This month's Innovation Breakfast, Food & Beverage Revolution...Chicago Style was sponsored and hosted by our friends at Fifty Gazelles. The panel discussion featured speakers from two innovative Chicago companies-- Home Chef, the nation’s third largest home meal delivery service, and Foxtrot, an upscale convenience store and mobile delivery service. The innovators, shared insights about the changing market in food and beverage, retail service, and executing on consumers' needs.
Jeremy Anderson, Brian Irwin & Mike LaVitola (left to right)
Brian Irwin, vice president of marketing with Home Chef, spoke about their recent $200 million acquisition by Kroger, a true milestone for Home Chef. Irwin emphasized that a key component to the company's success was creating a personable environment for the consumer, and a divine focus on consumer needs (in most cases, a clear preference for variations of meat and potatoes). Irwin attributed Home Chef's success to building an original, Midwest-focused business. Home Chef has a mission to create meal kits that are not only a millennial phenomenon, but can be enjoyed by a wide variety and range of ages.
Panel discussion with Brian Irwin & Mike LaVitola
Mike LaVitola, CEO and founder of Foxtrot, reflected on launching his organization, while he studied business at the University of Chicago. He opened his first store on Lake Street, 10 years ago, and laughs as he recalled how slow and empty the neighborhood was at the time (compared to the present day west loop area, which is booming with people, activity and culture). LaVitola also reflected on some of the interesting things that he's noticed with incoming orders and consumer needs. He's seen a surprising demand for ice cream, liquor and cigarettes orders, usually placed after midnight. LaVitola's closing remarks included plans of expanding his business, as a more upscale version of a 7-11. An opportunity for growth is clear in Foxtrot's future.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
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