LSU’s food incubator is helping to nurture and develop the dreams of entrepreneurs in the food industry.
CEO of Hanley’s Foods, Richard Hanley, said that his salad dressing has what it takes to be the next big sensation.
“So I quit my day job to make a salad dressing that is a very popular salad dressing in Baton Rouge, Sensation Salad Dressing. The problem with it, was that you could never buy it. You would have to make it,” Hanley said.
After his salad dressing consistently sold out at the Farmer’s Market, Hanley knew that he needed a resource facility to transform his homemade recipe to a bottled product. Hanley said that the LSU food incubator was the cost efficient opportunity that he needed.
“We had to boot strap our start up and that’s what the incubator allowed us to do,” Hanley said.
The food incubator is a one-stop shop for their clients, including kitchen space, specialized equipment, and even one-on-one sessions with a food scientist.
“LSU opened up this one with the director, Gaye Sandoz, who is amazing,” Hanley said. “I call her the shelf genie, because she literally got my product from an idea to the shelf in the matter of months.”
Sandoz said that the resources and guidance that their clients receive dramatically speeds up the launching of their product.
“Well, if you try to start a business and you go to the website that they send you to, to start a business, it’s a maze,” Sandoz said. “So, there are many permits, licenses, and shortcuts that we can help our tenants with to help them avoid spending the money they would have to if they didn’t have our resources.”
Hanley said that he now looks forward to making Sensation Salad Dressing into an empire.
“Since we started at the incubator, we went from about 20 stores to 100. And now, we’re trying to figure out, how do you go from 100 stores to 500 stores and 500 stores to 1,000,” Hanley said.