Investing in Detroit Business Before, During, and Beyond COVID-19

Quiana (Que) Broden is a blogger and the owner of Cooking with Que. Her mission? Teaching people how to “eat to live” by introducing more plant-based meals into their diets.

In spring 2019, Que launched her state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen and shared culinary space, The Kitchen, by Cooking with Que, in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood.

Through grit, determination, and an irrepressibly effervescent personality, Que’s business has taken off, growing month over month since launch. In addition to cooking demonstrations, Que offers in-house meal service, catering and pop-ups, and team building events. But the service offering she’s become known for is meal prep, which she added to her menu at the end of 2019.

When COVID-19 struck and Detroit’s food service businesses were required to shut down, Que was left with her meal prep service as the only viable business line left capable of generating revenue. She needed a way to ramp up meal prep and delivery service to sustain her business, while continuing to deliver healthy food in her community.

In typical fashion, Que went to work finding new customers and following up on contracts already in the works, and successfully secured orders to supply 80 + meals per day, 7 days a week. She’s now delivering locally sourced, healthy food to quarantine locations and feeding Detroit city employees who are working 24/7 on the pandemic.

Fair Food Network started working with Que in January 2019 where she secured the people’s choice award in a story slam event at our six-week brand training. Support grew as the coronavirus began to penetrate more deeply into the community.

Through one-on-one consulting, we worked with Que to pivot her business model during the COVID crisis, assess cash flow and financial projections, and provide support connecting with existing lenders to secure deferrals for loan payments. We also engaged CPA support to help tune up accounting practices. In addition, we were thrilled to be able to provide Cooking with Que a $35,000 Loan.

Together, our integrated financing and business assistance support is helping Que not only weather this transition but lead in her community’s recovery. Today, Que’s business is on the rise as her team delivers locally sourced, healthy food to Detroiters during the pandemic.

“Working with Fair Food Network’s Fair Food Fund allowed us to review our company with a fine-tooth comb. We learned how to operate at scale and maximize our relationships with new and past clients. Technical assistance was also provided to do audits of our finances and processes so we can grow our local client base,” said Que Broden. “With the new loan and technical assistance, we are going to grow our meal prep aspect of the business.  It really drives our mission to provide healthy food to the community, which has never been more critical.”

To hear more from Que, follow Cooking with Que on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube or check out cookingwithque.com for recipes, Que’s blog, and to learn more about available meal prep options.

 

Interested in financing and business assistance? Learn more about the Fair Food Fund, Fair Food Network’s impact investing arm and fill out our online form to start the conversation.