David L. Kruger
Don Kruger is the General Manager of Cuisine De Jour, a high6end catering business located in the Rogue Valley owned by his son—and chef—David. Customers are continuously wowed by the style of international cuisine David learned while working at Donald Trump’s private estate, The Mar6A6Lago Club. After leaving The Mar6A6Lago Club, David moved back to the Rogue Valley and, with the help from his dad and supportive mother, they started Cuisine De Jour. Now in their third year of business, Cuisine De Jour has positioned itself to expand even further as a major competitor in Rogue Valley’s food service industry. Their latest business endeavor is The Greatest of All Time International Café, a venue to test out new ideas for dishes to serve at catering events.
Don admits that the level of success they are now enjoying wasn’t always there. Cuisine De Jour has had to learn the other side of the business—not just how to prepare the amazing food. “If you don’t plan things right from the beginning… you end up falling into a deep hole [really] quick, [and] once your down in that hole you’ve got to [figure out how to] climb out of it.” During its first year of operations Cuisine De Jour found itself in that hole. Don took immediate action and went to the Southern Oregon University Small Business Development Center for consulting. There he met with business advisor Ruthie Painter to get back on track and address their biggest problems, which involved their financial statements. “Working with financials is a skill,” Don admits. He recently took a Profit Mastery class Ruthie recommended.
After a few sessions, Ruthie recommended that Don read The1E1Myth1by Michael E. Gerber. Don said that the book changed his entire perspective about business. He realized that he couldn’t control every little thing happening to the business. By the time Don was done with the book, he was ready to take the next step with Ruthie and work on tackling the business’s most serious issues—maintaining capital and controlling invisible costs.
“Maintaining capital for those unexpected events [that bankrupts so many small businesses] has been the biggest challenge.” Don closely worked with Ruthie to find the best ways to set aside the necessary capital to give Cuisine De Jour some breathing room. Don next had to turn his attention to getting the invisible costs under control, such as insurance and license. “I never knew there were so many costs [when we started]. They add up so fast.”
Thanks to Ruthie’s help, Don has managed to raise Cuisine De Jour’s margins without sacrificing the quality of the food. Now Cuisine De Jour is poised to continue to expand in a weak economy into areas that the industry has been unable to. “I’d advise every small business to use the SBDC to get things moving in the right direction.”