In our “5 Minutes with an Entrepreneur” series, we pass the mic to Michigan entrepreneurs we’ve supported to hear their stories, including the spark behind their business, challenges they’ve faced, and what motivates them to keep going.
W.E. and Dominique Da’Cruz are the husband-and-wife team behind Cruz Burgers, which they founded in May 2020. The English word for Cruz translates to “Cross,” and to W.E. and Dominique, Cruz Burgers is a “cross burger – a place where vegans, vegetarians, and meat lovers alike, can sit at the same table and enjoy the same meal.”
With business assistance from Michigan Good Food Fund, Cruz Burgers is working with a consumer-packaged good consultant, helping them scale their business into more retail locations.
Keep reading to learn more about their mission, the spark behind Cruz Burgers, and how food has brought their family together in a deeper way.
What was the spark behind your business?
The Cruz Burgers recipe was inspired during a trip W.E. took to Malawi, Southeast Africa while participating in a family-led Daniel’s Fast (meatless diet focused on vegetables). We really credit the fast as the foundation of our spark because we would not have been seeking alternative meals had we not stopped eating meat.
What makes your business stand out?
Our company is special for many reasons. First, mainstream alternative meat products are highly processed, contain GMOs, and at times even hazardous to one’s health. We use simple and fresh ingredients that everyone can pronounce. We are one of the few companies who use mushrooms as our base product. Secondly, most plant-based companies focus on saving animals and the planet. While those are important focuses, we believe saving animals and the planet is a bi-product of a healthy more conscious human being. We focus on the individual. We believe fasting from meat helps people find clarity and alignment in life; and as a result, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually people make better choices regarding animals and the planet.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give other entrepreneurs? OR What’s one lesson you’ve learned that you’d pass onto others?
The biggest advice is to live at the level of your consciousness and never your circumstances. Your circumstances can feel defeating and goals unachievable. But you have to learn to rise to the level of your belief about yourself and your business. There is always a solution to a problem that you can create. You may not have the resources needed readily available but you know someone who knows someone who does. You’re always one to two people removed from your next breakthrough or opportunity.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made that other should avoid?
Isolation. It’s never a good idea to think being alone or keeping to yourself is going to get you anywhere. Everyone needs community to get to where they’re going. Everyone needs community to be the best version of themselves.
What’s the biggest ah-ha you’ve had?
The only thing we’ve ever really argued about in our relationship was food. Now, it’s brought us together in a deeper, more meaningful way! It’s like, “Wow, the whole time, we were the very answer we were looking for!”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. For this reason, we give it all we have the first time around. We make it count.
What advice would you give yourself as you were starting out?
Give yourself more grace.
Want to give Cruz Burger’s delicious mushroom patties a try? Visit their website to order online or find a store near you.
Interested in working with the Michigan Good Food Fund? See if your business is a good fit here.