Culinary Entrepreneurship with Stratis Morfogen

Culinary entrepreneurship with Stratis Morfogen – how he continued his family legacy and built a restaurant empire of his own.

Stratis Morfogen - Entrepreneur

Stratis is a highly successful culinary entrepreneur. He grew up in and around the different restaurant businesses that his Greek immigrant family started as far back as 1910. He shares his personal story and experiences as a highly successful serial restaurant owner.

Stratis Morfogen is an entrepreneur, restaurateur, and author. Stratis has been one of the most innovative names in New York City’s hospitality scene for decades. From bringing the famed Fulton Fish Market online in 1997 – for which he was nominated “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 1999 by Deloite & Touche – to reimagining the automat movement with Brooklyn Dumpling Shop to opening a 25,000 square foot venue in Times Square during the pandemic, Stratis continues to disrupt the status quo.

Today, Stratis continues to flourish as a restaurateur and partner/owner of several establishments in New York City including Club Rouge, ‪Gotham City Diner, Hilltop Diner, ‪Philippe Chow, and Brooklyn Dumpling Shop. Stratis is the author of “Damn Good Dumplings: 60 Innovative Favorites for Every Occasion”, and the soon to be released (you can pre-order now!) “Be a Disruptor: Streetwise Lessons for Entrepreneurs―from the Mob to Mandates.”

Stratis lives in New York City.

  • First restaurant opened by his family: Pappas, on 14th Street in 1910 and was in operation until 1975.
  • Why did you decide to continue the legacy by staying in the restaurant business?
  • What’s one important and valuable thing you learned from your father and other family members about starting and running a restaurant business?
  • Please share your process, at a high level, for developing a new restaurant concept. How do you test and validate it?
  • What are some of the keys to launching and operating a successful and profitable restaurant?
  • What do you believe will be some of the lasting impacts of the pandemic on the restaurant industry?
  • Is outside seating here to stay in NYC?
  • In your book, “Be a Disruptor” you share your insights and experiences with finding business opportunities and starting new ventures in times of adversity and succeeding against all odds. When someone asks you “is this a good time to start a restaurant,” what advice do you offer?
  • Let’s chat about one of your latest ventures, the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop:
    • Please introduce the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop and how it works.
    • What inspired you to develop this concept? Why the automat model (Horn & Hardart in Philadelphia in 1910, then 1912 in NYC, inspired by European waiter-less restaurants)?
    • What are the potential benefits for the customer? Why do customers like the automat design?
    • How important is the view of the kitchen for the customer?
    • What are the potential benefits for the operator?
    • Why did you decide to offer franchises?

Episode Host: Henry Lopez is a serial entrepreneur, small business coach, and the host of this episode of The How of Business podcast show – dedicated to helping you start, run and grow your small business.

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