Melinda, Abigail and Ray Lyons, owner of DandyLyons are answering the questions for this week's Small Business Snapshot.
What is the primary purpose of your business?
Ray- We are a different type of restaurant. We offer unique dishes that come from our desire to have healthier foods for our family. We want to serve the best and freshest food in town. We want to give our customers something unique in their dining experience. Melinda- We started cooking this way when we discovered that our daughter Abbie had become allergic to several things found in canned and processed food, so we learned to cook without having to use canned food. Ray- Most people don’t realize that traces of metal leach into the food in cans. Like canned tomatoes, the acid in the juices eats into the cans lining and into the cans. Abbie- I’m allergic to the metals in cans and some of the additives. It’s hard to go to most restaurants and eat because of the additives and processed foods that they serve.
What is the business background of the owners?
Melinda was a corporate trainer for a national chain; Ray had been a manager of a deli and a video rental store. We owned a maternity clothing store on Broad St. about 17 years ago. Abbie has extorted us for money for years, but honestly she great with money. She’s a Dave Ramsey kid.
Why did you start (or purchase) this particular business?
Ray- Melinda and I have talked about owning our own restaurant for many years. When we learned to cook healthier foods without resorting to canned and heavily processed foods we realized that we had learned something that nobody in town does. Using fresh ingredients over canned and processed foods makes a difference to the taste and quality of the meals. Melinda- I work at Berry College and between feeding lots of college students and tons of our daughters friends, when you hear, “Y’all should open a restaurant” over and over again you start to think , well hey, it could be possible.
What makes your business unique?
Ray- There are no cans in our store. Melinda- I think attention to quality, freshness and our desire to have unique items. Also we do not use a deep fryer. Abbie- We have a group of people who really want to make a difference. All of the employees work hard to help keep quality high.
What do you enjoy most about your chosen profession?
Ray- Watching the customers trying something new, watching them get excited about what they are tasting. When does anyone really get esxcited about what they are eating? Melinda- I love thinking about new and different items for the menu and seeing old fiends and making new ones. Food is such a wonderful way to bond. Abbie- When I meet others with food issues and we can connect, swap recipes. It’s nice to feel a little less crazy about food restrictions.
What has been the biggest or most interesting challenge to overcome as a small business owner?
Ray- Trying not to micro-manage. It’s hard not to stand over the cooks and tell them what to do, when to do it and what it should look like. I feel we have trained our cooks to do every item on the menu exactly the way we want it to be cooked. Melinda- Oh yes, I’m a control freak. It’s hard not to take the spoon from someone. It’s also good to let go. My kitchen is fabulous. Letting them grow and experiment has been awesome.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? Ray- Soon, we will be adding beer to our list of beverages. Abbie- I’m constantly trying to find new recipes, gluten free recipes and healthier options and I’m always open to suggestions.