Throughout their time in the program, the students work on developing a detailed business plan for their own enterprise. At the end of the nine-month program, each student has the chance to present their business to the class, their instructor and the panel of investors.
One class of students just finished up the program and completed their business plans. Last week, they presented them in front of Dan Solaz, an investor who has owned various restaurants around the U.S. He has a keen ear for listening to business plans and knowing what information will trigger investors to take interest in a new venture — a priceless exercise for the ICE students.
Each student walked through their proposed business, covering financial projections and budgets, location, menu, atmosphere, customers, employee management strategies, competitive analysis and any other number of factors the students thought would determine their long-term success. The plethora of ideas included a classic, intimate French restaurant, a fun, energetic sports bar and an artisanal burger joint. One by one, the students presented their ideas and their detailed plans.
Afterward, they listened carefully to the feedback from their peers and the investor. Solaz complemented their hard work and gave them great ideas for how to further refine their plans when pitching investors like him. This feedback will be a great boon to them as they set out to start their very own culinary businesses. Best of luck to them!