Amy Rice is the founder and owner of Kex Kitchen, a catering company specialising in wholesome food for corporate meetings, events and weddings.
Being a small business owner Amy has an endless list of responsibilities such as, cooking, baking, delivering, accounting, advertising & marketing, gardening, ordering, repairs and maintenance – you name it she does it! Amy however loves working for herself and creating personal relationships with her clients. She gets a lot of satisfaction knowing who she is cooking for and especially seeing their faces when she arrives with a platter of food. It gives her a great buzz! The most rewarding aspect of her job is being able to help clients choose the right menu for their event and of course, receiving all the positive feedback!
Amy had studied a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in journalism at AUT. She used her degree for a year in Melbourne and then somehow ended up volunteering on an organic vegetable farm in Sweden. She was asked to bake a cake for the cafe they had on site, and ended up staying there for three years, falling in love with creating a wholesome menu and presenting food.
On returning to New Zealand in 2015 Amy decided to follow this passion and establish her own catering business here in the Bay. However the fact that Amy had never worked at a catering company means that she has faced a few challenges. Initially the process of learning how much food to cater for the right number of people took some time for her to master. Now she finds that part is easy! Another challenge she has faced has been trying to change people’s attitudes towards traditional catering. She has never had club sandwiches, asparagus rolls or scones on her menu as she wants to promote modern and healthy food options. It has also been tricky selling gluten free options, but now people have tried her food, they love it and she finds it doesn’t matter if items are gluten free or not.
After seeing the demand for her catering grow the next challenge for Amy was to buy a bigger commercial kitchen to work from. This has now been achieved at her new location in Mount Maunganui. She is now focused on expanding the business and taking on staff without being affected too much financially. She finds there are always new opportunities with new clients and gaining new contracts for corporate catering. Now is a great time to have business in the Bay, Amy says, as it is such a fast growing region with a lot of new businesses opening up who need all kinds of services. The Bay is also great for weddings, as there are so many beautiful venues, many couples travel to get married here. On a personal note, she thinks there is no better place to live!
Amy believes it is important to have a life outside work. In her time away from the business she enjoys diving, fishing, spearfishing, travelling, snowboarding, gardening and having coffee and cake with great company.
Her advice to other business owners is make sure you offer a good product and service, then people will come back to you. Although be patient as it won’t happen overnight. Also there is a difference in price and value, so never under-charge yourself.