Start a business from zero, serve tens of thousands of customers and then raise $30,000 in under 30 days to expand it. That’s exactly what the Founders of Squash the Beef Catering have done on their crusade to help people live and eat better than ever. Founded in 2019, Squash the Beef is a 100% vegan catering company that serves up high-quality, vegan comfort food. The company made close to $70,000 in its first year and even during a pandemic, continues to grow. Recently the proprietors determined that they needed a food trailer to keep up with consumer demand so they raised $30,000 in less than 30 days. Squash the Beef is a name you’ll definitely want to remember.
Buffalo Chik’n Dip, Fried Chick’n Breast, Macaroni & Cheez and Lasagna don’t typically come to mind when thinking of vegan cuisine. Squash the Beef, however, serves up what they call “vegan comfort food,” dishes that give you that soulful feel but without the harmful side effects of meat. Squash the Beef’s offerings are perfect for parties and events that need just the right, down home touch. It was a touch missing for Founders Kurtis Williams and his partner Candace who, after going vegan, were routinely offered basic salads and fruit when they went to parties. Rather than complain, they started whipping up their own dishes and very quickly, their non-vegan friends were eating more of their vegan food than the “regular” food. Candace and Kurtis started doing small popups but after serving 5,000 in one day at Veg Fest, they knew Squash the Beef was something special.
Kurtis and Candace didn’t plan to start one of the hottest Black owned businesses in Northeast Ohio. The couple certainly never planned to operate a vegan comfort food business– neither was anything close to vegan a few years ago. Kurtis’ blood pressure in 2016 was 160/109, however. According to his doctor, at that number, Kurtis should have been in a diabetic coma. He tried going vegan for 14 days, then decided to continue one day at a time. During his last physical Kurtis’ blood pressure was 110/79, the lowest it’d ever been since junior high. Kurtis decided he’d never go back to eating meat and along with his partner and business manager Candace, wanted to help as many people as possible experience that same transformation, with all of the taste.
With their new food trailer, Squash the Beef will now have the opportunity to serve neighborhoods that normally don’t have access to the high-quality, healthy experience it provides. Even in the age of COVID, Squash the Beef continues to innovate in the kitchen and in their strategic approach to make delicious vegan cuisine accessible. The company has partnered with other local Black businesses to reach even more customers. Squash the Beef has various products, like their kale lemonade, on store shelves and food offerings in local cafes, like Cleveland’s UnBar. Kurtis and Candace are parents, entrepreneurs and life partners who are challenging everything you thought you knew about vegan cuisine.