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Kevin Garibaldi found the recipe for success with Padgett

Throughout his varied career, making good food has been a constant for Kevin Garibaldi, owner of Garibaldi’s Catering and its companion restaurant, Garibaldi’s New Orleans Cuisine.  

Kevin began his career with a restaurant apprenticeship in Monterey, California. He was trained by chefs of the Monterey Bay Chefs’ Association in the 1980s at the Sardine Factory and The Rogue. At the time, he didn’t plan on becoming a business owner. In fact, after working his way up from pantry man, prep cook and finally to chef, Kevin decided to pursue a degree in political science, planning for a career change to law. 

“I was so tired of cooking, and I felt like I wanted to go back to school,” Kevin says. “So, I then quit my job and went full-time in college, thinking I wanted to be a lawyer.” But after working as a paralegal, Kevin felt unsatisfied, and changed careers again.  

“One of my professors told me I would be an outstanding teacher,” he says, “so I went back to get my credential in social science. I taught world history, geography and economics in high school for eight years.” When teaching history, Kevin liked to use food as a tool to help his students learn about other places and cultures. “It was like, we’re talking about Saudi Arabia today, and this is what they eat. Or if we’re talking about Russia, here’s what the Russian people eat. It’s the hook. That’s what gets the kids interested.” 

By the time he retired from teaching, Kevin was already catering 10 weddings a year, just based on word-of-mouth advertising. At that point, he decided to seek funding for his business and opened Garibaldi’s Catering.  

Kevin Garibaldi stands outside his restaurant, gesturing to a sign that reads "Garibaldi's catering"

Through word-of-mouth, TV commercials, and biannual visits to a local bridal show, Kevin's business was catering 25 weddings a year — until COVID-19 hit. “I looked around at our community, and we had Thai restaurants and Mexican and Italian and so on,” he says. “So, I opened up Garibaldi’s New Orleans Cuisine with my mom’s recipes.” 

After adding restaurant ownership to his plate, Kevin’s Padgett partnership became even more important. “I was a small business and having trouble handling payroll employees,” he says. “It was a pain to try and keep track of everybody’s hours and benefits. When we opened the restaurant, it became even more work to handle payroll, so that’s when I turned to Piper and John. They’ve been doing my payroll and deposits, and they take care of it for me.”  

As well as assisting with Kevin’s payroll and taxes, Piper and John of Padgett Business Services Chico helped him take advantage of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and other benefits.  

“They give me a lot of business advice,” Kevin says, “and during COVID, they helped me find support when I didn’t have a lot of business. John has been amazing at helping me find things that I didn’t even know were offered. I got a lot of money in 2020 because of John. He’s my man. He helped me through the business while I was teaching and my wife was a nurse, so he helped me learn how to grow as my business grew.” 

Now, business has picked back up, and Kevin’s reputation has grown as a local favorite. He’s found support from community members, the North Valley Community Foundation, and even Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “We’re hanging in there because of local community help, and I love what I’m doing and cooking for people with my mama’s cooking,” Kevin says. 

Kevin Garibaldi stands behind his staff members, all dressed in white shirts and black "Garibaldi's catering" aprons

Giving back to the community that supported him is important to Kevin, so he often supports local high schools and college scholarship funds. When he’s not helping out at the restaurant, catering lunches three times a week, or working as a “celebrity chef” with the local Salvation Army, he likes to teach jiu jitsu, work in his garden and travel with his family. 

“One of the lessons I learned is that you’ve got to try and take some time and sit down and meditate and recharge,” he says. “Some people think they’ll start a business and just get to kick back but really you’ve got to work. You get what you put into it. But you’re not here to work yourself to death. You work hard, but you’ve got to take time to enjoy it once in a while too. It’s okay to ask for help from someone who knows what they’re talking about, and it’s okay to take a break sometimes.” 

Having a partner who can help take care of his payroll and taxes helps Kevin find the time to take his well-earned breaks.  

“I think that you’ve got to find someone you trust, like I trust Piper and John and Padgett Business Services. They’re not just people who help me out with my business, but they’re friends. I’m a chef and I want to cook, and I hated all the paperwork. If you can afford it — and I think it’s pretty affordable — I think it’s good to get someone else to handle your paperwork and you just enjoy what you’re doing.” 

Whether you own a restaurant like Kevin, or you run another kind of business, Padgett has the experience to help you succeed. Find your local office today!

Do you have the support you need to manage your small business bookkeeping? Contact us to schedule an appointment to speak with a local small business advisor.

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