Recently, I was fortunate to serve as legal counsel for a movie called "N-Secure" that was filmed in Memphis. Daily on the set, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks were provided to the crew courtesy of Felecia Bean Catering. And it was wonderful!
Omelets prepared on demand, fresh seasoned fruit – the choices were incredible. As a full-service caterer, Bean can do it all. Her background is as impressive as her food presentation. From overseeing meals at convention centers to servicing the Congressional Black Caucus, she is a stellar professional with an eye for detail.
Although the business has been a husband-and-wife team enterprise, Bean and her husband are now gearing up for a transition to the next generation, their son, Frederick Bean Jr. This is what most family businesses strive for – "the successful transition of a successful business."
While it is always a roll of the dice on whether children will be interested in taking over the business, after years of hard work and training, it appears that Felecia Bean Catering is on the right track.
Carlee McCullough: Tell us about your family.
Felecia Bean: My husband is an employee of Coca Cola Bottling Company here in Memphis. He is my biggest supporter. When it comes to the Catering Business he has learned so much over the years that if I have two (2) engagements at the same time, he is Felecia Bean Catering at the other event. We have two sons, and one of them, Frederick Bean Jr. has said for years that he wants to take over the business one day. We had a hard long talk at the end of his spring semester at Lane College in Jackson, Tenn. He encouraged us that he knows how to grow the business and that we should allow him too.
CM: So you made the transition to your son? How did you do that?
FB: Yes. He gave us an 18-month transition plan that guides him to full ownership of the company. The plan was so comprehensive that I had to laugh and pinch myself at the same time. He has brought new customers that we have never seen, including a great deal of young brides and young professional organizations.
CM: How is it going so far?
FB: I am extremely pleased with how the transition is going. We do have professional differences when it comes to technique, style and execution.
CM: What is your son's background?
FB: Fredrick Jr. is going to be a student at Lecole' Culinaire in January of 2013. I am sure he will also continue to keep us as members of the Memphis Restaurant Association, NACE, and the many local community organizations that keep us first and foremost in the Memphis community.
CM: What is Fredrick doing differently to make a difference?
FB: Fredrick's big asset is that he does a great deal of tastings. I did not do many tastings for customers, but this seems to do very well for him. He has a huge following with those Free Chocolate Covered Strawberries. When you are a new customer and he has opportunity to meet with you about your upcoming event he brings you fresh Strawberries. Brides love this. Holiday planners cannot wait until the event to have more. Although we have professional differences, he still gains customers in his own way.
CM: What has been your greatest reward in the catering business?
FB: Our greatest reward has been that we all get a chance to grow and learn together. There is extra satisfaction in knowing that our customers are pleased with their event. This is the cherry on top at the end of the day. We are still living in the city that we really love, with great company name recognition.
CM: What is the next step for your company?
FB: The next step will be the full natural transition of the company to my son.
CM: After the transition, what's next for Felecia Bean?
FB: I am working closer with my parents, who own Bean and Prince Contractors, Inc. As they age they are seeking a more laid-back and traveled life. I want to make it easier for them with succession planning.
CM: Have the sacrifices been worth it?
FB: Sacrifices for your business are always worth it as long as you do not sacrifice the love of your family.
CM: Any closing remarks or advice?
FB: Stay true to yourself and deliver your reputation.
(For additional information about Felecia Bean Catering visit www.feleciabeancatering.com.)