The hospitality business moves quickly and when an opportunity presents itself, you have to be ready to move quickly. That’s why, 2 years into the life of The Saint Catherine, my partner and I began thinking about the next opportunity.
Along with the incredible development and investment in Brooklyn has come the need for amenities to lure tenants to new areas and new developments. One of the largest of these is the Brooklyn Navy Yards, who set aside an entire building for a shared food production & retail space that would include a café and restaurant to serve Navy Yard tenants.
To find tenants, a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) was put out and businesses were invited to tour the space and submit proposals to occupy one of two spaces in the building.
This was a perfect opportunity for us to combine the strengths of The Saint Catherine with the strengths of Sara’s other business, Fresh Salt, to create a new business to serve this new community.
The Navy Yard was simultaneously a part of the edgy, foodie, craft obsessed community that The Saint Catherine served and a busy office neighborhood like the one that Fresh Salt had called home for over a decade.
As a licensed concession opportunity, we needed to fully flesh out our vision and present it to the developers for review.
The developers received a lot of interest in the opportunity, and they set a tight deadline for applicants to identify who was serious and who wasn’t. So, with little time to waste we jumped right into the process of defining our vision, checking all the numbers, and best positioning our offering.
In a few short weeks, we had to:
Research the developers to better understand their needs to develop a compelling offering
Price out all our costs
Make sales estimates and run sales projections
Define the exact parameters of the services we would and would not offer
Outline all of our potential logistical needs
Make a compelling case that our brand was a good fit for the brand they were building.
All of this had to be condensed into a single document for the developers for review.
Harkening back to the Navy Yard’s history of building ships during World War II we would position ourselves as a ‘Canteen’ -a multi-functional space where a resident could buy a meal, enjoy a beverage, and socialize with their comrades. Much as the canteen on a military base needs to be all things to all people (often the same person at different times throughout the day) we would create a new social hub for the Navy Yard.
The food menu would be built off Fresh Salt’s established and well-loved menu, but with the potential for adjustments accommodate Brooklyn’s idiosyncratic and opinionated tastes.
The beverage program would highlight craft and local producers, not only to appeal to popularity of craft beer, but also as part of a positioning strategy that would draw parallels between craft beverages and craftsman who called the Navy Yard home.
Finally, the operational experiences learned at Fresh Salt would ensure that the space was perfectly laid out to maximize efficiency and enable us to do a high volume of business during short bursts of activity: the breakfast rush, lunch hour, and an after work happy hour.
Out of a very crowded field, our offering was selected for further review and evaluated alongside the likes of Brooklyn Brewery for the opportunity to be a part of the Navy Yard community.