By Marian Staresinic
Andrew Richmond is the CEO of Monarch & Misfits, an inventive restaurant group taking Toronto’s food scene by storm. His growing empire of restaurants includes the popular taqueria chain La Carnita, classic American comfort food spot Home of the Brave and soft serve parlour Sweet Jesus.
Taking a stand against the popular expression, Andrew quit his day job. In 2011, he ended his awarded 15-year career in advertising and design and walked away from a boutique agency that he co-founded to follow his creative and culinary passions. The result was eight restaurants in five years.
We caught up with Andrew on what it takes to make it in today’s competitive restaurant industry.
What lessons did you learn going from a taco and art pop-up to several bricks and mortar locations?
Our La Carnita pop-ups were like a back-of-house crash course in prep, cooking and plating, all at once. I learned that the balance between front-of-house and back-of-house is essential to the success of the brand overall – so you have to make sure you are not neglecting one while managing the other. I took this experience, factoring in the logistics of running an actual restaurant and applied it to all of our stand-alone locations.
What do you think makes owning restaurants in Toronto different?
The varying marketplace within our city is something that every restaurant owner has to take into consideration. Toronto’s diversity is what makes the food and culture here so interesting. Each of our locations encounter their own set of daily challenges from foot traffic to aesthetic. Our approach is to adapt to these setbacks quickly without compromising the personality of our restaurants or brand.
What advice would you give to food entrepreneurs in this industry?
Stay focused on what you love and where the passion is coming from.
What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
I love Selena Gomez, especially the song off her Revival album, Hands to Myself. Super lit… HUGE tune.
When you aren’t overseeing your string of popular restaurants, what do you like to do for fun?
When I’m not working, I like to dedicate time to think about new ideas and to hang out with my family and loved ones.
To see what Andrew Richmond had to say about collaborative marketing for restaurants, click here.
Follow Andrew Richmond:
About the author:
Marian Staresinic is the Vice President of Branding and Buzzing. She has been in the food business her whole career, beginning at Stratford Chefs School then as a restaurant and cooking school owner, celebrity chef talent manager, AGA Cooker Brand Manager, food editor and the founder of Windsor’s Slow Food chapter.
About Branding & Buzzing:
Branding and Buzzing is a modern food marketing agency that brings the buzz to their clients through engaging consumer conversations, social media and real-life experiences that are inspirational, memorable and most importantly, brand-driven. For more information, visit brandingandbuzzing.com.