New York City’s restaurant industry is one of the most cutthroat in the world. High quality food and dining experiences have even led to an online black market in restaurant reservations. Even with this black market, legitimate apps are making a killing. Premium dining is taken so seriously that reservation and review app OpenTable was acquired for a jaw dropping $2.6 billion from the Priceline Group in 2014.
With such high stakes there has never been more pressure on the food industry to find more innovative and tech-driven ways to produce and create inspiring recipes and menus. To follow and stay ahead of food trends coworking spaces have opened up their doors to food entrepreneurs and artisans, chefs, farmers and developers to cultivate their ideas and take their products to market.
Situated in the heart of the Flatiron District in Manhattan is coworking and collaboration hub Journee, a space helping to lead a community of foodtech and restaurant professionals. The space acts as a think tank and resource for the hospitality industry and sits within the foodtech sector as a neutral space that eliminates competition and teaches people how to succeed.
The hub was first launched in June last year by Anthony Rudolf who previously worked with award winning chefs Thomas Keller and Jean-Georges. Rudolf believed that it was his turn to give back to the restaurant community and help aspiring restauranteurs to reach their goals.
Journee is a members-only community exclusive offering individuals a wide range of programs and events to provide them exposure with experienced chefs and creatives who offer new perspectives and ideas about food and running a business.
The founders believe the best way to inspire and help entrepreneurs is to share industry knowledge and encourage individuals to be ambitious and open up the next big restaurant where to book a table people need to tap into the black market. As crazy as that sounds, it’s the direction food is travelling in thanks to technology and new innovative resources.
Rudolf, previously director of operations for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group explained, “Journee is everything I aspire to be: it is communal, extroverted, and collaborative.”
Much like the restaurant industry itself, Journee is a community that breaks down the barriers to entry with an inclusive rather than exclusive perspective. Rudolf is determined to raise the standards of the profession.
He said, “Journee is not only my way of validating the career I’ve been dedicated to for over 20 years, it is also a much needed source of empowerment for other ambitious restaurant professionals. It is my way of showing people that they can follow their passions to find success, and, most importantly, they can do so on their own terms.”
He believes when those in the restaurant industry take care of themselves, their teams, and the experience they want to create, both the service and customer are naturally well taken care of, too.
Members of Journee are given access to unlimited classes, guidance from industry professionals and a collaborative space for meetings or catching up with potential investors. For $1 a day membership provides unlimited access to seminars, discussions and other events like Kate McIntyre’s Wine class, panels on big restaurant issues like tipping policies, and leadership classes.
Journee recently launched a series called ‘At the Pass,’ which features a TED-style talk platform where speakers present different perspectives on important topics in the hospitality industry. Twice a month guests are invited to give a 15 minute talk to discuss solutions around a single theme. Recent speakers include Missy Robbins, a contestant in series four of Top Chef Masters, and Jordan Salcito, founder of Bellus Wines, with both sharing their stories of the worst decision they ever made and how they ultimately overcame it.
“We are an integral part of the restaurant ecosystem. I think the goal of many startups is to get acquired and that has never been a part of our mission. My team and I are committed to being present and deeply involved for the long-run,” said Rudolf.
Journee is currently gearing up to launch Journee TV, an online platform that will share content with people all around the world. The platform, which is set to launch in June, will enable subscribers to access content for their careers and will also help Journee to expand its community internationally.
Image: Journee Office. Source: Supplied.