“Build it for your customers,” entrepreneurial alum advises
Alumni , Areas of Study , Entrepreneurship Stories | Sep 27, 2012 | Nicole Gesualdo
by Balt Heldring (GSB ’14)
“Brutal” — that’s the word Brendan Marshall (GSB ’05) uses to describe his experience in investment banking. After graduating from Fordham, Marshall was hired as an analyst for Perella Weinberg Partners. It wasn’t for him. “I was in the right place at the right time,” he said, “but I had always had this dream of owning my own business.”
It was not long afterward that Marshall found himself at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he and his business partners founded the company Kitchit. The idea is simple: Connect party hosts with professional chefs who will provide, cook and clean up a world-class meal.
As an avid cook himself, Marshall has a soft spot for the thousands of skilled chefs who are stuck in the long shifts and underpaid life of the restaurant business. He envisioned a company that would create opportunities for these chefs by catering to each of their abilities through a wide variety of menus and dinner-party styles. Hence, Kitchit was formed.
Currently based out of San Francisco, Marshall hopes to expand Kitchit to Chicago, Boston and New York. “It takes a tremendous amount of time and [number of] clients to expand a company like this,” he said, “but I believe with the right amount of marketing and strategy, it’s possible.” If Marshall is successful in his endeavors, future party hosts in these cities will get the full Kitchit experience.
On a Tuesday night in September, Fordham students got the inside scoop on Kitchit and when Marshall spoke about his startup experience. His most important advice? “Don’t build something for yourself; build it for your customer.” Marshall, along with his co-founders Ian Fergeson and George Tang, always makes the point that if you’re not in the business for the customer, then you shouldn’t be in the business at all — great advice for any entrepreneur dreamer.