David Habib

Craving a change

When David Habib took a position as a Strategy and Operations Business Analyst at Deloitte after graduating from the University of Florida, he was excited about the opportunity to learn what it takes to run a successful organization. His role at Deloitte gave him a chance to consult in multiple industries, including with some clients from the federal government.

The end of his first year with the company is when Habib (BSBA ’14, MIB ’15) began to recall lessons from his time at UF and started connecting dots about what he wanted to pursue.

“I remembered being at UF and hearing that you either build your own dreams or someone else will hire you to build theirs,” Habib said.

That comment always stuck with Habib. He started to reflect on the lessons and concepts he learned in the corporate world and how they apply to his interests. There were always thoughts of starting his own company and he realized there was an opportunity in middle market of the food industry. People around him in Washington D.C. were mostly eating frozen meals from a grocery store or eating out at restaurants. Habib wanted to give people the convenience of a restaurant with the comfort of staying in their home.

That’s where the idea of Yo Mama’s Foods was created.

The company sells and ships meals across the country in care packages, loaded with ingredients for meals that require only a 20-minute prep time. The family angle is important for Habib, who points out that most people have fond memories of eating their mother’s cooking and the family time that came with it. Just as mothers wouldn’t knowingly feed their children food with harmful components, Yo Mama’s Foods ships healthy ingredients without added preservatives or sugars.

Similar businesses offer products under a subscription-based umbrella. For Yo Mama’s Foods, customers aren’t forced into buying again in the future. Every care package they receive comes without locking the customer in for purchasing another one in the future.

“Millennials in general have a hard time committing to anything today,” Habib said. “With us, they don’t have to commit. The whole idea is to bring everyone back to the table with healthy food and a short prep time.”

Habib’s interest in food started when he was young, but it grew substantially during his time at the University of Florida. While a student, he worked for Dean and Loraine Cacciatore from Cacciatore Foods, a catering company in Gainesville. What started as a college job to pay the bills morphed into a passion, and his education at Warrington gave him the background to turn that passion into an impactful company.

As he worked together with Cacciatore, Habib was able to learn from an expert in the food industry while witnessing the power of creating memorable experiences around food. When he created the idea for Yo Mama’s Foods, he pitched it to Cacciatore, who loved the idea and has become a business partner. The company’s first retail store opens in March in Gainesville’s Haile Plantation.

Starting a company from scratch can create many learning opportunities, and David has already seen some of them. Here’s his advice for what to do to make the process go as smooth as possible when starting your own company:

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

David was learning about details as small as the company logo and branding. He leaned on a graphic designer friend and UF alumna Madeleine Lachesnez to create the brand image and story. Whenever a new detail emerged that wasn’t his strength, he quickly learned to reach out for help.

“It was all about leaning on experts in different parts,” Habib said. “I had to learn to trust people to make the process a smooth one. I had to challenge myself to ask for help.”


Age: 24
Career: Chief Foodie, Yo Mama’s Foods
Hometown: Clearwater, Fla.

  • David loves time by himself to recharge. This time is important in helping him refocus and give his full attention to his business.
  • Staying active is an important part of David’s schedule. He enjoys running or swimming, whatever he can do to be outside. That includes keeping his mind active, which David does through reading heavily.
  • Of course, there has always been a special place in David’s heart for food. Even if he admits he struggles with the basics of cooking, sitting around the table and sharing a meal with family and friends is an important part of his life.