In the video below we hear from Fedele Bauccio, founder and CEO of Bon Appetit Management. His company has built its reputation on locally sourced, seasonal, healthy foods, and is actively involved in sustainability issues affecting every aspect of the food industry.
Bauccio recounts his decision to leave a private company after a takeover and pursue his dream of making a difference in the institutional food-service industry by introducing the concept of a chef-driven restaurant company.
Isaac Pino: Along the way -- you've been in the food industry for quite some time, ever since those days -- at what point did you decide that you wanted to do something entrepreneurial, and kind of break off? What went into that decision-making process?
Fedele Bauccio: Well, I spent 20 years with a public company, and I ended up as co-president of that company with about $1.6 billion. We had an unfriendly takeover by another company that I felt had the wrong values and vision for me.
I was very, very lucky at that time. I had a parachute. I pulled the parachute, and I decided that I wanted to create a restaurant company -- that was the dream -- in what we call today this institutional or contract food-service market.
I was appalled at what was going on 25 years ago. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary, so we made it to 25 years. I'm pretty proud of that.
But I was appalled at what was going on, on college and university campuses -- this whole idea of mystery meat, and everything out of a box, and disgusting food.
I was in the middle of the beginning of Silicon Valley, and something said to me, "You know, we have to feed employees, too, in the same way," so I took the risk to say, "How do I create a restaurant company with great food that was chef-driven" -- because nobody brought chefs in at that time -- "and work in this contract marketplace, and try to change the industry?" That was the dream at that point.