SINCE it started in November, Food Xpress Catering has already outgrown its original operations in Spanish Town and will soon leave its current Kingston home for one that allows it to expand even more.
"We normally just do events, collect the money and move on, but we decided to get into the field of canteen concessions and into a more formal business structure," said Melville Lumley, the managing director. "That's why we incorporated a company to formalise the structure and now get contracts."
The quality of the food is the single-most important factor in being competitive, Lumley said. Food Xpress, the sixth nominee in the Observer's Mogul in the Making programme, provides a wide range of meals that are prepared by professionals with experience in the cruise ship and hotel industries. Additionally, a dietician tests all meals to assure quality.
"We've been getting interest from government entities, and we have a couple of private sector (businesses) which have also inquired. What we do now is go to them, make proposals, have them sample our food," he said.
Food Xpress currently caters to groups from 30 companies. "It wouldn't be cost-effective to just deal with individuals so our main target is corporate entities," Lumley said.
As with many entrepreneurs, Lumley had difficulty finding the initial capital for the business, but has since found "creative ways to circumvent that".
"We cut costs where we can and we've even had to take cooking gas from our personal dwelling, just to keep costs down."
Marketing is another challenge, but this is being met by aggressive attempts to woo new clients through proposals.
"The interest is high and our model is strong. We are aiming to get canteen concessions and with that as our base we can continue with our lunch services and also do our events catering, because we're caterers."