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Entrepreneurial f The Premier Magazine For Food Entrepreneurs

Che

September 2017 Issue 15

Maneet

Chauhan

The Mantra of Success


Entrepreneurial f Che

Magazine

September 2017 Volume 2 Issue #15 Publisher Rennew Media, LLC Editor Shawn Wenner Cover Maneet Chauhan Cover Photographer Stewart Cohen Graphic Designer Rusdi Saleh Staff Writer Jenna Rimensnyder Contributing Editor Kaiko Shimura Contributors Amy Riolo Vic Clevenger, Andrew Carlson, Deb Cantrell, Evan Scritchfield, Douglas Feindt Photo Credits Laura Devries, Stewart Cohen, Brian Baiamonte, Paul Charbonnet, Jenn Ocken, Jenna Rimensnyder Special Thanks Diana Barton at Bread & Butter Public Relations, Joyce Appelman, Andy Salyards, Maneet Chauhan, Jay Ducote, Jean-Rony Fougere No content, for example, articles, graphics, designs, and information in this publication can be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. For advertising information, letters to the editor, or submission inquiries, please email: Contact@EntrepreneurialChef.Com Entrepreneurial Chef donates a portion of advertising & editorial space to C-CAP, NRAEF, & CORE. All Rights Reserved © 2017 Entrepreneurial Chef Published by Rennew Media, LLC 2

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Editor’s Note

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s we pulled together another issue, our guests reminded me of a solid thinking principle – don’t focus on what you can lose, focus on what you can gain. The latter leads to an “abundance” mindset, where the other brings about “scarcity.” What I’ve learned through the years is that nothing zaps energy, creativity, and momentum like a scarcity mindset. A commonality in our guests is they focused on abundance as they climbed the entrepreneurial ladder. Not only will you glean this insight, but many other principles as well. Beginning with Maneet Chauhan, we learn about her circumstantial rejection and eventual critical acclaim as the recipient of the James Beard Award of Excellence. Maneet says entrepreneurship means “life and business go hand-in-hand,” and proves it with her anxiety-ridden story of giving birth to her son, three months early, on the day her restaurant opened. Not to mention working in the restaurant seven days later. We journey along with Jay Ducote, who despite starting on a Political Science track, changed gears to culinary and organically built a food media company, personal brand, and launched various products. Then we have Jean-Rony Fougere, who concocted a brilliant strategy of creating advanced pastry and cake decorating classes to serve students he was teaching entry-level techniques to at Wilton. The move would provide a steady customer base for his Fern Pastry Studio. Finally, we profile Andy Salyards, who knew acquiring or building a business was in the cards and took a calculated risk to launch a restaurant that would become the foundation for Urban Restaurant Group. An organization with six businesses challenging the status quo. As always, between our featured guests and amazing contributors, I sincerely hope this issue gives you fresh ideas, inspiration, and actionable advice. Cheers, Shawn Wenner


Contents 45 23 35

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Editor’s Note............................................2 Jay Ducote How to Diversify Your Talent ...............5 6 Steps For Just About Anything...... 18 Andy Salyards The Essence of Building a Forward Thinking Restaurant Group ............... 23 5 Ways Exceptional Customer Service Impacts Your Kitchen............ 35 How To Nail Your Televised Cooking Demo...................................... 41

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Maneet Chauhan The Mantra of Success ...................... 45 Cookbook Promotion.......................... 59

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Jean-Rony Fougère Pastry Entrepreneur Talks Business ...................................... 67 Understanding Private Labeling........ 77

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A Path For Entering The Global Marketplace...................... 82 Education Station................................. 87


Success Story

Jay Ducote:

How to

Diversify Your Talent

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Success Story

Jay Ducote

spends most of his time as a food and beverage writer, blogger, radio host, speaker, video producer, culinary personality, chef, and hugger. An ambassador for Louisiana’s cuisine and culture, Ducote has taken the industry by storm since launching his food blog, Bite and Booze, in 2009. Originally intended to overcome boredom from his desk job, his blog would eventually become a stepping stone to a new and exciting career in food. When some rely on high-level strategy and deep pockets to cut through the noise, Ducote built an entrepreneurial career organically with a dash of “figuring it out along the way.” His story reaffirms that passion, blended with sheer tenacity, and mixed with a healthy dose of work ethic, is a timeless recipe for success.

Competing early on in barbecue competitions, Ducote would win a tailgating cookoff in 2010 that would catapult his culinary career. It would eventually lead to being cast as one of the top 100 amateur chefs in America on MasterChef. Since that initial appearance, Ducote has cooked or judged food on many TV shows such as Cutthroat Kitchen, The Kitchen and Burgers, Brew & Que on Food Network, Eat St. on Cooking Channel, and Last Call Food Brawl on Destination America. Ducote also had a pilot for his show “Deep Fried America” air on the Travel Channel, but most notably, he finished runner-up on Season 11 of Food Network Star in 2015, wowing judges with his Cajun and deep-fried cuisine. As a natural born entrepreneur, Ducote has explored a variety of opportunities along the way. From pop-up dinners, private events, cooking demonstrations, to catering parties, corporate tailgates and holiday parties, he rarely misses an opportunity to stay busy. And if all that cooking wasn’t enough, Ducote has

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launched a myriad of products. In 2014, he launched Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, followed by the 2015 release of Jay D’s Blanc du Bois, a collaboration with West Monroe’s Landry Vineyards. By late 2015, Ducote released Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard, and in 2016, Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub and Jay D’s Single Origin Coffee. By the end of 2017, Ducote is planning his first restaurant concept, Gov’t Taco, inside White Star Market in Baton Rouge. Ducote’s story proves that pouring heart and soul into a venture, and following your passion with consistency in your actions, can result in levels of success never thought possible. With the onslaught of food entrepreneurs jockeying to build their own brand and stand above the crowd, Ducote has accomplished this almost effortlessly – we said almost. In our interview, Ducote takes us through the entire journey. From the days of believing political science was the career of choice, to the organic build of his media company, Ducote gives us a roadmap for the modern day entrepreneurial chef.


Success Story

Q&A The

with

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Jay Ducote

Where did the attraction to the culinary industry begin?

I always had a love of food. Growing up, I’d hunt and fish, and I always had respect for where ingredients came from. Some of my first food memories were sitting around mesquite fires in South Texas cooking steaks and baked potatoes. I got into cooking as a freshman at LSU, where the tailgate culture is pretty unique. At my first tailgate party, my cousin handed me our grandfather’s old barbecue utensils and said, “Here freshman, you’re in charge of the grill now.” Ever since then, I’ve been cooking. 7

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Did you have a plan to make a career in the culinary industry early on?

I never thought I would do anything in the culinary field. My undergraduate degree was in Economics and Political Science, and I went back for grad school to get a master’s in Political Science, but really it was to keep tailgating and have a couple more football seasons [laughs]. [After school] I didn’t really know where I wanted to go, so I took a job teaching high school math and coaching baseball. After two years, I got a boring desk job doing grant writing and policy research for the state of Louisiana.


Success Story It was there when I needed something just to get through the day. That’s when I started the blog “Bite and Booze.” The blog was a way to cure my boredom from the job, and [it was then] when I became a student of food.

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Your blog, Bite and Booze, opened the doors to a slew of opportunities later on, but did you plan for this or was it organic over time? [Early on], I was just writing about what I was eating for lunch, and it turned into something people were reading. [Over time], it became more than reviewing lunch spots. I began talking about food, culture, telling people’s stories through food, and why certain recipes existed. I started looking into cooking traditions and culinary backgrounds – like why the South

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has its own food, why Louisiana has its own food, or what’s the difference between Cajun and Creole.

As the blog was [progressing], I started cooking more. I started paying attention to cooking methods and understanding different ingredients. I would cook [not only] for the blog, but I started doing amateur barbecue competitions. For a couple of years, it all grew together. There was no real goal. It was more of an escape for me at that time. I probably would have been discouraged had I truly tried to launch it as a business. I launched it not knowing what it could grow into, and it took several years to really build a following. It took several big breaks with me getting news appearances, having newspaper and magazine articles written about me, to really get on the map.

It still exists today because it’s what got me to where I am and created all these opportunities for me. It’s very much been the hub and a big part of everything up to this point.

I realized I needed to quit my day job and put effort into growing the business full-time. It was a moment where I realized that I needed to do it then or I might regret not doing it for the rest of my life. — Jay Ducote 8

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Success Story

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What is something you learned about growing your blog that would help others trying to do the same thing today?

strategy goes, I definitely think blogging is a great way to get information out to your followers or people who might take an interest in you.

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Your blog was a step toward a culinary career, but was there a defining moment that prompted your decision to pursue a career in food full-time?

One of the best things I did was staying consistent from the beginning. Since that first blog post, there hasn’t been a week that’s gone by that I haven’t written at least one blog posts. I always have content up there. It’s not an excessive amount, I’m not blogging 2-3 times per day, but I blog at least 2-3 times per week. You need some level of constant and recurring content. That way people know to look out for it, and it’s not just a flash in the plan. You don’t want to write 6 blog posts one month and then go three months without writing another blog post. That inconsistency is not going to attract readers the same way as being consistent with your content. — Jay Ducote

For someone contemplating starting a blog, do you think there’s still value in it today?

About a year after starting the blog, one of the first turning points in my career was getting a recipe selected in a tailgating cook off to represent LSU. There was an online voting process, and I was able to use the power of social media to finish in the final three and get invited to cook off against the others. I ended up winning with a BlackBerry Bourbon Bone-In Boston Butt – a pork shoulder injected with a mixture of blackberry jam, honey, bourbon, and then rubbed on the outside with a barbecue rub and smoked over Louisiana pecan wood.

I certainly think blogging is a great tool to use. For me, it’s getting more and more about sharing the in-depth stories and details about what I’m doing. A lot of the projects I’m launching have a backstory and things behind the scenes that I can’t put on a label. The blog allows me to take a deeper dive into why I’m doing things and not just about what I’m doing. [At the same time], my team and I focus just as much on telling stories of other people doing cool things in the community. Overall, as far as the content

After winning, that same day, there was a casting call for season two of MasterChef in New Orleans. I finished the tailgating cook off and drove to the casting call. Using that same dish, I got cast on season two of MasterChef. I didn’t make it very far in the competition, but I really enjoyed it and knew [at that point] I wanted to dedicate myself to [food]. However, I knew there was a lot to learn. I was very much an amateur on the culinary side, but I was ready to learn, practice, and work hard to get somewhere.

There’s no reason to doubt yourself before you get started.

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Success Story

Don’t think you have to know everything before you get started, there are a lot of lessons best learned along the way. — Jay Ducote

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Shortly after deciding to go after a culinary career, you landed your own radio show, Bite and Booze, so how did this come about? After filming MasterChef, a local radio station announced they were switching the format of one of their stations to an all talk FM station. They were looking for local non-political content for the weekends. With the blog and social media channels going strong, I got in touch with the station to introduce myself. I gave them video clips and links to the blog and [pitched] a food and drink based radio show. They got back to me the next day, brought me in for an interview, and said they wanted to make it happen. So just like that, I started a radio show. I didn’t know where it would take me,

One of the best things I did was staying consistent from the beginning. — Jay Ducote

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I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but it just felt right. It made sense to not only do the blog and social media but to have a radio show that would help create the brand overall.

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What was the purpose and positioning of the radio show?

I knew the show would give me a platform to get on the air and be heard, but it wasn’t really my opinions that I wanted to be pushing. I wanted it to be an outlet for other chefs, local farmers, people throwing culinary events in the community, and to have a platform for them to be [heard]. I really took the role of a host so it wouldn’t just be “my show” with me talking. [Instead], I would have different guests talking about things happening in the community and supporting the local food and drink scene and be a part of building the chef community.


Success Story

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When did you take the entrepreneurial leap full-time and what was this period like? The radio show was really the first time I was able to bring in consistent revenue. I was making money from sponsors and advertisers across the whole platform – blogging, radio show, and social media. It wasn’t much, by any means, but it was enough to bring in supplemental income. Six months after the radio show, I started to get so busy doing stuff – video content, pop-up dinners, blogging, and radio show – I realized I needed to quit my day job and put effort into growing the business fulltime. It was a moment where I realized that I needed to do it then or I might regret not doing it for the rest of my life. I was fortunate at the time to be single with no kids, so it made sense to take a calculated risk and quit a good-paying job to try my own thing. I had enough money in the bank to survive six months, and I said if after six months I haven’t figured out how to make enough money to survive, I would get another job.

Just like that, I started a radio show. I didn’t know where it would take me, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, but it just felt right. — Jay Ducote 12

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One of the first things I thought I could do as a revenue source was to launch a product. In 2012, I started creating my own barbecue sauce and figuring out how to get it to market. My thought was that I had an audience from the blog, social media, and radio show, but I didn’t have any way to monetize those readers or listeners. Having a product to sell [the audience] was the direction I was going, and I could use the [entire platform] to get the word out. That ended up being a lot more complicated than I realized! The barbecue sauce didn’t launch until two years later, but it was definitely something I was thinking of as a way to monetize the brand that I was building.


Success Story

At some point, you have to trust yourself, trust your instincts, and just go for it. — Jay Ducote

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What fears did you have when you were starting out on your own?

There were plenty of fears. The number one fear for me was about money. It was finding a way to make enough so it would be worth quitting my day job where I had a salary, health benefits, 401k and everything else. [At that time], I had no idea if I could make enough, so there was certainly fear about taking a risk instead of playing it safe and working for somebody else. There was also a fear about whether or not I would even like it. I never considered myself an entrepreneur, so I certainly didn’t know whether or not I would like working for myself. At that point, I was working out of my house – it was just me. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2014 that I hired my first employee. So, there was a chance I wouldn’t have enjoyed doing the work that I was doing. [Finally], more than financial or if I would like the work, there was the risk of failure. The risk of going after something and not succeeding, and then having to backtrack. I ended up doing a calculated assessment. I looked at how long I could go financially and my options [if it didn’t work]. What I didn’t want was to quit a day job and six months later have to get the job back. [Having a plan] helped me make the decision and ease the burden of that risk a little bit.

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You eventually would bring your barbecue sauce to life, so how did you do this and what lessons did you learn along the way? I played with the recipe for about a year, and for another year I worked on the logistics of getting it manufactured, packaged, and out to the market. There was a whole lot that I did not know about that industry. I was trying to figure it out as I go. At that time, 2012 and 2013, I felt I needed a food incubator or commissary kitchen where I could rent their equipment to make my products, package them, and get out to the market. After exploring those options, and as my world continued to get busier, I realized I couldn’t do it all myself anymore and needed to hire help for the blog, radio show, media side of things, as well as the pop-up dinners and private chef stuff I was doing. The barbecue sauce was then put on the back burner because I realized I needed to find a co-packer. I didn’t need to source ingredients, make the product, package, label and deliver; I needed to find a way to outsource the manufacturing. Out of luck, I came across a guy who did co-packing and private labeling while I was on a project for the state of Louisiana. He and I went back and forth for months from test batches to bigger batches and on July 4th, 2014, we officially launched my barbecue sauce commercially.


Success Story Before that time, I had been making batches of barbecue sauce in big crawfish pots in my garage. I’d fill gallon jugs and bring to restaurants as a way to get market share. I had been doing that for a little while, but when we first got that commercial batch out of the way, it was a big relief and a big step forward.

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What’s your advice for those working to create their own sauce of some kind?

If you’re starting from nothing, and you don’t have much of a budget, you probably need to find a way to make it yourself. Without a budget, you’re going to have to be involved in the manufacturing side because you’re not going to be able to pay somebody. For me, I was already at a point where I had so much other stuff going on and there was no way being a manufacturer of this product would make sense to me or my schedule.

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In relation to launching your product, what helped you break into the market?

When I launched the first batch of barbecue sauce, I did so without too much knowledge of

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13 the industry. The best thing I did ahead of time was network and make connections with grocers and retailers where I’d be selling the product. A really big step for me was having grocery stores immediately ready to sell my product when I launched. A local supermarket, who was the title sponsor of my radio show from back in 2011, threw a launch party and helped make it happen. The relationships with retailers when you’re trying to launch a product is certainly a big part.

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Was it organic or strategic to launch more products? Either way, how did you start diversifying your product offerings?

It was all very organic. When I started the barbecue sauce, people tried advising me on doing multiple flavors, but I just wanted one product. I knew I’d create other products down the line, but I didn’t want to just be some “barbecue guy.” I wanted the sauce to be a part of my overall brand. The wine was the second product I launched, and it came from doing a lot of work in the booze industry. [One day], I was speaking on behalf of


Success Story the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, and the owner of a winery approached me afterward saying he liked my talk and shared information about his [business]. After about a year of figuring out how we could work together, he asked about putting my name on a bottle of wine. He said, instead of me pushing his wine while telling the story about the agriculture and grapes grown in Louisiana, I’d be out telling the same story, but with my own wine. It just kind of worked out as a product to tell a story and support Louisiana agriculture. It wasn’t me saying I wanted my own wine and asking to slap my sticker on his bottle, so it wasn’t private label in a traditional sense, but a way to add another product and support a small business [in the process].

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What are the logistics of you selling your products on your website? How do you pull this direct-to-consumer system off? There are three flagship products – barbecue sauce, Louisiana molasses mustard, and spicy and sweet BBQ rub. Those are co-packed products that I can order from the manufacturer. There’s not a limit on the supply, I can always order more. The game there is the volume of sales – getting it into more stores, getting the stores that have it to sell more, and getting people out there to know the brand and want to buy. If I can increase sales, then I can just order more from my manufacturers. We manage all the shipping logistics internally. I have a team with a handful of employees that help me with everything from the blog, radio, events, and everything else. Since launching the product lines, I’ve had at least one employee and an intern or two that help to manage the incoming orders, packing, and shipping. It certainly has been a learning process, and we try to get more efficient at shipping, packing, knowing what materials we 15

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There are things I’ve done where I just put myself in a position to succeed or fail. — Jay Ducote need, and figuring out how to increase sales. The benefit with online sales is that they can have a very direct influence on your cash flow and profit margins because you’re able to sell directly to customers for retail prices as opposed to selling it to distributors or wholesalers.

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From a business or entrepreneurial standpoint, what was a profound lesson you learned along the way that can help our readership? The recurring theme for me, and something I tell people, is at some point you have to trust yourself, trust your instincts, and just go for it. Don’t think you have to know everything before you get started, there are a lot of lessons best learned along the way. And there’s no reason to doubt yourself before you get started. [Using myself as an example], I had never launched a barbecue sauce or hosted a radio show before, so there are things I’ve done where I just put myself in a position to succeed or fail. [Without doing that], I wouldn’t have known what I liked or not, or what I was good at or not. At some point, you just have to go for it. See something you want, find a way to make it happen, and figure it out on the back end.


Top Ten Takeaways from Jay Ducote 1

If you truly want something, put yourself in a position where the only two options are to succeed or fail.

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Blogging is still a very effective way to build a platform and pull people into what you’re doing.

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Don’t think you have to know everything before you get started. You can learn lessons along the way.

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If you’re launching a food product, work ahead of time to establish relationships with distributors and/or stores.

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Keep your day job until you have enough supplemental income from your entrepreneurial venture to focus on your business full-time.

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Co-packing and private labeling can be a very effective and efficient way to get your products to the marketplace.

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If you have products to sell, creating a direct to consumer system can have a big impact on your cash flow and profit margins.

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Following your passion and being persistent is a timeless recipe for success.

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Have at least six months of living expenses saved before taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship.

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In relation to blogging, staying consistent is key.

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Mind Tools

6 Steps For Just About Anything By: Vic Clevenger

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Mind Tools

I

have 100’s of books on my shelves promising to be The Book of Secrets – sorry Harry Potter fans – for success. They promise me the best insider tricks to use my Facebook to enhance my Twitter by using my Instagram in order to market my brand. Each striving to remove the cloak of invisibility– again, my apologies to the HP fans reading this – to reveal ways to grow my business. Books telling me to do Yoga while eating yogurt and exercising so I can unite mind, body, and soul in order to reach my goals all while fishing. Some are extremely lengthy, some daunting and one even has duct tape, all crying out to give me the steps I need for success. So when I come across something short and sweet I pay a little more attention to it, especially when it comes from someone I respect. Such is the case with these 6 steps from pitmaster Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q. Chris was asked what tips he could give for being successful in competition bbq. The more I read them, the more I began to see these 6 steps could be applied to anywhere you’d like to succeed. Are you an executive chef or a stock boy? Are you a blogger or a janitor? As we explore this list you’ll begin to see what I noticed, you can apply these anywhere, to anything you endeavor to accomplish.

Stay Humble Nothing like starting off with perhaps the hardest step of the six. As an entertainer, one of the old adages you hear over and over is, “Don’t believe your own press.” This is just another way of saying, stay humble. In my show, I talk about growing up in Eastern Kentucky where my dad was born in a log cabin, and my mom was potty trained in an outhouse, which is all true. Although my parents provided for me and my brother a better life growing up than they had, it’s still a reminder of where I’m from. One of the biggest compliments given to a celebrity who reached great success is simply, “He (she) hasn’t forgotten where they came from.” 19

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Remaining humble in the midst of your growing success may be the hardest to accomplish, but it is certainly the most satisfying.

Stay Creative Do you remember making those clay ashtrays you made in art class when you were a kid? This is one of those joys the kids of today may never know. I remember being as proud as a peacock taking this ashtray home to my parents who looked at is as if it were something created by Picasso. Being a chef isn’t much different than being a comedian in this respect which is why, I believe, I’m drawn to the world of cooking. Creating a new recipe is like creating a new joke, you take an idea and tweak it until you have the successful result. The creativity inside you pushes aside any fear of vulnerability, and you put your creation out there anyway.

The creativity inside you pushes aside any fear of vulnerability, and you put your creation out there anyway.


Mind Tools

Need A Great Team I really love NASCAR. Of course, I’m drawn to its speed, the excitement and yes, the wrecks. Some of you reading this are shaking your heads thinking, “All they do is drive in circles.” Yep, but at 200 MPH but have you considered it as a team sport. Everyone celebrates the driver but pays little attention to the team who helped that driver to the winner’s circle. Much like a football team protecting its celebrated quarterback or a kitchen staff and their chef. To use a couple overused proverbs, “no man is an island” or “it takes a village.” Although one person may be celebrated it really does take a supportive team, whether it’s a paid staff or your family (which is the best team of all) to get to the top of the field.

Pay Attention To Every Factor This rang true for me recently smoking some ribs. Normally they’re on point but not this time. I did everything the same way I’d always done, the rub, the honey and the brown sugar, yet these turned out way overdone (I still ate them of course, I’m not a monster). I paid attention to every small detail except one, the time. It turns out I got a bit distracted and basically lost track of time until it was too late. In a nutshell, the devil is in the detail. You might not think it’s a big deal but the difference between 1st and 2nd place is the details. If you aren’t a detail type person, become one or get someone who is, especially if moving to the next level is your goal. Warning: To a non-detailed person, a detailed person can become very annoying very quickly but you need to remember (no matter which you are) details matter, so pay attention.

Although one person may be celebrated it really does take a supportive team.

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Mind Tools

You Are Only Competing Against Yourself Competitions are so much fun especially when your name is called from the stage. I’ve heard my name on both big and small stages at BBQ competitions both are exciting. However, when I’m in my tent prepping food, my thoughts aren’t on beating the other teams, rather I want to beat my last score, make my food taste better than last time, and in doing this, I’m my own worst critic. Is that pork the best I can do? Do those burnt ends taste perfect? When it comes to the turn-in box, it has to be exquisite. A chef in a fast moving restaurant is the same way, quality has standards, and those standards are yours. When your food leaves your kitchen, if it isn’t your best product, it just doesn’t leave the kitchen until it is. When you’re in competition with yourself, it shows by continually delivering a great product with nothing to be ashamed of, even if your name isn’t called, this time.

You Are Trying to Please the People You Are Serving A couple years ago BBQ legend, Tuffy Stone from Cool Smoke, said he is totally content with being your family’s second favorite BBQ, your BBQ being their favorite, of course. The point is, he knows who he’s serving. You have to know your audience, which is what I tell young up & coming comics. You can’t just get out there and do your thing for the sake of doing it, you have to know for whom you’re performing. There’s no difference between performing a bunch of jokes or picking just the right eight ribs that will WOW the judges or even your family. You have to know whom you’re serving. My wife’s mantra to her students as a middle school teacher and assistant principal for almost our entire married life (27+ years) has been to help her students become productive citizens, to reach their goals. These 6 steps are 21

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When you’re in competition with yourself, it shows by continually delivering a great product.

the end all for every success book on your shelf. You do these, and you’ll succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Ok, maybe that ain’t entirely true, but they’re great steps to integrate into your life in order to achieve, well, whatever, be it a comedian, chef or a middle school student.

“Finding the funny in life” is how nationally touring comedian Vic Clevenger approaches his audiences when he steps on stage. Often compared to the likes of Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy, Vic shows how everyday life, can be funny with his humorous observations and southern comedic style. His audiences soon realize life, whether it’s around a BBQ pit, grill or in a hot kitchen, is more fun when you’re laughing.


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Success Story

Andy Salyards:

The Essence of Building a Forward Thinking Restaurant Group By: Jenna Rimensnyder

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Success Story

Practicality

isn’t always synonymous with entrepreneurship, but for Andy Salyards, the two go hand-inhand. Since 2013, Salyards grew his Urban Restaurant Group from one location to six – including a catering company and most recent addition, Urban Dugout, located inside Tropicana Field. From shipyard to smoker, much research was done for the people of Saint Petersburg, Florida to buy into his barbecue. When Salyards isn’t bouncing around from location to location checking on operations, he can be found manning the smoker outside of Al Lang Stadium during Rowdies soccer games. The founder’s complete devotion is the backbone of his success and continues to be a key ingredient in the formula for Urban’s growth. Urban’s reason for existence is to revolutionize the restaurant industry. It’s bold and ambitious, but with ownership being one of their key values, it’s well on the way. The mission is an employee owned food company developing both people and opportunity. By allowing employees to buy equity and run each location as an autonomous unit, Salyards is no

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doubt raising the ceiling in the restaurant industry. In essence, serving can become a career as long as employees buy into the restaurant’s growth and success. After noticing less than favorable trends in the service industry, such as drug and alcohol use, Salyards knew change was inevitable. Not only for the betterment of his restaurant but for the lives of his workers. With employees simply needing to buy into the culture and what it can offer them, they can experience life-changing benefits. Salyards has continuously restructured the way people think of barbecue. Exchanging plastic containers for metal trays and cast iron skillets – barbecue is getting a face-lift. As the city of Saint Pete continues to grow and develop, Salyards and his company are alongside ready to serve. Originality, scratch cooking, and craft beers easily puts Urban a step above the competition. All in all, Urban doesn’t cut corners when it comes to providing their customers with the best the bay has to offer. We caught up with Andy Salyards at his Urban Comfort location for insight on how he opened five different locations, plus a catering company, in four short years. From giving servers an opportunity for ownership, streamlining management processes, and encouraging autonomy throughout locations, Urban Restaurant Group allows all members of the team, from dishwashers to managers, to flourish. If Salyards personal journey isn’t enough of a roadmap, he supplies hopeful food entrepreneurs with advice that has brought his team through countless milestones.


Success Story

& QA The

with

Andy Salyards

1

When did you take the entrepreneurial leap full-time, and what was this period like for you? I went full-time in February 2013, before that I was working remotely in California. I wanted to acquire or start a business versus trying to find a job. My wife and I settled on the BBQ idea because I had an opportunity to invest in my cousin’s BBQ restaurant in California. We situated ourselves financially so when we invested the money, we were totally fine if we lost it all, and not strapped with any liability that would affect us long-term. If you ask the question, “When you are faced with an opportunity, do you evaluate what you might lose or what you might gain?” If you answer, “What you might lose,” it doesn’t

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necessarily mean you could never own a business, but you are less likely to take the leap. Because entrepreneurs, I think, have a built in pain blocker. Even in my situation, it’s not as if I took some crazy leap because we had our finances covered. If I didn’t make a dollar, we would still have food on the table. The risk was taking $45,000 [of my money] and $20,000 of my buddy’s money and putting it toward something. Now, what led me to that point was many years of working in a corporate environment, as well as construction and mechanical jobs, so I was comfortable [taking the step]. Before I even took that step, I evaluated why so many restaurants fail. My findings were because of a lack of business acumen. Some people look at me and say, “That was a crazy jump,” but to me, it was just kind of like, “What was my other option?” To find a job where I don’t know anyone in an industry I was not satisfied? It was a risk, but to me, it [really] was not.


Success Story

2

What fears did you overcome when taking the leap and what helped you get through them? Oh, I was petrified! Change, in general, gives people apprehension and anxiety. I essentially went from managing a 7 million sq.ft. facility in California, with multiple crews, to running and building a business by myself. I created something that you get immediate feedback on, and it took me a long time to not have a ton of anxiety fielding reviews. When Yelp pops up that you have a review, it’s the worst thing in the world if it’s anything less than 4 stars. It was tough conditioning myself to not take those personally, as well as to understand there is a grain of truth in every review. Defending your brand, trying to reach out to a person and rectify whatever wrong was done during their experience, that has been the toughest part to get over.

3

As you started to scale with multiple locations, what are some lessons you learned along the way? Early on, I identified that I didn’t want Urban Brew and BBQ to be a place where I was the face. I didn’t want people to come because of what I was or wasn’t doing. I saw other businesses thrive because patrons got to know the owner and wanted to go solely because of [them]. But once the owner had success and began taking a step back from being present, it prompted patrons to ask, “Is something going on?” Very early on I moved to the kitchen and was doing day-to-day prep and maintenance. The lesson learned from building multiple locations wasn’t so much [that we were] growing

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You have to make it before you matter Andy Salyards too quickly, as much as it was figuring out the overall direction. The initial plan was to open Urban Brew and BBQ on a three-year timeline. That was the risk I wanted to take. It had success, and was ahead of schedule, [so when] there was an opportunity to open a brewpub in town I thought, let’s make one. Then, Urban Deli popped up [because the location was] prime real estate, and the creamery spot opened up [because the location was] a really good spot. That’s been an obstacle for us, a lack of foresight when acquiring assets and not knowing exactly what to do with them. In the last four months, we created a management company that centralized all of our prep work into a commissary kitchen at Urban Deli, as well as centralized all the overhead. By putting them all in one spot, we create efficiencies throughout other locations, streamline things, and move more as a cohesive unit. What that also caused us to do is be introspective on organizational changes. [Now], instead of working off the three-year plan, we shifted to a 30-year plan. Our 30-year plan is based off why we exist, how we’re going to succeed, and what we’re going to achieve.


Success Story

The greater the risk, the more devotion it deserves Andy Salyards

4

What was the deciding factor to build the restaurants in the Saint Pete, Florida area?

Honestly? My wife’s job. We were living in Indian Shores for the first year we lived in Florida from California. We didn’t like how long it took to get in and out, and there really weren’t any young people there. We had the idea of doing this restaurant, so we [started] looking at nearby cities. One day, we were driving down Central Avenue and saw where [Urban Brew and] BBQ is now located and was like, “This is where I want it,” but it was taken at the time. Fortuitously, it came up for rent shortly after. We wrote letters and left notes for the property owner, and he finally called and asked for a business plan. When we said we had one, he was shocked. It was the most in-depth plan ever – over 40 pages. Not long after we got the space and moved in. 27

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5

How has your business model had to be adjusted for the establishment at Tropicana stadium, if at all? The toughest thing about having a spot at the [stadium] is the crew; and so, to expect anyone to work seven days in a row and take eight days off just doesn’t really work. The management company has really helped with that because we’re able to juggle responsibilities and swap out shifts. I don’t think the [stadium location] has driven business to our other locations. People are more enamored when they hear we have a place at the [stadium] than our [other] locations. That all just points to position and marketing. If you start a brand, you’re supposed to align it with greater more recognized brands because it brings legitimacy. We were on Good Morning America at the beginning of the season, so we are optimistic about maintaining a relationship with the Rays. We didn’t do it to go make money; our hope was to break even and use it for advertising purposes.


Success Story

We situated ourselves financially so when we invested the money, we were totally fine if we lost it all, and not strapped with any liability that would affect us long-term. Andy Salyards 28

entrepreneurial chef


Success Story

6

What has been your method as far as marketing goes for all of your locations?

We just hired our first marketing person, and we’re four years old. We initially did social media, and that was back when not too many folks were on top of social media. Plus Facebook has changed how they do things; it’s harder to have a loud voice without spending money. Now, we have to be smarter about our social media presence. What’s tough about small business is you only have so many resources. If you’re focused on operations, then your marketing goes down a little and vice versa. Whereas, if you have unlimited funds, you’re able to put people in the right spots, and everyone’s watching what they’re supposed to. [However], what you lose in that environment is desperation, [which] is the greatest form of motivation. When you

If you always use those around you as a

benchmark for your

success,

you’ll never be satisfied Andy Salyards

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6

have unlimited funds, there’s a lot of waste and not as much urgency. Both forms can succeed, but ultimately they will both have obstacles.

In another 6-12 months, we really want to get our story out through marketing. How we bake our own bread and that all of our ingredients, besides ketchup and cheese, are made in-house. I think those factors are extremely important and we haven’t voiced that enough to the community.

7

What has been a key factor in keeping your Urban branding strong?

In the beginning, our branding came down to trying to sophisticate barbecue and celebrate beer. Traditionally, barbecue is served on red and white checkered tablecloth with plastic holders. We didn’t want that because we’re serving plates for $20-$25, and we respect it’s a chunk of change. We’re trying to sell a premium product, and we don’t want to degrade the character of the product by whatever it’s being served in.

Another example is why we choose not to have tap handles on our bars. A tap handles function is to communicate [the brand] for the brewery. We have 18 different taps, and that’s allowing 18 different companies to come into the restaurant and scream for attention. We didn’t want to distract the customer from making a decision about what beer they wanted to drink. [Plus], all the money spent in marketing big name beer brands says nothing about the quality or flavor of the beer. We wanted to level the playing field for smaller outfits that may have really good beer, but don’t have a chance against other brands. By not allowing those tap handles in, we control the marketing message in our space. The focus is on Urban. Each restaurant has its own tag line and theme that drives what we do when it comes to cuisine, service, and drink.


Success Story

8

In looking back, what surprises or tough lessons did you have a from a business or entrepreneurial standpoint throughout your career? I started out acquiring a mechanical engineering degree and working in a shipyard – even went out to sea and worked onboard a ship. Then I came back and got my MBA, bounced around with a couple of different startups, different types of jobs, and landed in facilities. In all of these instances, [the people] were closely related to blue collar [workers]. So, transitioning into an industry and employing folks who don’t have a lot of hope or vision [for their lives], or have a ton of baggage, that was a huge shift for me. What I thought was common sense when hiring someone was nowhere near the reality in the restaurant business. Some of the first hires I had were getting drunk in the back or sneaking liquor in the kitchen. I’d find people passed out in the bathroom, employees

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having drug problems, and stealing money. All of these nightmarish things happened, and to some extent, because of this industry. But [as owners] I think we can do a great job in screening [people] and building a culture to minimizes that type of [behavior]. One of my proudest moments was assembling the Urban Brew and BBQ team – they are a [very] cohesive group. When someone comes in that doesn’t really jive with the group, they are [simply] voted off of the island.

Give

freely within reason

Andy Salyards


Success Story

Celebrating beers,

sophisticating barbecue Andy Salyards

9

What’s the best lesson or advice that you have gotten to help shape your career?

Gram Dodd was my first boss at the shipyard, and one day he asked me, “What are we in the business of?” And I said, “Of making ships?” “No.” “Um, fabricating pieces to prepare ships?” “No, no, no, no,” he said. “We’re in the business of making money.” From the capitalistic side, that’s been one piece of advice that stuck with me. Stealing a line from one of the guys of Shark Tank, “You have to make it before you matter.” And that was the attitude I had before making Urban Brew and BBQ. Let’s start a business, let’s 31

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make it profitable, and see if I can do this. We did that; we made a very profitable business. However, there’s still not that intrinsic benefit, because money in the bank is just an extrinsic benefit. Which leads us to really dive into our purpose, value, and mission because working toward a goal is an intrinsic benefit. On the purpose side, “Business is people,” is a quote that another one of my bosses said that struck home for me. I think on top of that is understanding how you define success. In order to define success, you need to understand your purpose and what you are passionate about. What you are passionate about is what gets you up in the morning and what you will do anything for. What you are striving for is your purpose, and once you’ve achieved that goal, that’s success.


10 Success Story

10

For the aspiring food entrepreneurs looking to achieve the levels of success as yourself, what is your general advice for them? I wish there was a secret sauce to success. There’s a book called Give and Take that speaks to why the last guys finish last. Studies show that people who are givers are less successful than people who are matchers or takers. The difference is some folks give and give to the point where it does [eventually] hurt themselves. I’m all for giving, but with the understanding, there are boundaries that cannot be crossed because then you start to eat away at yourself. My advice is to give freely within reason. Another factor to success as an entrepreneur is total commitment. I worked with a guy that made over $500,000 a year, and he wanted to start a company but do it part-time. Unlimited finances didn’t save that company, he just simply didn’t have the time to invest for it to succeed. If you can’t devote yourself to something than the likelihood of it succeeding is less [than favorable]. Whatever the something is, the greater the risk, the more devotion it deserves. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is a thief of joy.” I can look at what we’ve done in the last four years and make a very valid argument that we’re not that successful. That we’ve spun our wheels in so many different directions and that we should be much further along. But you can also compare what Urban has done in the last four years to other restaurants that started around the same time – if they’re even still open. I think understanding it’s a game you’re playing against yourself is very important because if you always use those around you as a benchmark for your success, you’ll never be satisfied.

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In order to define success, you need to understand your purpose and what you are passionate about. Andy Salyards

Jenna Rimensnyder is a staff writer and content specialist for Entrepreneurial Chef, having studied Journalism, Media, Food Writing & Photography from the University of South Florida. She combines her love of writing and passion for food to capture stories of inspirational food entrepreneurs and spread across the web. Follow along at JennaRimensnyder.Com.


Top Ten Takeaways from Andy Salyards 1

Having a detailed business plan is the true starting point for your venture.

2

Ask yourself, “When you’re faced with opportunity, do you evaluate what you might lose or what you might gain?” Then plan accordingly.

3

Condition yourself to not take Yelp reviews personally; however, there’s a grain of truth in every review.

4

When running multiple locations, and depending on the type, a commissary kitchen that centralizes all prep work and combines overhead could be an effective way to increase efficiencies.

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5

Aligning your brand with larger wellknown brands can bring legitimacy to your business and boost consumers’ perception.

6

Never miss an opportunity to share with your community the factors that make your business unique.

7

Avoid devaluing your food with sub-par serving vessels.

8

Creating taglines for your establishment can help give a sense of personality.

9

Center your hiring process to attain employees who fit the culture of the business.

10

Define and stay true to your purpose, value, and mission.


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. The “Pitch Your Dish� Recipe Challenge is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia (U.S.), age 18 or older at time of entry. Void outside the United States, in Puerto Rico, and wherever else prohibited by law. Online entries must be received between 12:00:01 AM Eastern Standard Time on Friday, September 8, 2017, and 11:59:59 PM Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, October 22, 2017. The Contest is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Only one individual may submit an entry. Participation in the Contest constitutes entrant's full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the official rules. Visit entrepreneurialchef.com/pitchyourdish for how to enter and full official rules. Sponsor: Entrepreneurial Chef, published by Rennew Media, LLC, 151 N. Maitland Avenue #947511 Maitland, Florida 32751.


Customer Service

5 Ways Exceptional

Customer Service Impacts Your Kitchen By: Andrew Carlson

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Customer Service

W

hen you hear about customer service, a lot of people tend to tune out because this is a topic for the front of house. Why should we have to focus on service when we’re just making the food?

that they’ll receive exceptional service. That’s a high standard to hit.

I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s an important topic, especially if you are the owner of the restaurant. But when we think customer service, we think about how we are treating our customers.

You force them to step up their game. Their behavior is an echo of your leadership as the chef or owner.

I mean, the definition of customer service is, “the process of ensuring customer satisfaction with a product or service.” What we tend to forget about is how we are treating those who work for us or in our restaurant and how we treat them.

1. Starts with Culture You are setting the standard for how your restaurant employees treat the customer. You are setting the expectation to your community 36

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But you’re also sending a message to your employees. The message you’re sending is that you will expect nothing less than exceptional service from them.

When you set the expectation for them and then follow through on those expectations yourself with how you interact with each employee, they will see you walk your talk. Leading by example is critical for this to work. When you choose respect, compassion, and understanding, when you choose to connect on a deeper level over public discipline or passive-aggressive comments, you’re teaching them to lead by example. You’re showing them that your position doesn’t matter. The only way the restaurant works is together. And expect nothing less because you set the standard so they can reach those standards.


Customer Service

2. It’s an Invitation for Snagging Top Talent When you create a strong culture, and your team is bought in, there is an energy that runs throughout the restaurant. Your team will notice it. You will notice it. But your customers will also notice it.

You lose top talent when you don’t stay competitive.

If it’s noticed by your customers, there will be rumblings that spread throughout the community about how great of a place it is to work at. That’s the key to finding exceptional players. Yes, it’s possible to find rock stars through an online post, but most of the time you’ll find that rock star employees hang out with people of similar values. That’s why referrals can be a great way to snag top talent in the community. It also holds the new hires to a new standard because they want to make their friend or colleague look good so they’ll go above and beyond for your restaurant. Then you can provide a kickback to the employee who referred that new hire, so it’s a win-win relationship. Recognition is key, and it will make sure to keep your retention rate down so you can focus on growing your business instead of keeping it at status quo.

3. Allows You to Stay Competitive

When you stay competitive and have high expectations, you’ll have people knocking on your door. That means you have the opportunity to groom the next leaders of the industry. That needs to be the focus.

You could throw a stone in any direction and hit a restaurant. The market is becoming oversaturated with restaurants, and many are starting to close down because they couldn’t bring the demand for their restaurant.

The industry is lacking exceptional chefs. The industry is lacking people who care about each other. We work in such close proximity to each other and band together when we fall into the weeds but why do we fall apart when it comes to staff development.

Providing exceptional service allows your restaurant to remain open. It allows you to provide more work for people in your kitchen. It increases your revenue because you have a strategy in place to retain every customer that walks through those doors.

You lose top talent when you don’t stay competitive. Your kitchen is only as good as your people and your leadership. If you want to stay competitive in your talent pool, you have to stay competitive when it comes to the experience you are providing your customers.

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Customer Service

4. Raise Prices Without Push Back It’s inevitable. Costs of goods will increase which means that your prices will have to increase. But you know what? Your line cooks haven’t seen a raise in the last 6 months because the flow of customers slowed down.

Having exceptionally high standards is how you succeed.

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That’s happening all too often in restaurants across America. There will be a time when your prices will increase and how your employees interact with your customers on a daily basis will determine if the customer responds positively or negatively to the increase. Luckily, you won’t have to deal with the customers on the front end, but you will have to hear about the comps that were handed out to ensure customer satisfaction. That impacts whether or not your team gets a raise. A great leader looks out for their team. You want to ensure that the experience with price increases go over seamlessly because then you’ll have more money to give your team a raise. Every little bit helps, even if it can’t be a huge raise. Be the restaurant that your community wants to support you. They’ll understand price increases if they’re educated on why the increase happened. Let them support you, but you have to give them a reason to, and that’s through customer service.


Customer Service

Everything starts with you, but you succeed and grow together. 5. It’s How You’re Remembered

Having exceptionally high standards is how you succeed. Your team will run more efficiently, and you will reap the rewards financially. But it starts with you. Everything starts with you, but you succeed and grow together. Remember, customer service does matter. It impacts your kitchen on a greater level than you could have even imagined. It comes down to these 2 questions. 1. How do you want to be remembered? 2. What are you going to do about it?

Lastly, this restaurant is your legacy. Whether it’s your own or you’re just running the kitchen. This is how you’re going to be remembered. Do you want to be remembered as someone who improved the experience within the kitchen? Or would you rather want to be remembered as another notch on the belt loop of the number of poor leaders who couldn’t pull it together? There are only two ways anyone is ever remembered. If they make a positive impact on the restaurant or if they make a negative impact on it. Unfortunately, in this industry, it’s usually the latter. That’s why I wrote the book “Customer Service is the Bottom Line” because customer service shouldn’t just be about how the customer is treated. It starts with how your employees are treated because they are the ones going to battle for you every single day. It’s your responsibility as an Entrepreneurial Chef to develop your teams into the next leaders. Support their future endeavors. Be proud of the people you have working for you. We all want to create the next exceptional brand, but we can’t do it alone, and we must make the decision to hold ourselves accountable to a higher standard. An exceptional standard. 39

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Andrew Carlson is on a mission to change customer service in restaurants and bars across America. He has experience from the front line to the front office and knows what it takes to be successful in this highly competitive industry. Andrew is a speaker, coach, and the author of “Customer Service Is The Bottom Line.”


CORE supports children of food + beverage employees navigating life-altering circumstances/conditions. Learn how you can help at COREgives.org

COREgives.org


Business Bites Chef Deb is an award-winning, best-selling author, sought after speaker & Senior Certified Personal Chef. For a decade, she has helped chefs across the country level-up their culinary business by teaching the same proven strategies used to grow her 6-figure personal chef company. In her column, Chef Deb will show various ways to transition from behind the stove to a true CEO and attract ideal clients to begin making the money you deserve.

How To Nail Your Televised

Cooking Demo

I

n last month’s article, I shared my strategies for getting onto your local TV stations so you can increase brand awareness, share your unique take on food and ultimately get more clients. I discussed how to come up with ideas that TV producers will be interested in, how to pitch them and who to reach out to ensure that you get the gig. For this month’s article, I want to talk about next steps – how to properly prepare for your upcoming cooking demo after you’ve managed to get yourself booked. First of all, a cooking demo can be very intimidating – bright lights beam above your head, cameras point at you from every angle, a teleprompter has words speeding down the screen and a ticking clock shows that you only have 30 seconds left to wrap things up.

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There are a lot of reasons why chefs get some serious nerves when it comes to going on television. It was a little nerve wracking for me when I first started. I will say that it does get easier the more practice you get. I am not claiming that I am a pro, I am still working on perfecting my on-camera presence and delivery but I have done a handful of TV appearances on networks like CBS, NBC, and Good Morning Texas and I have learned a thing or two. Follow these tips to help calm your nerves and ensure that everything goes smoothly the day of your cooking demo: Pick a Simple Dish to Demo — Have you ever seen a cooking demo on TV where the chef was clearly rushed and there were too many steps? Don’t make this mistake! You have about 2-4 minutes for your cooking demo, so pick something that is simple and easy to make.


Business Bites It will not only be easier for you, but viewers will be able to follow you better and you’ll keep their interest. Prep the Food Ahead of Time — When you are invited to do a cooking demo, most chefs are expected to have a finished version already completed or at least most of the dish already prepped. For example, I did a cooking demo for back to school healthy lunches and was showcasing broccoli tots. I made them ahead of time because they were a lengthier recipe but I also showed some of the steps for making them. Most networks will post your recipe on their website so viewers can get the full recipe because there is really not a lot of time on air to cover everything. Just remember the more prep you do, the better. Write Out Your Talking Points — Don’t try to wing your cooking demo. You want your delivery to be professional, and part of that is preparing ahead of time by writing out talking points. What do you want to say about the dish? What are some alternative ingredients viewers can use? What else do you want to cover? How are you going to incorporate your business into your demo? What are some questions people

Don’t try to wing your cooking demo.

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might ask? Some networks will ask you for talking points ahead of time while others do not. It is good practice to write them up anyway and then email them your talking points so you both are on the same page. Also, realize that you will most likely not get to cover every talking point but having some to reference is a good idea. Some producers might even put your talking points in the teleprompter, so you can remember what to say (but don’t expect this). Ask About the Space — Always ask what kind of space you’ll have for the demo. How big of a table or area will you have to work with? Will you have an oven or a stove? Enough counter space? This will help you know what kind of props you can bring and what things you are better off leaving at home. Believe it or not, the presentation on the table is important. I like to bring my logo printed out and in a frame along with a cute tablecloth and some props that go with the theme of my cooking demo. Most producers leave it up to you to decide what to bring. Don’t bring too many props though, you don’t want to take away from your actual cooking.


Business Bites

Practice makes perfect they say, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to TV appearances. Get Your Hair and Makeup Professionally Done — Okay so this isn’t an absolute must (especially if you’re a guy) but I always get my hair and makeup professionally done when I’m doing a cooking demo. It’s necessary to wear about a 1/3 more makeup than you normally do (or more if you never wear makeup) because on camera you get drowned out with the harsh lighting. Make sure to fill in your eyebrows, etc. I also get my nails done too because they will be showing shots of your hands and you want them to look nice and clean. If you’re a guy, make sure to clean under your fingernails, so they don’t look grimy. The last thing you want is people to think you don’t wash your hands when you cook. Wear Your Nicest Chef Coat — Make sure you come wearing a pristine and CLEAN chef coat that is on brand. I get all of my chef coats embroidered with my logo. As far as pants go, wear what you feel is comfortable but also nice enough for TV. I wear my signature black leather pants, but that is my brand, so your look will be different. The important thing to remember 43

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here is to dress the part and represent your brand well. Practice, Practice, Practice — Practice makes perfect they say, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to TV appearances. Well before the big day, practice what you’re going to say, go over exactly how you are going to show the steps and when you’re going to show the final product, etc. Better yet, practice in front of your family or group of friends and ask for their feedback on how you did. Share More Ideas After the Segment — If you want to get invited back, you need to do a great job and show them that you can perform well on camera. It’s always a good idea to come to the segment with a couple ideas for another cooking demo to share with the host after the cameras stop rolling. Don’t be afraid to express to them that you’d be happy to come back next time. If you follow these tips, you will be sure to NAIL your next cooking demo and have producers asking when they can have you back which means more brand exposure for you!


Success Story

Maneet Chauhan

The

Mantra

of 45

Success

entrepreneurial chef


Success Story

Maneet

Chauhan is an award-winning author, TV personality, James Beard Excellence winner, owns multiple restaurants, and epitomizes the essence of food entrepreneurship. Chauhan has appeared in major media outlets and shows such as USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Post, ABC’s ‘The View’, Lifetime Channel’s ‘Designing Spaces’, Food Network’s ‘Iron Chef’ and ‘Next Iron Chef’ to name a few. With a unique style, tenacity, grit, and lovable personality, Chauhan systematically etched her name in the history books – and she’s just scratching the surface. At a young age, Chauhan was a complete food fanatic. After finishing dinner at home, she would head to the neighbor’s and indulge in a second meal, all while questioning the food, ingredients, and cooking methods. Chauhan’s thirst for knowledge would lead to graduating top of her class at the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration in India. Fast-forward and Chauhan would best 40 chefs to secure an executive chef position at Vermillion Restaurant. Chauhan’s talent and success at the helm would bring accolades to the restaurant such as Chicago magazine’s Best New Restaurant, Esquire’s Restaurant of the Month and Wine Enthusiast’s Best New

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Restaurant in the U.S. With such critical acclaim, Chauhan would oversee the expansion of Vermillion to New York where she was nominated as the Best Import to New York by Time Out magazine. After eight years of leading kitchens at Vermillion, Chauhan would venture on her own to establish an avant-garde culinary and hospitality company, Indie Culinaire. Shortly thereafter, Chauhan would lay the foundation for a culinary empire that would culminate in three restaurants, Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Tánsuŏ and The Mockingbird, a brewery called Mantra Artisan Ales, an award-winning cookbook called Flavors of My World, securing brand ambassadorships for multinational corporations, and more. Chauhan explains that “Whatever opportunities are coming in front of us right now we are not shying away from them, we’re grabbing those opportunities by the horns and running with them.” If running multiple businesses and flying across country as keynote speaker wasn’t enough, Chauhan finds time to mentor the next generation of chefs and be an active philanthropist of various charities such as Partnerships for Action, Voices for Empowerment (P.A.V.E.) and Child Rights and You (CRY). Where many entrepreneurs fail, Chauhan strikes a harmonious balance between businesswoman, motherhood, and philanthropic activities. In our interview, Chauhan unveils her journey from start to finish and provides actionable advice for aspiring food entrepreneurs along the way. From the defining moment in Hyde Park, New York that changed the direction of her career to the moment her dreams were shattered post-graduation, Chauhan shares it all. Even recalling the experience of birthing her child three months early on the day her restaurant was set to open – just imagine. If nothing else, Chauhan’s story will leave you inspired as you’ll come to understand the true meaning of, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”


Success Story

& QA The

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Maneet Chauhan

Where did your attraction to culinary arts begin?

I love eating [laughs]! The earliest stories growing up are centered around me eating. I used to go to my neighbor’s house and tell them my parents hadn’t fed me, after I had dinner at home, just so I could sit in the kitchen and watch them cook and eat some more! That is what triggered my entire fascination with food, spices, and techniques.

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Was there something that influenced your style early on?

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Growing up in India, when I decided to be a chef, I realized early on I wanted to do something to set me apart. In my mind, that meant being a pastry chef. Because at that time in India, all the pastries from around the world were not available. I decided to attend the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for their baking and pastry program and ended up being the only Indian on campus. One day, I decided to take my friends to an Indian restaurant. After taking the first bite, I remember looking at it thinking, “Oh my God, what is this?” Everybody around me was trying to be polite, but I told them it was crap! When that happened, it was a shift for me because I was aghast at how people perceived Indian food. I think that was the time when I decided to show off the true beauty of Indian food - that was a defining moment for me.


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When did you take the leap into entrepreneurship?

It was after having my daughter when I [made the decision]. Some women in the industry decide to take a step back, but I usually never follow the norm. I decided to go the complete opposite direction because I now had a daughter who would be looking up to me and I had to set that example for her. I decided it was the time to start something of my own. I started off thinking about writing a book and then [began] exploring different options. I was fortunate because at that time I was getting calls from all over the country from people asking if I’d like to open a place of my own, but I decided that whatever I did, it would be on my own terms.

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What do you think helped prepare you to venture on your own?

It was a combination of things. One was definitely my hunger. I am the type where my hunger never dies, it’s only what I’m hungry forthat changes. [Another factor] is having intense gratitude. I found myself in a position where I had been working so hard all my life and to finally realize there was an opportunity to take something and run with it – I felt really fortunate. [Having that hunger and gratitude] is what made me ready to go ahead with my own endeavor.

I am the type where my hunger never dies, it’s only what I’m hungry for that changes. — Maneet Chauhan

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Success Story fears about not being successful, crashing, or tarnishing my reputation that I spent all my life building. There were a lot of fears, but fear is something you use, learn from, and is essential for growth. If you are completely fearless, then you make foolhardy decisions. That is something I never wanted to do.

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When you began on your own, did you have tough periods, and if so, how did you pull through?

I have learned more from my failures than my successes. — Maneet Chauhan

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Were there fears you had in relation to starting out? If so, what were they and how did you get past them? Absolutely [laughs]! I’m afraid every day! When I do something new, I’m afraid, but being afraid doesn’t stop me, it just makes me very careful of the steps I take. There were all sorts of 49

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The most challenging part was when we opened my first restaurant. The project took a really long time. We were supposed to open a year before it [actually] opened. [In the beginning], the first location we liked fell through and the landlord from the second place started giving us trouble. In hindsight, it all worked out in terms of location, but at that time it was really frustrating. We were living in New York and traveling [back and forth] to Nashville, and in between, I found out that I was expecting. The plan was to open the place in November, stay for a month, and then go back to New York to give birth to our son who was due in February. On November 17th, finally, everything was in place. We were having the media dinner and [suddenly] my contractions started. My husband and I joke that on November 18th we had twins because our son was born three months early at 5 o’clock in the morning and we opened the restaurant at 5 o’clock that evening. Saying it was a trying experience is an understatement. The one thing you realize when you are an entrepreneur is that life and business go hand-in-hand. It was a very valuable experience for us. In hindsight, the restaurant became our savior because we threw ourselves into work, so we weren’t obsessing about our baby in the NICU. [Above all], that was the darkest period.


Success Story

Fear is something you use, learn from, and is essential for growth. If you are completely fearless, then you make foolhardy decisions. — Maneet Chauhan

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From a business or entrepreneurial standpoint, what do you wish you would have known starting out that you know now? I wish I had known the Nashville contractors, builders, and architects market better. A lot of delays could have easily been prevented. The problem with delays is they come with carrying costs. One of the biggest things in this industry is to get the right man power, so we hired people and were paying them for over six months waiting for the project to finish. When we started off, we already had a huge margin we needed to make up before we began making real money. That was something we learned and used in our other two restaurants. The funny part is that we then discovered a whole new set of mistakes [laughs]! I think that’s what it’sall about. 51

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The one thing you realize when you are an entrepreneur is that life and business go hand-in-hand. — Maneet Chauhan

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What are the restaurants and other ventures you have currently?

Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Tánsuŏ and The Mockingbird are the restaurants. My husband Vivek and I also have a brewery called Mantra Artisan Ales. We just bought 82 acres of land with our group where we’re going to do Steel Barrel, which is another brewery, and we partnered with Middle Tennessee State University to teach them about fermentation. Whatever opportunities are coming in front of us right now we are not shying away from them, we’re grabbing those opportunities by the horns and running with them.


Success Story

If you do take a shortcut, you will lose a very valuable lesson in the few steps that you skipped. — Maneet Chauhan

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How have some of the business ventures come about and how do you evaluate them? For the restaurants, these were opportunities we created. We realized the best Chinese restaurant in Nashville was called PF Chang’s and there was an audience hungry for good quality food, so we decided to run with [Tánsuŏ]. Similarly, with The Mockingbird, we had friends Brian Riggenbach and Mikey Corona who we knew [Nashville] was going to love and felt the restaurant was a place people would go to in terms of the concept. [To help in the success of the business], whoever we get in terms of the chefs and the general manager, we offer them a partnership. They put in so much hard 52

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work that it’s only fair. In terms of the business aspect, when they are partners, [people] will work that much harder because the place belongs to them. The rest of the time, when opportunities are presented, it’s just a matter of them making sense. We pride ourselves in creating a niche because that’s what makes us stand apart. In Nashville, there are 200 restaurants opening this year, so what is going to set us apart? What is going to make people come and try our food? My name will only travel [so far], after that, there has to be follow through. People will come once for the fact that it’s “Maneet Chauhan’s” place – once – but if there’s no follow through people will not come back, they’re not stupid. We do evaluate each and every opportunity carefully, again it has to make sense, but out of 10 opportunities that come in front of us, we probably only pick one or two.


Success Story

PR is an integral part of any business. You can be doing incredible things but if nobody hears or knows about it, what is the use. — Maneet Chauhan

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With all the opportunities at this stage of your career, can you give advice to those who want to get where you are today? There are no shortcuts to hard work. What frustrates the living daylights out of me is that I sometimes feel the younger generation wants to become a chef for the [sole] reason of being on the Food Network. What they don’t realize is the chefs on the Food Network have proven themselves. It’s important to work your way up. Because if you do take a shortcut, you will lose a very valuable lesson in the few steps that you skipped. I have learned more from my failures than my successes, and I think that’s been very important for me. I’ve had many failures, and I’m proud of those failures. The one thing I like to tell the future generation is that it’s all right to fail. It’s amazing to fail. But you have to learn from those failures. Don’t be hung up on those failures, learn from them and move ahead.

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Can you share a time when you did have a professional set back and how you turned this around? One of my biggest came after I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. [Even though] I bagged each and every award and graduated top of my class, I went for interviews and realized nobody would hire me because they had to sponsor my paperwork – I had a student visa. In this industry, it’s not common for employers to sponsor you. At that time, I had

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There is no cookie cutter formula for success. — Maneet Chauhan

lofty ideas of working with the best chefs, and I got job offers from some, but when it came to the paperwork, they couldn’t [sponsor me]. It was a big shock, and I fell hard. [There I was], a graduate from the best school in India, the best culinary school in America, but couldn’t get a job. I realized that even though I was willing to work my butt off, there were external factors preventing me. At that time, family members were opening an Indian restaurant and asked if I would work there, but I thought it was so bad. [Having] gone to CIA, I thought, “I can’t do this.” But it was the only opportunity that presented itself, and I took it very grudgingly. I thought, “What have I been reduced to?” Because back then, Indian restaurants had such bad reputations – $8.95 all you can eat. After a month of work, I realized I was not being me and didn’t have a good attitude. I was given an opportunity, so I decided to make the best of it. And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am today that I took that opportunity because it was such a valuable experience.


Success Story [The experience] really paved the way for who I am today. First, I got to understand people’s perception of Indian food, so I could then work to rectify it. Secondly, I was running the place by myself. I was a 25-year-old kid managing a team of men who were old enough to be my dad. To stand in front of them and give instructions was no easy feat. To date, I strongly believe that was my management foundation. [Even though] I did not have a mentor as I would have liked to, and it all seemed really sucky at that time, I don’t think I would be where I am today if it hadn’t been for that experience.

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You’ve connected with major brands as an ambassador, how did these come about so others can glean some insights? I personally think PR is an integral part of any business. You can be doing incredible things but if nobody hears or knows about it, what is the use? For us, PR is extremely integral. There were interesting things we were doing, and we

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wanted to put them out there, so I think it really started with the PR aspect.

Because of PR, I was working in New York and got invited to compete on Iron Chef. Getting the opportunity to compete against Chef Morimoto was incredible. Of course, it’s a completely different story that I came second between two people [laughs], but I competed and caught the eye of the network. From there, I was invited to do the next Iron Chef and then invited to be a guest judge on Chopped, where I was [eventually] invited to be a permanent judge. A lot of what’s happening is because of us talking about things and making people aware. That’s how I got the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for Royal and then have the opportunity to work with American Airlines.

Also, you have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and how to sell them. You have to put your name out there, but your talent has to carry you through. You can get your toe in with your name, but there has to be follow through.

You have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and how to sell them. — Maneet Chauhan

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Success Story

One big mistake a lot of people make is they don’t ask for things because they are worried about hearing a no. — Maneet Chauhan

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For the individuals who believe that have talent and are ready to start getting their name out there, what’s some advice for them? One big mistake a lot of people make is they don’t ask for things because they are worried about hearing a no. I say, “What if you get a yes? People are so afraid of hearing no, they do not even take that step to see if it’s even possible. [For instance], if somebody wanted to find investors, just go start asking people. You might hear ten no’s, but then you might get one yes. 56

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And that one yes is enough for you to piggy back off of him or her to find more money. Similarly, if you want to be on TV, make a show reel and start sending it out. You might not get on the Food Network or [other major stations] right away, but there may be opportunities that come from this. Everybody has a unique perspective, and they need to figure out how to use and exploit it.

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What are some opportunities out there right now that aspiring food entrepreneurs could be exploring? Right now in the food industry, I think the sky’s the limit. You can get into food writing, testing recipes, large corporations for R&D, or you can start a new trend in the health industry. To me, one of the biggest things is to identify what issues and problems the food industry is facing right now and to come up with something ingenious or entrepreneurial to combat that problem. For example, food waste is such a huge issue, so we partnered with the Chef’s Garden to get ugly vegetables and we [incorporated] in our menu. If you are solving a problem in the industry, that is a great selling point to help you sell the story. Truly, the sky’s the limit.

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What final thoughts do you have for our readership as they embark on their entrepreneurial journey? You have to write your own story. There is no cookie cutter formula for success. You have to be willing to fail in order to succeed.


Top Ten Takeaways from Maneet Chauhan 1

No matter the levels of success you reach, always stay hungry.

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Life and business go hand-in-hand as an entrepreneur – be prepared.

Offering partnerships to managerial staff in your business can create a high-performing culture.

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Opportunities present themselves for a reason, don’t shy away, grab them by the horns.

There are absolutely zero shortcuts when it comes to hard work – stop searching for them!

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Lessons from failure can be ten times more valuable than lessons from success.

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Keep in mind, anyone who experienced success faced high-levels of adversity at some point, despite how it may appear.

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Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, both in life and business, the worst that can happen is someone says “no.”

Regarding a physical location, ensure you research extensively to avoid delays and incur carrying costs.

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Before building a concept in a given area, research what the neighborhood needs before you waste time, energy, and money.

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Cookbook Corner: How to Write, Publish, and Promote Your Culinary Philosophy

As an award – winning, best-selling, author, chef, television personality, cuisine and culture expert, and educator, Amy Riolo is known for sharing history, culture, and nutrition through global cuisine. A graduate of Cornell University, Amy is considered a culinary thought leader who enjoys changing the way we think about food and the people who create it. In this column, Amy shares her insights into successful cookbook writing.

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Promotion

lanning the promotion of your cookbook is every bit as important as the writing, testing of recipes, and publishing process. Without intensive promotion, it will be very hard for your book to gain recognition and will be lost among the thousands of others published each year. When working with traditional publishers, the time period from giving your manuscript to the editor until it gets published is usually a minimum of nine months, which is ample time to begin making promotional plans. If you self-publish, however, you may have a completed book a few weeks to a month after you upload your manuscript, so you will need to plan earlier. Let’s review some ways to market your book.

Author-driven Publicity Whether you are new or a seasoned writer, you will want to maximize PR for your book. New 59

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books garner more attention than many other products, so, if you are promoting your personal brand or restaurant, the release of a new cookbook can help to get your business featured in multiple media outlets. If you are extremely well connected to media contacts, now will be a great time to use them. I highly recommend a professional PR firm who deals specifically with cookbooks to manage planning your launch. If you choose to publish your book with a traditional company, they may contract someone to help launch your book. If you are self-publishing, it is a good idea to hire someone on your own, even if it is for a short period of time.

Working with a PR Agent Whether you are contracting your own agent or working with someone that your publishing company has hired for you, it is a great idea to set up an introductory interview. Let your agent get to know you. Explain your niche and


Cookbook Corner your cookbook goals to them. Let them know any marketing ideas and pre-existing contacts that you have to work with. If you know that your book would fit-in perfectly at a particular event, or on a certain show, share your ideas with them. Many people view the agent-author relationship as a one-way street that is driven by the agent. The most successful collaborations come when you work together. A talented agent will know their job responsibilities as well as the intricacies of dealing with the media. You know your work, your book, and your particular areas of expertise. The perfect union would be for you to be readily available to assist them in finding the best market-driven opportunities for your book. There are many different theories on which kinds of media exposure are the most beneficial. I believe that all exposure is good for your book and for your brand. In the olden days, if you made a television or radio appearance, the interview was dead once it ended. Same thing for the newspaper or magazines. Once those issues were replaced with new ones, your article would be forgotten, unless you cut it out and framed it. Nowadays, with the internet, you can get a link for TV appearances, and magazine and newspaper articles, which, if you plan correctly, can be almost “evergreen” in the life of the promotion of that particular book. I always choose to contribute and prepare recipes which I know have a long “shelf-life” so that I can use them to promote the book in the future.

Creating a Press Release A well written, and well-placed press-release will help you and your book to get the attention it deserves. If you have a PR agent, they will craft and post a press release, with your 60

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approval on the press wire. This will ensure that it gets delivered in a professional manner to all major media outlets. Nowadays you can even specify which regions and professional categories that you would like to receive your release. If you are working on your own, you could pay someone for an “a la carte” type press-release service in which you would pay them to write and post the release alone instead of contracting them on a monthly or semi-annual basis. For this option, I currently recommend PRWeb.net. Their website offers a multitude of options, and I have used them with great results on several non-book related occasions.

Social Media Social media is an extremely valuable tool for marketing your book. I know that there are many people who believe that social media is a waste of time, but I don’t know any best-selling authors who feel that way. In my personal career, social media has enabled me to document my work and promote my cookbooks in a personal and interactive way. I love the way that I am able to respond to my readers’ concerns, questions, and comments so quickly thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Pinterest is also really worth your while, even though the interaction is often less than it is on the other platforms.


Cookbook Corner

In my career, my social media posts have enabled me to:

Sell more books

Explain my philosophy/brand to followers and consumers

Be invited to book fairs around the world

Write numerous magazine columns

Be invited to speak at seminars

Write other books

Teach courses all over the world

Form powerful business partnerships

Get rapid and fast exposure in new genres and reach new demographics

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Be included in important culinary and cultural events

Prove that cookbook writing is a career to be taken seriously

One of the reasons so many practical people don’t like using social media to promote their businesses is because there is a belief that you cannot easily correlate posts with the direct sales of your book. To be frank, however, if you add up all of your followers on each platform which you post on, you will know that each post pertaining to your book will be viewed by a minimum of that many people. So, if you have a combined total of 10,000 people following/ friending you, and each day you post something compelling about your book, you can rest assured that at least those 10,000 people see it. Once people begin to share your content, that number grows. I feel it is worth it. Sometimes I post links to television shows or appearances I’ll be making, and my agents will track to see if there is an increase in sales on Amazon, and there always is. In Italian we have a saying; “tutto fa brodo,” which literally translates as “everything makes broth,” and means; “every little bit counts.” And so it is with social media. I suggest the following:

1. A YouTube Channel

Create videos with introductions to your books as well as recipe videos. You can also upload clips from your appearances here. It is the best way to bring your books and recipes to life, and you can use these videos on your other social media platforms.


Cookbook Corner

2. A Professional Facebook Page (or two, or three!)

Create a supporting Facebook page for the book, where readers will be able to find extended resources, up to date information on and discuss with the authors and other users via an online forum. The site will also include a blog, podcast, and speaking engagement calendar. One great post a day is sufficient. In addition to the book page, you will want to reference the book on your professional and personal pages as well. Some authors have groups or are part of groups which encourage posting of recipes – this will help to expand your reach. If it is permitted, post recipes which will be

relevant to the group’s needs. For example, I have three pages in addition to my own on Facebook. One of them is called “The 30-Day Mediterranean Diet Resolution,” which was a contest I started to promote the Mediterranean lifestyle. The contest is over, but the dialogue is still growing strong. I encourage other authors to post Mediterranean lifestyle-friendly recipes and ideas there.

Leverage Google AdWords, where you can drive users to the Facebook page.

3. Twitter

Utilize Twitter for ongoing promotional purposes, where we will engage readers and announce book updates and speaking engagements. This platform is also perfect for promoting and sharing new research, trends, and “food news” related to your topic.  e sure to use appro B priate hashtags and try to tie your tweets into “trending” topics. Multiple daily tweets are recommended.

Leverage Google AdWords, where you can drive users to the Facebook page. 62

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Cookbook Corner

4. Blogs

When I first started, my editors insisted I had a blog. I was hesitant because the blogs that I liked recounted the tales of beautiful dream worlds – a literary escape – that I did not see myself as having the ability to offer to readers! They worked with me, though, to determine how I could best translate my niche into a blog, and I have never looked back. My blog is all about sharing “history, culture, and nutrition through global cuisine.” I use as another bridge between me and my readers and as an opportunity to explore my world and my ideas. Sometimes I post recipes from my books – grouped together for specific holidays or events. I then use the blog post as my daily content for my social media accounts. That way, even though I am providing readers with “free recipes,” as some would call them, I get the benefit of having new readers and correspondence. A few well-received blog posts per month can go a long way.

You’ll want to follow all of the like-minded chefs and authors as well as the media outlets you hope to be featured in. 63

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I also recommend collaborating with other bloggers. You can offer a “book ambassador” incentive to A-list bloggers to host giveaways and contests with your cookbook on their blog. Begin forming relationships with synergistic bloggers as soon as possible.

5. Instagram

This platform is very popular with editors. Here you’ll want to follow all of the like-minded chefs and authors as well as the media outlets you hope to be featured in. I opt for multiple posts daily. Obviously, pictures are paramount here, and I find that “food porn” and “action shots” are the most popular. If you are not already familiar with the concept of hashtags, you will want to learn about them for both Instagram and Twitter.


Cookbook Corner

I highly recommend a newsletter for all chefs and cookbook authors.

6. Pinterest

7. A Newsletter

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Some say that Pinterest is the fastest growing social media platform. Even if it were just “one of the fastest growing,” it would still be worthwhile. In addition to being highly addictive, it is great for marketing your books. Be sure to create a professional page with boards dedicated to your own work – both recipes and books - as well as other food and lifestyle related content. Create a specific board for your book and other boards with book categories – such as “appetizers” and make sure to include your website, name of the book, and link to purchase the book on the top of your page and in each post. You don’t need to pin daily – but once you start, it will probably be hard not to!

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I highly recommend a newsletter for all chefs and cookbook authors. Mine has gotten me many gigs – and helps me to effectively promote my books, classes, and tours. Monthly newsletters are a great way to keep in contact with your readers and followers. While they do take work and planning, it pays off. I feature recipes from my books each month (with appropriate holiday and seasonal themes) as well as purchasing information. I also list my calendar of appearances and classes and any noteworthy PR that I received the previous month. I share recipe videos and recommendations for the work of colleagues as well. Make sure to create a link from your website which enables visitors to sign up for your newsletter.


Cookbook Corner

Plan Your Own Media Tour Nowadays media tours are reserved for a very small number of top-tier authors. When book tours are not a part of my contract, I plan my own. I work with small, local and large, international venues such as restaurants, cultural centers, wineries, and food companies to plan book signing events, including menus based on recipes from the book. Keep in mind that successful events aren’t always the most “likely subjects.” In my career, I have had the opportunity to sell books in many large, prestigious places such as The Library of Congress’ National Book Festival and the Bibliotecha Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt. The two events where I sold the most books, however, were at a Mediterranean market called Tastings Gourmet in Annapolis, MD, and at an Italian restaurant in my hometown of Jamestown, NY. Moral of the story? No venue is too small or too “unknown.” If someone is willing to host you and your book, and you have the time, take the opportunity. My key to successful promotion is to regard it as one of the most important aspects of my career while scheduling it as if it were my favorite hobby. I know what it means to my livelihood, and I enjoy it, so I invest time in it. I make editorial calendars for myself, and I recommend that all new authors do the same. Create an excel spreadsheet with all of your social media platforms, blog, and newsletter on the left-hand side. Across the top, list the days of the month. Then, on a monthly basis, fill in what your posts will be ahead of time, when possible. I use holidays, special food days, popular hashtags, my own personal inspirations, and trending topics as guidelines. That way, each and everyday, all you have to do is look at your calendar and post/or write, or schedule posts, in order to have optimal social media exposure. When I say that I schedule promotion as if it were a hobby, I mean that, promotion is by itself a full-time job, at least if you do it well. Most of us do not have an additional 65

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40 hours a week to dedicate to anything. When I plan an event, a book signing, or time to post, I take those out of my “free” time – because many events are unpaid or don’t offer the same type of revenue as other aspects of my career. A night spent signing books is every bit as valuable to me as one with family and friends, so I treat them accordingly. For me and many of my colleagues, being a cookbook author is more than a career, it’s a lifestyle.

My key to successful promotion is to regard it as one of the most important aspects of my career while scheduling it as if it were my favorite hobby.


Led by chef Marcus Samuelsson as board co-chair, Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) transforms the lives of underserved high school students around the country by helping them pursue their culinary dreams. C-CAP, founded by culinary educator Richard Grausman, prepares talented teens for college and careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry through its enrichment programs including job training, paid internships, scholarships, and college and career advising. Who does C-CAP serve?

How can I get involved?

17,000+ students 250 public high school teachers 168 schools 5,000+ industry partners

Mentor a Student Support our Programs and Scholarships Donate Products or Equipment Host a Fundraising Event

@CCAPINC For information or to get involved: contact us at info@ccapinc.org, 212-974-7111, or visit www.ccapinc.org


Success Story

Pastry Entrepreneur

Jean-Rony

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Success Story

astry Chef Jean-Rony Fougère was just five years old when his cousin Jesse in Haiti first introduced him to the world of pastry in 1983. Three years later, he left his birthplace and moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York. By age thirteen, Fougère had already completed his first cake decorating class. While attending Park West High School, he enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program and honed his craft while catering various fundraisers and events for organizations like Sotheby’s and the Office of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Fougère received an honorable mention at the 1996 national Salon Food Show. His innovative cheesecake tart caught the attention of renowned Chef/ Educator Richard Grausman, the founder of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). Grausman arranged for Jean’s internship at the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, under Pastry Chefs Michael Hu, Jean-Claude Perennou, and Gnanasampanthan Sabaratnam. After graduation, Fougère joined the staff at Aquavit Restaurant in New York City as Pastry Assistant under the guidance of Pastry Chef Deborah Racicot and Chef Marcus Samuelsson in 1998. The next year, he traveled to Lyon, France, as a member of the U.S. Pastry Team. As a young pastry cook with little experience he would never have had the opportunity to participate without the support from C-CAP, Chef Michael Hu, team sponsors Rick and Rena Pocrass of Chocolates a la Carte and Donald Wressell. The team placed third in the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie. After two years of intense training with Pastry Chef Remy Fünfrock at Café Boulud, Fougère spearheaded the Pastry Departments for Restaurateur Ken Aretsky at 92, and Restaurateur Brian McNally at Smith Restaurant, where he catered the first Tribeca Film Festival in 2002. Fougère was the founding Executive Pastry Chef at the exclusive SoHo House in New York City from 2003

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to 2005. He then moved to Washington, D.C., where he established the Pastry Department at the OYA Restaurant & Lounge. By 2006, Fougère was back in New York City consulting for numerous local restaurants. While Fougère’s desserts range in style from Classic French to American Comfort, their flavor profiles are uniquely balanced. Resting on a flourless biscuit, his chocolate mousse is infused with a cardamom twist. His original take on Baby Pineapple Baked Alaska features a pineapple sorbet and a rum-infused sponge cake topped with a Swiss meringue. For his popular Banana Bread Pudding, Fougère uses fresh-baked croissants served with a caramel-whiskey sauce. Fougère’s signature dessert, a favorite of actor Robert De Niro, is a fresh berry sauté in balsamic syrup served with a fromage-blanc sorbet. From complex oven-baked mini petit fours to specialty wedding cakes, Fougère continues to create some of the finest desserts in the world. Currently, Fougère operates the Fern Pastry Studio in Brooklyn. Here he shares his vast culinary skills and knowledge, conducting both individual and group classes on cake decorating and pastry. Meanwhile, he still provides his refined, highend desserts and extraordinary cake decorating artistry for some of New York City’s exclusive clients. In addition, Fougère is the Pastry Chef at Jack the Horse Tavern, where he works withthe Chef/Owner Tim Oltmans, a veteran of some of New York City’s great restaurants, Oltmans perfected his craft with such outstanding chefs as Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern, Laurent Tourondel at C.T., and Floyd Cardoz at Tabla. Jack the Horse Tavern sits in the heart of Brooklyn Heights off of Brooklyn Promenade,offering the friendliness of a London pub, the intimacy and sophistication of a French bistro, and the food of a first-rate New York City restaurant. In 2016, Jean was named a Top Ten Cake Artist by Dessert Professional magazine.


Success Story

& QA The

with

Jean-Rony Fougère

1

Where did the idea of Fern Pastry Studio come from and what gave you the confidence that the business was worth pursuing? I founded Fern Pastry Studio (FPS) in 2008. Before that, I worked in the restaurant industry for almost two decades. I also spent most of my spare time doing computer graphic design as a hobby. In 2005, I was offered a job to be the pastry chef at a restaurant called OYA in Washington, D.C. After working at OYA for eight months, I returned to New York and took some time off to determine my next step. In 2006, I focused on computer graphic design and joined Sudler & Hennessey, an ad agency, as a web and graphic designer. I worked there until the 2008 financial crisis hit. I had to make a big decision at that point - either continue working as a web designer with a new agency or return to the restaurant industry as a pastry chef. 69

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I have always loved teaching. In late 2008, I started working on a private teaching program for adults seeking a hobby or a second career in the culinary industry, with a focus on cake decorating and pastry. I invested my own time and money into the program. Fougère is the French word for fern. That’s why I named the program, Fern Pastry Studio.

2

Can you share some of the steps you took to bring the idea to life, i.e., business plan, market research, securing capital, etc.? When starting your own business, you have to be ready to make big sacrifices. I knew starting Fern Pastry Studio (FPS) would be a challenge. I chose not to seek outside help for money. I wanted to start FPS small and, in time, create a business plan to seek investors.


Success Story One of the steps I took to make FPS a reality was joining Wilton, the biggest cake decorating supplier in the United States. I signed up with Wilton as a cake decorating instructor. That helped pave the way to meet people who have a love for cake decoration. Wilton offers four cake decorating courses. I taught all four courses at a Wilton retail store, and I also sold Wilton products. Wilton courses are very limited, and students often sought more advanced training. Once the students had completed all four courses, I offered them private advanced pastry and cake decorating classes at my studio here in Brooklyn.

When starting your own business, you have to be ready to make big sacrifices. — Jean-Rony Fougère

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3

3

What lessons did you learn from a business and/or entrepreneurial standpoint as you brought your idea to fruition?

I learned that work never ends. People should know that most small businesses take two to five years to show a profit and some take even longer. You have to work five times as hard as an employer than if you were an employee.


Success Story

First and foremost, you have to know and believe in what you are selling. — Jean-Rony Fougère

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4

Can you share your marketing and/or advertising strategy in order to attract new customers? Networking with people that are interested in what you are selling is essential for marketing your brand. If they like what you are selling, then they will share your information with others. That’s word-of-mouth advertising. That’s why it is important to attend events related to your product and to meet new people. My work at Sudler & Hennessey played a key role in my advertising strategy. That is one of the main reasons I took the job. I learned a lot about branding and marketing. I took what I learned at Sudler & Hennessey and made it work for my business without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars for websites, brochures, logos, etc. 71

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5

For those looking to create something similar – a business model teaching culinary or pastry arts – what’s your advice for them? First and foremost, you have to know and believe in what you are selling. If you are looking for investors, you must have a business plan ready. But also consider going it alone like I did. I was ready to invest my own money, but I made sure I had a backup plan; I was working at Jack the Horse Tavern, a restaurant in downtown Brooklyn as a part-time pastry chef. Once you have something well developed and ready to show you can always sell your idea to an investor. Lastly, treat everyone around you with the utmost respect and always have a positive attitude.


Success Story

If you are looking for investors, you must have a business plan ready. — Jean-Rony Fougère

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Success Story

Never be afraid to fail on your first step. — Jean-Rony Fougère

6

6

Many food entrepreneurs struggle between working in the business and working on the business. How do you manage to balance these and what advice do you have for others in this area?

This can be a big challenge, especially for a person who is an artist with no business background like me. As an artist at heart, I find it really hard to focus on both aspects. I would have preferred spending 75 percent of my time on my art and 25 percent on the business. I actually spend more time on the business and less time on the art; 40 percent of my time on my art and 60 percent on the business. Do remember that both are very important to keep your business afloat. Most business owners I’ve met in the past had a hard time putting their trust in another person unless that person was a close business partner. Finding someone you can trust and who can handle the work in the business or on the business can help a great deal. 73

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7

Being a C-CAP alumni, what was your experience like with the organization and how did it impact your life and career? I am forever grateful to Richard Grausman and C-CAP for giving me their guidance, encouragement, and opportunity. They changed my life beginning in high school and as a young professional training and working as a pastry chef. They introduced me to some of the most celebrated dessert professionals in the industry and ensured that I was able to be a member of the U.S. Pastry Team competing in Lyon, France at Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in 1999.


Success Story

You have to work five times as hard as an employer than if you were an employee. — Jean-Rony Fougère

8

What’s the best piece of business advice that you received, or lesson learned, that helped shape your entrepreneurial career? There is one bit of advice that I have followed since I left college. I had a culinary professor, who, every morning in class, would say, “Plan your attack and attack your plan” (in the words of Chef Jimbo Crowley). Here’s another one I got from a businessman at a bar many years ago. “When starting a business never use your own money.” I hope these bits of advice can help you down the line. They sure helped me.

9

For the aspiring food entrepreneurs out there, do you have any advice for them?

Never be afraid to fail on your first step. Just pick yourself up and take a bigger step. 74

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Success Story

Top Ten Takeaways from Jean-Rony Fougère 1

When starting a business, you have to be prepared to make sacrifices.

2

Jean-Rony found a way to offer a higher level product (advanced classes) to customers he was serving while working for another company – brilliant!

3

Small businesses may take 2-5 years just to show a profit.

4

You have to work five times as hard as an employer than if you were an employee.

5

Above all, you have to know and believe in what you are selling.

6

Find and attend events where your target customers go so you can network and drum up business.

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7

Treat everyone around you with the utmost respect, you never know who can help elevate your entrepreneurial game.

8

At some point, it’s imperative you find people you can trust to help you work both on, and in, the business.

9

Plan your attack and attack your plan.

10

When starting a business never use your own money.


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For more information visit

www.chaineus.org

Contact Us:  

973.360.9200 chaine@chaineus.org


Private Labeling

g n i d stan

e t va i Pr eling b a L

r e d Un

eindt F s a l g h Dou

wit

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Private Labeling

B

efore it was a fad, Douglas Feindt was a foodie. Growing up, he learned to cook from his mother and grandmother, which would lay the foundation for a career in foodservice. A former restaurateur, Feindt knows business like the back of his hand. As such, it was fitting for him to solve a pain point food entrepreneurs face – creating and selling their own branded products. Today, closing in on 24 years in business, Feindt is the President and CEO of Captain Foods, a gourmet producer of quality seasoning blends, hot sauces, grilling sauces, spice grinders and more. They’ve systematically simplify private labeling, even for first time food entrepreneurs. With private labeling being a low-cost solution for food entrepreneurs to create their own line of branded products, we caught up with Feindt to understand the process a little more in-depth.

1

What are types of products can be produced when working with a private label company?

There are many different products– hot sauces, seasoning blends, salt and pepper grinders, steak sauces, barbecue sauces; I’ve also seen beer, soda pop, potato chips, and some candies. It depends on the type of company you’re dealing with and the volume requirements. In restaurants, there are staple items and condiments you must have – Tabasco, A1, salt, and pepper – but they are sometimes very high-priced brand names. Working with a private label company, restaurateurs could replace high-priced brand name products with marketing tools that advertise their establishment and save some money at the same time.

2

Can you give a few benefits to working with a private label company?

Working with a private label company, [business owner scan] focus more on the sales and marketing, versus the production and manufacturing. The private label company deals with the production and legalities as a food manufacturer. You save money compared buying highpriced national brands, and you have a marketing tool at the same time. There are also a faster lead times with private labeling over co-packing. For instance, we keep an inventory that we turn every 30-40 days. Our lead time is 7-10 days for a product. If you’re co-packing, it could take 3-6 months. 78

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Private Labeling

3

4

What questions should food entrepreneurs be asking private label companies before agreeing to work with them?

What are red flags food entrepreneurs should be on the lookout for when working with a private label company?

First, would be how long they are in business. You have some private label companies who may only have a few years in business, where others, like us (Captain Foods), have 23 years.

It is not easy to become a successful private label company. Nowadays, using social media and Google, you can easily find reviews – that’s a good starting point.

You want to ask about the certifications the company holds and the dates certified. Over the years the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has gotten more and more involved, so you don’t want to have a product without certifications.

Differences between a great private label company and a bad private label company are:

Find out the minimum run for a product. Some companies have high minimums, where others can accommodate smaller runs. We are a short run private label specialist, meaning, our minimum is 48 bottles. Other areas are the type of label printing the company uses – does the label meet FDA requirements? Also, the product shelf life.

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Long delivery times Switching ingredients or products without customer knowledge Quality of the label (printing quality) Bad Customer Service


Private Labeling

7

What is your best advice for anyone looking to work with a private label company?

The best advice is to ask for references of current customers, ask for samples of the products and sample labels. Make sure the company has all the necessary certifications and FDA regulations in place and a good track record with the FDA.  Ask any FDA employee in the food department,and they can give you a company history of the private label company you are working with.

5

What do most people not know about the private label market?

Most people do not know that 38% of all items in a grocery store are private label products. The same item could have up to 100 different labels of different brands.

6

What types of people/companies succeed in working with private label companies to create products for themselves and/or business?

Over the years we’ve done a little of everything. From working with promotional companies, celebrities, to doing events like bar mitzvahs and weddings. Outside of restaurants, personal chefs and caterers have used products as their calling cards. Even pizza parlors right now are big with wanting their own products – salt and pepper grinders or line of hot sauces. Whatever the place, people are always looking for something new or different and a way to stand out from their competitors. Having your own line of products can do just that. 80

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Douglas Feindt is President & CEO of Captain Foods, Inc., a 23-yearold family business that focuses on quality food products such as all natural seasoning blends, sea salt & black peppercorn grinders, specialty sauces and more. While serving as proud members of the Volusia Manufacturing Association, Private Label Manufacturing Association, Fresh From Florida Program, Specialty Food Association and Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.


Global Expansion

A Path For Entering

The Global Marketplace By: Evan Scritchfield

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Global Expansion

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roducts labeled ‘Made in America’ are synonymous with quality and value. From restaurant equipment to franchises, foreign markets are hungry for U.S. manufactured products and businesses. How does an American product or franchise enter the global market? One answer is the U.S. Commercial Service. The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. The organization consists of over 1400 trade professionals spread between 109 domestic offices and 128 commercial offices located in U.S. Embassies and Consulates in more than 78? Wo r l d w i d e markets The U.S. Commercial Service exists to help small and medium-sized companies compete and win on the global stage. Last year, they assisted over 28,000 U.S. exporters, supporting and protecting over 300,000 U.S. jobs and facilitating exports.

Trade Missions Department of Commerce trade missions are overseas programs for U.S. firms that wish to explore and pursue export opportunities by meeting directly with potential clients in designated markets. These one-toone meetings with foreign industry executives and government officials are pre-screened to match your specific business objectives.

over $59 billion in

U.S. Commercial Service accomplishes this by providing Market Intelligence, Trade Counseling, Business Matchmaking, Market Access and Fair Trade assistance to our clients, among other services. You may be asking, ‘How do I grow my business internationally’? Here are a few programs you can take advantage of.

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The U.S. Commercial Service exists to help small and medium-sized companies compete and win on the global stage.

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There are networking events with guests from local industry multipliers including Chambers of Commerce, associations and business councils that are influential in the business community. You can attend briefings and roundtables with the legal and business community on local business practices and opportunities as well as site visits to local facilities and locations where your franchise could be located. Not to mention the potential for media coverage to expand the reach of your brand.


Global Expansion Trade Missions normally focus on specific industries. The restaurant equipment and franchising industry are a regular focus of Trade Missions.

Gold Key Service Let’s say you have a revolutionary idea for a new piece of restaurant equipment. You worked for years designing and creating it, while building a successful business around that product or idea. You sell the product locally and conduct some E-commerce transactions to other states or maybe even Canada and Mexico. How are you going to continue to grow your business? Through exploring international markets and developing new customers. A Gold Key Service is one of the most effective methods of establishing a successful business relationship with potential agents, distributors or other strategic partners. We carefully screen and qualify potential business partners to ensure that your meetings are productive and informative as you prepare to export. The Gold Key Matching Service includes a customized market and industry briefings with our trade specialists paired with timely and relevant market research.

International Buyer Program (IBP) Do you attend trade shows? Perhaps you attended the National Restaurant Association Hotel-Motel & Bar Show this year to network and find potential buyers for your product. If so, you have an amazing resource directly under your nose, paid for by the show itself, to help U.S. companies export to foreign markets.

Appointments with prospective trade partners in key industry sectors along with post-meeting debriefing with our trade specialists allow for the development of appropriate follow-up strategies.

The IBP is a joint government-industry effort that brings thousands of international buyers to the United States for business-to-business matchmaking with U.S. firms exhibiting at major industry trade shows.

The organization also assist with travel, accommodations, interpreter service, and clerical support during the entirety of your trip.

Every year, the IBP results in approximately a billion dollars in new business for U.S. companies, and increased international attendance for participating U.S. trade show organizers.

If your schedule or travel budget limits your ability to travel overseas, consider our video business services. You can receive all the benefits of our Gold Key Matching Services, but meet your potential business partners via video conferencing instead of in person. 84

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The International Franchise Expo, startingMay 31, 2018, is an opportunity to join thousands of entrepreneurs and future business owners at the largest franchise expo in the country while taking advantage of IBP service.


Global Expansion

A new franchise business opens every 8 minutes of every business day, and a large portion of those are restaurant or food related.

According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), their members are eyeing overseas expansion as an important way to diversify their portfolios. A survey of IFA members last summer revealed that 61 percent of respondents currently franchise or operate in international locations, and 16 percent generate between 25 percent and 30 percent of revenue from international activities. Almost three-fourths of respondents said they plan to start or accelerate international ventures. The U.S. Commercial Service’s Franchising Team consists of trade specialists from throughout the U.S. and from U.S. Embassies around the world. The team is dedicated to enhancing the global competitiveness of the U.S. franchise industry, expanding its market access, and increasing exports. It accomplishes this through a variety of resources and services for U.S. companies such as Trade Missions, Gold Key Service and the International Buyer Program (IBP).

Are you considering franchising your business? The franchising industry and businesses employ over 21 million people and generate $2.3 trillion of economic activity every year. A new franchise business opens every 8 minutes of every business day, and a large portion of those are restaurant or food related. Like the United States, franchise businesses around the world have seen steady growth in the past decade, particularly in Brazil, China, and Mexico. 85

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Evan Scritchfield has spent the last decade in communications, serving as an Active Duty/Reserve Public Affairs Officer and an employee of the Federal Government. He is a graduate of Pittsburg State University (B.G.S), the Defense Information School’s Public Affairs Officer Course, and the Illinois Media School’s Certificate in Radio and Television Broadcasting program. In his current position, he directs communication activities promoting exporting resources and opportunities for U.S. manufacturers across the Midwest region.


Education Station

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Education Station

Instructions:

Read Maneet Chauhan’s interview and use the questions below to sharpen your critical thinking, decision-making, and business planning abilities.

From #9 In the Q&A

1

Chauhan shares that she offers partnership opportunities for certain staff members working in the business. Using this as a context, answer the following: •  What are some advantages to offering partnership opportunities to staff members? •  What are some disadvantages to offering partnership opportunities to staff members?

From #10 In the Q&A

2

Chauhan talks about her failures. She states being “proud of those failures,” and said, “it’s amazing to fail, but you have to learn from those failures.” Using this as a context, answer the following: •  Why would Chauhan say it’s “amazing fail?” •  If you were to start a business, but fail, what do you believe you would learn in the process to use for the next attempt?

From #12 In the Q&A

3

Chauhan talks about opportunities coming her way from the public relations (PR) she would engage in constantly. Using this as a context, answer the following: • What is public relations? • What are examples of public relations?

From #12 In the Q&A

4

Chauhan says “you have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and how to sell them.” Using this as a context, answer the following: •  What strengths do you have that would help you from an entrepreneurial standpoint? •  What weaknesses to you have that would hinder you from an entrepreneurial standpoint?

From #14 In the Q&A

5

Chauhan talks about the opportunities that exist in the food industry today, but says to “identify what issues and problems the food industry is facing right now and to come up with something ingenious or entrepreneurial to combat that problem.”Using this as a context, answer the following: •  What is a problem, or multiple problems, in the food industry today? •  What are ways the problem(s) could be solved?

Print Worksheet 88

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Entrepreneurial f Che

Magazine

All Rights Reserved Š 2017 Entrepreneurial Chef Published by Rennew Media, LLC

Entrepreneurial Chef #15 - September 2017  

What will you learn from our featured guests? +Maneet Chauhan: The Mantra of Success + Jay Ducote: How To Diversify Your Talent + Andy Sa...

Entrepreneurial Chef #15 - September 2017  

What will you learn from our featured guests? +Maneet Chauhan: The Mantra of Success + Jay Ducote: How To Diversify Your Talent + Andy Sa...