The Food Network debuted a new show this past summer. Billed as light fare, "Road Tasted" features the brothers Deen–Jamie and Bobby, sons of the personable, well-liked Paula Deen–on their culinary adventures as they criss-crossed the country in search of local food specialties created by small business entrepreneurs....
Interestingly, the individual show episodes and the Food Network both have information available on the restaurants visited, as well as mail order information so that viewers can purchase the specialty foods profiled on the programs.
Since the first season of 13 episodes has wrapped, I thought it might be interesting to talk about it. Having seen an episode or two and a post on Superchefblog, brought this to the fore in my mind.
Superchefblog points out that it is au courant to engage in culinary tourism these days, but that isn't what got my attention. What did were the comments made in an exclusive interview that eldest son and brother Jamie Deen had with this blogger.
In the interview, Jamie recalled how his mother had begun her first food venture with the family's last $200. She had made sandwiches which her sons peddled to business people in their offices in downtown Savannah. After that, Ms. Deen was able, again with the help of her sons, to start up her own restaurant, The Lady & Sons, also located in downtown Savannah.
It seems that the restaurant was featured on Food Network's "Food Finds" eight years ago, which gave the fledgling business a huge boost. The family never forgot their good fortune; they are still grateful for their success. Jamie Deen:
That was a shot in the arm for our business. Our phone rang off the hook. We have been so fortunate to have Mom on TV. We are excited to visit small business owners because that 7-8 minutes can really help. . . we are so excited to help other small businesses."
When asked about their future plans for expansion, Jamie Deen states:
"No way in the world are we going to use this to open more restaurants, or be in the 'Hollywood Squares'. . . We want to be the best restaurant all the time. I want the service to be great. I don't want a restaurant that is just O.K. We have a 401K for our employees, sell out lunch and dinner every day, and have more than we can ask for. There are 15 key employees, and I am proud that we can retire these people who have sacrificed for us."
These few paragraphs present everybody with great marketing concepts, in the most down-home, common-sense, basic way. What eloquent language do we need to add to elaborate on any of this?
We've worked hard as entrepreneurs and we've found success with a little help from our friends. We're not going to get too big for our britches, and forget about all the things that have made us successful.
We don't necessarily want or need to get bigger, we just want to continue to be better.
Our people have made us successful, and continue to make us successful, so not only do we want to hold on to them, but we want to take care of them as they have of us.
We want to give back and help other small business owners get their entrepreneurial ventures on the map by giving their products national exposure.
Oh, and how about this one: no one in our family went to culinary school or business school. What we do have is a passion for cooking, we continue to work hard to earn our business rather than resting on our laurels, and we know what's truly important: we take great care of our customers and our employees.
C'mon down to beautiful Savannah, y'all.
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