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Why is it so hard to find a cofounder in the food industry?

If you’re thinking of starting up your own business (food or otherwise), make sure to check out our startup resources page or our Startup MBA.  

If you’re looking for a business partner for your food startup – a common question I often get asked by members – you’ll probably be interested in what Cynthia (from Kitchenette) has to say below.

If you ask any serious investor, venture capitalist or seasoned business person, they’ll tell you the most important thing in appraising any new business venture is – the team.

That’s fine if you’ve already got a great business partner lined up, but what to do if you’ve got a great idea and no partner?

We’ve been mulling over this problem for months at Kitchenette HQ, finding brilliant chefs who’d like a business brain to help with structuring a pitch deck; entrepreneurially-minded strategy people and marketeers who’d like a killer head chef; people who are passionate about service but need someone who can manage the operations.

Companies like Founder Dating and Start-Up Weekend have stepped in to fill this gap in the market for other tech sectors, and every night of the week in London, there’s a meetup or networking event connecting entrepreneurs and around the world. By introducing great technical people and hackers to great product people, or sales people, they get the seeds of teams together – and Start-up Weekend alone has seen over 8190 startups launched with their approach.

But what works for Silicon Roundabout doesn’t quite fit the bill for food start-ups.

First,  instead of coders, in food, you need great chefs. Is the equivalent of findings a good technical co-founder a strong founding head chef? If so, where were fora for chefs to meet the other potential people to make up a team? With notoriously long hours, how could people escaping the city find their great food visionary, or people with solid operational experience?

Second, founder dating is a lot like actual dating; you don’t go in expecting a ring on the finger on your first date. Without the established norms of getting together to talk investment and business ideas that there are in other sectors, getting the people who make up a great food founding team together can’t just happen over some drinks or some awkward meeting, there needs to be some kind of format that helps people really get to know each other, and figure out whether they share values.

Third, when it comes to restaurants, you really need to know if you share the same vision for food, for service and for culture. What do you like to eat? What food do you think is exciting? Do you have the same service philosophy? You can’t crack that online, or through a Linked In group.

That’s why we were so excited when The Bream Team pitched the concept of Food Founders Speed Dining to us: what better way for chefs and business types to really find out about each other than over a plate of really good food? We’re excited to see how it works, and will be back to blog about our adventures in helping people find each other.

Join us for the first Founder Speed Dining night, Wednesday 17th July in Islington. Four courses. Two hours. Partners for life. Book here now.