Darlene Baker of HR Business Solutions began assisting 1885 Grill with their bookkeeping in summer of 2013.
We recently sat down with 1885 owner Miguel Morales to get a behind-the-scenes look at who they are and what they do. 1885 Grill supports over a dozen charitable organizations, including: the Food Bank, the Children’s Advocacy Center, and Harvest Here. As Miguel put it, “Fifty percent of what we do is within these 4 walls and the other fifty-percent is in the community.”
Miguel’s charitable calendar is impressive and there are numerous events they’ll be catering, so look for them around town.
What prompted you to start your own company?
My grandmother’s cuisine was amazing. I learned to cook at a young age when my parents divorced. My mom worked a lot, so I became the man of the family as the oldest boy and second oldest of 5 siblings. She told me I’d be responsible for making sure everyone was fed.
Learning cooking so young took the fear out of it because it was something I had to do. I discovered benefits in being comfortable with food, such as impressing dates with my cooking when finances were tight. I became the first in my family to go to college and the first to run a successful business.
What do you like best about doing business in Chattanooga?
The economy has been great. We moved here in 2006. When the recession hit in 2008-2009, we felt the effects, but it wasn't nearly as bad as Atlanta.
Community responsiveness is another great aspect of being here. I don’t think I could do what I do now, anywhere else, even in the town where I grew up. We have really been blessed. The community support has been amazing – we’ve been open only 2 years and we’re already opening a second restaurant this summer, by collaborating with Tremont Tavern.
What's a piece of advice you'd like to share with other entrepreneurs or start-ups?
Go to the BDC on Cherokee Blvd. Take their orientation class and get a print-out of all they offer. Go to as many as classes as possible.
How has our company helped you in your success?
My accountant referred me to the BDC. When I talked to him about making a checklist of how to open a business, he told me someone already beat me to it. He suggested I take Lynn Talbott’s class on how to keep books for your business.
By that time, my restaurant had already been open a couple months, so I kind of did things backwards. Most of the people in the class were only thinking about a business idea, whereas I came already having done a lot of what people had questions about.
One of the most helpful things from Lynn was the orderly list that showed which steps should be done in which order when starting a new business. She helped us sort out mix-ups along the way.
I’ve sent my managers to HR Business Solutions’ seminars, too.
You guys have been fantastic – we love working with Darlene and the whole HR Biz team.