Death & Co.'s book's books, J. Gold's gold, Harvey's snag, Sea To Table's second chance, and more...
Family Meal - Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
A mercifully slow (industry) news cycle this past weekend. Phew. I took the extra reading time to add twitter accounts and personal websites to my list of potential Michael Bauer replacements. Guesses and comments always welcome. Angry emails taken in tearful stride.
Let’s get to it…
Death & Co. & Revenue Projections – “After 12 years as a single, award-winning establishment, Death & Co. …is in the midst of a serious expansion… The bar, which was founded on the last night of 2006, and which opened a second location in Denver earlier this year, initiated its first equity crowdfunding round on Friday via the investing platform SeedInvest... Investors will be able to purchase ownership stakes in an umbrella company, Gin & Luck LLC, which owns the Death & Co. bars as well as the book deals, intellectual properties, and the hospitality consulting firm Proprietors LLC. The company is valued at $13M.” Details in Bloomberg. You can get in on the $3M Series A with a minimum investment of $1k. Total raised at time of send: $204k.
Neat. But the real fun is in the open books. If you like org charts and projection sheets, their pitch deck can be downloaded here, including current plans for city openings (four new Ramble hotel partnerships in the next five years - the next Line?), corporate / grade-school company values (“Learning: We are committed to constant learning and growth.”), and some numbers:
Rent at 433 East 6th is $72k/year, with annual increases of $3k. “Net revenue at New York City location was $1,868,226 in 2017; The New York City location grew its operating margin from 17.36% in 2016 to 22.16% in 2017; Newly opened Denver location hit target revenue of $313,000 in May, the first month of operation, on track to generate $4,500,000 in the first year of business.; and Proprietors LLC, the company’s consulting arm, billed $539,000 in consulting revenue in 2017 with three employees and opportunity to scale.”
And aspiring cook/bar-book authors, peep those parentheses: The team has “shipped 120K Death & Co books to date, generating a total of $379K in royalties ($230k was paid out as an advance).”
The Tributes – “On what would have been Jonathan Gold’s 58th birthday, several buildings and monuments around Los Angeles were lit up in gold lights Saturday night to honor the late restaurant critic.” Slideshow of the city on the LA Times site, video (including the absolutely perfect Pacific Park ferris wheel lights) on their Facebook page.
And once more ICYMI: “In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the following nonprofit organizations: Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Heal the Bay or Al Otro Lado. A GoFundMe campaign to help the Gold-Ochoa family with expenses and the children’s education has been set up here.” The goal for the latter has been upped again, and now stands at $150k.
The Follow-Up – A month and a half after it first published an exhaustively reported exposé on “local / sustainable” wholesaler Sea To Table’s allegedly fraudulent operations, the Associated Press is back with more details from some former employees who allege owner Sean Dimin knew customers were being lied to and willfully ignored obvious problems in the supply chain. “‘He never addressed it, and he let it happen,’ [one former employee] said. ‘Then they profited from it.’” Dimin maintains “some claims in the AP article were misleading or unsubstantiated”, and says Sea To Table revenue has been cut in half since the story was published.
P.S. It looks like what happened with this second article is Dimin was (understandably) upset with the first piece, and tried to argue his case with the AP over the past few weeks, so… they followed up. PR PSA: If reporters took over thirty-six thousand photos of Montauk harbor just to double check your dock claims the first time round, they are probably not going to publish a kindly retraction based on your emailed suggestions. But they might dig deeper…
The Snag – Quick follow-up on Top Chef contestant and noted environmentalist Adam Harvey, via Gothamist: “The Gowanus restaurant owned by a celebrity chef who was arrested last month for allegedly attempting to poison his neighbor's beloved maple tree [because it blocked his solar panels] appears to have closed. Neighbors say Bar Salumi… has been shuttered for at least the last two weeks.”
The TV – Everyone’s excited: “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, a four-part culinary travel series, is set to debut on Oct. 19 and will follow chef and author Samin Nosrat … as she travels around the world to discover and examine delicious dishes.”
Everyone’s angry: Gordon Ramsay is getting a show on NatGeo called Uncharted, and each episode will include “a friendly cooking competition with local chefs and foodies…. pitting [Ramsay’s] own interpretations of regional dishes against the tried-and-true classics.” NatGeo insists any colonialist overtones are mistakenly inferred, but Ramsay has not generated the kind of goodwill that’s going to allow for many mistakes come production time. The Washington Post summed up Twitter’s reaction: “World to Gordon Ramsay: You are no Anthony Bourdain.” TV Execs to world: Dude + travel = $$$.
The (SF) Media – Yesterday, Janelle Bitker announced she is leaving her role as managing editor and food critic at the East Bay Express to “join the Eater SF team next month and write more as a freelancer.”
For Design Fans - Late to this, but did you know Garden & Gun magazine has a restaurant in Atlanta that “makes the daring move of bringing the magazine off the pages and into real life, featuring an elegant mix of old and new”? I did not. I also did not know the magazine was so… dark. Photo spread in Dezeen.
And last and least – “How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions”. Everyone is tweeting about what a fun, cool longread this Daily Beast story is, but I feel seriously cheated. “Jerome Jacobson and his network of mobsters, psychics, strip club owners, and drug traffickers won almost every prize for 12 years, until the FBI launched Operation ‘Final Answer.’” 12 years! All my fleeting moments of irrational hope, carefully picking away at the sides of waxy, sweaty, Dr. Pepper cups, all the lid bubbles pushed down for luck, were lies? Screw you, Jerome.
And that’s it for today. I’m off to grab a Powerball ticket and some Mr. Pibb.
See you here Friday for next Family Meal.
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