’t wanna have to like dive that deep into something. It makes more sense to really dive deep, maybe two or three weeks out and not two months out, but you just sort of have to, you have to start planning better. So it’s a good exercise in just getting better at your job.

Jess Edmonds: But I mean, yeah, staffing last year, I think 90% of my job was just hiring, training, hire, recruit, hire, onboard, train, go, next person. I mean I didn’t come up for air for nine months. It was, I hired so many people every single week, like event staff, hired two new planners, right in the middle of it, handed them each a million dollars worth of business. I’m like I’m gonna train you as fast and as best as I can, but if it’s gonna go wrong and that’s gonna be okay and we’re gonna get through it. But like, this is not the ideal time to be bringing you in, but this is the hand we were dealt.

Jess Edmonds: So I mean, I can’t even put really words to last year. It was the most challenging, exhausting year of my career by far. I would’ve taken 2020 over 2021 hands down, any day of the week because although 2020 was scary because of just the constant change and unknown, 2021 was like the fruits of all of that. None of it was I mean, we had hands down our busiest year, most revenue we’ve ever done with the youngest team I’ve ever done it with. So, so a lot got done, but at the cost of a little bit of mental health, for sure.

Jess Edmonds: So in the beginning of the new year, I was saying to the guys, I was like, my cup is empty. I have nothing left to give. My cup has to refill before anything gets thrown back at me again, or I’m just gonna crash and burn. And I’ll say like, just this month, I’ve started to really feel like myself again, because I didn’t realize what a toll it was taking of just not, not stopping, not taking a breath, just trying to quite frankly, survive the aftermath, which was the onslaught of so much business and losing labor because I get it, you know, priorities change, and this is a demanding job. We will never sell it as anything less than that. It is very intense. It is event planning and execution is one of the most high-stress jobs out there. All the research says it and it’s crazy. So it’s validating when I see research like that, but at the same time, I have to be super transparent when I do bring in someone new like, this is not easy. This is hard, it’s gonna ask a lot of you, please just make it through the end of the season if you’re gonna quit, because I can’t do it again in the middle of the season or I’ll just freak out.

Tessa Burg: So now you have no brain space and time, how are you continuing to stay? Or are you even continuing to stay connected to the community? Or do you think you will go back to some of those other habits that you created during 2020 to, you know-

Jess Edmonds: Yeah.

Tessa Burg: Like keep the concepts you have going or make sure that they’re relevant to the audiences today. ‘Cause I feel like even diners have changed. I know I’ve changed my dining habits.

Jess Edmonds: Yeah.

Tessa Burg: What you see is eat out all the time. And I would say we, I feel like now we’re professionals at takeout, but eating out has become more special

Jess Edmonds: For sure.

Tessa Burg: We don’t just drop in. So, you know, how are you staying on top of these evolutions is like people behavior and vendor behavior changes.

Jess Edmonds: Yeah. That’s a great question. Well, I can tell you right now, based on current sales that people are either physically going out to eat more or just cooking more because even just the to-go concept, normally this time of year would be busier and it’s just not, we’re doing so much more business in catering and wholesale of those same items, but not from the pickup and to-go. So I definitely think it could be just a trend and short term product of what the market needed, ’cause it did exactly what we thought it would do in the beginning, because it was new and exciting and it was to-go food that was engineered to be to-go.

Jess Edmonds: So, you know, sometimes when you get a burger in a box to go and you get home, I feel like Asian food is like the only food you get to go where it’s like, this is exactly how it’s supposed to be. Whereas like everything else, it’s really meant to be eaten at the restaurant, you know?

Jess Edmonds: And so having this food engineered to be built to go and really like all of the different tests they did on how long it will last, how long it could sit before it changed the quality of the food and all this stuff. I mean it got rave reviews. People love it, but I think we’re just seeing people are starting to go back to work more. And so now they’re ordering it for like huge bulk orders for corporate and not necessarily as much in the evening.

Jess Edmonds: So I think we just have to be very on top of like, okay, how much longer are we gonna let this do this, without it hitting the numbers it needs to hit, how, you know, we didn’t invest a ton of money into that brand. Everything was a light treatment. The logo, the look, the feel, the website, because we just couldn’t invest that much money. We didn’t know how it was gonna turn and it sort of did what it needed to do, but I think there could be some change for it in the future and maybe really focusing more on that wholesale.

Jess Edmonds: So just, I let the number talk, we look at data in a very detailed way every week. You run on EOS, I run on EOS and having a scorecard check in weekly and being that in-tune with performance is everything. I rely on data for pretty much every decision. So, I mean, that is a piece of it for sure. Staying up on trends, I really feel like I rely on the guys to, they are always reading an article or going to a conference or, you know, talking to other people in the industry. So I sort of touched on that before, but yeah, just educating yourself.

Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. So what is the biggest challenge now when you. you’re opening up Boom’s Pizza, it’s gonna be a physical location. So you’re going back into the store in front.

Jess Edmonds: Yes.

Tessa Burg: Green is booming.

Jess Edmonds: Yeah, I think the hardest thing right now will be launching that new store at the height of catering seasons. So, you know, that’s obviously something we’ve never done even when we launched the restaurant, it was like, I think we actually stopped catering for a couple months. ‘Cause we’re like all hands on deck needs to be focused on this. So that will be new.

Jess Edmonds: So we’ve just been working tirelessly for the last three months, since the beginning of the new year of just tightening up all of our processes, trying to sort of just reinforce everything with people and processes and everything so that when, and it’s already hitting now, like earlier than ever, March is normally a painfully a slow month. We have three things every weekend. Like every Saturday that’s like a wedding, a Cav’s game, a something, you know?

Jess Edmonds: And so it’s like, okay, it’s happening earlier and earlier every year, which is great. That needs to happen for us. We have a very fancy new home now that we have to pay for. So we can’t have a slow season anymore. We don’t get to have slow seasons. So it’s just like trying to think ahead of like, you know, getting ahead of impending problems that don’t exist yet. But we know they’re going to just like constantly knowing that there’s gonna be a problem. We just have to like be prepared mentally, honestly, more than anything of how to manage it.

Jess Edmonds: And you know, if nothing else, COVID prepared us for that because the amount of, you know, the million dollar word pivot, I can’t even, like, there were just so many weeks where I was like, I have whiplash like, oh my God, we changed our mind 25 times about the same thing. How is this even a possibility? But it was what it was. So yeah, I think launching the new thing with the old thing full steam ahead will be, it’ll be good. It’s gonna be crazy, but it’ll be good.

Tessa Burg: Well, I am super excited to see it, to taste it, well for me, I don’t know if guys have dipped into vegan cheeses.

Jess Edmonds: We have, and honestly, I’m not gonna let that go. We did a vegan pie here, so we’ve been doing pizza popups every Friday through Keep The Change. So you can order Boom’s pies every Friday here. And we did a vegan just one Friday and it sold out immediately online, ’cause we do everything’s pre-order. So that’s another one of the nice things. I think they’re gonna try to develop an app for that as well. But yeah, the vegan sold out so quickly and I didn’t even get to try it, but it got rave reviews. So that is a thing. Like, especially looking at other local pizza joints, vegan pie, you gotta have one.

Tessa Burg: Yeah.

Jess Edmonds: I mean they might be cursing me right now for saying that, but I think it’s important.

Tessa Burg: I know. Well, you know, I can’t, I am lactose intolerant. I do eat the food chain, but yeah. Pizza.

Jess Edmonds: I hear that. Yeah. You gotta accommodate those little small groups of people because they will become die hard, you know.

Tessa Burg: Exactly. Yep. If there is a good vegan pizza, I will order it and eat it constantly.

Jess Edmonds: Exactly.

Tessa Burg: ‘Cause pizza is my favorite food. Who doesn’t have it as their favorite food? But especially if it’s gourmet, I mean, I’ve been following you guys on Instagram and the pictures look incredible.

Jess Edmonds: Oh thank you. Yeah, it photographs well, the guys just went to Vegas for the pizza pizza show, and they said it was just like outstanding. The amount of things they learned and just the community of pizza people are just so communal, like they said, at the end of most of the conferences, the presenter would be like, and here’s my cell phone number.

Tessa Burg: Oh my gosh.

Jess Edmonds: I know. But we actually, the guys met a couple from, I believe Canton, Akron or Canton that are food photographers and they focus on pizza and we’ve been looking for one because we’ve had it photographed and yes, it looks good. But like there are people that focus on just certain products. So it was cool to find someone from home out there.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, now that is awesome. So if people want to learn more about the Spice Hospitality Group or Boom’s Pizza and the new concepts, where can they go to get information?

Jess Edmonds: Yeah. Spiceheadquarters.com. If you scroll to the bottom, all the brands are listed there. So Spice Catering, Spice Acres, Boom’s, and Keep The Change kitchen collective. That’s sort of the hub to find out all the things and we’re on Facebook and Instagram. I don’t think that we have opened the door of TikTok yet, but I definitely know that that’s where our world is headed. I am a virgin. I haven’t gone there. So I don’t even know, but I know it’s like a whole thing.

Tessa Burg: Yes, it is.

Jess Edmonds: I’m sure Spice will eventually be on there, but as of now just the Facebook and the IG.

Tessa Burg: And then what about if people have questions for you since you have so much experience?

Jess Edmonds: Oh my gosh. I would love to talk to anybody. Yeah. obviously like I’m calling people in other markets in my free time, just to talk about how they do things. Yeah, absolutely. You can find me on the team’s page of the website, but my email is [email protected], always happy to talk to anybody who wants to chat food or operations or drink or whatever. I love all those things.

Tessa Burg: Well, I’m sure others will be excited to get inspired themselves. This has been great, Jess, thanks so much for being a guest.

Jess Edmonds: Thank you.

Tessa Burg: And everyone listening if you want to listen to more episodes, definitely won’t make you as hungry as this one, but visit tenlo.com click on podcasts. And you’ll find all of our previous Lead(er) Generation episodes. If you have ideas, drop us a notes or you can reach out out to me directly on LinkedIn. And we will see you next time.

Jess Edmonds

Catering Director & Partner at Spice Hospitality Group

Jess has nearly two decades of experience in the food and beverage industry. She honed her service talents in high-traffic Cleveland hot spots before joining Spice Catering Co. in 2008.

In 2015 Jess moved into the Catering Director role and manages an incredible team of Event Planners that create exceptional dining experiences all over town. She also lends her hand to general operations of The Spice Companies, planning the annual Plated Landscape Calendar and fostering business relationships throughout Cleveland, OH.