‘Bringing people together’: Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce hosts all-day hospitality conference to boost biz

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Food Conference panel
A panel discussion with Omar & Astrid Thorpe, Founders of Crème and Cocoa, social media expert Emily Schultz, Natalie Black of Natalie Black Photography – moderated by Eli Sussman, Founder of Samsea.
Photo by Angelica Flores

They’re all in this together!

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce invited local restaurant and hospitality businesses out to Industry City on Oct. 17 for the business boosting group’s first-ever all inclusive food conference, complete with educational seminars and complimentary treats. 

Organizers orchestrated a day of symposiums on topics specific to the food and beverage workforce — the NYC Hospitality Alliance provided an update on government policies about the industry, DoorDash presented a panel on resources for restaurants and bars, and other guests spoke on creating authentic connections with customers through social media and technology.

Ana Oliviera, Board Chair of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce with Randy Peers, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance
Brooklyn Chamber President and CEO Randy Peers said the event was aimed at bringing people in the hospitality industry together and giving them the tools to succeed in the future. Photo by Angelica Flores

Randy Peers, Chamber president and CEO, said he considers the event the perfect conglomeration of food professionals looking to take their business to the next level and the experts equipped with enough experience to help them.

“For us, it’s about ‘How do we build sustainability for the future?’ So this conference is about the best practices, the ends and outs [and] bringing people together in the food and beverage industry so that they can work with each other,” Peers said. 

Chip Wade, CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, began the day by giving accolades to Brooklyn’s service industry. The day continued with panels on commercial leasing, human resources, and more, all while allowing businessowners to connect with each other to form stronger networks.

Throughout the pandemic the chamber has worked closely with local shops through their Small Business Resource Network, a one-on-one technical assistance program that provides recovery support to those hard-hit by the pandemic. With Brooklyn offices struggling to bounce back since 2020, Peers says he and his team have worked with over 3,000 restaurants over the past two years. 

“We saw the good, the bad, the ugly. It’s been a tough challenge for some [of the restaurants]. We’ve got restaurants that are no longer in business [and] we’ve got new restaurants that have started but we wanted to build off of that engagement,” the chamber CEO told Brooklyn Paper.

person at podium at brooklyn chamber conference
Chip Wade, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group delivering his keynote speech to guests. Wade’s address was followed by panels on social media, human resources, and more. Photo by Angelica Flores

Earlier this year, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso gave the chamber a $20,000 grant to help boost their efforts in helping small businesses and business corridors recover and thrive. 

According to one employee with the chamber, the conference served as one of their signature events in which they gauge the current needs of the borough and then craft events that promote Brooklyn’s growth.

 “For us it’s about building off of that work that we have done through the pandemic [and] looking past the pandemic about long term sustainability and resiliency for the sector,” Peers said.