Business Bites Strategies

Business Bites: Strategies for Purchasing and Operations

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Food Business Fundamentals program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels and networking events designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry. Each event is designed to provide education, information and the opportunity to connect with industry experts in a collaborative setting.



Monday, February 10th | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
28 Crosby St, 5th Floor

Ordered too much of an ingredient with a short shelf life? Have equipment that needs repairs, or to be replaced all together? Purchasing decisions can be some of the most challenging to make when operating a food business, especially in the early days. The right decisions can increase profits, but making the wrong one can be costly! Whether you’re building a new menu with cost efficiency in mind, or navigating the bid process for food, equipment and service vendors, having processes in place to manage these challenges is important to the success of your business.

So, what does it take to streamline your food business operations and perfect your purchasing?

In our next Business Bites event, our panel of experts will discuss strategies that help food businesses streamline their operations—from establishing systems to maximize profits, to coordinating food & equipment purchasing, managing maintenance costs and more. Learn how to find trusted suppliers and purveyors who provide high-quality ingredients, as well as tips to improve inventory organization and optimize food freshness. From menu costing and buying local to service contracts, wait staff education and more, we’ll discuss strategies to improve your operations and prevent costly mistakes. You’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Food Business Fundamentals program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!


Tracy Wilson – General Management Consultant, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge & Central Park; ICC Food Business Fundamentals Instructor

A graduate of Western Kentucky University and New York University, Tracy began her restaurant career as an opening member of three-star Gramercy Tavern. She was promoted within Union Square Hospitality Group several times including as General Manager of Tabla Restaurant, and later as General Manager of the multi-unit Art Food Cafes within the Museum of Modern Art.

After 20 years within the Union Square Hospitality Group family, Tracy went on to work as the Director of Operations for Claus Meyers’ Great Northern Food Hall within Grand Central Station, before becoming the General Manager of The Brooklyn Barge. Throughout her career, she has managed multi-million dollar operations with hundreds of employees. In 2009, she joined the International Culinary Center’s Food Business Fundamentals program as a guest lecturer. In 2015, Tracy began consulting for restaurants and businesses to develop key growth areas, including 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, 1 Hotel Central Park, and Bar 65 at the Rainbow Room.


bradford thompson
Bradford Thompson
Owner, Bellyfull Consulting, Inc; ICC Food Business Fundamentals Instructor

Thompson’s culinary career has taken him from coast-to-coast, learning from some of the country’s most notable chefs, including Vincent Gueritault, Alessandro Stratta and Daniel Boulud. He later became executive chef of Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenecian. During his time there, the restaurant earned many awards, including the coveted Mobil 5 star award, AAA 5 Diamond, and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator. Thompson himself was voted one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in 2004 and won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef South West” in 2006.

In 2008, Thompson returned to NYC to become executive chef at Lever House in Midtown. He’s since founded Bellyfull Consulting, which offers private dining, menu consulting, staff training, and culinary productions. He and his wife also started Jules Gourmet Foods, LLC, a company that specializes in Jamaican sauces and seasonings. Thompson is currently executive consulting chef for Miss Lily’s Favourite Cakes, an unparalleled Jamaican restaurant in Greenwich Village. Thompson and his cuisine have been featured in several publications, including Food & Wine, Gourmet, Art Culinaire, The New York Times, and The Jamaica Observer. He’s also received network coverage on Fine Living Network, CBS Early Show, The Today Show, and Food Network.

daniel soloway
Daniel Soloway
Founder & President, Kitchen Options

Dan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an Honors degree in Biomedical and Nutritional Anthropology. Upon graduation, he began a career in finance as a Proprietary Options Trader on the American Stock Exchange. Five years later he turned in his pen for a chef’s knife and enrolled at the International Culinary Center.

A 20-year veteran in the restaurant industry, Dan’s focus on purchasing and operations began in the kitchen under Chef Michel Nischan and John Mooney at the W Hotel. During his time at Drew Nieporent’s Tribeca Grill, Dan went from dining room manager to the Director of Purchasing. Following his four years at the Myriad Restaurant Group, Dan joined Chef Thomas Keller to open Per Se as Purchasing Manager, later opening Bouchon Bakery. Eventually, Dan ventured into consulting and founded his company Kitchen Options. His clients include The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, Sullivan St. Bakery, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and Union Square Hospitality Group. Today, he continues to consult for hospitality clients interested in reducing costs, creating efficiencies or bettering their operating procedures.

james murphy
James Murphy
Director of Operations, Procurement & Facilities, Union Square Events

James Murphy is the Director of Operations, Procurement & Facilities for Union Square Events, where he heads a department responsible for developing and implementing best practices in regards to purchasing, sourcing the highest quality products and fostering strong vendor relationships. In addition to his role at Union Square Events, James provides company-wide procurement related support throughout Union Square Hospitality Group.

James graduated from Florida State University where he studied Political Science and Philosophy. In pursuit of more experience and education, James moved to New York in 2008 and began studying nutrition and culinary arts as well as staging at various restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn. After working in a variety culinary managements roles, James accepted an offer with Union Square Events as Purchasing Manager in 2011. After four years, James was promoted to his current role as Director of Purchasing and Compliance. When not at work, James enjoys reading, running, cooking and spending time with his family.