At 24, Amélie Morency wants to change the restaurant industry by offering a springboard to young people interested in starting their own business. And so the FoodRoom came to be. It is a collaborative kitchen that pools resources and brings together cooks who share the same passion.
“I’ve always been business-minded”, says Amélie Morency. In elementary school, she formed an environmental committee and asked the school’s administration to promote her green initiatives through their official newsletter. At the same time, she was mowing lawns and organizing garage sales for pocket money.
As a young adult, her entrepreneurial spirit continued to flourish. In 2011, she created her own catering service while taking cooking classes at the Tourism and Hospitality Institute of Quebec. In the evenings and on weekends she rented a kitchen to prepare her clients’ orders. However, circumstances were such that Amélie would often find herself without an oven. This was a pivotal moment for the young chef as she realized that a community kitchen would correct this issue and help other Quebecois artisan chefs who don’t have the financial means to have access to professional cooking facilities.
And so was born the idea for FoodRoom. Amélie pictured a spacious area where chefs could rent space for a monthly fee. Her goal? To create a culinary community that offers various resources in how to start a business. Amélie then searched for the perfect space in which to host her fully-equipped kitchen.
She attended networking events almost every night where she shared her idea with seasoned entrepreneurs who gave her precious advice. Once she joined the Founder Institute in the spring of 2015, she finalized her project. She put together a business plan and started looking for funding. People who spent time with her during this incubation period witnessed her unstoppable work ethic. “I always arrive prepared. If I have to ask someone for help, I’ll always do my part.”
Read more here: Quebec Accelerators: Support to enhance creation
Recipe for a successful pitch
Amélie received a wave of media attention after appearing on the show Dragons’ Den in April 2016. Her presentation was flawless. What’s the secret to presenting a good pitch according to this young woman who, until very recently, had a fear of public speaking? Before D-Day, Amélie’s employees didn’t see her. She locked herself in a room to rehearse and make sure she knew everything inside out.
“If you know what you’re talking about, no one will doubt you. If you can’t answer a question, make it up.”
A kitchen for rent
Since the FoodRoom was launched on August 15, 2016, members can use the 7,500 square foot to cook as much and as often as they wish. Conference rooms will soon be available as well as legal services and insurance packages. Amélie aims to increase the number of services to allow her members to take full advantage of the network. “It’s a little like an all-inclusive for entrepreneurs in the food industry,” she says laughing.
On the side, she’s developing an app to efficiently manage scheduling and avoid high-traffic periods.
“I’m looking to shift the perspective of the industry, create a community focused on food and help people start a business,” explains the young woman who has no intention to confine herself to the Montreal market. A few weeks after the official launch of the FoodRoom’s first space, she’s already looking to conquer other markets, particularly Toronto and a few cities in the United States. Though at times she feels like things aren’t advancing fast enough, she’s still very proud of her accomplishments and can’t wait to accomplish even more.
The FoodRoom’s numbers (August 2016)
- 200,000: sales in Canadian dollars
- 8: number of employees
- 7: number of investors, made up of 4 Dragons and 3 other private investors
Want to find out more?