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Master of Agribusiness

A Business Plan and Strategy for Taste St. Louis Catering and Vending

Paula Prindiville, Arnold, MO., defended her thesis, “A Business Plan and Strategy for Taste St. Louis Catering and Vending,” Thursday, March 27, 2008. Prindiville is Co-owner of Taste St. Louis Catering and Vending in St. Louis, MO. She graduated from Kansas State University in May with a Master’s in Agribusiness (MAB).

In the highly competitive food service and restaurant industry, there is a tremendous amount of entry and exit from the industry and many have high hopes of owning a successful restaurant, but fail.  According to Prindiville’s research, new restaurants opened in major cities have a success rate of about 40%.  Success in the food service business depends not just on excellent execution, but also on choosing the style, location and type of food demanded. So when Prindiville’s husband, Mike, decided he wanted to get into the food business, Paula knew they had to have a well-thought out plan. Paula developed a business plan for Taste St. Louis Catering and Vending (TSL) as her Master of Agribusiness thesis project.

“While working toward my MAB Degree, I realized there were many things I could implement from the program into the business that would help us succeed in this new business venture.  I was able to research the food service industry to gain a better understanding of how to market and plan for the success of this venture.  After I started the research on this business venture I soon found that we needed a business plan that would answer many questions we had regarding the success of our business,” Paula said.

Through her research, their plan and future goals for TSL developed. The novelty of the TSL concept is for the business to be a street-vendor selling, mostly, famous St. Louis food items that can be sourced from the restaurant and sold out of a customized RV at several locations in the St. Louis metro area.  Enough such foods and treats have been identified that could be sold through a street vendor to become a profitable business, allow for future expansion and franchising opportunities.

 “We think we’ve come up with a unique food service concept, which offers quality, favorite local flavors, excellent customer service, and convenient locations for people with limited lunch-time eating options,” she said.

The uniqueness of their concept and a business plan to guide their management decisions, raise the probability of success, believes Dr. Alro Biere,  Agricultural Economics professor and Prindiville’s thesis advisor.

 “Paula’s thesis topic was a business plan for a new food vending business in St. Louis. The uniqueness of the business is based on the foods offered and the locations of operation. The plan is to bring specialities of St. Louis to underserved industrial parks and office buildings. The analysis and plan show that the prospects of the new business are good,” he said.

The full thesis publication can be found online on Kansas State University’s Research Exchange at http://hdl.handle.net/2097/4603.