Meg Hall is a celebrity chef, caterer and owner of Made by Meg – a catering commissary and test kitchen in Redondo Beach, California. She specializes in healthy farm-to-table meals, local farmer’s markets and catering for parties.
Chef Meg has trained at the Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, CA, followed by a job alongside a renowned chef at Michelin-star restaurant Ortolan. She has worked with high-profile companies including Absolut Vodka, Citysearch.com, Paramount Studios, Seacrest Productions and the Supper Club, as well as celebrity clients such as Kaley Cuoco, Jaime Pressley, The Jonas Brothers, The Kings of Leon, Tori & Dean Spelling and more.
BusinessInterviews: Tell me about your catering company, Made by Meg.
Meg: Made by Meg is a Los Angeles based catering company founded in 2007 by Chef Meg Hall. We specialize in custom catering experiences for clients who call themselves “foodies.” Custom menus, thoughtful staff and smooth service define our events.
BusinessInterviews: What has been the most challenging area for you in running your business?
Meg: I think the most challenging area of running my business is the employee/contractor side of it. The narrow profit margin of food sales limits how much we can compensate our team, which leads to a unique set of challenges that other industries don’t often face. I still struggle with finding ways to be fair but firm and motivate everyone in their own way. Learning how to be a leader for the team and making everyone happy is tremendously difficult. The same would apply to the legal side of that issue – who is a contractor? Who is an employee? All that fun stuff!
BusinessInterviews: What inspired you to leave your position as a Financial Advisor and start your own business?
Meg: After 4 years in the financial sector, I hired a business coach who helped me evaluate my life goals. I felt listless in my work and after some soul searching, I realized that cooking was my passion. The best part was allowing myself to figure out a way to make a living at making food. So many people don’t give themselves permission to be happy and having a coach really made the decision so clear. I also come from 5 generations of entrepreneurs, so starting my own business was almost expected.
BusinessInterviews: Your client roster includes companies like Paramount Studios, Lexus, Food Network and others. What’s the secret to such an impressive client list?
Meg: I think the secret to building a client list like mine is showing people you can respect their values and goals. Leading up to the event, I try to understand what is most important to them for this event. If a client has a limited budget, I show them ways to save money in ways that won’t be obvious to the guests. If the client is intensely private, I don’t add them to my public client list or share anything about the event on social media. And so on.
BusinessInterviews: What is it that differentiates you from other catering companies?
Meg: Made by Meg is different from other catering companies because it’s run by a chef. It’s very common for the owner and the chef to be at odds over budget. For example, the chef wants expensive product to cook with, the business owner doesn’t feel that the budget should be blown on expensive product. Value for excellent food and product comes from the top and I think that shows up in how our food tastes. We also hand select all our catering staff and meet them in person before allowing them to work an event. It’s common for other catering companies to hire staffing companies to staff their events. Our staff knows how we operate and the service standard reflects that.
BusinessInterviews: You seem to be very active in not only running your business, but in the marketing and promotion of it as well. How important is that for business owners to take an active role in?
Meg: I think it’s vital for the business owner to take part in the marketing process. The owner needs to buy in to why marketing is important and see how it affects the bottom line. From the start, my marketing has involved my image and participation – mostly because the name of the company has my name in it! Companies that aren’t branded on the business owner don’t need to be as present as I am. Although, if the business owner is a marketable entity, it might be a good idea to put them front and center!
BusinessInterviews: What does the future hold for Made by Meg?
Meg: We’re looking forward to expanding our market share in the Los Angeles area and perhaps our brick and mortar footprint. I have no plans to sell or walk away – I love this business and every event we cater!
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