Mount Juliet chef finds success despite labor shortage

WSMV's Justina Latimer reports.
Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. (WSMV) - The labor shortage continues to hit small shops. However, despite not having enough help, one business in Mt. Juliet is finding success in downsizing.

Robin Ruggiero Phillips went after her goal of opening a restaurant. Instead, she decided to sublease the space at Billy Goat Coffee Cafe for her business Magnifico’s Italian Cuisine.

“I was so excited with a dream. But in reality, it is hard to find good quality help,” said Robin.

Instead of completely shutting down, she decided to revamp by cutting out the dine-in option and turning to private parties and business luncheons.

“I put an ad out on Facebook a while back about private dinner parties. They seemed very excited about it. So, I thought maybe I will incorporate that. A lot of people I know are looking for business luncheons, and they are looking for authentic Italian, which is hard to find in Mt. Juliet,” Robin explained.

This week she catered her first lunch since making the change.

“I think she is impressive. To be able to roll over these challenges that came her way. She couldn’t find anyone to hire. She pivoted towards business lunches. We are excited to be her first client and hopefully the first of many,” stated customer Joe Moore.

With more orders on the horizon, she’s optimistic about the future of Magnifico’s Italian Cuisine.

“Right now, it is working out! So, I am excited,” said Robin.