Eater Talks: Will Chicago’s restaurant industry survive the financial pressure cooker?
Thursday, September 26 — 6:30 p.m.
Eater Chicago and the Ace Hotel will continue its ongoing restaurant industry discussion series in September, with a new topic: Will Chicago’s restaurant industry survive the financial pressure cooker?
Three panelists from Chicago’s restaurant industry will join Eater Chicago Senior Editor Ashok Selvam who will moderate a conversation on the various fiscal pressures restaurants face, what the public doesn’t see from the dining room, and how restaurants react to survive.
While new restaurants pop up in Chicago every week, an alarmingly high number also shut their doors. Though larger restaurant groups, like Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and One Off Hospitality Group, are more insulated to fiscal challenges compared to their independent brethren, all operators face hurdles including competition, finding ways to properly compensate their workers, and finding real estate at a cost that won’t sink their business. Other aspects include how to pay for employee insurance and a human resource department. There’s also concerns over negative social media posts from consumers.
Join these panelists:
- Kevin Boehm, the co-founder of Boka Restaurant Group, one of the most successful hospitality companies in Chicago (and the reigning James Beard Foundation Awards winner for Outstanding Restaurateur). Boka runs several restaurants including Girl & the Goat, Momotaro, and GT Fish & Oyster. Boehm worked to bring a Chicago version of the Welcome Conference, a celebration of the hospitality industry, to town.
- Margaret Eisen and Vincent Maiorano. The wife-and-husband duo are Chicago-area natives who met each other while working at the Board of Trade. They are behind Brass Heart, a fine dining restaurant in Uptown. The two are also investors in Schwa, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Wicker Park.
- Zoë Schor, chef/owner of Split-Rail, a West Town restaurant the recently shifted gears to go casual and concentrate on fried chicken. Before Split-Rail, Schor worked at Ada Street near Lincoln Park. She plans to soon open a bar underneath her restaurant.
This Eater Chicago x Ace Hotel discussion takes place on Thursday, September 26 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m inside the Ace’s Mahoney room, located on the ground floor. Tickets cost $20, and include one drink ticket. Seating is limited, and it’s best to make reservations ASAP.