From government to gourmet
By Karen Tina Harrison
Special to amNewYork
The big career switch:
From city agency to citywide entrepreneur
Who pulled it off?
Mark Newhouse, 36, co-founder of Nu-Kitchen, a gourmet meal delivery service (www.nu-kitchen.com), was deputy commissioner of NYC Small Business Services.Howd you go from desk to dinner table?
I was a political science major and had several jobs in NYC government. Its incredible to see close-up how this amazing city works. But I also have a Wharton MBA and was fascinated by the creativity and strategizing that go into a business startup.
I started Nu-Kitchen four years ago with my friend Bryan Janeczko, a Wall Street finance guy. We thought that enough New Yorkers would be into healthy, delicious, chef-cooked meals that would appear at their door.
Our first delivery was to six Upper West Siders. Now we have thousands of customers throughout the metro area and hundreds of menu items.
Whats your job like?
Bryan handles operations the actual meals and deliveries and I supervise marketing and business development. My day is nonstop meetings, emails and phone calls. I work on distribution deals to deliver meals to condo complexes, offices and gyms. I also oversee marketing, our Web site and customer service. And I taste a lot of food to keep up with restaurant and grocery trends.
What goes into founding a home delivery service?
For any startup, you need capital or the connections to raise it and an innovative product that will lure customers. You must be passionate, learn from your mistakes and know your client inside out. Nu-Kitchens are busy singles and couples tired of restaurant takeout.
What else is there to know?
Money is tight in a startup. But the potential is huge for entrepreneurs, especially if your company gets bought out.
No one really chooses to start a new business. When you love something enough, it will choose you.
Ex-City Haller Mark Newhouse started Nu-Kitchen, a meal delivery service. (Jeff Doder)