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Meet Jonathan Fowler

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan Fowler. 

Hi Jonathan, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
Cooking has always been a part of my life. My grandmothers taught from the age of 6 to make large meals from scratch with basic ingredients around the house. My first job was in a family-owned barbeque restaurant where I learned many things from the importance of customer service, tips and tricks for good smoked meats, and the enter workings of business. In 2019 I started catering on the side because so many people would ask me to prepare food for them. At the time, I was also working a full-time job while attempting to balance having a business. I decided to make official and get a business license in June, but I didn’t take any orders until November. I had to come to terms with the process of becoming a full-time business owner. I started to get very busy but didn’t want to lose the security of my job, benefits, and the normal way of working moving into my 5th year. In December almost a full month into my first month of business, I was terminated from my position. This was devastating for me because I had been employed since I was 17, sometimes working up to 3 jobs at a time. Losing my job was just the push I needed to move into my purpose. If I had not been terminated, I would have still been trying to do the business on the side. I started catering out of my home until the operation exceeded the capacity of my kitchen and because it was brought to my attention that I needed to be in a commercial kitchen for the health department regulations. I began to look for space for my growing company only to find that market for space was very expensive. After a year of renting space and catering we were able to purchase our food tuck. Memphis Soul Café est. 2019 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road during this process have been challenging. Some of the challenges I have encountered are, starting a business with no capital, no guidance or help, costly materials and supplies, state regulations, codes, and laws, doing a lot of free business, of course working long hours, keeping the business as debt-free as possible. Networking in a time when it’s hard to meet people. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
We started this business with a dream to provide more than great food, but a phenomenal experience. We find creative ways to infuse soul into every dish, whether it is a comfort dish or something innovative. We are committed to providing excellence in every part of the experience. 

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Some of the important lessons I’ve learned is to have many sources of income for your business. I’ve learned how to adjust to the times. Put people first and practice good sanitary habits. Focus on what you can control and not to worry about what you can’t. I have learned to lean not on to my own understanding but to trust in the Lord with all my heart and soul and everything will work for my good. 

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