Still Catering to a Higher Cause

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In 2012, Mavis Linnemann-Clark opened The Delish Dish, a catering company in Covington, KY. She obtained a Catering and Personal Chef certificate in 2011, having combined her passion for travel, cooking globally inspired dishes with almost two decades of experience in the food service industry.

The following year, Mavis was a finalist for admittance to Bad Girl Ventures, a woman-focused startup accelerator in the region. She also joined the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen and launched her artisan line of jams and jellies, called Made by Mavis.  

In 2015, Mavis became a member of the Kroger Buys Local Campaign through the Kentucky Proud® program for food certified as “raised, grown or processed in Kentucky by Kentuckians.” However, despite these successes, Mavis, needed help running the business side of her business. 

Rebecca Volpe, Northern Kentucky University SBDC Director, began working with Mavis in 2014. Since that time, Mavis has received over 160 hours of SBDC counseling.  

Mavis also has received over 200 hours of mentoring from the SCORE Chapter in Northern Kentucky.  

Business mentors from the SBDC and SCORE helped Mavis better manage rapid growth in revenue, employees and catering events. They also helped her develop a strategic plan, new product lines and generation of a healthy profit that meets industry standards.

In 2016, The Delish Dish was notified by the company operating the incubator kitchen that it was leaving due to a foreclosure. This forced The Delish Dish to relocate. With guidance from the SBDC, Mavis was able to negotiate with the new building owners a long-term lease of the incubator kitchen and also operate the kitchen

With financial analysis and guidance from the SBDC and SCORE, The Delish Dish was able to even out cash flow for the business, which has increased three-fold over a four-year period. Space increased from 500 square feet to over 5,000 square feet during this same time.

Based on her success, Mavis was recognized as the SBA Kentucky 2018 Woman Owned Small Business of the Year and SBDC Pacesetter Award. Nominated by SCORE mentor Carlin Stamm, Mavis was also the SBA Kentucky 2020 Small Business Person of the Year.

When the pandemic stuck and the entire hospitality industry collapsed, Mavis re-created her company. She added a carryout menu and began offering curbside service and delivery. She also added The Delish Dish to Go, take-out dinners, take-and-bake items and more. 

“Mavis showed creativity and perseverance during the pandemic. She switched to daily and weekly take away meals, added new meals and appetizers that would freeze well and developed special holiday menus,” said her SCORE Mentor Carlin Stamm.

The Delish Dish received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) First and Second Draw forgivable loan. Mavis stated, “We worked with Central Bank & Trust Company on our PPPs. It was a smooth process. Funds were deposited in just a few days.”

Things are beginning to get back to normal. Mavis has more wedding events booked now than ever before, and corporate events are being scheduled again.

Mavis is passionate about helping those in need. The Delish Dish donates meals to two local homeless kitchens. She and her team also volunteer for the Keep Covington Beautiful campaign and the Great American Clean-Up Day.

This article does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.