Business Bites Resources: Storytelling For Your Business

Every business has a story behind its origin, and restaurants and food businesses are no exception. For some, it’s the desire to showcase the food they learned to cook with their grandparents at an early age. For others, they were inspired to create a product they couldn’t find on store shelves. In ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship program, we teach chefs and aspiring food business owners to take their inspiration, and motivation, behind starting a business and develop it into a defined concept and actionable business plan, all in just 6 weeks! But, in order to get started, you first have to think about what makes the story you are trying to tell compelling, what makes your brand unique, and what you have to accomplish to start your business.

So what does it take to start crafting a compelling business story?

Justine ClayWith a little help from Justine Clay, Speaker & Business Coach for Creative Entrepreneurs and Freelancers and ICC Culinary Entrepreneurship instructor, you’ll develop your story and be ready to pitch your food business idea at the end of our 6-week Culinary Entrepreneurship program. If you missed enrolling in our January session, you still have the chance to start thinking about your concept and how to tell your story before our next session in September. Check out these three steps to help you tell your story and beginning your journey to launching your business!

Establish Yourself as a Likeable Hero

Begin by thinking about what you could share about yourself that would engage your customer and have them rooting for you. The story of how you founded your business will show your customers who you are and will allow them to develop an emotional relationship with your business. By incorporating your background into the story, you can develop your customer base and establish that you are trustworthy.

Share Your Roadblock

Next, establish the moment that was daring and defining to your life. You want your customers to be tuned into your story, so show them how you overcame your obstacles to create the business that they have grown an emotional connection to. However, it’s important to remember that this is not the point where you should create a long and drawn-out story–this is where you should set yourself apart and show your customers what motivates you.

Share Your Transformation

Finally, describe how you overcame these obstacles to establish yourself as a business owner. Share your business’ mission and what you set out to accomplish in creating it. Involve your customers by expressing your excitement for your growing brand and the solutions you’ve created that will impact them!

In the end, establishing a compelling story about your brand makes for great pitch content to secure investors, customer loyalty, media attention and more!

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: Unearthing Your Sources

Business Bites: Unearthing Your Sources

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.

SOURCING AND IMPORTING FOR YOUR FOOD BUSINESS

Wednesday, February 13th | 6:30-8:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater

For restaurants and food business owners, sourcing quality ingredients and importing products unique to your brand play an important role in setting you apart from your competitors. Your patrons become loyal customers for the quality you retain—and your prices can reflect that. Today, the expansion of global trade and ease of digital communication allows for access to exotic, hard-to-find ingredients from around the world, making it possible to introduce products direct from their origin.

But, what do you really know about your sources and where your products come from?

With consumers moving towards ethical buying habits, higher standards for quality and equality are vital in day-to-day business operations. In our latest installment of our Business Bites series, Unearthing Your Sources, you’ll hear from a panel of experts running some of NYC’s best single origin businesses about how they operate profitable food businesses without compromising on quality or fair trade practices. Join us to discuss what it’s like to source from around the world, the laws and agricultural regulations with regard to importing products, fair trade best practices and the key players within a supply chain. They’ll share their tips for working with farmers, navigating customs laws and building a network of trusted producers. Plus, 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
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

Ethan Frisch
Ethan Frisch, Co-Founder of Burlap and Barrel

Ethan Frisch is a chef, activist and the cofounder of Burlap & Barrel, the first comprehensive single origin spice company in the US.  A former line cook and pastry chef in New York and London, he was also the co-founder and Executive Chef of Guerrilla Ice Cream, a nonprofit politically-inspired ice cream cart. As a humanitarian aid worker, he worked with NGOs including the Aga Khan Foundation in Afghanistan and Doctors Without Borders on the Syrian/Jordanian border.

He has been an adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York and an instructor with the Experiment in International Living’s Leadership Institute. He is honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the Bond Street Theatre (www.bondst.org), which uses theater to teach conflict resolution and resilience in areas of instability around the world, and on the Advisory Boards of the student-led racial literacy and justice organization Princeton CHOOSE (www.princetonchoose.org) and the Fragments Theater, a youth theater company in Palestine. He is also on the Organizing Committee of the Queens International Night Market.

He holds a dual Bachelors Degree in Conflict Studies and Education and Social Change from the City University of New York, and a Masters Degree in Violence, Conflict and Development from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.

Stephen Thomas, Rishi Tea
Stephen Thomas, Market Manager- NYC Metro of Rishi Tea

Stephen Thomas began his hospitality career as a certified sommelier working for one of the largest wine collectors in the world. This passion led him into the world of cocktails, where his science and engineering background opened the doors to some of the top restaurants in New York. He joined Rishi tea just about 2 years ago where he was able to bring it all together under the core values of the company; Importer, selector, maker.

William Mullan
William Mullan, Brand Manager of Raaka Chocolate

William Mullan is Brand Manager for Raaka Chocolate, a bean-to-bar chocolate maker based in Red Hook, Brooklyn. He is fascinated by the intersections of food, culture, and commerce; how food shapes our lives and how we shape our lives with food. After five years at Raaka, he is still not sick of chocolate and considers this to be a good thing.

Rob T.
Rob Terenzi, Co-Founder and CEO of Vega Coffee

Rob Terenzi is a co-founder and CEO of Vega Coffee, a company whose mission is to radically transform the coffee supply chain. Before starting Vega, Rob lived in Nicaragua for about 5 years working with small women-owned coffee cooperatives on improving access to markets and making great Nicaraguan coffee available domestically He also attended law school at Fordham Law and earned a masters degree in International Economics, before working as a start-up and venture finance attorney in Silicon Valley for WSGR for a bit over three years.

Tips to Make 2019 a Financial Success

2019: A Successful Year for Your Food Business

As 2018 comes to an end, food entrepreneurs get a chance to sit down and look over their financial performance for the year.  The food business is fickle; some operators seem to have it so easy and others seem to always be struggling.  If you’d like to do better in the new year, here are 3 ways you can make your business more efficient and ultimately enable you to take home more money.

What’s Your Gross Margin?
Your gross margin is the most important ratio to know about your company. It’s the percent of sales left over after you account for what your product cost you.  If you sell $10 six packs of soda and your product costs you $4, your gross margin is 60%.  On your company’s profit and loss statement, find your gross profit and divide it by your total revenue to get your gross margin.  Here are a few things to think about once you know your margin:

  • Do I operate a high gross margin or low gross margin business?
    High margin businesses (those with gross margins over 50%) benefit the most from a sales push, or working on your pricing and food costing. Low margin businesses (those with gross margins under 50%) benefit the most from finding ways to make the business more efficient by lowering overhead costs like kitchen utilities and employee overtime.
  • How does my gross margin compare to other companies in my sector?
    Once you have your gross margin you can use it to make an apples-to-apples comparison to your competitors’, or industry’s gross margin. Is it above average?  If so, make sure you keep giving your customers a meaningful reason to pay more for what you’re offering. Is it below average? Then maybe you need to consider changing your pricing and quantity structure.

Track Your Refunds and Discounts.
No other businesses face as many refunds and discounts as food businesses do.  Whether it a restaurant comp’ing a meal after a service error or free samples being given away to promote a new food product at a grocery store, discounts and refunds can seriously affect your business’ ability to make a suitable profit.   At the same time, they’re a fact of life for this industry.  The solution is to benchmark, track, and set goals for your refunds and discount.  Many bookkeepers just lump discounts and refunds into your sales figure.  Encourage them to separate these costs out into discrete figures that offset your total revenue.

Work With an Expert to Optimize Your Labor.
Foodservice labor is complicated, and the rules are changing all the time.  It’s never OK to cut your staff and overburden your team just to save a dime, but there are many ways in which your scheduling, overtime, and calculation of base wages net of credit card fees can add small costs to your payroll every week that translate into big expenses each year.  A good payroll processing technology that’s specialized for the foodservice industry is good, but in this case we recommend that you talk to an expert: preferably someone who runs human resources for other food companies.  Here are a few labor costs to think about:

  • Do your customers tip your employees via credit card? If so, make sure you are deducting credit card fees from the amount of tips you pay out to your employees.
  • What is the tradeoff between adding a shift and working your current staff overtime? Comparing these two scenarios might make a big difference in your total annual payroll costs.

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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.

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.

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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