Impact Investing for Young Professionals

On Tuesday October 28th, the Net Impact NYC Professional Chapter will be hosting the panel: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Impact Investing for Young Professionals. Net Impact is an international nonprofit organization that aims to provide individuals with the necessary knowledge and tools to use the power of business to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable world. The panel will be discussing different ways individual investors can make a financial return while making a positive impact on society.

The guest panelists are member of various organizations including Slow Money NYC, First Affirmative Financial Network, Domini Social Investments and Return on Change as well as Financial Advisors and CPAs. If the option of meeting with a panelist or CPA for a 1:1 advising session is of interest, registration must be completed at an earlier date. Amy Cortese, award-winning author and journalist who has covered topics such as business, finance, food, wine and environmental issues, will be moderating the panel and leading the discussions.

Below is some ticket information for the event, note that Early Bird admission sales end today! To register for the event and receive more information on the panelists, click here

Ticket Information

Early Bird Oct 15th, 2014 $25.00 $2.37
Net Impact Paid Member Oct 28, 2014 $15.00 $1.82
Net Impact Paid Member – Admission Plus 1:1 Advising Oct 28, 2014 $25.00 $2.37
General Admission Not Started $30.00 $2.64



Retail Spotlight: Curated Food Markets


Their Success…There is no doubt that the opportunity to be a food vendor at curated food markets such as Smorgasburg or any of the seasonal UrbanSpace markets offers great brand exposure. The artisanal and handcrafted fare that can be found at such markets create a communal atmosphere and interactive experience for guest and vendors alike. The transformed city spaces provide an excellent platform for food companies to market their brand and products, especially if the vendor is in the process of opening their first brick and mortar location.

The open-air market space serves as a great ‘test kitchen’ to showcase the vendor’s products with locals and tourists of all ages and backgrounds as an audience. While the great exposure may often take precedence over the revenue for the sheer marketing and promotional opportunities, there are also certain challenges that are encountered by the vendors.

Firstly, the demand for a spot at these markets is very high and the application process is very selective. One reason for the careful selection process is the restriction on same-item sales; for example, two different doughnut companies or two different coffee companies cannot operate on the same day in the same market space. Vendors are also at the complete mercy of their exposition to the elements; basing production off of the ever-changing weather forecasts can be tricky!

Take Aways…Overall there is no comparable marketing opportunity for food vendors trying to spread awareness of their brand and promoting their products. The sense of community created in these spaces and general atmosphere is unique; the New York Times has even coined Smorgasburg as, “The Woodstock of Eating.” The eclectic mix of vendors, diverse culinary fare and general entrepreneurial spirit create an exceptional environment for foodies and business professionals alike.

Check out some of these current and upcoming markets in New York:

Curated Food Markets:
UrbanSpace Garment District
September 15th-October 17th
41st St & Broadway
11AM-9PM Daily
April 5th Thru November 22nd/23rd
Saturdays: Williamsburg, East River State Park
Sundays: Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5
Soon moving indoor for winter starting November 29th at 80 N 5St, Brooklyn
UrbanSpace Broadway Bites
October 6th- November 14th
Greeley Square Park, 33rd St & Broadway
Holiday Markets:
Columbus Circle Holiday Market
59th St & Central Park West, SW Park Entrance
December 2nd- 24th
Hours TBA
Union Square Holiday Market
Nov 20th – December 24th
Union Square Park 14th St
Hours TBA


Crumbs Bakery Is Back!

Crumbs filed for bankruptcy earlier this summer upsetting cupcake lovers across the nation. Come next Tuesday Crumbs will be reopening! A grand reopening celebration will be taking place at their 1385 Broadway location in the Garment District which has recently been repainted for the event. There are twenty five over locations including L.A, Chicago and Boston that will be having celebratory opening blowouts over the course of the next 20 days.

One of Crumbs Bakery’s new partners, TV host Marcus Lemonis, is eager for the relaunch to showcase his new bagel-croissant hybrid which is meant to encompass the “new, modern Crumbs experience.” This new fusion pastry coined “baissant” with be found in stores next to the “Crumbnut,” a reinterpretation of the Cronut. The idea of introducing these new pastry mash-ups was to diversify the product mix beyond just the scope of cupcakes. There will also be some new cupcake flavors though such as salted caramel and key lime. A few other new non-cupcake offerings will include frozen desserts, cookies, gluten-free options and Crumbs chocolate bars.

To read more about the reopening of Crumbs and it’s new product mix, click here

Restaurant Same-Store Sales Rise 1.6%

During the third quarter of 2014 Black Box, a financial performance benchmarking company, reported that restaurants saw the best sales trends in two years. The Restaurant Industry Snapshot from TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence and People Report showed same store sales rose 1.6%; a great indicator of economic growth. The study is based on weekly sales from over 20,000 restaurant units representing more than $45 billion in annual revenue.

This has been the best third quarter for same-store sales since the first quarter of 2012. Victor Fernandez, executive director of insights and knowledge for TDn2K, parent company of Black Box Intelligence and People Report commented on the positive same-store sales for the second consecutive quarter, “The industry is clearly going through its best period over the last couple of years, as consumer confidence, real disposable income, the labor market and overall economic growth improved during the third quarter.”

Experts predict another quarter of positive sales growth in the industry. Wally Doolin, chairman of TDn2K brings attention to the fact that in Q3, ” same-store sales improved by almost twice as much as traffic, which means that a significant part of the improvement in sales during the quarter came from an increase in average guest checks.” To read more about the main factors that will determine the industry’s performance during the next two quarters, click here


Shake Shack Maddison Square Park Closing for the Winter

This Columbus day will be the last day of operations for the Shake Shack in Maddison Square Park until next year. The ten-year old kiosk will be closed for renovations until reopening mid 2015 according to Danny Meyer’s restaurant group. Edwin Bragg, a Shake Shack rep has said that the renovations will take up to five months to complete. The last day of the Shack in the park will, however, go out with a bang!

The chain has been collaborating with big name chefs throughout the summer to create limited-edition hamburgers which have created long lines wrapped all around the park. This Monday, Italian Chef Massimo Bottura will also be leaving his mark on the Shake Shack burger. Bottura collaborated with Shake Shack’s culinary director Mark Rosati to create the “Emilia” burger. This burger will have Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese directly mixed into the LaFrieda-blend beef patty, and two round of pork-filled cotechino finished with a bright salsa verde and delicious balsamic mayonnaise on top for $8.95.

Make sure to enjoy the “Emilia” at Shake Shack on Columbus Day! To read more about the collaboration with Italian Chef Massimo Bottura, click here

Fall Event: What Is Dessert Today?

On October 29th, 2014 from 6:00pm-9:00pm the New York City Hospitality Group is hosting an event on, “What is Dessert Today.” The event will be welcoming pastry chefs Emily Luchetti, Michael Laiskonis, Sherry Yard and Elizabeth Falkner who will all be joining in on discussing the topic and preparing plated hors d’oeuvres. There will also be an open bar featuring Chandon sparkling wine, Cloudy Bay Late, Harvest Riesling an a specialty Belvedere cocktail.

The event has limited capacity and tickets for general admission for Non Members or NYCHG or AIWF come to $135 per person ($140.72 with service fee). To register for the event, click here

The event will take place at the Moet Hennessy Headquarters at:

85 10th Avenue – 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States

Fine Dining Chefs Entering Fast Casual Space

While many chefs have made the transition from fine dining to fast casual before the term was even coined, there has been a recent increase of chefs wanting to enter this market as it continues to grow at an impressive rate. Chef Wolfgang Puck launched Wolfgang Puck Express in 1991, and Chef Tom Colicchio created the sandwich-focused “witchcraft” in 2003 and now operates 16 locations. Infamous New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer launched his “Shake Shack” burger concept in 2004 (now with 56 locations worldwide) with a business model that is highly sought after to emulate.

Going from fine dining to fast casual is very appealing as it opens up a completely new market in a sector with incredible growth and potential. The National Restaurant Association has reported a total of $173.8 billion in sales for fast casual restaurants, which is an 11% growth increase in 2013. While Michelin starred chefs are excited for the challenge, it is definitely not an easy transition from fine dining. Adam Fleischman of Umami Burger, who has announced he is partnering with chef Joshua Skenes of San Francisco’s ‘Saison’ to launch a fast casual noodle chain (Fat Noodle), has said that, “the tricky thing is that just because you’re a name chef, [it] doesn’t translate into being a fast-casual person.”

Chef Ethan Stowell of Seattle operates nine restaurants plus his fast casual pizza concept, Ballard Pizza Company. Stowell describes the draw to the fast casual market which so many chefs are currently experiencing, “I think that sometimes as a chef you get kind of pigeonholed into just being a chef, and there are a lot of chefs out there who are chefs and businessmen at the same time. That’s why I did it, because I like the business aspect of it. I like the model. I like the idea of potentially multiplying it out and growing that business.”  Stowell points out what fine dining chefs can bring to the operation from past experience which can make a true impact: the approach to product and guest’s experience; “I don’t think they are much different than running higher-end places, the goals are still the same. The goals are have somebody come in to have a good time, try to offer them good value for what they get. Treat them wth respect, they treat you with respect, and everybody leaves happy with the transaction.”

To read more about different chefs interested in entering the fast casual market and what they can bring to the table, click here


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