Oscar DiVeroli: I’d like to welcome to the studio today Cesar Quintero, CEO of Fit2Go. Welcome Cesar.
Cesar Quintero: Thank you Oscar.
Oscar DiVeroli: Cesar tell us a little bit about Fit2Go. What is Fit2Go do?
Cesar Quintero: Fit2Go is a healthy meal delivery service. We cook and deliver healthy meals for a health conscious professionals in Miami in South Broward. We cook our meals fresh early in the morning, four o’clock in the morning. People received [meal 00:34] in their office between 9 and 12, for lunchtime.
Oscar DiVeroli: That’s fantastic. What made you get into that business?
Cesar Quintero: It’s a long story. I graduated as a Production Engineer specialized in Logistics, that work in marketing for a corporate for years. Since everybody can do food, I just decided over a food business.
Oscar DiVeroli: Interesting. What is the greatest challenge you’ve had so far being in the food business?
Cesar Quintero: There’s a huge market shift right now that’s going on. The [margins 01:15] keep getting lower and lower. Food cost have going up a hundred percent in last ten years and labor cost keep going up. Since very difficult for restaurant tourist to really keep up with the [margins 01:26] because the customer don’t want to pay more, but there’s a big shift also in philosophy in towards people are wanting something more convenient and fast and casual. There’s a study now that by 2020, 70% of all restaurant food traffic is going to be our premises. Food drugs, Curb side pick up, delivery, etc. People cook lesson less and they need faster alternatives.
Oscar DiVeroli: How are you preparing to deal with potentially a paradigm shift in the industry?
Cesar Quintero: Part of the things I started my business was as a [genwire 02:06]. I saw the need for something convenient on a daily basis that was healthy, so I started Fit2Go to cater to that need. Now what I decided to do is to expand the model through my technology, to help restaurant tour is do what I do. Add up delivery component to the restaurants.
Oscar DiVeroli: Tell me more about the technology that you’re using in the restaurant business.
Cesar Quintero: It’s a mini RP where it controls the cost on the back end and then also gives an online component for people, for restaurant’s customer to go online, place orders, change their menus, change their dishes, and then it also optimizes a routes for the restaurants and prints out all the label, gives some all the reports. You know, it’s a full delivery components software.
Oscar DiVeroli: Cesar do you consider yourself to be a restaurant tour or a technology guy?
Cesar Quintero: I’m more of a technology guy. Since I started Fit2Go that was my differentiator I think. It’s developing the software to help me expand profitably and expand effectively. I do realize that’s one of my main differentiators from my competitors so that’s the way I want to … I’m passionate about, entrepreneurship and right now helping restaurateur achieve a level of profitably which they deserve.
Oscar DiVeroli: Are they tip of a sphere? Is their restaurant in the tip of your sphere, or is it technology?
Cesar Quintero: It’s technology. Yeah. It’s technology. The thing is that most people think that they can do restaurants but really you need to learn and understand the restaurant industry in order to really be a restaurateur. I’ve been in the business now for ten years just testing and trying and everything I’ve learned I put in to this offer.
Oscar DiVeroli: If you can go back and do it again all over, what would you change?
Cesar Quintero: I won’t change a thing. I think this journey has helped be who I am today. The experience I have today with the restaurant business I wouldn’t have without these ten years in it, but I typically tell people food industries are tough competitive space. Make sure you’re ready to wear all the hats and do everything you have to do in order to grow and succeed.
Oscar DiVeroli: Great. How did you finance your company during the launch phase?
Cesar Quintero: It was really bootstrap so I went all in, initially family also helped. It was an easy time to ask for loans, it was 2004-05 and my background being from Latina America, I think we’re mostly towards the bootstrap [crosstalk 05:09] pay as you go. But then when we needed the money to finance the growth it was 2008-09, it was really difficult to get so, you know, its made me learn about growing through your own finances and not stretching too far. To the State we don’t have a lot of loans or financing, so I guess that’s good.
Oscar DiVeroli: Cesar maybe I can help you a little bit. I would like to make an investment in to Fit2Go. I’d like to give you a million dollars . How would you deploy those funds into your company?
Cesar Quintero: I think right now I would use them to build my expansion model which I’m doing right know to help take the message out to restaurateurs and really push this offer, side to help them add the delivery component and add an effective way and grow their profits.
Oscar DiVeroli: What are you most proud of about your business?
Cesar Quintero: I’m really proud that I was one of the first ones in my space ten years ago and now I see that it’s a sweetheart of the restaurant industry, the whole delivery concept. I’m proud of being one the first ones out there and having the recognition we have in Miami right now.
Oscar DiVeroli: Some of your competitors in the restaurant business are corporately owned. How do you have an advantage as an entrepreneur over corporate world?
Cesar Quintero: In my case it’s technology. It’s a software allows customer to … We’re not bounding them to contract so they can order just one meal. They can make changes to their menus without extra cost. Also my low over head, I’m very cost efficient and which one of the things I focused on the most in last 3 years.
Oscar DiVeroli: In your opinion are entrepreneurs born or made?
Cesar Quintero: In my case, I think I was born with it. At five I was the guy with a popcorn and lemonade selling stand. I have a [taunt 07:20] sister and I guess we were both raised the same but she’s very corporate and very entrepreneurial so I think they’re born with it.
Oscar DiVeroli: I’m going to ask you a food related question being that your in the business. Comparing business to a fantastic recipe. What are the five main ingredients of owning a great business?
Cesar Quintero: I would say people first, strategy, processes, financing is important and I guess, sales. You need to grow through sales.
Oscar DiVeroli: Good. If you want to brainstorm a new idea where you want a problem solved or you’re looking for some guidance, where do you go to get that?
Cesar Quintero: Well luckily, I’ve been a member of EO for four years. I go to my EO brothers and sisters because most certainly they’ve gone through what I’ve gone through and everybody understands everything I’m going through right now.
Oscar DiVeroli: I don’t understand. Are they in the restaurant business?
Cesar Quintero: No. But you know, sometimes when you take things to your family, to your friends, they don’t really understand, you know. I can’t make payroll next week. What do I do? I think every entrepreneurs shares the basic principles of owning a business and all the stress that comes with it, all the highs and lows. I think, the experience sharing also helps me not feel alone.
Oscar DiVeroli: Great. As you know great leaders are always learning. What’s your best source for new knowledge?
Cesar Quintero: I read a lot. I like to read. I’m a learner. I try to go to every event and every speaker that come that EO brings. I started as an accelerator then I went to MIT program that EO has. I drink the cool [way 09:31]. I like learning and getting better day by day.
Oscar DiVeroli: You’re a lot younger than me. You have different experiences than I do. Teach me something about business that I don’t know. There’s a lot that I don’t know.
Cesar Quintero: Okay. I think it’s important when you’re starting the business to wear all the hats. Understand what everybody supposed to do in the business. Understand what everybody supposed to do in the business. Understand all the intrinsical parts of the business, core components, delegate, those are aren’t core. As much as people think that being entrepreneur is playing off and letting be, I think you have to go through the process of understanding how your business works and then graduating to that step where you can let the process and systems do it for you. You needed learning and do it yourself as well.
Oscar DiVeroli: Okay. In along those same lines, what piece of wisdom would you like to learn, something that it’s on tour mind and you want that piece of knowledge, what would that be?
Cesar Quintero: I think in my case, is leveraging growth. Leveraging going through investment faces and I’ve never done that. Since I was bootstrap all along, my ten years of entrepreneur should by have never done the whole rounds of investment and going and seeking for financier. That would be something I like to learn.
Oscar DiVeroli: Great. How does your company make a mark within the industry or within the community?
Cesar Quintero: I’m very passionate about helping kids understand that food is more than just a fast food and about distinguishing that adults and kids don’t have to have different menus. We’re very involve with big brothers, big sisters. We’re very involve with … The Miami Science Museum has a group program or they teach young girls about nutrition and what they should be eating. A lot of these kids don’t even, have an even tasted the [takepea 11:49]. So we bring them to the kitchen, they cooked, they taste different new ingredients so I’m very passionate about teaching kids how to eat right.
Oscar DiVeroli: That’s awesome. Tell me one of the coolest things you’ve ever done either personally or professionally.
Cesar Quintero: The coolest things I’ve ever done, I think it would be … It’s going to be sky diving but it’s not the way it was done.
Oscar DiVeroli: How is it done?
Cesar Quintero: It was in the middle of a business day, a friend of mine was turning 30 and he wanted to go sky diving. I’m not that much of a risk taker, so it wasn’t even on my mind. I told him, “You go with whoever … That’s your birthday gift, I’ll pay it for you”. Then his friend bailed at the last minute. He called me up. I was between meetings and he’s like, “I have nobody to go with”, so I just went with them. We did it. I don’t even think about it. I landed and then I had a meeting a half an hour later. It was accelerating.
Oscar DiVeroli: Your heart was still pumping at that time?
Cesar Quintero: Exactly. Yes. I then he realized I had already done it.
Oscar DiVeroli: What do you think the boldest move was ever in your professional career?
Cesar Quintero: The boldest move ever was, I didn’t sleep for three weeks because it was when I was 24 years old and I had to make a choice of either staying in a country that had no future and in a company that was [undervaluing 13:20] me and resigning. Marrying my girlfriend of six, seven years and moving to a new country and starting of a business. It was all done at the same time. That was 2004.
Oscar DiVeroli: How would you create a culture of trust and respect in your company?
Cesar Quintero: I think that’s a leader’s responsibility to do that. At the beginning I was very much of an employee, so I saw myself as an employee and went through the day to day. Until I didn’t grasp what my responsibility was when regards to culture and leading. That’s when we decided to lead by example. I’ve always had that respect to people as a boss, as an employee, as a business owner, you need that trust and respect.
Oscar DiVeroli: Who taught you? The concepts of trust and respect?
Cesar Quintero: My parents. They were very value driven, always doing the right thing even though when it has negative consequences but always do the right thing.
Oscar DiVeroli: Final question. Let’s pretend Fit2Go is no longer. You wake up tomorrow morning and you have no company to go to. What’s the next company you’re going to buy or start?
Cesar Quintero: I think what I’m doing right now. I’ll take company to help restaurateurs. Get better margins, better profits and shift with the industry.
Oscar DiVeroli: Excellent. Cesar it is been an absolute pleasure having you in studio today. You’re a fantastic entrepreneur and I know you’re very active in community and behalf of EO, again great having you as a member. Thank you so much.
Cesar Quintero: Thanks Oscar.