COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As owner of Bentos Catering and Take Me Tacos, this month’s “Mom Boss” is bringing healthier choices to corporate lunches and the family dinner table. Shannon Bowman is also a mother of three, who was inspired to research food after her two oldest sons were diagnosed with autism.
“I treated the autism like a job and I learned as much as I possibly could. I dove into every piece of literature I could read and every parent I could talk to. I joined all kinds of groups and I just dove into it,” said Shannon.
One of the things that became a major focus for Shannon was what her kids were eating. She came to realize how much the additives in food were affecting her children’s behavior.
“So, I would go to the farmer to get our meats. I cut out any kind of dyes, any kind of caffeine, minimize sugar and that really helped,” said Shannon.
That knowledge lead Shannon to look at lunch and try to improve things.
“I felt like people could eat better, have better nutrition and the outcome of their day would be improved. And that’s why we started Bentos Catering,” said Shannon.
Pre-pandemic, Bentos was turning out 1,100 lunches a day with plans to expand to 3,000. But after the pandemic hit, Shannon knew she had to pivot from strictly corporate clients.
“So, I came up with a ghost kitchen concept and we started will Take Me Tacos,” said Shannon. “It’s a taco bar that you can have delivered to your house. Instead of the tacos getting soggy on the way there, you build them when they get there.”
Partially inspired by her own family’s taco nights, Shannon hopes to bring the family together with a better option. It’s a concept that her children are excited about too.
“My boys ask me on a regular basis ‘How’s Take Me Tacos mom? What’s going on how many have you sold today?’ And so, they’re super invested,” said Shannon.
You can watch our story with Shannon to hear more about her approach to her son’s diagnosis and how it influenced her company. Watch our full interview for a deeper dive into autism, her suggestions to other families, and why she says it made her a better person.