Home > Blog > February 2020 > The Culinary Chameleon Catering & Cafe - Finding Ways to Adapt “Like a Chameleon” in Downtown Akron

The Culinary Chameleon Catering & Cafe - Finding Ways to Adapt “Like a Chameleon” in Downtown Akron

Friday, February 14, 2020

When did The Culinary Chameleon Catering & Cafe open its doors?
We started the Culinary Chameleon Catering business 12 years ago and opened up our Cafe 3 years ago.

What growth have you experienced?
In recent years, the catering side of our business has slowed down as corporate budgets have been cut. Our coffee shop has experienced the most recent growth with explosive sales just from word-of-mouth alone. Our location has been a great asset in our organic growth from the start.

What sets you apart from other cafes?
My wife, Adria, has been able to create and offer very unique and innovative food options. We change our full menu about 3 times a year and are not stagnate in anything we do. We have a book of at least 500 recipes of just soup that Adria creates fresh daily. Our soup sales remain consistent throughout the year, which is not typical in Ohio due to the seasons. 

What challenges have you faced?
As a small business, you face challenges daily. When we first hire, we hire our employees on as full-time and let them know they have the potential to be cut down to part-time. We are proud to say we have since kept all four employees as full-time from their start date and we are still growing. The downtown construction would have been a challenge to other small businesses, but we have found ways to work through it. 

Most importantly, our customers found a way to work through it. I’ve watched people walk next to bulldozers on closed sidewalks just to get a taste of our soup that day. The new hotel project has brought in a new construction crew every morning on their break which has boosted our breakfast sales. They have really become a part of our business. When the hotel project is complete, we assume we will lose those guys, but we are anticipating a great deal of business from the hotel guests.

What resources have you used along the way?
We really benefited from the Pop-up Business Program created by the Downtown Akron Partnership. This program allowed us to pay our rent in subsidy when we first started downtown. From there, our business grew exponentially. We are grateful for that support early on.

What are your plans for 2020?
We are looking at online ordering and delivery in 2020, possibly in-house or with a 
third-party application. We have also had a lot of requests for evening and weekend hours. In that case, we will be looking to expand our staff in 2020.
 
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020 | with 83 comments
Filed under: #ChooseGrowth


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