Success Story: Cafe Yumm!

What started as a small family business with the goal of serving delicious food in an atmosphere that made people feel at home, has now become one of the fastest growing restaurants in all of New York City.

Cafe Yumm! is a small cafe located in the city of Los Angeles. They serve delicious food and have a very laid-back atmosphere. The owner, Marla, has been able to grow her business through social media and word of mouth.

Meet the Beauchamps, Mark and Mary Ann.

Palo Alto Software’s favorite lunch spot in town is Cafe’ Yumm! It’s easy to find good, healthful food, and it’s only around the corner. I got the opportunity to get down with Mark and Mary Ann last year and ask them to tell us their tale.

My narrative starts where many of our stories do: in Tokyo, Japan, in 1950, as the daughter of an American serviceman and his young Japanese wife.

Circumstance, parenthood, and destiny intervened from an early age to mold events, instill passion in me, and provide me with the knowledge, resources, and people I would need to help build a company my husband and I could never have imagined in our wildest dreams.

Because Mark was involved so early in the process, the Cafe Yumm! tale is really our story. His life and ideas were fashioned differently than mine, but we shared a philosophy and a desire to eat excellent food – nutritious food – and be able to feed and educate others to do the same.

Cafe Yumm logo

We never imagined that we would be able to create a product and a business that would concisely express a unique language that would be understood by so many people. I’m astonished and glad that our passion has become their passion. We can actually have a “lifestyle” company, where our lives are supported by a business we are passionate about, have a lot of fun with, and, most importantly, has provided us with significant and meaningful connections with many others who share our values.

All my life, I’ve been interested by food and cooking. Being born in Japan and then spending my early years in Italy when my father was stationed there provided the foundation for my future culinary endeavors. I was eating sushi, linguini with clam sauce, a variety of fish, unusual vegetables, and gourmet cheese at an age when most American youngsters refused to eat anything other than hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, and spaghetti. I grew up eating black-eyed peas, okra, mustard greens, ham hocks, gravy, and my aunt’s prize-winning pecan pie, among other southern dishes.

My father was from Kentucky, and he and his family understood how to cook and eat. Unfortunately, when I was fourteen, all of that fried chicken, gravy, steak, and butter came calling in the form of my father’s heart attack. Worse, he was in the hospital being given chicken-fried steak and gravy.

Even as a fourteen-year-old, I realized there had to be a better option than the hospital’s meals for a sick guy. I couldn’t see how an unhealthy body could cope with such terrible stuff, much alone recover. I recognized at that time that, despite our enormous wealth, we understood very little about nutrition and how our dietary choices had gotten us into difficulty in the first place. But, at the time, I had no idea what to do.

Mary Ann and Mark Beauchamp of Cafe Yumm

This conundrum lingered in my mind until I met Mark at the University of Alaska.

In the early 1970s, Mark was recruited from southern California to play basketball for the University of Arizona. Following my father’s choice to go to Alaska when his Army service ended, I was a cheerleader there. When the rest of the crew was eating steak and burgers, Mark had a strange habit of eating sprouted salads and sandwiches. He’d been interested in food and health since he was a child, reading many of the “pioneers” in what was then California’s nascent health-food movement. He was holding a sprout sandwich when we met! It was a culinary pairing made in heaven.

Our pals were shocked when we chose to become vegetarians later – “What will you eat?” they exclaimed. They appeared to assume that since I was a gourmet, it wouldn’t take long for me to get over this terrible concept. Actually, the gourmand in me drove me to develop all kinds of new things that followed a different set of norms and restrictions than what I had previously followed. During my pursuit for all things healthy and tasty, one of the sauces I created for us and our two-year-old daughter was the now-famous “Yumm! Sauce.” I used this sauce in my first culinary attempt to make my own lunch. People would notice it, ask for a sample, and nearly always perform a knee dip, roll their eyes, and remark, “Yumm!” “What exactly is this?” After that, I started a deli and wine store, and my customers insisted on having this dish on the menu. We knew we were onto something special when this small stacked dish of rice, Yumm! Sauce, black beans, and salsa became the most popular item on my otherwise extremely sophisticated menu. People wanted it for the flavor and texture, and the fact that it was also healthful was an added bonus. Our deli’s name was later changed to Cafe Yumm!

We established a second site in 1999 and a third location in 2002, all within three miles of each other. Mark joined the organization in 2000, leaving a lucrative profession as a managing broker for a prominent real estate firm. We made the decision to take a risk, trusting in both our product and ourselves. During the years it needed to get our enterprise off the ground, it was occasionally frightening to live on credit cards and hope. When the third café opened, it was a big success right away and in a location that brought in a lot of new customers. We stopped doing most advertising because “word of mouth” was generating so much business that we couldn’t keep up with it.

More and more individuals were asking about franchise opportunities at this time, but we didn’t think about it. We realized a “mom and pop” business wouldn’t get us there unless we got down and spoke about what we wanted to achieve, both philosophically and financially. We started to get investment queries as well as job applications from highly competent experts interested in working with us. Mark started to take measures toward that prospect after being in what he termed “franchise denial.” For one thing, we wanted to deliver this dish to as many people as possible, and the only way to do so was to franchise.

When Mark became serious about his career, Business Plan Pro was the ideal instrument for us. We were able to plan a strategy for our current company as well as achieve our aspirations for new outlets and product lines by using Business Plan Pro. It showed us where we needed to change our assumptions and really focused us on milestones, financial realities, and possibilities.

Today, we own three Cafe Yumm! locations in Eugene, Oregon, as well as a franchisor business, Beau Delicious! International, LLC, which just established a company-owned Cafe Yumm! with new, ecologically friendly materials. In November, a franchise shop will open in Springfield, Oregon, and another franchise will open in Bend, Oregon, in November. Corvallis, Portland, and Boise are all under investigation.

Cafe Yumm! was named the winner of the 2007 “Environmental Values” company award, defeating 18 other finalists. Yumm! Sauce is made by Rising Sun Farms in Phoenix, Oregon, and is sold in 70 grocery shops throughout the state, including Whole Foods and Market of Choice. Because of the popularity of our Yumm! Sauce, we’ve decided to add a few more items. Look for them as quickly as possible.

A large network of individuals and friends has been pulled together to assist us fulfill a goal that began with a homemade sauce produced in my kitchen for our family.

We are the dreamers, and Business Plan Pro has assisted us in realizing our goals.

Mary Ann Beauchamp was a writer who lived in the 1800s.

Café Yumm! is a restaurant in Happy Valley, Oregon. They have been around for over 20 years and are known for their amazing food. Their success story is an example of how hard work pays off. Reference: café yumm happy valley.

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