Want to Make A Lot of Money? Get into the ‘Cooking for Frathouses’ Business
Bloomberg News, knowing full well that 26 year-olds sitting at desks would share this article in hopes that people might actually take them seriously in the burgeoning “social business” world, did a profile of a dude who #startedatabank, and then ended up creating a pretty successful campus fraternity business:
At campus fraternities, it’s not just kegs and eggs anymore. Bill Reeder, a former energy options trader at Bank of America (BAC), is bringing chicken satay and veal parmigiana to Greek houses at universities across the U.S. His company, Campus Cooks, employs cooks at 70 houses on 20 campuses, including Purdue, Florida State, and Texas A&M, and is looking to expand to schools in North Carolina and Virginia. The business, based in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, will log about $10 million in revenue for the year ending in June, Reeder says. He’s projecting a 30 percent increase to $13 million for the next fiscal year.
After graduation in 1995, Reeder opted for a career on Wall Street. But the long hours wore him out, he says. So in 2004, with some money from his parents and a bank loan, he paid $200,000 for the same catering company that had fed him and his fraternity brothers. He then began sending out letters, cold-calling, and visiting fraternities and sororities to drum up business. The quality of the food got him in the door, Reeder says, but it was his understanding of Greek life, and the role of frat houses as modern-day eating clubs, that closed the deals. “We’re trying to create an atmosphere and experience,” he says.
Our pal Bacon over at TFM notes that they're hiring some pretty big-time chefs (including a former George Bush Sr. chef, and some dude who cooked for the Goo Goo Dolls), and Bill Reeder, the founder, was in the same frat at Northwestern as Zach Braff. Thanks to those last two sentences, you no know a bunch of shit that has a .001% chance of ever being useful.
In conlcusion, food, especially when combined with articles on finance websites, is pretty frat.