January 2020
Vol 7 | Issue 278

Q&A with Brian Mommsen of Resident

Founder & CEO

Principle Series:

Resident is a next-generation hospitality company that showcases top culinary talent to create unique dining experiences for enterprise communities. Globally, thousands of chefs are looking for opportunities for exposure outside of traditional restaurant jobs. Through our dining events, we connect chefs with our corporate clients who need new and innovative ways to entertain their key stakeholder communities with more intimate and meaningful gatherings that inspire and connect.

Our product benefits each of our stakeholders: Chefs, Corporate Partners, and Real Estate Partners.

We attract world class chefs by providing them with turnkey logistics, creative control over menu, career growth, and networking opportunities.

We create value for our real estate partners by activating their communities through authentic culinary experiences. Hosting Resident dinner series provides a leading-edge amenity that accelerates sales, lease ups, and increases retention by expanding brand presence and visibility.

For our corporate partners, we offer access to an unparalleled dining experience in a controlled, private environment, that is ideal for building relationships and bringing together a client’s community.

Since the launch of our product 18 months ago, we have hosted over 150 events across New York, and our customers have fallen in love with our product.

Our guests review our chef, the company, food, service, and setting, and have rated all above 4.6 / 5 (with an average total rating of 4.7). In comparison, Cosme, L’artusi, and The Nomad all have Yelp ratings of 4.5 or lower. After attending a dinner, over 70% of guests have also shown interest in hosting their own private event.

Resident is raising its first outside round to scale a corporate subscription model to capitalize on the robust corporate-inbound demand for our product.


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How does Resident scale?

"We have a proven product that is receiving rave reviews from a discerning list of corporate clients. Our first step towards scaling is to create a corporate membership program that capitalizes on existing corporate demand and drives recurring revenue to our business. We feel confident introducing this program at a time when corporate teams and individual consumers are used to subscription-based models. One such recent example: Inspirato, launched a $30,000 a year, “Business Pass” subscription, allowing their members to travel to Inspirato properties up to 26 times a year. They have sold $65,000,000 in ARR within six months of launching the pass.

We believe that selling corporate memberships will translate into free cash flow that will allow us to invest in our own business. We see several additional opportunities on the horizon, some involving tech, e-commerce, sponsorships, and content that will transform Resident into a full-fledged hospitality brand. "

How does Resident differentiate from its competitors?

"One main source of competition is restaurant Private Dining Rooms (PDRs). Resident’s product is different than PDRs in that, 1. clients are guaranteed total privacy in our venues, 2. clients can enjoy more facetime with the chef who is cooking just a few feet from the dining table and personally introducing each course. Resident dinners are a more cost effective solution when compared to PDRs because we leverage strategic relationships with real estate partners to reduce our rent lability and pass along these savings to corporate clients.

Experiential dining pop-ups, supper clubs, and members-only boutique restaurants also serve as competition. These are mostly mom-and-pop operations that are not scalable due to their lack of infrastructure, financing, and lack of focus on B2B customers. These competitors have little quality control and most serious enterprise clients do not want to run the risk of booking events with them. After hosting over 150 events, Resident has refined its proven, scalable events model that guarantees consistency and high standards. In addition, most of these competitors struggle with profitability because they are also paying full retail rent rates.

Resident is also differentiated in that our brand is built on creating value for chefs. By investing resources into supporting our chefs’ career advancement, we’ll be able to retain and recruit the next generation of top talent. "

Experiential dining pop-ups, supper clubs, and members-only boutique restaurants also serve as competition. These are mostly mom-and-pop operations that are not scalable due to their lack of infrastructure, financing, and lack of focus on B2B customers. These competitors have little quality control and most serious enterprise clients do not want to run the risk of booking events with them. After hosting over 150 events, Resident has refined its proven, scalable events model that guarantees consistency and high standards. In addition, most of these competitors struggle with profitability because they are also paying full retail rent rates.

Resident is also differentiated in that our brand is built on creating value for chefs. By investing resources into supporting our chefs’ career advancement, we’ll be able to retain and recruit the next generation of top talent. "

Why is the timing right now for Resident?

"Resident is a three-sided marketplace that creates value for Chefs, Corporate Clients, and Real Estate Partners. Resident can capitalize on the existing momentum we have created with each of our marketplace cohorts at a time when each is receptive to our value pitch:
For our chefs, the restaurant industry remains brutal. The statistics are sobering. The median annual wage for chefs and head cooks is $48,460, and cooks can expect an annual raise of $1. 44% of chefs report working between 48–60 hours per week, and there are more sexual harassment claims filed in the restaurant industry than any other. A 2017 survey of London chefs by Unite revealed that 51% of chefs suffered from depression due to being overworked. All of these challenges translate into high turnover (75% annual turnover rate), labor shortages, and limited opportunities for talent growth.

Despite these professional hardships, the content tsunami (accompanied with the boom in streaming services and explosion of social media) has unlocked opportunities for chefs. Chefs are more empowered than ever to build their own brands and control their professional futures. They see Resident as a partner that could expedite this progress and fast-track their career by removing the logistical and financial burdens associated with producing pop-up events. As a result, despite our early stage and without any marketing efforts, we’ve received a consistent stream of high-quality inbound interest from chefs who have heard about Resident only through word of mouth.

For our corporate clients, our product creates access to an unparalleled dining experience in a controlled, private environment that is ideal for building relationships and bringing together a client’s community. With the emerging “experience economy,” companies today recognize the value of bringing their clients to a memorable experience. 82% of C-suite executives believe in-person events are integral to success, and 92% plan to invest as much or more in future events. Restaurant private event revenues have grown on average 7.1% per year since 2010. We offer an opportunity for companies to entertain in a manner that keeps things fresh for their clients because we showcase new chefs, venues, music, and art which translates into unique experiences that keep our customers coming back.

In addition to offering a best-in-class product, Resident offers a more cost-effective solution for Enterprise Clients, because we can invest in improving our product without the exorbitant lease payments with which most restaurants are burdened.

The timing is also perfect to develop Real Estate Partnerships. We are scaling Resident at a time where there is a massive inventory of empty residential real estate spaces. According to Bloomberg, at 2019’s pace of sales, it would take more than 6 years for the 7,050 newly built units in New York to be sold. We are cementing real estate partnerships where our value proposition is focused on lowering their CAC both in new developments and luxury rentals. These partnerships will eventually scale nationally and enable us to bring Resident to new cities. "


Brian Mommsen of Resident

Brian Mommsen is the founder and CEO of Resident, a next-generation hospitality company that creates unique dining experiences for enterprise communities. Mr. Mommsen founded Resident after offering his home to a chef to host events for his supper club. Through watching these events take place in his house, Brian recognized an opportunity to build an asset-light hospitality concept and founded Resident in August of 2018.

Mr. Mommsen has previously founded Mommsen Global and Qingke Capital, two investment management companies in the United States and China, that focus on managing third party assets from HNW and family office limited partners. Since the inception of his investment career in 2008, Mr. Mommsen has produced a compounded net return in excess of 285% for limited partners.

Mr. Mommsen graduated cum laude from Tufts University in 2008 with a major in English and a minor in Economics. Brian Mommsen is also a graduate of Brunswick school in Greenwich, CT and has lived in Brooklyn for the last ten years.

brian@meetresident.com