Scalability and Profitability in Food and Beverage Startups- How We Get There

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Please join the WCNY Retail Network (WhRN) of Food and Beverage and the WCNY Special Interest Speaker Series Committee for an engaging, thought provoking and delicious evening with a panel of entrepreneurs making it and growing in this challenging but exciting space. Jessie Gould, WG'11, founder of Ox Verte, a forward-thinking food business will moderate a panel of entrepreneurs who will lead the discussion, answer your questions and share valuable insights into how to manage these  endeavors successfully.

In this challenging environment, tackling the need and goal of sustainably producing and delivering real, nutritious and tasty food, a new crop of entrepreneurs and investors have rushed to launch and fund, respectively, new and exciting startups. Yet many have failed. The specific challenges of growth and scalability have resulted in a large number of VC backed failures leaving many to wonder whether it is possible to successfully and profitably scale a food business. Our panel will explore the challenges they have faced and the solutions they have found. And they will do it while offering a tasting of their delicious foods and beverages.

Moderator: Jessie Gould, Ox Verte

Jessie Gould founded Ox Verte, a forward thinking food company returning seasonally fresh, and locally sourced food to the table for businesses and groups in the NYC community. In hust a year and a a half, Ox has served over 25,000 lunches across Manhattan. Before founding Ox, Jessie spent 3 years at Organic Avenue as VP of Operations and VP of Brand Marketing after a seven year career in investment banking and private equity. Jessie holds an MBA from Wharton and a BA in Economics and Mechanical Engineering from Yale University. To learn more about Ox, please go to, follow the Green Ox: @oxverte (Instagram)/@oxverte(Twitter).

If you are interested in having Ox Verte cater lunch at your office, please email Jessie at to set up a tasting.


Ben Conniff, President, Luke’s Lobster

Ben Conniff co-founded Luke's Lobster the Maine-bred lobster shack featuring traceable sustainable seafood that has grown to 21 locations in six years and Cape Seafood, the procurement company that supplies luke's with its catch. Ben also wrote the Luke Lobster's Cookbook, Real Maine Food (Rizzoli 2015) and is a certified SQF Practitioner and BJCP Beer Judge. To learn more about Luke's Lobster please visit Ben's website:

Field Failings, Founder & Managing Partner, Fields Good Chicken

Field Failings is Founder and Managing Partner of Fields Good Chicken, a fast casual restaurant that serves simple and healthy meals made with grilled and roasted chicken.  "We're never fried, responsibly sourced and always prepared from scratch." Field left a career in corporate finance at Amgen to pursue a career in cycling, eventually moving to Colorado using night jobs to fund his cycling and along the way developing a passion for high quality ingredients and simple thoughtfully prepared food.

After earning his MBA at Cornell, Field moved  to NYC to work for David Burke and Patina Restaurant Group and subsequently with a decade of restaurant industry experience, Field  launched Fields Good Chicken. To learn more, please visit:

Jessica Lachs, Head of Business Operations & Analytics, DoorDash

Door Dash is a technology company that connects customers with local businesses. Through the DoorDash marketplace, people can purchase goods from local merchants and have them delivered in less than 45 minutes. Jessica credits this to "our revolutionary logistics technology."

Jessica leads the Business Operations and Analytics team at DoorDash. Before moving into analytics, Jessica was a General Manager launching several of DoorDash's earliest cities. A former investment banker and founder of social gifting marketplace GiftSimple, Jessica holds an MBA from the Wharton School and a BS from Cornell University. For more information please see:

To get $7 off your doordash order please use promo code wharton7.

A representative set of discussion topics include:
  • What does scalability mean in the food industry?
  • How can food start-ups grow and scale successfully/ Which companies have scaled successfully and how are they doing it?
  • What can we learn from the recent failures in the food industry?
  • What pitfalls should entrepreneurs avoid/ What is the right fundraising model for scaling a food business?
  • What kind of role is there for traditional venture capitalists?
  • What are the appropriate profit expectations in food?
  • What exits are possible?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
A tasting of foods and beverages by panelists will be offered from 6:00-6:30 PM. The panel will begin promptly at 6:35 PM. We request that attendees arrive before the panel begins..


Midtown location (Note: Address will be sent via email to all registered guests 24-48 hours prior to the event to the "Primary Email" address listed in your profile. Please review your profile to confirm that the email address listed is correct.)

WCNY Supporting Members - $20.00 (WCNY supporting membership costs $95/yr at Join/Renew Membership)
Silver, Gold & Benefactor Members - $0
Other Wharton Alumni - $40.00

For more information and/or to register for this event, please RSVP to

Due to building security requirements, you must pre-register for this event. Walk-ins cannot be accepted.
Registration is subject to availability and will close on Monday, September 26th at 4:00pm - No Exceptions!