Oct 28, 2023 11 min read

The Favor

The Favor
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Friends of Branded!

Happy Saturday and I hope you had a great week.

Inspiration can come from so many places and sources. In the world of hospitality, I believe the social element of the business, the dining experience, the food & beverage, all lend itself to an incredible backdrop for ideas, creativity and yes, even inspiration for a Top of the Fold article.

Maybe someone should create a TV Series about this industry and how chaotic a kitchen and restaurant can be. Wait. Who am I kidding. Why would anyone be interested in a story or TV series about a restaurant? 😊

The Bear - by Christopher Storer (congrats Hulu)

Earlier this week I found myself sitting outside the restaurant of one of our partners, enjoying some whiskey and smoking a cigar. This moment of the night had NOT been planned.

The early-evening had started with an in-office meeting at B Works with another restaurateur and now a new friend. After our meeting, Schatz and I took our new friend downstairs to Isabelle's Osteria to continue our discussion, get to know one another further and to share a meal together (we appreciate you MA!).

As our evening was winding down, when one of our partners walked into Isabelle's in need of some whiskey. Well, the word "need" might be misplaced here or may set the wrong stage, but our partner had just been gifted a humidor and box of cigars by the guests he hosted for a wine dinner in the neighborhood. Our partner’s friends wanted to share a cigar with him and asked for some whiskey to accompany it. Our partner had come to Isabelle's to select a bottle for his friends.

This spontaneous moment led to Schatz, myself, and our new friend being invited to join this other group and outside we went for a nightcap of sort.

What struck me as we were sitting around a makeshift outdoor cigar-bar together was how not surprising, unusual or rare it was for a group of restaurateurs to find themselves in this very position. Maybe the bottle of scotch, the inclusion of a cigar, or the street we were on were different, but in my life in and around the restaurant business, industry folks getting together is more common than in almost any other industry I’ve been part of or witnessed.

One could make the argument that the restaurateurs all sitting around this table, were in fact competitors with one another. In this specific group, we had NYC owner/operators of full-service, high-end restaurants. Several have restaurants in the same neighborhood and even on the same block. And yet, here we all were, spending time together, sharing stories (some new, some not so new) and simply having a good time.

It made me think about competition and specifically something I read in a LinkedIn post by Gary Vaynerchuk , Chairman of VaynerX, CEO of VaynerMedia & Veerfriends, and the future owner of the NY Jets (I'm rooting for you Gary V). 😊

I think Gary V’s message is a strong one for all industries and it's one the hospitality industry most certainly embraces.

On the restaurant side, Branded's office is located in the Flatiron District, and we own several restaurants within one block of our office. This neighborhood is LOADED with other strong, wonderful, and successful restaurants. I’d say the competition here is fierce within just a 2-block radius and you know what, thank goodness for these awesome competitors.

Collectively, these restaurants have made this neighborhood a dining destination and created a truly fun and exciting part of the New York City dining scene. Think about your own favorite dining neighborhoods and whether there’s more than one successful restaurant. These joints feed off each other and collectively create a most attractive environment for guests.

But wait, there's more...

Despite the competition for diners and our wanting, of course, a larger share of the guest wallet when it comes to dining out, the comradery among operators is strong and these are not just words. These competitive businesses will share things with one another if a restaurant finds itself short. I was at one of our restaurants this past summer when a gentleman wearing a different staff uniform than our own walked out with a propane tank. My wife asked if I knew what was going on. I said that I assumed that one of the neighboring joints must have run out of propane and borrowed a tank from us to help get them through the night.

Our business is NOT about winning b/c a neighbor was out of propane or whatever they needed to get through the night, and besides, we’ve needed to borrow from a neighbor over the years as well.

This comradery among operators is alive and well in the technology & innovation space. I think part of that is attributed to the number of technologists that cut their teeth working in hospitality venues, but it’s also the fact that these tech & innovation companies are marketing to the hospitality industry.

This is the most fragmented industry I’ve ever been a part of and the digital transformation underway is no small undertaking. This requires not only adoption and acceptance from our guests, but also embracement from operators. Long-time readers of the H^2 know that I subscribe to the theory that if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.

The fact that there are technology companies that are in every way shape and form competitors to one another, does not remotely make them act or treat one another as enemies and to the contrary, these competitors are working closely together to help accelerate this digital transformation.

Going back to my nightcap with this group of restaurateurs, I specifically thought about all I’ve learned from them over the years (in addition to the good times we’ve had together). That brings me to the title and photo of this week’s edition.

The image at the top is called "The Favor" and it’s from the 3rd fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed that took place at the end of Rocky III (you want to know who won that fight; that link is for you). These fierce competitors came together in Rocky III to help Rocky win back his title and all Apollo wanted in exchange was for Rocky to do him a favor when it was over (YN = Apollo).

And finally, long-term readers will immediately notice this Top of the Fold section is shorter than ALL my previous contributions.

This week, a Branded partner shared an article with me about the importance of “concise communication” and how people are NOT reading like they used to. My partner even used a quote by Mark Twain, knowing that I'm a HUGE fan of Mark Twain, to hammer home his point to me. Well played SVN, well played. I love my partners and their trust that they can say and tell me anything.

It takes a village.

This is truly a special edition of the H^2, b/c not only is it jammed pack with insights and articles from the Branded team, but this week, I'm proud to share that we have a contribution from Friend of Branded and one of the hospitality industry's favorite sons, Scott Taylor.

Branded had the privilege of getting to know Mr. Taylor when he joined us for an episode of our Hospitality Hangout (and he was an AWESOME guest on our podcast).

Scott is our kind of human, and we love & respect, his love & respect for the hospitality industry. Scott’s success at Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, his commitment to culture, staying humble and being a team-sport guy are all things we at Branded feel deserve to be celebrated.

When the idea of Scott being a guest contributor this week to the Hospitality Headline was floated, I was simply THRILLED that Scott agreed to make this happen.

Please enjoy his article, Franchising Your Brand, that appears just a little further below. Our friend, Mr. Taylor, is dropping knowledge here!

The winner of this week's WITW is Branded contest, also represents our current long-distance winner, with their contribution coming all the way from Chiaramonte Gulfi, a town in Sicily, Italy.

The winners are my friends & family, Richie & Annemiek Do Gersten, who enthusiastically brought their Branded swag with them on this trip, in order to be a most meaningful contender.

In the category of TMI, it's NOT lost on me that the Gersten Family owns Brant Lake Camp in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate NY. This is the camp my brothers and I went to as campers, worked as counselors and have made lifelong friends.

In this edition, where I wrote about the importance of healthy competition, Brant Lake Camp is a unique place where sports are done right and where my love of competition was fostered. That includes wanting my competition to play their very best against me, b/c only then can the win or loss be worthy.

I'm a 'camp over color' person, and while today I'm a 'Purple' when I visit for G&G, I'm still forever a 'Green.' IYKYK.

To participate in the contest: Email marketing@brandedstrategic.com or contact your friend at Branded to submit a photo of yourself wearing a piece of Branded "swag" and let us know where in the world you are!


ACG NY's Middle Market Week will bring together leading global middle market dealmaking professionals to develop and enhance their dealmaking activities, strengthen their long-term relationships, and provide numerous opportunities for networking. Make sure you are in New York for this can’t miss week of non-stop deal opportunities November 6th through November 10th.’



Answer also revealed at the end of the newsletter


Franchising Your Brand…

By: Scott Taylor, Chief Executive and Franchise Strategist

Do you have a brand that could be franchised, when should you consider franchising, and what are the key components to launching your franchise program?

Continue Reading Here

Digital Restaurant Association 

We champion restaurants to thrive in a digital world

Join the DRA Today


Three Brains in One: How Humans Make Decisions Should Drive How You Market and Sell

By: Seth Temko, Solutions Services Partner at Branded Hospitality Ventures

We’ve heard various adages about what makes us human. ‘You are what you think’. ‘You are what you eat.’ And while these certainly contain some truths, human biology determines behavior more than we realize.

Continue Reading Here

Serve Up Hope with CORE

Children of Restaurant Employees is a national non-profit and direct provider that is dedicated to serving food and beverage operations employees with children. CORE provides financial relief when the restaurant employee, their spouse, or child faces a life-altering medical crisis, injury, death, or natural disaster. To learn more about how CORE helps, and how you and your company can get involved, click the button below

Learn More


Luxury Dining is Undergoing a Transformation – Does Major Food Group Have The Answer?

By: Noah Stern, Associate, Branded Hospitality Ventures

In luxury dining, people are still willing to pay exorbitant prices, just for a different experience. No one has captured this better than Major Food Group.

Continue Reading Here

Restaurant Industry Movers in the Market

—Data as of 10/27/23


Learn how the Hospitality Industry advisors from CohnReznick can put you at the forefront of advanced financial, operational, and risk management strategies.

Learn More


Why Is Everyone Talking About This Trade Show?

By: Rev Ciancio, Head of Revenue Marketing at Branded Hospitality Ventures

Effective restaurant owners understand that greatness transcends culinary skills alone. They recognize that the triumvirate of superb cuisine, impeccable service, and compelling marketing is the winning formula for elevating their establishment to new heights.

Continue Reading Here


Hospitality Tech and F&B Innovation IN THE NEWS:

We love to highlight Food Service & Hospitality news, especially when it’s Partners & Friends making it!

And in other News…please see some of the stories that caught our attention and that we’re paying attention to. This week was loaded with headlines and news!!

ANSWER: Fraunces Tavern

The oldest bar in New York City is Fraunces Tavern. Located at 54 Pearl Street in New York City, this place is both a bar/restaurant and a museum, both honoring the tradition of taverns in New York City.


🔍 Got Questions? We've Got Answers! 🌟

Satisfy your thirst for knowledge? Look no further! It's time to dive into our brand-new segment: "Ask The Headline"! 🎉

📅 We'll be answering YOUR questions every week. And here's the best part: you can choose to stay anonymous or receive a fabulous shout-out when we feature your question!

That’s it for today!

See you next week, (about the) same bat-time, same bat-channel.

It takes a village!

Jimmy Frisch & Julia Suchocki
Branded Hospitality Ventures
jimmy@brandedstrategic.com & js@brandedstrategic.com
235 Park Ave South, 4th Fl | New York, NY 10003

Branded Hospitality Ventures ("Branded") is an investment and advisory platform at the intersection of food service, technology, innovation and capital. As experienced hospitality owners and operators, Branded brings value to its portfolio companies through investment, strategic counsel, and its deep industry expertise and connections.

Learn more about Branded here: Branded At-A-Glance October 2023

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