New business takes stress off your plate

Cooking up Success


Job Burns was eighteen years old, working a summer job pulling out weeds, and it didn’t take him long to realize he didn’t want to keep working for someone else. His first love was cooking and that’s when a business idea got firmly planted in his mind.

“That’s when I realized what do people need? They need to eat well, in a timely fashion. I could start with catering,” says Burns.

He started offering services where he would go into clients’ homes, help settle guests, offer drinks, prepare appetizers and food and then clean up. His concept of service ‘from doorbell to dessert’ took off. He was so good at it, he was asked to do a little more.

For six months, he went into a client’s home, used their groceries and kitchen space to prepare healthy lunches, snacks and dinners for the week. But, could it be a full-time business?

The answer was a resounding, yes and he got that feedback through programming from Enterprise Saint John, which included mentorship, business skills and advice from fellow entrepreneurs.

“Having access to these mentors, seasoned entrepreneurs with connections in the Maritimes and across North America, who were there just to help you. That was one of the most valuable parts for me,” says Burns.

“I’ve known Job for a long time. He’s always been top notch at execution. I’m not surprised, in the least, to see him succeeding as an entrepreneur. I’m happy ESJ was able to be with him during the formative steps of his business,” says Dakota Lutes, Entrepreneur Development Officer for Enterprise Saint John.

The catering service has now turned into Busy Day Chefs with clients across the Saint John region.  Clients tell Burns the biggest draw for them is the savings they see on their monthly food bills.

“One client said she was spending more than $300 dollars a week on groceries and take out and then ended up throwing out food they purchased. But, now she pays for our services almost entirely on what she saves on food waste and grocery bills.”

For about $350 week, Busy Day Chefs uses the same concept of restaurants: FIFO (First In-First Out). They look at what you have in your kitchen and pantry and only buy extra groceries when needed.  Like restaurants, all Busy Day Chefs are highly trained in food safety by the National Food Safety Training Program.

Right now, Burns has one full-time Chef and two contract chefs working with the company, but Burns has visions of expanding one day and franchising the business concept abroad. But, he says Saint John is where it all started and there is a good reason for that.

“Sometimes I wipe my eyes and look around and I think, okay, this is our city and we’ve got this. Why in the world would we want to go anywhere else? Saint john is on a growth spurt and I’m happy to help with that and be part of that.”

Story originally published in the Saint John Telegraph Journal, Monday, August 14, 2017