Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle McCusker.
Hi Danielle, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was on a mission to make healthy food affordable and accessible. Therefore, I put myself through college and studied the restaurant industry while obtaining my bachelor’s in Business with a focus on entrepreneurship. I flipped my home and set out to start a healthy fast-food restaurant call Twisted Salads. After a year of searching for a location, my dreams and efforts slowly began to dissipate.
One day I was speaking to a friend who owned several restaurants about the troubles I was having and she offered to share her kitchen with me. I conducted research and realized this was legal and a better way to grow organically and a way to enter the market with less risk.
This was great, I solved my problem…. but what about everyone else? Denver’s market is so overpriced that small business restaurateurs can’t even mortgage their homes to start a restaurant anymore. We are inundated with corporate chains. I don’t want to live in a world like that.
Therefore, I developed the software that acts as the Air BnB of commercial kitchens. This helps struggling restaurants share their commercial kitchens with others who just need a chance. Peer Brands can spread the risk amongst a few instead of one. These restaurateurs can now share their resources.
There was no doubt in my mind that this was my new calling and I realized all my studies weren’t going to go to waste. In fact, this was my true calling and my new path. As I began sourcing my kitchens and running the business model my customer saw success and HOPE. My customers then asked if I could help them with their event space, office space, parking lots, and I accepted the challenge.
From Restaurant Peer (Air Bnb of commercial kitchens) Peer Brands was formed which is a software as a service company that works with small businesses, non-profits, and government entities to help monetize their underutilized space by matching them with another peer in their industry.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Let’s just say I coined my journey entrepreneurship because I often found myself saying well “shit, what do I do now,” “I didn’t see that coming,” “What did I get myself into”. Four failed attempts and 2 years of trying to develop the software because I knew NOTHING about technology. When I placed my first order for development and they asked me what language I wanted it in, I responded, “English, Spanish would be nice too.” I didn’t know about computer languages or what a stack was.
The hardest lessons you learn as an entrepreneur are the ones that cost you the most and I got SICK of throwing good money at bad money. So, I better learn about technology and I better learn quickly, and I did. Once I taught myself, with help from random individuals who crossed my path and gave me a guiding hand, I was ready. Then I thought to myself, “if big companies source their talent from overseas, why can’t I?” I ended up cutting my development costs and launched a bootstrapped tech company with customers.
To succeed I slept in 2, 2-hour shifts, one in the early morning before I had to get my kid to school and once again at night before my team overseas started work. American business during the day, overseas business at night.
My customers stuck with me for two years while I tried and tried and tried again, but I didn’t give up. At every waking moment, I lived in fear that I was going to lose it all. They believed in me and now I believe in myself, which is key. I had to go through the journey to learn who I was, what I was capable of, learn that I have changed and grown, and understand that everyone saw it but me.
When I look back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Those umphs turned into triumph. Some cool person made that quote I don’t know who but it’s true. Last week I started three restaurants and I saved four non-profits. All the blood sweat and tears was worth it!
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
1) Peer Brands leverages software as a service to help small businesses, non-profits, and government entities by marketing and monetizing their unused space by connecting them with a peer in their community who needs affordable access to a commercial kitchen, event space, office space, or parking.
2) Software is just a tool, when customers sign up, they get a team to help them with all their questions and a community network of support. Running a business is hard and we fill multiple gaps to ensure our customers succeed. Peer Brands is also the first to open up commercial kitchen access to the public for one-time use such as a cooking class or meal preparation.
3) Peer Brands specializes in starting/saving restaurants and finding ways to drive additional revenue streams for our customers who have underutilized space.
4)Peer Brands is an impact company, and always will be. We strongly believe our communities have enough resources available that are going unused, that building community is the way to help each other succeed, that we need to perpetuate local economies, and drive opportunity. This is why we work with small businesses, non-profits, & gov’t entities such as schools. They are the ones that help drive community. We will not stop and will continue to help one organization at a time if that’s what it takes. 5) We’re proud of making a difference and discovering new ways to help those in need. Even if an individual calls and isn’t our customer, we still connect or advise them on where to find their answers.
5) We want your readers to know that when you book any of our listings on our platform you are helping a local small business, a non-profit that does nothing but use their funds to further support their communities. We also want your readers to know if you need help, we’re here for you always, in all ways. Our services include affordable event/office/parking space and easy access to commercial kitchens. If you want to start a restaurant you can do that now with low costs and less risk because we don’t have long-term contracts. Only book what you need and we support your growth. Our restaurant services include: Private commissary space, shared commercial kitchens, pop-up restaurants, restaurants to-go, and virtual restaurants.
What were you like growing up?
I’ve always been a rebel with a cause. A passion to help, learn why things work the way they do or don’t, and try to develop better ways…
I’ve always led with my heart, which means I might get hurt at times. However, that hurt can transform into anger which is converted to motivation to execute the task or goal that needed to be accomplished. Be vulnerable, but smart.
I’ve always been determined to make change happen and good luck trying to stop me. Every failure gets turned into an opportunity and always will.
- Private commissary service starts @ $16/hr
- Virtual Restaurants fully equipped for less than $150/day
- Event space for meeting/classes as low as $25/hr
- Pop-up event/restaurants with full bars as low as $399/day
- Restaurants To-Go starting at 3k/month
- Email: Service@PeerBrands.com
- Website: www.PeerBrands.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peer_brands/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peersgotyourback
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/PeerBrands
- YouTube: https://twitter.com/PeerBrands