Kristen Bailey has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. She is a 2003 graduate of Wittenberg University where she majored in business. Kristen then worked in the financial services industry for 15 years. Kristen and her business partner Anton Gaffney always enjoyed hosting cookouts. They were perfect hosts, and with their hard work and great food, the crowds grew. Their voices grew louder, too, saying that Kristen and Anton should start a restaurant. With limited resources, the couple started with what they had: a smoker, one 8-foot table, and lots of passion and determination.   

Sweets & Meats BBQ launched as a road side pit stop in 2014. For the first three and half years of the business, Kristen worked both careers full time, juggling the responsibilities of another job and that of her business. She worked seven days a week for almost four years, without any income from the business. Instead, she chose to reinvest it, which has contributed to their rapid growth. Kristen and Anton moved from a roadside tent to a food truck within one year. The next year they opened a brick-and-mortar carry-out venue. 

My Successes

Sweets & Meats has almost doubled in size annually since its inception. Kristen is currently working on a three-year growth plan with the SBA to include opening a sit-down restaurant by 2020. The business has served over 37,000 customers and employed 11 people in just four years of operation. They have also partnered with Cincinnati Job Corps, training and advancing over 30 culinary students since 2015. Each student completes over 100 hours with the restaurant before they can graduate. 

Sweets & Meats BBQ was also voted the 2018 Food Truck Restaurant of the Year on the Mobile Cuisine website. Over 22,000 votes were cast on the site for 10 finalists from across the United States. 

Sweets & Meats became the client of the year for the Greater Cincinnati SCORE chapter for 2018.

How SCORE Helped 

Mentor Mike Mulligan has been a wealth of knowledge, providing timely introductions and is always a resource whenever called upon. Kristen met with Mike weekly throughout the duration of the MORTAR program and still consults with her mentor after three years of working together.SCORE worked with Kristen and Anton to develop a business plan as well to secure financing when needed. 

"As a new business owner, I often don’t know what I need, so I turn to Mike," Kristen shared. "There are many day-to-day operational questions that come up and I can always reach him.  Mike is a huge accountability partner and will be aiding with our growth plan upon completion of the Emerging Leaders Program, to ensure we implement our growth strategies."