April 5, 2022

Ep. 33 Creating a Resilient Catering Business feat. Matt & Ashley Johnson

Ep. 33 Creating a Resilient Catering Business feat. Matt & Ashley Johnson

Do you love delicious food and resilient people? Then, you’ll want to hear Matt and Ashley Johnson’s story about how they launched Mangia Mangia Italian Kitchen and pivoted during COVID.


Do you love delicious food and resilient people? Then, you’ll want to hear Matt and Ashley Johnson’s story about how they launched Mangia Mangia Italian Kitchen and pivoted during COVID.

Learn more about the Carlsbad Chamber.

The owners of Mangia Mangia Italian Kitchen, Matt and Ashley Johnson, come on the Carlsbad People, Purpose, and Impact Podcast to talk about family, catering, and business with Bret Schanzenbach. This husband-and-wife team has had successful experience in the corporate world, but, when their first child was born, they decided they needed a big change. In order to spend more time together as a family, they fulfilled their long-time dream of going into business together and, in 2018, Mangia Mangia Italian Kitchen was born.

Originally, they served food at festivals, concerts, and parties through their food truck. When they recognized that this wasn’t the most sustainable business model, they pivoted and used their food truck to become a preferred provider in order to cater for weddings and events at various venues. Then… COVID hit. In response, Matt and Ashley applied for Great Plates, a government-funded program that helped those in the restaurant business to make and deliver meals to those 60 and older. Soon, Mangia Mangia was accepted as one of San Diego’s vendors and they were soon making and delivering over 600 meals every single day. Now, Matt and Ashley are utilizing all they’ve learned over the past few years, as they continue to cater for weddings and events and also provide locally-sourced lunches for multiple businesses through their Simply Lunch program.

If you want to hear how this powerhouse couple and innovative business team launched their business, navigated COVID, and have bounced back to create even more opportunities to serve others, check out this episode!

Interview Links

Check out Mangia Mangia Italian Kitchen here!

Learn more about Mangia Mangia on Instagram.

Connect with Mangia Mangia through email.

Resources

Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting’s website.

Ashley and Matt Johnson Profile Photo

Ashley and Matt Johnson

Owner/CEO/Mom and Dad

In 2018- we (Ashley and Matt) decided to buy a food truck on a whim. We’d both had successful corporate careers, but something was missing. We wanted to provide people with an outlet to relax, have a good time, and let loose — and we wanted to do it through food. We launched our food truck business as a do-it-all catering company that could accomplish our customers’ most off–the-wall event ideas.

Our small team of husband, wife, and 1 year old continued to grow with the addition of our chef, and the business took off. While continuing to add excellent people to our team, we branched out from doing traditional American-Italian cuisine to include all types of foods, while retaining an Italian influence. Due to high demand, our business quickly shifted from casual events to more upscale events at high end venues.

Our calendar was filling up with weddings, corporate parties, and such when the world went into lockdown. I (Ashley) was 6 months pregnant with our second child and couldn't have been more scared and concerned about our future. We had our toddler at home due to school closings and were receiving endless amounts of calls and emails of upcoming event cancelations.

One day while Matt was watching the daily Covid press conference updates, an upcoming program- Great Plates was announced to begin shortly. Great Plates was a Federal, State and County funded government program designed to help stop the spread of Covid by keeping the 60 and older indoors. It was also designed to stimulate the restaurant industry due to all the food industry shutdowns. Matt quickly applied and within a week found out our catering company had been accepted as one of the San Diego vendors. For 7 days a week (including holidays) Mangia Mangia delivered 3 well balanced meals a day to 60 and older qualified participants on the program. We served up to 165 people a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner totaling 500 meals a day for 17 months. With the transition into meal delivery- 2020 and 2021 quickly became our most successful year allowing us to launch a similar type program to the public in 2022.