Tips To Grow Your Beverage Program

This month, our Business Bites Resources—brought to you by ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship (CE) program—provides tips for food businesses looking to bolster their drink menu.

the panelists from the eventAt the beginning of November, members from the culinary community gathered for a panel to discuss the importance of having a beverage program in your restaurant that gets customers back to the bar.  The four panelists were experienced members of the culinary and beverage industry, including Jason Hedges, Bar Director of Gotham Bar & Grill and Partner of BarIQ; Noah Rothbaum, Editor of Half Full from The Daily Beast; Nora Favelukes, President of QW Wine Experts; and Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres.

In the discussion, they shared their tips for creating and managing a successful beverage program, as well as how to turn your drinks into dollars. We’ve gathered some of their tips for success below!

Specialty Cocktails Drive Sales

Our panelists all agreed that specialty cocktails can drive sales and bring in new customers, while increasing margins for the business. Not only are cocktails experiencing a renaissance among bar scenes, but they can also be a fun and visual “Instagram-able” feature on your menu, increasing brand awareness. One tip that we learned from our experts—using fresh juice not only makes a cocktail more delicious, but is surprisingly a way to save money as it can be cheaper than buying expensive pre-made mixes.

Invest in Ice

For most guests, their first experience in a restaurant is ordering a cocktail, so why not take your cocktail to the next level? Ice is a daily requirement in all restaurants, and a universal ingredient in bar drinks. Despite its importance, ice can often be overlooked. Many bar programs are turning to ice blocks, specialty cubes and more to provide a better appearance and experience for their customers. In the end, the cocktails look better, but can also taste better as ice that is higher in quality won’t dilute a cocktail with water as fast.

Bar Software

Bar software can make or break a restaurant in today’s world. According to San Pellegrino, 100% of US restaurants on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list are using a software called BinWise. In addition to these restaurants, Jason Hedges and Vanessa Da Silva, both panelists that work in the restaurant industry, also use BinWise to manage their restaurants inventory and more. There are many other options on the market, so the key is to find a software that works for your business. In the end, bar software programs can increase time saved during inventories, help to gain insights into what products are being poured the most, create a database to have information readily available, and help to recapture lost money.

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Incubators for Entrepreneurs

This month, our Business Bites Resources—brought to you by ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship (CE) program—provides tips for food businesses looking for shared kitchen spaces in the wake of the sudden closing of Pilotworks earlier this month. Out of nowhere, 175 small businesses were displaced “after failing to raise the necessary capital to continue operations.”

Specialty food businesses are becoming more prevalent than ever before in today’s fast-paced retail sales market. In 2014, in the US alone, specialty food businesses were worth over $85 billion dollars. This billion dollar industry didn’t just appear out of nowhere—it came from hardworking, determined individuals who had a dream and a concept that they’ve developed into a viable food business, as many of our students have done through the CE program.

More often than not, these food business concepts started in shared kitchens and incubators around the country. Shared kitchens are the lifeline for small business entrepreneurs looking to turn their idea into a working business. They offer a commercialized kitchen space that follows federal food safety laws where innovators can create their products in a safe environment. Incubators on the other hand also help to develop the packaging, marketing, and selling of products, while still offering the shared kitchen component. Often, these incubators and shared kitchens are much more economical for small businesses that aren’t making enough money to rent out a whole commercial kitchen themselves.

Each incubator also tends to work a little differently. Our partner, Hot Bread Kitchen, allows new businesses on a rolling basis. Many incubators start new businesses in a group and only allow applicants a few times a year. The differences extend from there, including capital offered, applicants accepted, and training programs.

These incubators offer support and allow businesses to grow and flourish, which is why it was devastating to learn that Pilotworks abruptly closed their doors to 175 small businesses.

Our Culinary Entrepreneurship graduate and owner of Brutus Bakeshop, Lani Halliday, was one of the small businesses affected by the Pilotworks shut down. Halliday and her business partner, Woldy Reyes of food service company Woldy Kusina, were in the midst of planning Dominga, a cafe opening in 2019, when they were told about the news of the closing via an email. Lani, recipient of the Stacy’s Scholarship for Female Culinary Leaders, attended ICC’s program this fall on a full-tuition scholarship to formalize the business plan for Dominga.

Lani told us that “we aren’t sure what happened as it was so sudden and unexpected, but we are just trying to stay positive and use this as fire to launch Dominga.” She also shared that “it’s been beautiful to see the community coming together in such a short amount of time.” In an effort to reconcile all that they lost in the Pilotworks closing, our Culinary Entrepreneurship instructor, Alek Marfisi, started a GoFund Me to support Lani. Check out the fundraiser for Dominga here.

In support of the food business community at large, our Culinary Entrepreneurship program compiled a list of commercial kitchens, shared kitchen spaces and incubators in the NYC & Tri-State area that are available for businesses.

Shared Kitchens

Manhattan

Hot Bread Kitchen
1590 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10029
Phone: 212-369-3331
Email: Incubator@hotbreadkitchen.org
Website: www.hotbreadkitchen.org

City Cookhouse
1325 Fifth Avenue @ 111th Street
Manhattan, NY 10026
Phone: 646-580-1325
Email: info@citycookhouse.com
Website: http://www.citycookhouse.com

Brooklyn

Hana Kitchens
34 35th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
Phone: 718-369-7594
Website: http://www.hanakitchens.com

NYC Commercial Kitchens
Phone: 516-698-7087
Email: info@nyccommercialkitchen.com
Website: www.nyccommercialkitchen.com

Bronx

NYC Commercial Kitchens
Phone: 516-698-7087
Email: info@nyccommercialkitchen.com
Website: www.nyccommercialkitchen.com

Queens

Mi Kitchen es su Kitchen
36-46 37th Street
Long Island City NY 11101-1606
Phone: 212 452 1866
Email: MiKitchen1866@aol.com
Website: www.MiKitchenEsSuKitchen.com

BAO Food and Drink Organic Food Incubator
23-23 Borden Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101
Phone: 718-391-0009
Website: www.organicfoodincubator.com
Contact: Pete Herman

NYC Commercial Kitchens
Phone: 516-698-7087
Email: info@nyccommercialkitchen.com
Website: www.nyccommercialkitchen.com

Tiny Drumstick
48-18 Van Dam Street,
Long Island City NY. 11101
Phone: 718.392.9092
Email: info@tinydrumsticks.com
Website: http://www.tinydrumsticks.com

Entrepreneur Space
36-46 37th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
718-392-0025
Website: http://www.entrepreneurspace-qedc.com

Industry City
https://industrycity.com

New Jersey

Saveur Creole
131 Grove Street
Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone: 973-687-5612;
Contact: Magalye M.

Jersey Girl Cafe – Madeline’s Table
Hamilton, NJ
Phone: 908-421-6434
Contact: Chef Kathy

Bella Casa
2 Acme Street
Belleville, NJ 07109
Phone: 973-985-1224
Contact: Peter Norton

Cherry Street Kitchen
1040 Pennsylvania Ave.
Trenton, NJ 08638
Phone: 609-695-5800
Contact: John

Hesperides Kitchens
150 Florence Avenue
Hawthorne, NJ 07506
Contacts:
Albert (845) 216-1696
Lisa ( 845)216-1282

Jesse’s Cafe & Catering
139 Brighton Ave.
Long Branch, NJ 07740
Phone: 732-229-6999
Contact: Jesse Novak

Puccini Foods
1 Morris St,
Paterson, NJ
(973) 796-7677
Contact: Anthony Salvator

NY - Outside NYC Area

Battenkill Kitchen
PO Box 784
58 E Broadway
Salem, NY 12865
President: Will Lennon
Phone: 518-854-3032
Website: http://www.battenkillkitchen.org

Cook & Bake Center
360 C Mount Pleasant Av
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
Phone: 914-698-3663
E-mail: info@cookandbakecenter.com
Website: www.cookandbakecenter.com

Hometown Foods, LLC
362 Eichybush Rd
Kinderhook, NY 12106
Owner: Anna Dawson
Phone: 518-758-7342
Website: www.hometownfoods.net

ABOUT BUSINESS BITES

The BUSINESS BITES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC, is a series of workshops, discussion panels, networking events and resources designed to support entrepreneurs in the food industry.

Business Bites raise the bar with your beverage program

Business Bites: Raise the Bar with Your Beverage Program

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship 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.

BUSINESS BITES: RAISE THE BAR WITH YOUR BEVERAGE PROGRAM

DEVELOP AND MANAGE YOUR WINE, BEER & SPIRITS

Thursday, November 1st | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

Turning your beverage program into a profitable venture for your business takes a lot of hard work, but with the right knowledge and dedication, it can be the key to your restaurant, bar or food business’ success and longevity. From preventing over pouring to curating the best cocktail, beer and wine lists for your audience, learn how to navigate some of the common mistakes that many restaurants make, and understand the impact that your beverage program can have on your profitability.

So what do you need to know to turn your drinks to dollars?

Join us for an informative discussion with experts in the beverage industry—including wine directors, beverage consultants, bar owners, and distributors—to help make your beverage program more liquid. Our panel of experts will share tips and tools for getting started, how to grow and manage your beverage menu, finding the right solutions for your restaurant or bar, and more. You’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!

MODERATOR

Alek Marfisi, Upwind Strategies
Alek Marfisi – Owner, Upwind Strategies & ICC Entrepreneurship Instructor

Alek Marfisi is a native New Yorker with a passion for building things and helping people. After working advising small businesses for five years, Alek launched Upwind Strategies in 2015 with the mission of providing deeper and more relatable services to small businesses: the anti-business-school services firm. He previously worked with the NYS Small Business Development Center where he dove into the exciting intricacies of making entrepreneurial projects a reality. Since then, Alek has logged more than 11,000 hours working with small businesses and has been recognized as one of the top drivers of economic development in the country.

PANELISTS

jason hedges
Jason Hedges, Bar Director of Gotham Bar & Grill and Partner of BarIQ

Jason Hedges is a New York based wine and spirits professional and the Bar Director at Gotham Bar and Grill. His consultancy, Bar IQ, helps new and existing bar and restaurant concepts achieve ultimate quality and profitability. Jason is a judge of both wine and spirits for The Ultimate Beverage Challenge and also sits on the tasting panel for Wine and Spirits Magazine. Jason has developed award winning beverage programs for multiple Michelin rated restaurants in NYC. He is passionate about creating quality.

Jason is a Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Sommelier, and has also successfully completed the Beverage Alcohol Resource’s intensive course and is certified with distinction.

noah
Noah Rothbaum, Editor of Half Full from The Daily Beast

Noah Rothbaum is the editor of The Daily Beast’s Half Full section. He also hosts the podcast Life Behind Bars with legendary cocktail historian David Wondrich.

In addition, Rothbaum is the author of the book The Art of American Whiskey: A Visual History of the Nation’s Most Storied Spirit, through 100 Iconic Labels and the associate editor of the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails. Rothbaum’s first book, The Business of Spirits: How Savvy Marketers, Innovative Distillers, and Entrepreneurs Changed How We Drink, was published in 2007.

According to Chicago magazine’s chief dining critic, Jeff Ruby, “Rothbaum knows drinking like Newton knew gravity, but he’s not all high and mighty about it, creating laws and whatnot.” And The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog called him “one of the smartest tipplers (and writers on spirits) we know.”

He is the former editor-in-chief of Liquor.com, and has contributed to the Wall Street JournalNew York TimesO MagazineDetailsMen’s JournalMen’s FitnessFood & WineGastronomica, and more.

Nora Favelukes
Nora Z. Favelukes, President of QW Wine Experts

Leading Expert on Imported Wines to the United States, Influencer, Spokesperson, Presenter and Moderator.

Wine expert with years of international experience; equipped with rare understanding of the inner workings and complexities of the U.S., South American and European wine industries. A skilled spokesperson, moderator, negotiator and a natural diplomat.

Ms. Favelukes entered the wine trade in her native Argentina in 1984. Her early professional credits include the post of Export Director at Bodegas Navarro Correas, Argentina. In 1988, she moved to the United States to work as East Coast Sales Manager for Vinos Argentinos. In 2000, she became National Sales Manager for Billington Imports – where she was responsible for the introduction of Bodegas Catena. And, from 1995 through 2001 she was Director of Fine Wines for Palm Bay Imports.

Today, Ms. Favelukes is President of QW Wine Experts, a consulting firm she launched in 1995, which is dedicated to the nationwide public relations, marketing and sales of imported fine wines to the United States market.

Professional credits:
•Past-President of the Wine Council of Argentina in the United States
•Guest lecturer on South American Wines
•The Foreign Service Institute in Washington DC
•The Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University
•New York City College of Technology on South American and Iberian Peninsula

urce’s intensive course and is certified with distinction.

IMG_20180825_151954_551
Vanessa Da Silva, Sommelier at Ninety Acres

Vanessa Da Silva grew up in rural Maine. While studying abroad in Florence, Italy, she took a recreational wine class and became enamored with wine.  After graduating from the University of Maine with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing & International Business, Vanessa pursued a career in marketing but soon realized her budding interest in wine was more than a hobby. Vanessa completed the Intensive Sommelier Training Course at the International Culinary Center in January of 2013 and simultaneously passed the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory and Certified exams.

After several years working as a Sommelier in Manhattan restaurants, Vanessa returned to the ICC where she took on the role of the Wine Coordinator, working on the educational side of wine. In 2017, Vanessa decided to return to the restaurant industry and took on a role at Ninety Acres – a farm-to-table restaurant in Pepack, New Jersey. Vanessa is currently honing her Sommelier skills as she prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Examination.

Instagram Tips for Food Businesses

In August, ICC welcomed the professionals at Instagram for a one-day workshop on everything food business & restaurant owners need to know to reach new and existing audiences through their social channels. Taught by the leading product management & marketing teams at Instagram, we learned tips, tricks and tools for boosting our food businesses directly from the source. We’re excited to partner with Instagram to bring you this content to help culinary entrepreneurs harness the power of social media for their businesses.

If you missed our event, below are a few key takeaways that we learned from this special workshop. Plus, stay tuned for more in depth recaps, videos and more on the @ICCedu and @InstagramforBusiness channels.

101

  • 80% of Instagram users follow a business
  • 60% of Instagram users say they learn about products and services on Instagram
  • Instagram provides tools for businesses, including:
  1. Business profiles. Let users know that you are a business and gain access to specific tools for your business profile such as insights and the contact bar—now you can add a button to make reservations to your restaurant.
  2. Insights. In insights, you can take a look at your activity—how people engage with your profile and the downstream actions they’re taking—how your content is performing, and learn about your audience—including when they are the most active on Instagram.
  3. Messaging. Messaging is a key part of how you can connect with your audience in an authentic and responsive way. There are 150+ million people who use messaging each day! In addition to filters for messages to better sort responses, Instagram is about to release quick replies—a way to create/customize responses to commonly asked questions.

201

  • 2 in 3 business profile visits are from non-followers, so it’s important to think about your content as if a person has never seen your business before.
  • Feed posts can drive to stories (and back again!) Instagram stories can be used for behind the scenes content, and are a great way to help to drive business goals—according to Instagram, 1 in 3 stories receive a direct message. Here are 3 things Instagram suggests thinking about when creating stories content:
  1. Do it in Real-Time
  2. Keep it Unfiltered
  3. Make it Playful
  • Drive business goals. Don’t do anything unless it drives a business goal and is trackable. One way that restaurants can drive meaningful actions on Instagram is to encourage people to take action, such as making a reservation by adding a RESERVE button to your contact bar.

Panel

During a panel discussion moderated by Aishwarya Blake from Instagram’s Product Marketing team, three successful culinary entrepreneurs spoke about how they use Instagram to drive traffic to their restaurants, food products and more. The panelists included Dani Beckerman of Jars By Dani (@jars_by_dani), Claire Mosteller of Union Square Hospitality Group (@ushgnyc), and ICC alumnus, Michael Chernow (@michaelchernow), co-founder of The Meatball Shop and founder of Seamore’s. Our key takeaways from the panel include:

  • Stay true to your brand voice. Michael uses one brand voice throughout his restaurant’s Instagram channels—himself! This helps to give the restaurants more authenticity.
  • Stories can be more playful and less edited. Dani noted that stories do not have to be “as perfect” as a feed post. The other panelists agreed!
  • Giveaways can be a fun way to interact with your audience. Claire and Michael both noted that they ran a giveaway for a new restaurant promotion, and it helped to build buzz around the restaurants!

Stories School

We were treated to a special hands-on workshop to learn new tips, and some cool tricks, to optimize Instagram stories with never-before-seen hacks straight from the team! Here are some of the tools we learned:

  • Stories are a great way to drive traffic to your feed, website, and more!
  • Swipe ups are a useful tool for large business accounts to bring followers and non-followers where you want to point them to take action—back to your website, event ticketing page, or reservation page.
  • There are many fun ways to play around with Instagram stories, like motion pinning an emoji to an element in a video, different texts and colors, and even the rewind video option.
If you’re in need of more help, click here to see Instagram’s quick guide to help restaurants get started. You can also check out the @InstagramForBusiness handle for inspiration on what you could be doing to boost your social media presence.
Old photo of Jacques Torres, Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, and Alain Sailhac in the Bread Kitchen at ICC

Flashback to FCI this July with French Demos, Tastings & More

In celebration of Bastille Day this July, we’re looking back at our days as The French Culinary InstituteTM with a whole month of programming dedicated to honoring French cuisine and culture, as well as our founding as FCITM. Join us for three events this July that celebrate everything we love about French culinary techniques, as well as French food & wine favorites that never go out of style!

Observe the masterful Chef Jacques Pépin, Dean of Special Programs, in his La Techniques demonstration to learn the fundamental knife skills every good cook must know. Learn the art of pairing through a tasting of French wines and cheeses carefully selected by Dean of Wine Studies and Master Sommelier, Scott Carney, with cheeses provided by Paris Gourmet. Or, travel to the region of Alsace with a demonstration and tasting of traditional and modern techniques for three Alsatian summer dishes and desserts from Chef Marc Bauer’s hometown. Check out the event details below & RSVP to attend!

Plus, we’ll be showing you how the International Culinary Center is still The French Culinary InstituteTM throughout the month of July on our social channels! Follow us all month long as we unlock the FCI vault with photos, stories, recipes and never-before-seen archives of our history. Test your knowledge with Tuesday Trivia on our Instagram stories and see how much you know about the history of FCI/ICC. Tune in every Friday on Instagram for Ask the Chefs as we hear from our FCI/ICC Chef-Instructors about their favorite French dishes, FCI memories and more! Watch us live on Facebook on July 12th at 12pm EST for 20 questions with Chef Jurgen David who has been an FCI/ICC Pastry Chef-Instructor for 20 years.

If you’re an FCI grad, Chef Instructor, or frequently dined at L’ Ecole, we want to hear from you! Share your favorite FCI memories with us using #FCIflashback and tagging @iccedu on Instagram and Twitter. Your photos may end up in our #ThrowbackThursday posts with other photos from our archives.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL

#FCIFLASHBACK

INSTAGRAM
@iccedu
TWITTER
@iccedu
FACEBOOK
@InternationalCulinaryCenter

JULY DEMOS & TASTINGS

Chef Jacques Pepin
La Technique with Chef Jacques Pépin
Wednesday, July 11 | 3:30-5pm
ICC Amphitheater

Join us for an exclusive demonstration with ICC’s Dean of Special Programs, Chef Jacques Pépin, as he shares the fundamental techniques to improve your knife skills.

white wine & rose wine in glasses
Bastille Day Wine & Cheese Tasting
Thursday, July 19 | 3:30-5pm
ICC 5th floor

ICC’s Dean of Wine Studies and Master Sommelier, Scott Carney takes us through a carefully curated pairing of French wine & cheeses, provided by Paris Gourmet, to highlight the principles behind each pairing success.

Chef Marc Bauer plating
A TASTE OF ALSACE WITH CHEF MARC BAUER
Wednesday, July 25 | 3:30-5pm
ICC Amphitheater

Defined by its rich and vibrant traditions, Alsace is a region known for its cooking, where Alsatian chefs have been particularly ingenious in their ability to use day-to-day ingredients when creating culinary masterpieces! Get a taste through this demonstration of three Alsatian summer dishes & desserts inspired by Chef Marc’s childhood.

Business Bites: Launching Your Food Product, spoon and light bulb

Tips to Getting Your Food Product on Shelves

Written by: Judson Kniffen, ICC’s Associate Director of Education

On June 21st, ICC’s New York campus held the latest installment of the BUSINESS BITES SERIES. This discussion, which focused on launching your food product, featured four panelists who have successfully taken food products from stove to store as entrepreneurs and food business owners, as well as grocery buyers and brand consultants.

So what do you actually need to know to take your idea from stove to store? Check out the secrets from our entrepreneurs below.

Write a Business Plan. It doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t even need to stick to it as your business evolves, but having a written business plan forces you to focus on your financials, and sets benchmarks to which you can measure your success. The Brooklyn Public Library has a competition that has helped some of our food entrepreneurs gain financial and marketing skills and focused their business, and ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program is designed to help you build your business plan.

Packaging is Key. Your product needs to stand out from the competition – but not be so different that it’s unrecognizable. The packaging needs to sell itself. Go to a store and look at similar products on the shelf. How can yours be unique but also share the same shelf space?  What shapes and colors will make it stand out? There are lots of stock packaging options that can be customized, which is an easy and affordable way to get started.

Get Feedback (And Listen to it!). Ask friends, coworkers, and strangers what they think of your product. They might see something you’ve overlooked or taste something you don’t. Have demos at shops and talk to your customers. The more face time you have with the public, the more successful your business will be. If someone gives you a valuable piece of advice, listen to it and ask yourself how you can incorporate it into your business.

The Department of Agriculture is Your Friend. Trying to find regulatory information on your food product? Looking for classes in food safety? Call the Department of Agriculture and speak to someone on the phone about your specific product and questions. The people who work at the DOA are knowledgeable and can be very helpful when you are looking for a quick answer. Get certified in food safety education. Their knowledge and resources are vast and are at your disposal.

Get Started Now! If the big picture is too daunting, making small, incremental steps will ultimately lead to many accomplishments. ­­

Surround Yourself with Other Culinary Entrepreneurs. Listen to podcasts on your subject. The community momentum will help you keep going.

Be resilient! You’re going to hear a lot of “NOs” at every stage of your business, but it is important to persevere and remember why you started in the first place.

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship 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.

Business Bites: Launching Your Food Product, spoon and light bulb

Business Bites: Launching Your Food Product

The BUSINESS BITES SERIES, brought to you by the Culinary Entrepreneurship 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.

BUSINESS BITES: LAUNCHING YOUR FOOD PRODUCT

FROM STOVE TO STORE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN

Thursday, June 21st | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

Turning an idea for a food or beverage product into reality is a dream for many, but it takes more than a delicious product and eye-catching packaging to bring your product to the shelves. From testing your concept and researching competitors, to manufacturing, packaging and distribution, entrepreneurs face many unique challenges in today’s competitive food product space.

So what do you need to know to take your idea from stove to store?

Join us for an informative discussion with experts in entrepreneurship, branding, financing and retail to help get your food product off the ground. Our panel of business owners, brand consultants, and specialty buyers will share tips and tricks about where to start; branding, design & packaging; shared commercial kitchens & co-packers; sales & distribution strategies; and what everyone wants to know – what buyers are looking for! You’ll also have ample time for networking and the opportunity to learn how ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program can take you from concept to business plan & pitch in just 6-weeks!

Plus, learn more about the Stacy’s Scholarship for Female Culinary Leaders, a full-tuition scholarship to ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program for women who have plans to open a culinary business!

MODERATOR

Alek Marfisi, Upwind Strategies
Alek Marfisi – Owner, Upwind Strategies & ICC Entrepreneurship Instructor

Alek Marfisi is a native New Yorker with a passion for building things and helping people. After working advising small businesses for five years, Alek launched Upwind Strategies in 2015 with the mission of providing deeper and more relatable services to small businesses: the anti-business-school services firm. He previously worked with the NYS Small Business Development Center where he dove into the exciting intricacies of making entrepreneurial projects a reality. Since then, Alek has logged more than 11,000 hours working with small businesses and has been recognized as one of the top drivers of economic development in the country.

PANELISTS

Liz Alpern, Owner of The Gefilteria, Business Bites panelist
Liz Alpern – Owner, The Gefilteria

Liz Alpern is the owner of The Gefilteria and co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto. She is on the faculty of ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program and is a consultant for national non-profit, Fair Food Network.

Follow Liz: Instagram @lizalpern @queersoupnight
Follow The Gefilteria: Facebook, Instagram & Twitter @gefilteria

Jill Frechtman, Brand Consultant, Business Bites Panelist
Jill Frechtman – Brand Consultant

Jill Frechtman is an entrepreneur with a passion for building inspired, authentic, and impactful brands. Jill’s unique approach to branding incorporates her 16+ years of experience as a designer, specialty food entrepreneur, and a creative strategy and brand marketing consultant. She is the founder of chocolate pretzel company, Fretzels by Jill, and is a consultant for a number of other entrepreneurs and businesses, in a variety of industries, developing, designing, and growing their brands.

Laura Heifetz, Grocery Buyer, Greene Grape, Business Bites Panelist
Laura Heifetz – Grocery Buyer, The Greene Grape

Laura Heifetz is a native New Yorker with a love of all things edible. She attended the Natural Gourmet Institute and worked as a personal chef, before discovering her passion for cheese and specialty foods. Having worked behind some of NYC’s most famous cheese counters for 5 years, she took over as Grocery Buyer in 2014 at the Greene Grape, where she keeps the shelves stocked with some of the world’s best foods. She regularly works with local small batch producers to help develop their products from concept to shelf.

Follow Laura: Instagram @cheflaura126 | Twitter @curdbird
Follow The Greene Grape: Facebook @thegreenegrape | Instagram & Twitter @greenegrape

April Wachtel, Owner of Swig + Swallow, Business Bites Panelist
April Wachtel – Founder/CEO, Swig + Swallow

April Wachtel is a passionate educator, an experienced mixologist, a cocktail and spirits instructor, and founder of Swig + Swallow, the cocktail mixer company. She is a 22 year veteran in the beverage and hospitality industry, working in every role from busser to bartender to beverage director, to brand ambassador to beverage consultant. April has appeared on The Today Show, and Fox & Friends, as well as The Pitch Podcast, The Travel Bite, Tech Bites, The Main Course, Sharp & Hot, and more.

Follow April: Instagram @aprilwachtel
Follow Swig + Swallow: Facebook & Instagram @swigandswallow | Twitter: @swig_swallow

Start Up Business Tips: Facility Design

Provided by the Culinary Entrepreneurship Program Instructors

Bradford Thompson
Founder of Bellyful Consulting Inc
Bellyful Consulting, Inc.
is a full service culinary consulting company behind multiple new restaurants, events, catering jobs, TV and film productions and major consumer brands. Bradford and his team have spearheaded projects including Southern Hospitality, Miss Lily’s Favourite Cakes and Grimaldi’s Coal Burger.

Facility Design Tip: Design with sanitation in mind – studies show more labor hours [which means $$$] are spent cleaning than actually preparing food in virtually every type of food service facility.