Volume 12 Week 5

Tuesday, July 22


 

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(Posted 9:30 a.m., May 14)
Cumberland-based
BBQ catering business
takes flight

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Mat Flosse (right) and his brother Joey are the young men behind a growing BBQ catering business called Meatings. Fred Sherwin Photo

When Cumberland entrepreneur Mat Flosse first thought about starting his own business in the summer of 2012, his father Pat wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea.

"He had just completed his second year in sociology at the University of New Brunswick and he wanted to drop out to start a catering business. And then there was the name. I told him there was no way he was going to go anywhere with that name," recalls the elder Flosse.

Ahh yes, the name. Mat thought of the name before he even thought of the business -- Meatings -- a cute and simplistic mash up of the words "meat" and "meetings".

The name, like the business, had its genesis in the backyard parties Pat, and later on Mat, used to throw for their friends.

"We used to have some pretty big parties and cook up all kinds of crazy meat concoctions. We had a big pig roast in the front yard one year," says Mat whose original concept for the business was to throw the same type of parties they had in their own back yard in other people's back yards. "Some buddies started asking if we could do it at their place. That's when I started researching different cookers."

Flosse learned about a cooker that was being manufactured in St. Catharines by a gentleman who wanted to sell them to potential franchise owners. Flosse wasn't interested in a franchise, but he was interested in the cooker.

"I already had a name and it was better, so I just bought the cooker," says Flosse.

In order to raise the money to buy the cooker, Flosse first had to sell his car.

"I told him that when you start your own business you have to be prepared to make sacrifices," says Pat Flosse, who ended up lending his son his truck that first summer.

The first couple of jobs Flosse did were for friends. Then he got a call that would catapault his part-time business into a full-time career.

"I got asked to do a wedding. It came completely out of the blue. It actually threw me off a bit because catering a wedding is lot different than roasting a pig for a bunch of your buddies. There's a lot more responsibility," says Flosse, who ended up doing two weddings that first summer.

Last summer he did seven weddings, and he's already booked 15 weddings so far this year.

"It's really taken off," says Flosse, who recently purchased a second truck and a cooker after bringing his younger brother Joey into the business. With two cookers and two trucks they can now do twice as many events.

Besides weddings, they can cater other large gatherings of up to 300 people including corporate events. They can smoke, roast or grill just about anything including wild boar, and they can provide everything from the deejay to the table cloths and cutlery.

"We can offer our clients a one stop service so they don't have to run around trying to look after a dozen different things at once. We can help them plan their event from scratch," says Flosse.

While catering is the main focus of Meatings, Flosse has spent the past winter developing and taste- testing a variety of BBQ sauces and rubs which will soon be available at Lavergne's Western Beef on Navan Road. He's also been working on a series of merchandise items including T-shirts, aprons and ball caps.

"My goal is to create a really strong brand and keep it as a family run business," says Flosse, who has entertained the idea of creating a Meatings food truck.

For now, the company's two biggest assets are Flosse and his brother Joey who is studying marketing at Algonquin. Their father, who just three years short years ago joked about the name, is their biggest supporter.

"The reason why they've done so well is because the client always deals with them directly, from planning the event to cooking the food," says the elder Flosse.

Mat credits his father for teaching him everything he knows about food and instilling in him the importance of family and friends .

"Everything I've learned about grilling, roasting and smoking, I learned from my father," says Flosse. "It's comes down to a love of food and getting together with the people you care about."

To learn more about Meatings visit www.meatings.ca.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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