Today we’d like to introduce you to Peter Tulaney.
Peter, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
True story… five years ago, I was gifted a kitchen aide standing mixer from a friend who had won it on a game show. She doesn’t cook and knew I liked to. At the time, I had no ambition of being a professional chef or caterer. I am in fact a child psychologist (recently retired). The standing mixer came with a meat grinding attachment, and I thought it was hysterical that I can make my own ground beef for burgers – imagine my thrill to know it also came with a sausage stuffer! I started making sausages in my kitchen for fun. I would bring them to friends BBQ’s and take pride telling people I made the sausages… no, not cooked them – I MADE them! One summer I was cooking at a friends house, for a party, he was hosting, and a guest I did not know asked me if I would be interested in catering his birthday party the following month. I was flattered and agreed. A week before his party, he called me and asked me if I could fax him my insurance information, and business license… all I could remember thinking was – this guy thinks I’m an actual caterer! (at the time, I was not). I asked him for a day to get the info over to him, quickly registered my business, secured an insurance policy and that day – became a professional caterer.
That’s how I got started… getting to where I am today was a compilation of risk-taking, saying goodbye to clinical psychology and most of all – intensely hard work.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In small business, there are no smooth roads. This is not my first business, in fact, I have opened 3 businesses prior to this one, all rewarding, all financially fruitless.
I used to use this analogy with some of the children I worked with…. there are limitless formulas to success, you can be successful doing anything – but there is one common factor to all success stories – hard work. If you are willing to do, what others are not – you have got a shot.
I would say my toughest struggle has been opening my first brick and mortar kitchen. There are loads of applications, certifications, registrations, restrictions, permits, guidelines, regulations, departments and fees that need to be understood, satisfied and paid before you can boil water in this city. This was the major hurdle and required an “all in” attitude. I have young children and little financing – many a sleepless night was endured in the process.
Please tell us about WeHo Sausage and Catering Co..
I have to start with what I am most proud of… our team. I acknowledge that I started this business alone, I have no partners, and no one shared those sleepless nights with me. However from day one, I have been supported by a select group of individuals that have not only kept my fires burning but also put in many hours of their own getting us up to speed. I love my current staff like family. What we were able to accomplish as industry newcomers is remarkable to me.
The WEHO Sausage and Catering Co. specializes in corporate and event catering. In addition to catering our lunch counter operates from 9-4pm Mon-Fri. We are tucked away inside a commercial building on the underdeveloped side of the Pico-Union district of DTLA. Most of our clientele either work in the building or are visitors to other businesses in the building. We do not advertise, in fact, we don’t even have exterior signage. This is one of the reasons why I think we are considered a hidden gem… we are most definitely hidden. The retail side of our business is the smallest component, which allows us to put a lot of our resources into being the best corporate lunch caterers in the city. There are a lot of businesses from Downtown to Santa Monica who are now hosting lunch programs for their employees. We are able to put together fantastic menus from our American Grill to our All Paleo Menu, Taco Bars, Sandwich Assortment, Custom Sausages, Pulled Pork, and our Five-Times Award Winning Chili.
I feel we are gaining a reputation for cooking fresh. We take pride in our pantry’s bereavement of processed food. I tell out customers the only can you will find in our pantry is albacore tuna, and it is true. Although our retail counter sells a lot of sandwiches, which obliges us to buy breads and cheeses, mostly all of the other items in our kitchen are processed in-house. We grind and case our sausages, cure and smoke our own bacon, roast our own beef… make our own salad dressing.
I think we are uniquely qualified as event caterers. As the Director of Event Catering, my previous experience in interpersonal communication comes in handy. When planning an event like a wedding, I feel my ability to connect with a client and understand their needs is precise. To me, the connection is key. It enables me to share and hopefully enhance the excitement that one is feeling during the planning stages of a big event. Once there is an emotional “buy-in” and a good working relationship established, we can access all types of creative and exciting realizations for planning the perfect party.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Los Angeles is a great city to start a business. It is tolerant of diversity and embraces new ideas. The food industry is a tough one – but anyone with passion and the ability to work exceptionally hard has got a shot to make it. As a newcomer to the industry, I was excited to learn that the city does sponsor a program to help people like me break into the restaurant and hospitality game. It is called the restaurant and hospitality express program, it is free, it provides both insights and tangible assistance in obtaining permits, and other necessary preliminary paperwork.
- Address: 1313 w 8th street
Los Angeles CA 90017
- Website: www.wehosausageandcatering.com
- Phone: 310 869 5824
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @wehosausagecompany
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/weho-sausage-company-los-angeles
- Other: https://www.thumbtack.com/ca/los-angeles/food-services/catering-event-consulting-services