INTERVIEW: Martha Lucius
HERE ARE EXCERPTS FROM A RECENT INTERVIEW ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF OPENING CAVALLETTA FOR BUSINESS OWNERS.
HOW DID YOU BECOME A BUSINESS ADVISOR FOR RESTAURANTS, FARMS, AND MAKERS?
The real answer? Because I needed a "cavalletta" when I owned Boheme Cafe. I could not find a professional to turn to. Like most owners, I had no formal training to become an owner. There were times I just needed to talk out my plan, and get help with the big picture questions. Yes, I could find a PR firm/graphic design firm/a social media gal and alot of information on how I COULD improve my business... but the vision to lead a staff with my formula--that is what I needed.
HOW DO YOU HELP OWNERS? WHAT IS YOUR METHOD?
Cavalletta Media and Cavalletta Solutions supports owners of food-based businesses (farms, restaurants, makers--cheese, jam, granola). Trainings are done on-line, and/or over-the-phone. Call it consulting, or business advising or DIY training-- depending on clients budgets. We build a language for improvement by focusing on Cavalletta's Six Pillars of Business: Vision, Financial Stability, Operations, Product, Distribution and Customer Experience. I have two different programs that satisfy most of my customers.
WHAT ARE THOSE TWO DIFFERENT PROGRAMS?
My easiest way to explain them is when I work with soon-to-be owners, and owners of existing restaurants, farms and products.
- Entrepreneurs Program—people are at different stages of start-up. My goal is to give them tools to be financially sound, and healthy as a business and as an owner. What does that look like? We step into the logistics, complete a mindset training, and set their six pillars of business to support their business. 12 week one-on-one training.
- Owner Program—owners are in different positions of stability, and different on timeframes depending on how old they business is. My goal is to remind them of where they are going (vision energizes everything), then reset each pillar of business. Examples are: is the business financially sound, we address that. Is the owner keen to improve their hospitality/customer experience, we address how best to do that. The timeline is set between the owner and Martha Lucius—mutual agreement of time and money.
WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS AND WHERE DID YOU GAIN YOUR EXPERIENCE?
My experience comes from owning three separate businesses since I graduated from college in 1985. Ten years as a calligrapher taught me so much about branding, graphic design, and the power of good clean design. The most recent business was Boheme Cafe, a fiercely independent cafe in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, for eighteen years. Our customers appreciated that every day we provided a healthy, tasty, made-from-scratch meal--soups, sandwiches, always with flavors from around the world. They still tell me they miss Boheme Cafe. Then, there are my skill as a board member and committee member of two fantastic non-profits--Baltimore Green Works and Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. All this experience and fantastic contacts, which I share with my clients. Traveling and living overseas until I was 17 years old, meant eating from markets. Life before "farm to table" was a term! Together these skills have been my journey and my education. The result is that I am able to use my life experience and my business acumen to guide clients with branding, messaging and marketing, vision and financial stability, operations and distribution... and last but not least, improving customer experience.
IN CLOSING, WHAT IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO OWNERS OF FOOD-BASED BUSINESSES?
Be willing to change. I could say it in fifteen different ways but it all comes back to creating new habits that lie in the willingness to change. You'll only see the benefits if you try...then your business will grow, and your staff will think you are a rockstar, that you are just that nimble in an ever changing foodie landscape!