Mendocino County is home to some of the best food in the country – local fish, farms and delicacies abound. With a growing demand for restaurants and fresh foods sourced locally, West Business Development Center has launched a full food business curriculum called Food For Thought, to serve entrepreneurs looking to get in the food game.

The curriculum has been designed so that you can benefit from just one or two workshops, or complete the entire lineup and be ready for any challenge that comes up.  From getting the doors open, to negotiating a lease, or turning your family recipe into a profitable product you can sell, Food for Thought covers all the bases.  If you have been dreaming of opening up a restaurant, or turning your personal food passion into profit, this curriculum is for you.

Taught by an expert team of veteran food service entrepreneur Julia Siderakis, business startup expert Steve Lamb, Food and Beverage specialist Anni Minuzzo  and restaurateur Nicholas Petti, Food For Thought drills down into the nitty gritty details you need to know to make it work. Profit, creativity, menus, marketing and promotion will all be discussed and you will come away with a complete overview on how to start your food business today.

Siderakis sums up the Food For Thought experience, “those who attend will understand the many tools to building a great business plan, analyzing and learning along the way while building their plans with the realism of what it takes to own and operate a restaurant business.â€

She emphasizes that, “the business plan is the foundation for your success and once it has been completed, it will be your own personal roadmap on how to pursue your culinary dream and venture.â€

Corrina Pena, the founder of the Frosted bakery in Fort Bragg, cites WestBDC with helping her go for it when she thought about opening her own business, “When Harvest Market responded well to my product that was huge! WestBDC helped me out of my comfort zone in a positive way.â€

Maria Testa Martinson of Testa Vineyards says, “It is hard when you are just starting out, you don’t have money to hire consultants. WestBDC has been a really big help and I recommend them to anybody getting started. Their advice is solid and if they don’t know they will find out for you.â€

WestBDC’s Food for Thought is supported by the Mendo Lake Food Hub, an innovative distribution service for local farmers to get their wares into the hands of stores, restaurants and consumers.

Food for Thought Curriculum, Spring 2019

February 21, Ukiah

Open the Doors: Up and Running in the Food Service Business

March 7, Ukiah

Negotiating a Lease, Purchasing a Restaurant

March 14, Ukiah

From Kitchen to Market: Specialty Food Workshop

March 21, Lake County

From Kitchen to Market: Specialty Food Workshop

April 25, Ukiah

Concept to Launch: Creating a Successful Culinary Business

May 2, Ukiah

Turning a Profit in the Restaurant Biz: Financial Management for Longevity

After you take our workshops, take full advantage of our free, one-on-one, expert business advising. We offer expert consultants to advise on making a profit, finding customers, getting a loan and more.