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Specifications.

Owner: Renee Duran

Address: 117 N. Elm St., Little Rock 72205

Phone: (501) 612-0163

Hours: 2 p.m.-6 p.m., by appointment

Startup: February 2005

Web site: www.great-gourmet.com

Renee Duran's new catering business boasts a menu full of healthy, tasty fare. Still, the most valuable item in Duran's inventory could be her own experience.

At 33, Duran is a longtime sales veteran. She got her first gig, selling pest controls, when she was 14 years old. She was 20 when she started her first business, Indigo Promotions, a Little Rock promotions and marketing company she still owns. Later, she started an interior design company.

Starting a business isn't easy, but it helps when you've already gone through the growing pains. And Duran is confident her small-scale, catering/food delivery service will catch on.

The concept is simple. Every day she e-mails menus to some 400 of her Little Rock acquaintances. Customers can either call in or e-mail their order by 2 p.m. Specifications' chef, its only other employee besides Duran, puts the meals together. And then Duran crisscrosses the town delivering the food, a trip she usually completes by 5 p.m.

The meals, Duran brags, are not just delicious--they're good for you.

She offers fresh, organic meats like shrimp, tilapia, salmon, chicken and filets, and there's a sauce to go with them. The meals come with a pair of sides like asparagus, spinach-made angel hair pasta, green beans, corn or others.

The meals also come with one of several salads. There's the California salad, packed with hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumbers; the Italian salad, with its dried raisins and toasted pecans; and a more traditional Arkansas salad.

Meals are $20 a pop or $15 each if it's for a family and $10 each for kids.

Duran proudly adds that the meals come in recyclable containers that are also microwave friendly so the meals can be heated up for late dinners.

Right now, Duran is filling about three orders a day, with each order typically having more than one meal. Eventually, she would like to open a restaurant for the business and have a deli for pickup orders while also offering delivery. "I wouldn't want to see it go over 10 or 15 deliveries a day, though," she said.

Along with the deliveries, Specifications also offers small-scale catering, which Duran is limiting to 30 people until the business grows a little more. Whether it's a men's fitness group workshop with a casual feel or a more formal arrangement for a crowd of pharmaceutical reps, Duran can make the meal fit the occasion.
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Title Annotation:New Businesses: A Listing of Business Start-Ups in Arkansas
Author:Taulbee, Chip
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Aug 29, 2005
Words:436
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