We asked some of our previous and existing clients about the challenges they faced getting started as small food entrepreneurs and how they overcame them. Our series begins with Michael and Tristen of Tito Ron’s, a lovely duo whose passion for Filipino-Caribbean food propelled them out of our kitchen and into their own space in Kensington Market.
MCK: What were the biggest challenges you faced in starting your food business?
Tito Ron’s: The amount of regulations, red tape and rules, we’re a surprise to us. Like people don’t realize that you need a commercial kitchen, to start with. Product is step one obviously, but then you have to learn the hoops you have to jump through to follow the rules.
MCK: Did working at MCK help make growing your business easier?
Tito Ron’s: Yes, and it wasn’t just the facility itself. You guys had a great rate compared to others, but the real benefit was getting to meet and work with you guys. Your team made a big difference, helping us out when we didn’t know what we were doing!
MCK: What advice would you give to anyone just starting out in this business?
Tito Ron’s: Stick it out through the bad days, find some kind of silver lining, find the positive. You know, you’ll have shows where you don’t make money, not everyone will like your product, things like that. Stay focussed on the positive even if it is small thing.
MCK: What is your least favourite part about being a food entrepreneur?
Tito Ron’s: The pressure you put on yourself to succeed in the beginning. It is easy to get lost in it but you have to remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect.
MCK: What is the best part of being a small business owner?
Tito Ron’s: We love it! We believe in what we are doing, not just selling our food and making our money on our own merits, but exposing people to a product that we are passionate about. We’re someone that people trust for good food now.
Check out Tito Ron’s for yourself at 214 Augusta Avenue, you won’t be disappointed!