“Consider Capital Other than Financial to Measure your Success” Words of Wisdom with Serial Restaurateur, Jeremy Fall

For example, when you’re starting your company, don’t get discouraged because your bottom line isn’t where you want it to be. Take creative achievements, social capital, new relationships, etc. as forms of success. If it helps make it more tangible, give each of those assets a dollar amount and count that when you’re personally evaluating the numbers of your company for yourself.
I had the pleasure to interview Jeremy Fall. Jeremy is a restauranteur and lifestyle innovator known for his experiential venues. In less than three years, at only age 27, Jeremy has opened 5 eateries (with 2 slated for early 2018) and his locations, food menus, and custom cocktails have become a household name! Jeremy grew up in a household with a mother who owned restaurants and a stepfather who was a chef. He got his professional start as a marketing & promotions manager of the Avalon in Hollywood, producing both large and small scale events, as well as booking talent from all over the country for several years. In 2014, he launched Genesis, a five-week pop-up concept that bridged the gap between bar and nightclub and went on to find a permanent home in the City of Angels. Since then, he’s opened four more hits with two on the way: Golden Box, a 1980’s NYC-inspired grungy disco designed after his strong inspirations from Area, Studio 54 and The Limelight. Nighthawk: Breakfast Bar, a restaurant/bar that serves cocktails and elevated breakfast fare for dinner. Tinfoil: Liquor & Grocery, a modern day take on the bodega consisting of a liquor store in the front with a secret “speakeasy” deli in the back. Nighthawk: AM, a fast casual breakfast all day concept in Chicago, IL, inspired by the nostalgic 1950’s American milk bar.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I started working in hospitality as a kid. My mother and I lived on top of a French cafe that she owned in Downtown, Los Angeles, in the early 2000’s. When I say on top, I legitimately mean that the front door to our home connected directly into the restaurant, and we used the same kitchen to cook our meals at home. I did the typical whole nine- from busser to server and eventually as a manager years later- and subconsciously picked up a lot of basic hospitality knowledge that I use today. Fast forward to a few more years down the line, and I started interning at the Avalon in Hollywood in the marketing and promotions department where I learned about the nightlife space and the craziness of balancing sanity and adrenaline when serving thousands of customers in a span of a few hours.

To say working in hospitality builds character at a young age is definitely an understatement but working in different facets of the industry really gave me the tools that led me to eventually opening my first concept. Fast forward a few more years. After working for more groups and coming to a crossroads in my life, I soon realized that I couldn’t see myself doing anything else for the rest of my life, so I decided to open my first bar and from there create a hospitality group. Ok, I just made it sound really easy so take that aspect with a grain of salt! It definitely was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

Rewinding back a little bit, I spent over a year looking for people that would be interested in investing in a crazy kid with a dream and after a ton of insanely discouraging meetings, and “WTF are you doing?” conversations with myself, I found people that bought into my vision. Getting funded for an idea is extremely rewarding, and I thought I had surmounted the impossible until I actually had to open my bar and realized that my story had just begun.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company

It’s definitely very tough to narrow it down. Every day in this industry pretty much feels like one massive plot twist. To me, the most interesting thing that I’ve seen, in the last few years especially, is the speed at which restaurants turned from being an ancillary activity that people did for pleasure and primarily survival, to this mainstream entertainment-centric obsession. Most of the lines and crowds of people you see nowadays aren’t at concerts or for album releases (thank you, Napster) but for different food concepts. People are willing to wait in line for three hours to eat a ten dollar donut but they won’t click to pay less than a dollar for a song. Working in hospitality used to be something you did when you didn’t have a degree and didn’t have a choice, and now it’s become a target of obsession for the masses and an industry that even established celebrities are fighting to be in. Viral food porn has become the new TRL.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think what makes us stand out the most is the fact that our company has one very specific mission and is extremely brand-centric. We take iconic Americana concepts and recreate them with an elevated experiential dining focus. We like to think outside the box but within the box that we created, and make sure that every concept could theoretically live next door to each other and never compete because they’re completely different. I always want to make sure that we never create restaurants just to create them. I want to design spaces that make people feel something when they come in and a story to tell when they leave. It’s such a beautiful industry when you think of the fact that we dedicate our entire lives to bringing people together through different flavors, in different spaces, in different worlds around the planet. There’s nothing more magical to me than seeing one of my restaurants full and listening to the indistinct sound of conversation bouncing off the walls. I think what makes our company stand out is that we know exactly what we want to do but we’re not trying to be anything we’re not. Every brand nowadays is spending an excessive amount of marketing dollars trying to sell to millennials, and luckily I’m 27 years old and just creating things for my peers that I feel are missing. We’re so disconnected by the all the noise that’s thrown at us through technology every day that being able to create a tangible side to culture in 2018 that feels actually authentic is truly awesome.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

Going back to my answer earlier, the basic fundamentals that I learned growing up in a family of hospitality workers are irreplaceable. Even though my mother did everything she could, strongly advising me against going into this industry, the fundamentals I subconsciously picked up will be in my blood forever. Always listen to your mother, unless she’s wrong of course.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I am a strong believer in carving your own path and not attempting to follow someone else’s. I refuse to accept the status quo at a time in the world where knowledge is at our fingertips and there are no limits on how much you can learn. The most rewarding part of my job has been the response I get from people all over the world that message me looking for guidance on how to pursue their dreams. Whether it be in hospitality or any other industry, it’s amazing to be able to relate to so many people that are my age that want to actually go out and create themselves, and hearing what stage they are at in their journey. When I look back, that was really the most magical part of this crazy path I decided to embark on. The infancy stages are when you’re still purely dreaming and have the perfect mix of naiveté and insanity to decide and attempt to change the world. I’m currently developing an initiative that harbors young creative entrepreneurs that don’t have the tools or resources to be set on the right path and provide them with the help they need to pursue their dreams. My goal is to someday have one of them become direct competition to my business and push me to fight even harder.

What are your “5 things you wish someone told you before you launched your company/career. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1. Create what you want to create, not what you think you should be creating.
 For example, when starting your company, your first reflex is to look at what everyone else is doing and try to mimic success that has already happened. The reason why most of those people you’re looking at are successful is because they carved their own paths and built what they actually wanted to build. Think about what makes you happy, and do that until the day you die.

2. Consider capital other than financial to measure your success. 
 For example, when you’re starting your company, don’t get discouraged because your bottom line isn’t where you want it to be. Take creative achievements, social capital, new relationships, etc. as forms of success. If it helps make it more tangible, give each of those assets a dollar amount and count that when you’re personally evaluating the numbers of your company for yourself.

3. *Actually* learn from your mistakes along the way. 
 For example, we all know this but most of the time we’ll make the same mistake multiple times before actually learning from it. Just because you solved that mistake once, doesn’t mean you should do it again. It may sound cliche, but those mistakes really are valuable lessons that you’re better off making earlier on in your company than later on when there’s more at stake.

4. Don’t jump into something just to say you did it. 
 For example, I’m a firm believer in just going for what it is you want, however I think you need to make sure it’s something you genuinely want to do. Sometimes we tend to try things just to be apart of them because the opportunity is there, but we don’t truthfully want to do them. I think it’s important to do things you feel passionate about because whether or not they fail, you’ll have a clearer idea of why it happened.

5. Time is your most valuable asset. For example, when you start your company there’s always a lot of time wasted on small things that add up. The time you’re spending looking at what kind of background a massive corporation has on their website could be spent on more valuable things that will benefit you more.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

I’d love to have breakfast for dinner with anyone who’s read this interview and feels like our minds have the potential to collaborate on something that’s just different. But mainly, someone who just loves breakfast for dinner.

Like what you read? Give Yitzi Weiner a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.