Full Course, the restaurant industry’s first and only incubator, accelerator and investor in early-stage food brands, continues to innovate the industry with its one-of-a-kind training program for those looking to open a restaurant.
This fall, Full Course will accept participants into LAUNCH, a 15-week comprehensive virtual training program for aspiring owners and operators wishing to learn all the essential skills needed to map their way to opening their first restaurant. Also, in keeping with Full Course’s educational commitment to level the playing field for success in the restaurant industry by removing barriers of cost and accessibility to professional development and leadership training, partial scholarships will be available.
The genesis of this incubator program came from a continued number of queries from underrepresented Founders that were operating food trucks or catering businesses but lacked the knowledge and resources to open brick-and-mortar restaurants.
“We kept meeting Founders that weren’t ready for our accelerator or investment model, so we began designing LAUNCH in 2022 to create a way to help,” says CEO and Founder Lauren Fernandez. “We offer a unique cohort-based learning model that creates a safe, collaborative place for like-minded entrepreneurs who are facing similar challenges.”
Designed in three phases, LAUNCH offers interactive modules, live Q&A with restaurant professionals, one-on-one coaching and mentoring with subject matter experts. “Leveraging our combined real-world experience, we offer every tool and resource needed to guide our cohorts on the journey from concept to grand opening,” adds Fernandez.
Phase 1: During the first five weeks in weekly, virtual meetings, participants will learn how to refine their concept and position in the marketplace and create their menu. The cohort will discover the elements needed to set up a business—from creating the entity to setting up the bank account appropriately. In addition, they will learn how to effectively approach site selection and design the dream team.
Phase 2: The next four weeks will encompass weekly virtual meetings where the cohort will learn how to draft a proforma, establish favorable lease terms, discover design and build out solutions for an efficient and elegant space and develop a marketing plan and recruitment strategy.
Phase 3: With the real estate and menu solidified, the last six weeks of virtual meetings will focus on how to refine their business model to better understand COGS, labor and margin, create operational and training procedures, introduce the brand to the marketplace and develop a succinct countdown and plan to open the restaurant.
In addition to scholarships, Full Course is offering multiple price tiers for LAUNCH with special early-bird bundling available until September 20, 2023, which will save participants $500. In February 2024, Full Course will sponsor a first-ever pitch contest in which all participants pitch their restaurant concept for a chance to earn resources to support their growth.