Kern Halls of Ingenious Culinary Concepts with FSBDC at UCF Consultant Jairo Batista

Ingenious Culinary Concepts: Bringing Kids to the Table

School and Government Food Service Consultant Growing Again With Assistance from the FSBDC at UCF

January 24, 2019

Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or

                 Jairo Batista, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4853 or

Orlando, FL – Hitting a bump in the road goes with the territory when you are a small business owner. The challenge for an entrepreneur is to know what to do when you hit that bump. When Kern Halls, founder and chief innovator of Ingenious Culinary Concepts, encountered a slowdown in the growth of his company, he decided his best bet was to seek assistance from the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF).

Ingenious Culinary Concepts (ICC) core business is helping Kindergarten through grade 12 school food service programs be successful, both in terms of satisfying their student customers and minimizing, if not eliminating, expenses for their school system. Saving children from hunger translates to them doing better academically. And, because school lunch programs rely heavily on federal funding, if they are underutilized and don’t make the most of the available federal dollars, then the excess costs fall on the local school district.

Enter Kern Halls and Ingenious Culinary Concepts. Using extensive food service experience and expertise, the company brings a process-oriented approach to building a marketing strategy focused on atmosphere, operations, menu and food quality. The goal is single minded: to persuade students to eat in the cafeteria. It’s why their tag line is “We Bring your Customers to the Table.”

As with many small businesses however, ICC’s growth had plateaued. “We hit a little bump in revenues so I went to the FSBDC,” Halls recalls. “I’d heard they had great consultants and great knowledge that could help companies like mine get over hurdles like I was facing. And, Boy, was I right.”

Halls took advantage of the FSBDC’s no-cost, expert business consulting; seminars and workshops; and market research resources. Working with FSBDC consultant Jairo Batista, who provided a website analysis and social media recommendations, Halls redesigned his marketing strategy and increased its effectiveness. Thanks to Batista, he also consulted with Steve South, Procurement Specialist and manager of the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of Central Florida (PTAC at UCF), who assisted him with pursuing government business certifications as well as identifying government contracting opportunities.

“Jairo and the FSBDC really have a command of marketing, with a real depth of understanding,” says Halls. “He made sure we got everything we needed to achieve growth for our company. And Steve opened our eyes to what’s out there. He showed us the systems available to us for finding government contracts, and he guided us through the certification process. Both have helped us win big contracts.”

“Since starting with the FSBDC, our revenues have doubled over last year,” Halls continued. “We wanted to spread our wings and diversify our revenues, and we have. We’ve grown fast and now are so busy we are hiring. Going forward, we’re looking for the FSBDC help us with a strategy to manage that growth, while staying lean but still adding clients and revenues.”

Kern Halls hit a bump in the road but he knew what to do; he got help in the form of assistance from the Florida SBDC and Florida PTAC at the University of Central Florida.

For information about Ingenious Culinary Concepts, please visit .


About the FSBDC at UCF

With its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization and the Florida SBDC Network. The FSBDC at UCF provides business seminars and no-cost, one-on-one business consultation to emerging and established businesses. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2016, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,400 entrepreneurs in Central Florida through consulting and training, resulting in nearly 6,700 jobs created, retained or saved; $980 million in sales growth; $92.7 million in capital formation; $154.6 million in government contract awards; and 120 new businesses started.

About the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at UCF

Government Contracting Services offered by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the University of Central Florida provide high-value, confidential one-on-one consulting at no cost to help Florida businesses prepare, research, and bid on federal, state, and local government contracts. Since 1986, Florida PTAC client businesses statewide have won $8.3 billion in contract awards, helping to create and save 187,090 jobs. This PTAC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. For more information, please visit

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 513,107 hours of professional business consulting to 74,669 client businesses, resulting in 252,955 jobs created, retained, or saved; $33.3 billion in sales growth; $2.6 billion in government contract awarded; $1.4 billion in capital investments acquired; and 4,159 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862 |