Business/Location: The Communal Table/Hoboken, NJ
Specialty: We offer highly-customized menus that are developed in collaboration with the clients’ tastes, favorites, and dietary restrictions.
What problem does your business solve?: People like to go out on the weekend for a fun night and meet new people, but don’t want to deal with crowded bars with loud music, or go to the same restaurants that offer standard bar fare menus. We offer a unique social dining experience where guests can easily strike up conversations with others who share a common interest: food!
What makes your business unique?: We host our monthly dinners in a residential setting rather than in a restaurant or commercial venue. This encourages a more relaxed environment where guests can move around and talk to different people, rather than only having conversations with those sitting next to them at the table. This also showcases our ability to cater private dinners and small parties for clients.
One Saturday per month, we host our Supper Club where we offer an eight-course tasting menu. Each month offers a new menu, and we strive to highlight seasonal ingredients through different types of cuisines, multiple techniques, and various flavor combinations. In addition, we offer catering services for clients who want to host a small dinner party in their own home but want to spend time with the guests instead of cooking.
What’s your story?: Honestly, it’s hard to remember as there was no lightbulb moment or business plan. We enjoy cooking and hosting, so one night we had friends over for a fun and relaxed evening of food and wine. Everyone had a great time, so we started having these dinners more often, and in a small community like Hoboken, word spread through our circles of friends and new people always wanted to attend. This eventually evolved into a more formal supper club where once a month we host 6-15 guests for an eight-course tasting menu. As guests have wanted to host dinner parties in their own homes, we have expanded to provide catering services as well.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: The greatest challenge is getting new guests to attend one of our dinners. Every first time diner has always enjoyed the meal and experience, but since we are still “underground”, it’s very tough to find guests adventurous enough to join without knowing anyone else. We try to overcome this by improving our social/web presence and highlighting the social aspects of the dinner. But despite the growing world of “foodies,” it will remain a persistent challenge.
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