San Francisco’s La Cocina’s Food & Entrepreneurship Conference
Upon learning about La Cocina’s 2014 Food & Entrepreneurship Conference I was beyond excited. What is better than pairing one of my most favorite passions FOOD with Entrepreneurship, my minor in business school. As a blogger, I’m an entrepreneur every day so this topic is something I can not seem to learn enough about. I joke that I’m in Blogging Business School, continuing to try to learn more about blogging and getting my MBA yet again but this time in Blogging!
I quickly checked out the seminar schedule and decided I had to attend this awesome conference. Not only were there new emerging local Restaurants speaking such as Los Cilantros, Bicycle Banh Mi, Luke’s Local… there were also heavy hitters in the Food/Restaurant industry speaking including Whole Foods, Three Twins Ice Cream, Bi-Rite, Tartine Bakery, The San Francisco Chronicle and Starbelly/Beretta/Delarosa/Lolinda & Citizen Fox Founder amongst a few. I was beyond excited to attend this all day conference to hear from industry experts, meet some other fellow food lovers, network, and establish new relationships within the San Francisco Restaurant & Food world. After attending, I can happily say, mission accomplished on all fronts. I will be recommending this fabulous conference to others in the industry and am already looking forward to attending next year!
The highlight of the seminar included the below lessons/takeaways I learned from the various speaker series I attended. I will be sure to remind myself of these awesome lessons and words of advise as I continue to be passionate about the world of Food & Restaurants.
I. “Be Delightful. Take JOY in what you do and be you” paraphrasing this amazing advice from Caleb Zigas, Executive Director, La Cocina. Caleb shared this during the Learn session: Is Ethnic Food Undervalued and I couldn’t agree more. This seems to apply not only to Chef’s & Restauranteurs but also to bloggers. Being true to you is the most common advice I’ve heard over the years in order to gain respect, a loyal following, and be genuine sharing what you love and want to be known for.
II. Getting Customers In The Door (and keeping them) Speaker Series: Led by Panelists Vinny Eng of Tartine Bakery & Deborah Blum of Beretta, Starbelly, Delarosa, and Lolinda to name a few. I found this panel to have the best wisdom and words of advice from one small business owner/operator to another. As a result, I’ve decided to share some my favorite quotes (there are a LOT) so you can hear it from the horse’s mouth and hopefully you’ll find Vinny & Deborah as brilliant, amazing and inspiring as I did.
Care “Care so much you’re willing to make a mistake. Be transparent to your guests with your mistakes” Vinny.
Generosity “Be as generous with your employees as you are with your guests!” Vinny.
Value equally “Value every guest the same (no favoritism, line cutting…). Even Martha Stewart waits in line like every other important customer” Vinny.
Be an expert “Do well at everything, do one thing exceptionally well!” Deborah.
Details “Pay attention to little details such as opening the door for people, saying hello and good-bye, greeting a guest with a personable welcome not with an electronic device in your hand, smile, give guests the right of way, fold guests napkins….. Do NICE gestures!” Deborah.
Service “Enhance your service level one step further than your price point” Deborah.
III. The Future of Buying Food Discussion (really discussing whose responsibility is it to educate consumer’s, online, in store or through education in our schools? – This was an extremely interesting panel with speakers from Luke’s Local, Farmigo, Whole Foods & Early Bird Ranch. The discussion was about the consumer how and where they’re shopping and whose responsibility it is to educate them about the food they’re buying. It really made you think about how much food has changed since we were kids and made me wonder at what point will schools be responsible for teaching the public about organic vs. non organic, grass-fed farming vs. non grass-fed…. It is a major topic within the Food Industry especially in California where we’re so passionate about Farm to Table and healthy sustainable farming and gardening. Unfortunately, I don’t have one clear takeaway from this series except I’ll try by saying it’s your responsibility to educate yourself about what you’re eating, where it’s coming from and try to buy and support local farmers the best you can (when and if available).
My partner in crime and fellow Alt Summit Bloggers Conference pal Eden, of The Road to the Good Life