As the saying goes “A family that prays together, stays together.”
But sometimes, its good food that brings us all together, or in this case, one family’s desire to provide great food for all.
And the family behind ShiBites is doing all it can to make sure that it’s good, tasty, healthy food is all you’ll want.
Now unlike most businesses that may have been birthed from a strategic plan, ShiBites started very randomly for owners Marie Jihan Roberts and her aunt Elisabeth Ashton.
According to Roberts, it all began from a request from a friend.
She said the entire family loves to cook and host big gatherings, and one day, four years ago, a friend of hers who owned a bar on the avenue at the time, and who knew what the family’s culinary skills were, asked that they cater a function that was being held at his bar.
During the course of the function, one of the attendees of the event said he enjoyed the food a great deal, and requested that they cater for his company’s monthly meetings and that is how ShiBites started.
Shiloh is the name of Roberts’ niece and Ashton’s daughter and it seemed only fitting.
From there, the catering gigs began coming more frequently.
However, in 2019, Roberts said her son Issa approached her out of the blue saying “Mommy, people need lunches every day, why not do daily lunches.”
Not sure about venturing into the supply of daily meals as the catering was doing so very well, Roberts and Ashton worked out a menu, got a graphic artist onboard and started advertising their daily menus – with food to be delivered.
Roberts and Ashton, who hail from the West, noted that it started slow, as it was a bit challenging to build that daily clientele.
And it was also hard on their wallets, as they went all in with their own money.
However, they kept their price point affordable, gave their customers some twists to the creole cuisine norms, offered specialty themed lunch items on specific days and their quantity and quality for the price began speaking for itself.
Then Covid-19 hit.
Already a business that catered to delivering food, ShiBites now had to compete with everyone else who was now jumping on the food delivery train.
Roberts said prior to Covid, delivery was included in the cost of their meals, which ranged between $40 to $50.
With the onslaught of Covid, they had to begin charging delivery fees as of October, in order to maintain their livelihood.
“As much as I did not want customers to incur the costs, we had too,” said Roberts.
Seeing that her food business grew from catering to food delivery, we asked Roberts if she had any other plans for ShiBites going forward.
Roberts said her dream is to open a small “home-styled restaurant” where people from all walks could come and sit and get good home-cooked food.
She laughingly stressed on “good”, saying “a lot of people selling food out there, but not all tasting good.”
However, due to the way Covid-19 has changed the way we move and spend, ShiBites will continue in its current form.
Food is ordered off Facebook, Twitter or via ShiBites’ WhatsApp number, and they have a small village that assists with the deliveries.
Sanitization has always been a must for Roberts, as she maintained that all public health protocols are observed in the creation and delivery of meals.
Robert said ShiBites wants to keep customers coming, whether it’s the customers they cater for at one off events, or their daily buyers.
She said Covid has brought with it some challenges, but they are determined to come out on top and leave you biting your fingers from the goodness that is ShiBites.
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