BiS Company Profile
Savannah Taste Experience
118 Barnard St., #9412
Savannah, GA 31412
what we do
“Walking food tours of historic downtown Savannah.”
how we’re different
“Because Savannah Taste Experience is the only tour company in Savannah dedicated to bringing unique, delicious culinary adventures. It’s all we do. Also, while there are many great tour companies in town, Savannah Taste Experience differs in that our tour routes and tasting locations rarely change. This provides our guests with a level of confidence that they will enjoy the same incredible, fun and delectable journey that guests from a year ago experienced. Additionally, the consistent, repeat business that our partner restaurants and specialty food stores experience allows the tour to be competitively priced, while boosting the restaurants’ exposure and good will.”
number of employees
“Other than the owners, Savannah Taste Experience currently has four tour guides.”
a measure of our success
“Success as we defined it a year ago is very different than what it means to us today — the point being to always challenge ourselves and push ourselves to new heights. As the saying goes ‘if you’re not growing, you’re dying.’
“With that being said, we’ve enjoyed growing our business from the unknown to over 2,000 guests in a span of a year, 100 reviews on TripAdvisor with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, purchases from guests from Europe, Asia, Australia and South America, and recognition among local restaurant owners as a powerful marketing and promotional tool.”
how that happened
“Mostly, I would say, our ‘success’ would have to be attributable to our risk-adverse nature. We did everything we could to minimize our risk from the outset. We had a game-plan from the very beginning, and we were careful in our execution.
“Perhaps sometimes we overanalyzed or talked an issue to death, but our cautious and deliberate mentality to forge strong relationships with our tasting location partners and grow a strong online presence helped eliminate a lot of uncertainty, giving us the confidence to make the right business decisions.”
“And then again, we run a food tour in a town full of delicious food and amazing family-owned restaurants and specialty food stores. We would have to work pretty hard to mess that up.”
best business advice received
“There are so many clichés that we repeat to ourselves on a regular basis — ‘Avoid paralysis through analysis,’ ‘Controlled growth,’ etc. But probably the best piece of advice we received was actually something we read in Inc. Magazine and not something told to us directly.
“The article was about Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO of LivingSocial, and what the future holds for Deal-of-the-Day sites. According to the article, Mr. O’Shaugnessy said ‘If you’re not nervous about one or two decisions every day, you probably aren’t trying hard enough.’
“It is such a great reminder to our risk-adverse nature that no success is without its risks and that if want to continue to grow we sometimes have to make some nerve-racking decisions. Too safe can, in fact, be fatal.”
our self-employment journey
Stu: “I guess my journey started when I was working as a medical malpractice trial attorney in Chicago. My partner and mentor, Mary O’Connor, is both a ruthless trial attorney and a savvy businesswoman. When I was named partner of the firm, Mary challenged me to start thinking about my practice more from a business perspective — I had previously only concerned myself with the litigation.
“The more I analyzed the business, the more I started noticing other great business opportunities. It was at this same time I started to become overwhelmed by the extreme hours I was keeping and the utter lack of any work-life balance. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to sustain the career I made for myself and keep my incredible family (wife and two young boys).
“That’s when I came to Savannah for the first time. I came to depose an expert in one of my cases. I immediately fell in love with Savannah, its pace of life and of course its food. The wheels were spinning about all of the great potential in this reborn city.
“Six months later I had retired from the practice of law and moved my family to Savannah to start Savannah Taste Experience with my brother and invaluable business partner.”
Donald: “For me, this whole journey started with a phone call. My career working for the news had sent me on many adventures to many incredible places for many incredible events. So it should have come as no surprise to my brother Stuart that when he called to see if I wanted to team up with him and start a food tour, that I would jump right in
“I viewed it as yet another adventure in my life. And an adventure it has turned out to be. There were the tough moments (passing the incredibly difficult tour guides exam), and there were also the easier moments (the ‘research and development’ phase). But most of all it has been an amazing and fun journey with my brother and partner Stuart.”
advice for other businesses in Savannah wanting to open
“Patience. Things will move fast once you get your company open, but it will never feel fast enough. It often takes several months, if not a full year, to see the full effects of a major marketing campaign, so give it all a chance to work.”
things to avoid
“Avoid knee-jerk reactions. It is easy to fly off the deep end when something goes wrong. However, oftentimes we have found that there are little anomalies in business and one bad day, or one bad review does not mean your product and/or business is failing. Similar to our advice above, patience is a virtue — wait to see trends before deciding on a course of action. Making knee-jerk reactions could inflict more damage than it fixes.”
why Savannah works for us
“First and foremost, it’s a great foodie town. For a food tour company, this is obviously important. But Savannah is also stunningly beautiful and rich in history, while also having a youthful, artistic and even modernity to it — and shan’t forget the constantly growing massive tourist market. All these things make Savannah the absolute perfect place for a business like ours.”
“We don’t really have a motto per se. But the thing that is probably most often repeated in our business is ‘Don’t freak out!’ ”
groups we support
“We support our troops above all else. We are in constant awe of the sacrifices our soldiers and their families make on a daily basis. We offer discounts for all military and work with the local spouses’ clubs — our food tour is a great mini-vacation that is so necessary for our troops’ families while they are on deployment.”
“We also have worked with Lowcountry Hospice and Wilmington Island Farmer’s Market.”
Web: www.SavannahTaste Experience.com
Email: info@SavannahTaste Experience.com
Hours: Booking — open 24 hours 800-979-3370
Compiled by: Shawndra Russell. Read about Shawndra’s work and social media services at www.shawndrarussell.com.