Prepare your taste buds because the culinary world is about to experience a flavor explosion as the Feed the Soul Foundation, a national nonprofit, whips up its inaugural Global Culinary Conference on Business Development. With Diageo as the presenting sponsor and generous partnerships from Stella Artois and Tito's Handmade Vodka, this two-day extravaganza promises to be a mouthwatering journey for culinary entrepreneurs across the United States. Get ready to savor the experience on Monday, January 22, and Tuesday, January 23, 2024, at The Texas Tower in vibrant Houston, Texas. This conference isn't just about indulging in delicious bites; it's about finding the perfect recipe for success amidst the challenges the culinary world faces today.
Navigating the Culinary Storm
Picture this: the culinary world is in turmoil, ingredients are more expensive, and customers' wallets are feeling the pinch. According to the James Beard Foundation's 2023 Industry Report, a whopping 53% of culinary business owners have been dealt a tough hand, seeing their profits take a dip. Rising food and labor costs have turned profit margins and menu pricing into a culinary rollercoaster since 2022. It's a storm that has shaken every corner of the culinary world, from cozy bakeries to food trucks, breakfast cafes to trendy specialty beverages, and even the most vibrant vegan eateries.
But fear not, for in the eye of this culinary storm, the Feed the Soul Foundation stands as a guiding light. Now in its third year of service, the Foundation has thrown open its doors to a global stage. The aim? To provide culinary entrepreneurs with the tools they need to not just survive but thrive in today's challenging culinary landscape. Falayn Ferrell, the Chairwoman of Feed the Soul Foundation, has this to say: "Our goal is to create an educational experience that allows culinary business owners to step away from their business and dedicate two days to learn about resources within business development."
A Stellar Lineup of Culinary Experts
Get ready to be blown away by an all-star cast of culinary heavyweights. Marcus Davis, the culinary genius behind The Breakfast Klub, will serve up a piping hot keynote, sharing his recipe for success that's made his hospitality group, including The Breakfast Klub, Kulture, and Reggae Hut, sizzle. Chef Karla Hoyos crowned Best Chef of Miami in 2022 and the mastermind behind Tacotomia, will take you on a tantalizing journey. Joining the lineup are Chef Dayanny Delacruz, Vice President of Culinary at Levy Restaurants, and Chef Emmanuel Chavez, the brilliant owner of Tatemó and Food and Wine magazine's "Best New Chefs" for 2023.
Diverse and Valuable Sessions
The conference agenda is a smorgasbord of knowledge, with sessions catering to the unique needs of culinary business owners. From enhancing your technical skills to mastering small business applications, navigating the labyrinth of commercial real estate to fine-tuning your personnel management, optimizing your business operations, crafting mouthwatering marketing strategies, and even glimpsing into the future of the food service industry – this conference has it all!
And let's not forget the lineup of speakers. They're as diverse as the ingredients in your favorite dish! With industry experts like Will Norwood, Program Manager of Supplier Diversity & Inclusion at Live Nation; Dr. Courtney Johnson Rose, the President of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers; Michelle Ngome, the President of the African American Marketing Association; Phillip Yates, the Founder of Black Entrepreneurship Week & Latin Entrepreneurship Week; and Yvonne Guidry, the Founder of SpoiledLatina – you're in for a truly enriching experience.
Interactive Learning and Networking
But the conference doesn't stop at insightful sessions and expert speakers. It offers interactive breakout sessions that'll have you rolling up your sleeves and getting hands-on. And don't forget about the happy hour networking events – a chance to sip and savor while making connections that can elevate your culinary journey. And what's a culinary gathering without exquisite food? Enjoy complimentary breakfast and lunch from some of Houston's most celebrated restaurants, including Frenchy's, Space City Birria Tacos and More, Henderson & Kane, Mo' Better Brews, Cascabel, and The Breakfast Klub.
A Global Culinary Movement
The Global Culinary Conference isn't just a one-time affair; it's set to become an annual tradition that brings together culinary professionals from around the world. It's a melting pot of ideas, a recipe swap of knowledge, and a place to discuss the latest trends in business growth, ensuring the continued success of culinary businesses worldwide.
Since its inception in 2020, Feed The Soul Foundation has been on a mission to provide sustainability and growth to small culinary businesses. By the first half of 2023, the Foundation had cooked up some impressive milestones. They'd invested over $1,078,000 in financial and business development support for 59 marginalized culinary businesses across the United States. The Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund also lent a helping hand, providing $46,000 in assistance to culinary businesses facing unforeseen damages and natural disasters.
But that's not all! The Foundation's commitment to education and the culinary industry was evident through the $76,000 in scholarships awarded to high school culinary programs, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions. Additionally, their internship program distributed $59,000 in student stipends and provided workforce training to 15 minority college students studying small business marketing, marketing research, and public relations.
In these challenging times for the culinary world, the Feed the Soul Foundation's Global Culinary Conference on Business Development shines as a guiding light, knowledge, and growth. It's a celebration of culinary entrepreneurship and a testament to the resilience of an industry that feeds not only our bodies but also our souls. So, mark your calendars for this culinary extravaganza – where the recipe for success will be served with a side of inspiration and innovation! Don't miss out on this delectable feast for the senses!