514 3rd Avenue between 34th and 35th Streets (Murray Hill) • 212.679.2273


Bareburger Murray Hill

Their Success…Incorporating the trend towards transparent food sourcing with a classic favorite—burgers and fries. As the dining public becomes more aware of food origins and demands more transparency from restaurants and other food establishments, many enterprises are making small notes on their menu or incorporating local produce where they can. Bareburger, however, has built sustainability into the core of their concept. They have 13 locations in NYC and Long Island.

The Bareburger menu names which farms and producers supply their ingredients, and their meats in particular. Cards in the condiment buckets, and a section of their website, explain the meaning of terms like “organic,” “grass-fed,” and “pesticide free.” Bareburger also lists clearly which meats are organic, local, or sustainably raised. Even their interior décor has a nod to their sustainable roots, with salvaged or reclaimed barnwood used to construct the tables and wooden ceilings.

Yet Bareburger has embraced this shift towards sustainability and transparency in a way that does not reinvent the food itself, keeping themselves on the forefront of both comfort food and food policy.

Take Aways…Embracing sustainability and transparency in food sourcing can be an important factor in drawing guests to your enterprise in today’s environment. But doing so does not have to mean making your enterprise trendy or fleeting. By keeping the food familiar and the atmosphere warm and inviting, your enterprise becomes one that everyone can enjoy, regardless of their view on food policy.


343 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY • 347.294.0292


Smith Canteen

Their Success…After opening their successful sit-down restaurant Seersucker in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, owners Robert Newton and Kerry Diamond saw an opportunity in the market to open a coffee shop, Smith Canteen, just down the street.

Though they served breakfast at Seersucker, they noticed that guests also enjoyed the espresso drinks and counter service they offered.  Seeing the desire for a coffee shop atmosphere among guests at Seersucker, the two opened Smith Canteen in 2011 to serve their needs.  The small, comfortable coffee shop focuses on coffee and espresso, as well as sandwiches, quiches, and pastries.   Though its menu and service style differ from Seersucker, its branding and atmosphere maintain the feeling guests have come to expect from the duo.

In opening Smith Canteen, Newton and Diamond smartly listened to their guests and used their lifestyle, needs, and wants to plan their concept for the coffee shop.  By taking a cue from guests in devising the coffee, sandwiches, and pastries concept, Newton and Diamond gave themselves an advantage: they already knew there would be a guest base to support Smith Canteen when it opened.  They looked to the market for an unmet need and met it themselves.

Take Aways…When considering a new enterprise, listen to and look to the needs of your target market first.  Assessing the target market will tell you what your guests seek from your enterprise.  This will help determine the core of your concept—from service style to cuisine—and make sure your enterprise has the guest base to support you from opening day onward.


157 E 33rd St. Between Lexington and 3 Avenues (Murray Hill) • 212.683.3900



Their Success…Multiple combinations drive repeat business at a single-product enterprise. This single-product, multi-unit enterprise has managed to take a simple childhood classic of mac and cheese and turn it into a thriving business.

S’MAC offers 12 different pre-selected combinations of macaroni and cheese, plus a sampler mac and cheese skillet of 8 combinations. Guests can also build their own creation, choosing from 15 cheeses and 22 mix-ins. The diverse menu items include Masala, with a tomato-based cheese sauce and Indian spices, Alpine with Gruyère and slab bacon, and Parisienne, with Brie, shiitake mushrooms, rosemary, and roasted figs. S’MAC is conscious of the varying health concerns of guests with offerings of gluten-free pasta, whole-wheat pasta, or reduced lactose sauce upon request.

S’MAC certainly draws tourists looking for a one-time experience, but the sustainability of their concept stems from their ability to become a part of their guests’ regular lunch, dinner, or late-night routines – to create a menu to which neighborhood residents and those who work near their stores will want to return time after time.

What We Learned…Single-product doesn’t have to mean single-flavor. Running a single-product enterprise can be a great way to create buzz and interest, as well as make your kitchen production and internal operations seamless for replication while offering a fun, engaging guest experience.

Take Aways…When developing a single-product enterprise, think about your target market and the target location. Innovate and expand upon your product so that it can become a part of that market’s day-to-day routine, giving you a core of regular guests.