by Cesar Quintero, an EO South Florida member and manager of Fit2Go
There’s a saying that says “Sometimes to have the courage to move forward, you have to be willing to look back.” This saying has never been more fitting than it is right now for me.
In 2004 I started Fit2go, a meal delivery service that caters to health conscious professionals. I started it with no experience in the food or restaurant industry. I had to learn a lot the hard way and fast! I’m glad to say that after 10 years, my company is still one of the leading delivery services in the South Florida area.
I recently documented my journey in my book titled “The Profit Recipe”, in hopes of helping others in the restaurant industry avoid making some of the same mistakes I did. The process of writing my book helped me remember all that I’ve been through and I can honestly say that I’m more excited than ever about the next phase of my life and business. I’m continuing to grow Fit2Go by launching a new company: Fit2Go Delivery System (Fit2Go DS).
Fit2Go DS wasn’t initially part of my overall vision or plan when I started 10 years ago. In fact, it took me three years, and a lot of EO help to determine what my expansion model would look like:
The first step was to withdraw myself from the day to day operations and have a team I could depend on. A key factor that helped me propel this was my participation in the EO Accelerator Program. One of the biggest lessons I learned from this program was that I was holding the company back from growth. I was a control freak and constantly confusing productivity with keeping busy. Accelerator helped me realize that I needed to be working “on my business” instead of “in my business”.
More and more, I understood the importance of developing processes and systems that would help my employees and managers deliver a consistent product and service every time. This way, my business could run mostly without my constant supervision. Another benefit of nailing down my processes and systems was improving my margins and profit dramatically. Over time, I turned my systems and processes into a software platform that I could run on the cloud to measure key areas and track results.
Originally, I thought my growth strategy would involve adding more locations or franchising. That was until I had a heart to heart experience share with an EO brother who specializes in Franchising. His motto: Never get into food! It changed the course of my life. How was I to grow if it wasn’t through franchise?
As part of my exploration process, I registered for the EO / MIT Entrepreneur Masters Program to find my future. In it, I had a class about X Factor and intangible assets. And it clicked. My company’s main asset and differentiator is the software I developed to help me with my processes and systems. My years in the EMP program helped me refine my new expansion model: From franchise to Fit2Go DS: white label turnkey software that would allow brick and mortar restaurants to add a delivery component to their model by leveraging their current assets without a large capital investment.
I discovered that one of the reasons my company was doing so well, was because it was leveraging most of the current trends that are shifting the Restaurant industry. I have now established myself as a resource for food industry entrepreneurs to take advantage of these changes and set themselves apart from the competition.
Currently, I’m giving back as the Accelerator Champion in my chapter to help other entrepreneurs with their journey as I was helped in mine. EO has taught me to make a mark in a positive way to anyone I come in contact with. To help and be helped.
Here’s to the future!