Phoenix Award for Outstanding Small Business Disaster Recovery

Stephanie Vitori, President
Cheeseburger Baby
Miami Beach, Fla.

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma nearly ended the success of Cheeseburger Baby (CBB).  Stephanie Vitori had built a thriving eatery that grew to 20 employees, two food trucks, and annual revenues of $800,000. That all changed in the wake of the mega-storm, Hurricane Irma, that destroyed CBB’s marquee sign, air conditioning units, freezers, cooking equipment, and damaged the roof of a food truck. Lost sales and property damages caused an economic hit of $150,000.

Thinking on her feet, Stephanie used a generator from one of the food trucks to power the restaurant and begin the recovery process.  The CBB team cooked food for local officials and volunteers helping with the post-hurricane clean-up.  Stephanie received an SBA disaster loan for $197,000 to cover working capital needs and repair costs. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Florida International University helped restructure CBB’s financial operations and develop a business continuity plan.  The SBA assistance powered CBB to get the staff and revenue back to pre-disaster levels.