We had the good fortune of connecting with Lilian Dominkovics Lowe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lilian, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Back in high school I always said, “when I grow up, I want to be either a pediatrician or be the CEO of a company, maybe even my own company”. And though my college career started with a premed direction I switched early on to business and graduated with an accounting degree. That degree was the steppingstone to an exciting and progressive career in corporate finance working for various companies across different industries. Although my roles were all centered around numbers, I found myself quite curious about sales, marketing and customer experience, so I got more and more involved in the overall operation. About 2 years ago, a work transition coupled with a call to action from my trainer led me to the decision to start my own business. That same trainer says that decisions take a split second, it is the excuses that we give ourselves before taking action that can seem endless and perhaps the reason, we never really follow our dreams. In my case, the decision to start the business did in fact take about a second and a successful career in business had prepared me well for this journey. From the moment the decision was made, I never looked back. The thought process was all about execution. I had chosen a business around food because that had been a long-life passion and I was confident that through this passion I would delight and inspire others, one customer at a time.
What should our readers know about your business?
Lilian’s Table started as a provider of healthy and delicious tasting meals delivered right to your front door. The value proposition centered around enjoyment and gathering around the family table with great tasting, fresh and healthy food that clients did not have to cook themselves. They did not cook because they lacked time, creativity or know how. Another struggle for many clients was that eating healthy so often translated into dieting where so much is given up as far as taste and even quality. Lilian’s Table offered an array of Mediterranean style dishes that were properly portioned, full of flavor and made with high quality and nutritious ingredients. What set us apart from the start was the taste, freshness and presentation of the meals. Clients described a feeling of satisfaction that lasted hours after meals and kept them away from snacking in between meals. Delivering this high standard of taste and freshness with every meal came with its challenges. Even with an excellent team, the variety of the menu, sauces and sides all made from scratch required my presence at every step of the process. Scalability was certainly going to be an issue down the road. By the time the pandemic hit, Lilian’s Table had a healthy volume and was tracking to break even that month. And while we did not lose all of our customers with the pandemic, we lost nearly 70% of our revenue within the first few weeks of the pandemic. We overcame part of those losses by shifting to more of family style menu and added more budget friendly options with the same level of standards. Those actions carried us for several months, still volume was not picking up and in late 2020, Lilian’s Table made the decision to transition out of the meal delivery model and into private chef services. Today, we have a handful of clients that welcome me into their homes where I cook and provide meals for the week and special occasions. A few key lessons learned along the way – one: I cannot please everyone. The kitchen operation could have been more efficient if the variety of the menu were reduced, and dishes were more aligned with a wider audience in terms of eating preferences; two: securing and maintaining good talent is challenging in the food industry when you are first getting started; three: the model was not designed for scalability. I want the world to know that my passion for cooking for others is a lifetime in the making and that the first stage of Lilian’s Table was just that, a first stage. There is so much more to come. Love is the key ingredient in my cooking, and I truly enjoy teaching others how to eat, how to cook and how to care for themselves and their families through food.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well a great deal of the eating would take place in my very own kitchen. Many of my friends and family that do not live near me are eager to try the dishes from Lilian’s Table. I would start their days with a beautiful and warm brunch of protein banana almond muffins, protein based blueberry pancakes, eggs, smoked salmon and maybe even a raspberry French toast casserole would line the table. Of course, all this eating would come after taking my friend to my happy place, Ultimate Workout in Davie to take a Pilates class. A few other favorites spots for breakfast/brunch are Fresh Fusion next door to the gym, the Little Hen in Weston or Eff Cafe in Cooper City. Living in South Florida offers the best water views and waterfront restaurants such as Kaluz and GG’s Waterfront Grill and we would certainly visit some of these. Heading a bit farther south into Miami, a stop in Coral Gables is a must where we would have a drink and lite bite at The Gramercy and do a little shopping at the Village of Merrick Park. Dinner one night at Mandolin would be spectacular. Sight-seeing would include Key Biscayne, Perez Art Museum, Wynwood and the Miami Design District and we would certainly spend a good day in the newly designed Coconut Grove.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents first and foremost for endless love and support and teaching by example the importance of a good work ethic. My Dad lived his life with one of the kindest hearts I have ever known and had the highest regard for people from all walks of like. His work ethic was impeccable, and he left a mark wherever he went. I recall visiting a hotel in Barcelona some 16 years after we had moved from there and the bartender talking about my Dad as a legend in that hotel. He described his enthusiasm for coming to work each day, his friendliness and courteous disposition to all guests and colleagues alike. Funny thing is that the bartender had never met my Dad. Watching my Dad work multiple jobs to support us and nearly always having a smile on his face or telling one of his jokes made me admire him and made me want to be like him. My trainer, Casey, certainly deserves a big shot out because she saw a drive and passion in me that I had not yet seen. Because I was so programmed to follow her instruction in the gym, when she said, “just go do it”, I really did – that very night I made the decision to start the business. Finally, my husband and best friend because of his unending support. When I came home that night and told him of the decision to start the business, he didn’t tell me I was crazy. He said, ok, let’s get working on the business model and start testing your recipes. Since then, he has spent countless of hours volunteering for Lilian’s Table – from washing dishes to KPI management to tracking and measuring customer experience. He is a major source of support and value add for me and my business.
Cris Jaramillo Photography
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