Posted 9 novembre 2017 by SAJE in Entrepreneurship

Our entrepreneurs : Aaron Hutman, founder of Portions

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portions 2

Main logoThe CEO and founder of Portions, Aaron Hutman, undertook success by participating in the Self-Employment Program


What if you could buy fresh salad from a vending machine?
Portions is one of the first company in Montreal to jump in the salad-in-a-vending-machine concept. Delicious and nutritious food is now available for those who have to rush, but don’t necessarily want to sacrifice their health.
Eating healthy is in fact becoming a popular trend and it’s not going to disappear soon. However, food served quickly is still in demand and not a lot of options are available for healthy «fast food». Co-founders Aaron Hutman and Ryan Hutman realized there was a need in the market for healthy and nutritious food on the go. By creating their business Portions, consumers get to have the best of both worlds. We interviewed the CEO and Co-founder Aaron Hutman of Portions on his entrepreneurial journey and how the Self-Employment Program contributed to the launch of his business. 

1. First, could you tell us more about Portions?
“Portions; it’s name is about providing healthy food to clients. We wanted to deliver it through a vending kiosk and make food more accessible to everyone. Schools, offices and hospitals could really benefit from that. We started out by placing a kiosk at the Redpath Library in McGill University and we plan on putting more in Montréal. We also only produce our salads with fresh local ingredients and we give out the unsold product to local food banks.”

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2. What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship? Were you thinking of starting your own business before?

“ I have always been in business. My parents owned a convenience store and so, I grew up in the business field. I used to run the store and buy various products all the time so it gave me a lot of experience. I also always have been an entrepreneur. I love the risk and the challenge that comes with it so it was natural to embark on this with my son.’’


3. How did you overcome your early difficulties when you started Portions?

“ I would say you have to have a certain stubbornness. You can’t let challenges become more than what they actually are. You also have to have passion and belief in your concept and your product so that obstacles don’t bring you down.’’

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4. What has been so far your greatest moment of success? What would you say is a major contributing factor in your Portions’ success? 
 “ Because Portions is so new, the fact that we got through all the obstacles is a great success. When people take pictures [of the kiosk] I feel proud, it’s a great feeling. The business’ success could be linked to two factors: students often have no time, so the vending machine is convenient. Also, they are totally driven by the look and the experience.’’
5. How do you approach marketing at Portions? 
“ The next real challenge for Portions is the marketing. We do react to what the customer wants product-wise, but the biggest challenge is to use the technology to promote the brand. I know that digital marketing is something that we will have to use in order for the business to work.’’
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6. When did you first hear about SAJE Montréal Centre? And how was your experience with the Self-Employment Program so far? 
“A friend of mine actually told me about the program. You should approach SAJE Montréal Centre he said. He participated in the program earlier and he now has a farm that grows sustainable vegetable called La Boîte Maraîchère. As for the program itself, I felt that the training was really intense. It was a lot of information to digest in a short period of time, however the consultants were well focused and they did a good job at guiding us in the process.’’
7. Finally, what would you wish you had known when you started out as an entrepreneur? 
“ That’s a really good question. The whole vending concept is a lot more detailed and challenging than we first thought about. Retail and vending are totally different. It’s not an unwelcome challenge, but its more than I was used to. We have a lot of work to do. One lesson I learned in the vending machine industry : location is everything.’’
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