Tulsa Business Journal: Tell us a little bit about your business. When did/will you start it? Why? What is the overall mission of your business?
Elote Caf√? & Catering: Elot√? serves fresh, innovative Mexican food using local products and sustainable practices in the heart of downtown Tulsa.
We opened May 14, 2008, and then expanded to evenings Feb. 29 of this year.
Our mission is to fill a void in the Tulsa dining scene by serving healthy food that tastes good at a price people can afford, while limiting negative environmental impacts.
TBJ: What is your background? What made you interested in starting this particular business?
ECC: Founder Libby Auld attended culinary school at Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee. She has cooked and served all around town and a bit in Chicago.
She got sick of seeing the waste in restaurants, and she made really tasty Mexican food at home that was healthy and thought other people might buy it.
TBJ: What triggered your idea for your business concept?
ECC: I wanted to work in the restaurant industry Monday through Friday. Needless to say, that is not the case anymore.
TBJ: Have you started a business before?
TBJ: What was/is your goal when you started your business? How has it changed (if it has)?
ECC: The goal when we started was to make good food at a good price while doing the right thing for the earth and our bodies. It has stayed the same, except now I see what an impact one small business can make, and I look forward to growth.
TBJ: How are you funding your business?
ECC: Through a small business loan in the amount of $35,000.
TBJ: Have revenues been what you expected and/or hoped?
ECC: They have far exceeded my expectations. My guests constantly remind me that I need more space and that Elot√? seems to not be hit by the recession.
TBJ: Where would you like to take your business in the next year?
ECC: I would like to add a patio, additional dining space, another register to expedite service at lunchtime and hire a CFO or business manger. I can cook and run a restaurant, but I still have a lot to learn about business.
TBJ: In the next five years?
ECC: My brother wants to open an Elot√? in Oklahoma City, and I would like to make that happen. It would make me really happy to promote sustainability and serve good food in parts of the U.S. that have not made that a priority.
TBJ: What do you hope to gain from participating in the Spirit Award?
ECC: I really hope to gain some business knowledge and learn more about the numbers.