Updated February 2021
Winners, 2012 Faces of Entrepreneurship Award
Co-owners Kevin Ho and Juan Miron met while working in the restaurant industry and shared a passion for gathering friends and family around good food. In the spring of 2010, they launched MIHO Gastrotruck, a food truck that provided locally sourced, natural, healthy, good food. One of the biggest hurdles they crossed was financing. They weren’t successful in securing financing through traditional means and were referred to Accion San Diego who lent them $15,000 to buy and fix up an old lunch truck.
“Finding Accion was a huge break for us because it really enabled us to go for it as new business owners,” says Kevin.
In less than two years, MIHO expanded to two trucks and a full catering service. By 2012, they were employing up to 17 people in the peak summer season. They built up a large and dedicated customer base with almost 10,000 Twitter followers they affectionately call HOMI’s.
A new chapter
But it wasn’t long before changes in the industry compelled them to pivot. That same year, the food truck market became saturated and MIHO saw a lot of competition. So Juan and Kevin decided to focus on the area of their business that was steadily growing: catering. “In 2013 we stopped selling food on a retail basis and transitioned to a full-time catering company,” explains Juan. Eventually, they also opened a cocktail catering service and rebranded to MIHO Catering Co. That gamble paid off, and by 2016, they saw a 30% growth in sales.
The business kept growing and by 2018 Juan and Kevin decided it was time to set up their own headquarters. With the help of a loan from Torrey Pines Bank, they were able to expand. In March of last year, they moved into a 10,000 sq ft facility in Kearny Mesa, complete with a 3,000 sq ft commercial kitchen and 20 full-time employees. “It’s a headquarters where we have our account executives in their office, and basically all our managers,” said Juan. “It’s a massive operation, we’re really excited to be here and thankful for the trajectory that we’ve had. And we’re constantly trying to get better.”
As of October 2019, MIHO expanded yet again by becoming the food and beverage operators of the UCSD Faculty Club.
By early 2020, MIHO was one of San Diego’s top corporate caterers. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and they were forced to furlough 70% of their workforce.
Events, weddings, parties, everything vanished overnight. MIHO had already been doing meal delivery as part of their business model, so they hit the ground running with that. But owners Juan and Kevin wanted to do something different.
The first thing they did was develop a strong health and safety protocol to comply with the state’s requirements and to keep staff and clients safe. Then, Kevin and Juan adjusted their delivery program to help their corporate clients continue to offer the same in-office break room culture, but at home. They created a subscription model where companies can choose to send meals and gift boxes to their employees for special occasions, and even MIHO’s entire gastrotruck.
Kevin and Juan have gone even further by creating mobile COVID testing units to be able to cater events as safely as possible. They know that testing is the new reality and want to be at the forefront of that shift.
I hope that every single American can have free access to testing and ideally we can help with that.Kevin Ho