After being in business for about 20 years, the Honest Foods Catering ordered in some help from Chicago entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis.
The Chicago company scored a spot on Lemonis’ CNBC TV show, “The Profit.” Their episode is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Sept. 20.
A promotional blurb for the episode said Honest Foods “suffered a steep drop in sales,” and owner Tad Devlin was “taking his frustration out on employees.”
Devlin, though, said the 10-employee operation, based at 5408 N. Elston, has seen steady sales increases over the last five years.
The company had about $1.3 million in sales last year, up from about $1.2 million the year before.
Honest Foods does a lot of commercial, television show and movie production catering — “Shameless” and the recent taping of the WTTW Chicago-produced “Soundstage” with Kenny Loggins are among recent jobs — and income last year was bolstered by increased TV and movie filming in the city, Devlin said.
But business has taken a dive at times — for example, right after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and during a decline in TV and movie filming locally, Devlin said. And with business being seasonal, he’s had to cut employee hours during slow periods, he added.
Devlin’s father, a regular viewer of “The Profit,” had advised him to apply during the show’s first season, but Devlin said he didn’t think his company was hard up enough to warrant a reality show makeover.
“I told him we’re not near failing. And he said they’re looking for businesses that also need help,” Devlin said. “A lot of businesses, when they get to our size, have a struggle growing.”
Devlin said he got too busy to follow up, anyway.
Office manager Jen Byrd prompted the application to the show as a means to grow and acquire a larger kitchen, and filed the application in March. The show responded the same day. Taping began in May. What happens is under wraps until the episode airs.
“I never expected to be on the show,” Devlin said. “From the shows I’d seen, it was a lot of financial troubles. We’d always gotten out of the hole.
“We envisioned he would take us in a different direction — maybe an offshoot product that would help us out.”
The last Chicago business to be featured on “The Profit” was restaurant and food truck operation Da Lobsta. During an episode aired in November 2015, the business rejected an offer of $210,000 for a 51 percent ownership stake, carrying a caveat that founder J Wolf take a salary instead of using company funds for meals and entertainment.
Article sourced from The Chicago Tribune.