Mayor’s Small Business Awards

Theresa Finch, President and CEO of the Bayside Catering; a family, retail catering business located in Kihei, Maui, Hawai`i, was nominated for the 2008 Mayor’s Small Business Awards for Maui County.

The full text of the nomination letter reads as follows:

RE: 2008 Mayor’s Small Business Awards Nominator’s Letter

Dear Committee Members:

It is my pleasure and honor to nominate Theresa Finch, President and CEO of the Bayside Catering; a family, retail catering business located in Kihei, Maui, Hawai`i, for the 2008 Mayor’s Small Business Awards for Maui County.

Open since 1992, Bayside Catering is an inspiration to all small business, and especially to women in business. Bayside Catering exemplifies that which makes the Maui County destination experience one of the best in the whole world: exceptional quality in both food and service.

Specifically, the main reasons why Bayside Catering and owner, Theresa Finch, are deserving of this award are:

1.Business leadership. This small business has been open since 1992, and has made a name for itself in Wailea and particularly, the Kihei Board Harbor for quality of food, service, and management. Not only did Finch survive the first three years of business, when failure is most likely to occur, but Finch lead her company thru the economic downturn of the early 1990s. She opened part-time in 1992, and was full-time with one employee within 6 months. Most of her original business clientele came from the Kihei Boat Harbor and business grew by word-of-mouth. Finch has operated out of one of the hotel kitchens in Wailea, working off-hours and around regular hotel businesses for over 16 year. Now she has one assistant chef, one kitchen helper, and an on-call staff of over 10 part-timers in a pool of employees that she can call upon no matter how large the catering affair. She credits her success to a desire for quality in all part of her business as well as her business acumen to remain small and not overextend herself financially, or by thinning the quality of her work.

2.Quality. Annual sales have increased three-fold, since she opened her business in 1992. In order to accomplish this longevity and consistent increases in annual, Ms. Finch credits her eye for quality standards as the main reason for her success. First, the food quality is excellent. Second, service quality is excellent. Finch and her staff work very hard to make sure it tastes good and it looks good, and that service goes well. Finch attributes this to her good personnel and project management skills. She has a strong desire to keep staff happy to increase retention. She find ways of acknowledging their contribution in conventional and unconventional ways, i.e. airline mileage contributions, bonuses, creating a family atmosphere, making it fun, employee luncheons, and more. Third, flexibility. Finch prides herself on her ability to “go with the flow, take on what comes at me, and make it work”. She knows that quality mixed with flexibility is the key to her success.

3.Exemplary Customer Service. Finch is very customer service-focused. She personalizes every detail for each event; focusing on the “little things”. “Going the extra mile” is a cornerstone of excellent customer service, according to Finch. “Getting inside the customers heads” and figuring out what the client is looking for has made her business a success. Finch also attributes her success to her ability to “go with the flow” and come up with creative solutions on the fly. Finch has a reputation for meeting the customer’s expectations, and has had to do little advertising and marketing, as her reputation and referrals have kept her busy, even during hard, economic times.

4.Partnerships. In addition to quality and customer service, Finch attributes her success to being able to manage key business relationships. First, Bayside Catering has been catering out of the same kitchen facility for over 16 years. This is no small fete, and is due to a unique business arrangement Finch secured in the early stages of her business’ formation. This has enabled Finch to keep overhead costs low. Due to confidentiality and trade secrets, I cannot disclose the location of her kitchen. Second, Finch’s core group of Kihei tour and dive boat accounts has been the second most important partnership to her business’ success. Finch understands the importance of maintaining good business relationships for business success.
5.Exceptional Traits. Perseverance, ingenuity, creativity, and an unwavering standard of high quality are the exceptional qualities of Theresa Finch. Ms. Finch is also a true inspiration to women in business in Maui County. She started from scratch with a loan from her parent in the amount of $5,000, and after 16 years in business, continues as the sole manager and head chef of one of the most popular catering businesses in Wailea and Kihei areas. A business in the same location and with the same base clientele for 16 years is no small fete. She even does her own accounting.

6.Active community member. Over the years, Finch has been a dedicated members of several non-profit activities mainly centered on cancer and drug issues. Her sister was diagnosed with cancer so this really brought the issue home for Finch. In addition, her business contributes and lends support to activities of SHOPO and Toys for Tots.
Please accept my nomination of Theresa Finch for this esteemed award saluting the achievement and contributions of this Maui County-grown small business – Bayside Catering… capturing that “small, but mighty” aspect of so many of small businesses that sustain our economy and support our biggest industry … tourism. Bayside Catering has the lock on catering hospitality, local-style, to the world.

Sonia King
Library Director