New restaurant in town is an INSTA-Success
The market is soaring with new restaurants around the country. For most, starting a
new business venture in the industry is a daunting task. Most don’t know how to stand out, much less have the money for a down payment. It takes guts to try and make it work for the long run. So how would someone with a new restaurant idea be able to plant their steak fork into the culinary market? Enter: Insta-Insta.
It originated in the Silicon Valley as a startup company to adhere to local millennials (and whatever the group after millennials are called). The owners of Insta-Insta wanted to showcase a new style of cuisine that is open to all types of palettes. Naturally, the young business owners, Derrick Gazzell and Mark Loyal, were not shocked by their overnight success. I traveled to the newly opened Insta-Insta, and wanted to get a taste of the environment for myself. I first encountered Mr. Loyal.
Mark Loyal: We knew we had something big when we were spitballing late one night
back in late August. Derrick is the most intuitive and creative business owner on the market, and when he came to me with the idea of opening a restaurant using only Insta Pots, I knew we had struck gold.
JL: Would you say that you are pretty dynamic duo?
ML: Absolutely! Derrick is great. On opening day, he even let me watch the ribbon cutting from down the block. I got pictures and everything! I was just told to stay out of sight from customers and to enter through the back when I come in for my dishwashing duties. He’s a really great guy.
JL: Sounds like you two are really close. Being business partners, does that
also mean you are roommates?
ML: No I live by myself. I offered to live with him, but he thought it would be better to not be seen with me as much as possible. Which, I completely agree with. He always has my best interest in mind.
JL: Would you be open to a roommate? I am currently stuck out here since I used the rest of my savings account to cover this story.
ML: Probably not, but maybe you will find someone to live with!
He left shortly after, but I have high hopes that we will be able to work something out in the end. I decided to explore the restaurant next.
Immediately I was introduced to a vibrant – and dare I say – hip crowd that accepted me as one of their own. The building had a minimalistic set up: four foot tall tables with no chairs, a single serving line with an eco-friendly sneeze guard made from recycled cans and bottles, and a fainting goat named Gerald who roamed the restaurant eating any loose scraps or drywall he could find.
My initial impressions of the restaurant were a bit clashing, due to my Midwestern
roots, but I eventually warmed up to the lack of decor and began to understand the stark white walls and bright fluorescent ceiling lamps that really brought the place to life.
Along the serving line, the owners had set up a series of ten Insta Pots to run
simultaneously; allowing for optimal cooking options and an unlimited amount of food choices. Between meal preps, the cooks would change out their inner pots and give them to the runners who would transport the dirty pots to the dishwashing room and return with a new pot. According to Gazzell, efficiency is key to a successful business.
“I make sure I have the fastest in the business,” said Gazzell. “I don’t like to waste time. I’m a go, go, go kind of guy. If you can’t walk, I’ll wheel you out. If you can’t cook, you are chopped. If you can’t clean, you are scrubbed. We have a saying around here, ‘If it ain’t Insta, you’re fired’.”
I could really see where Mark was coming from with Derrick’s directness in nature.
Shortly after we had our conversation, I inquired on if I could also get a job till I had
enough financial security to get me back home. He declined and asked me to leave, but I didn’t. I’m a dedicated reporter who still had more questions to ask.
I decided to interview a few customers who appeared to be enjoying themselves.
JL: What is your opinion of the new restaurant?
Customer 1: Personally, I think it’s the new era of the food industry. I mean, over a
thousand recipes to cycle through, the options are endless. Too bad my wallet isn’t the same.
JL: Can you see this trend of Insta based restaurants cropping up across the nation?
Customer 2: In America? Absolutely. In other parts of the world? Absolutely not.
Convenience, options, and we don’t have to do the work? Yeah, this is going to be huge.
Others however, were not as enthusiastic.
JL: Would you recommend this restaurant to your friends?
Customer 3: No. Even if I had friends, I still wouldn’t… the more important question is how the hell did you get into my living room!?
Before you judge me, that third customer lived with her mother, who invited me in! I left promptly after I was yelled at. Clearly that wasn’t going to be a suitable place to live, either. I needed to get money, but that was an issue for later.
For having such a direct set of leaders, it’s no wonder Insta-Insta is already off to a
great start. I wanted to get in on the action, myself so I put their cooks to the ultimate
test, an Oreo cheesecake. Eight hours later on the nose, they served me up one of the
finest cheesecakes I’ve ever had, and it was completely worth the wait.
Since visiting Silicon Valley, I have lost my apartment, girlfriend, and all of my personal belongings due to an eviction. On the bright side, Mark finally came around and allowed me to become his roommate until I got back on my feet! He even left me an Insta Pot after he fled the country the other day. I know he’ll be back eventually. The government can’t chase him forever.
Before I was escorted out by Derrick, he made sure to take a photo of me. He then hung the polaroid on a board with the words: Banned for Life. It was a nice gesture to memorialize my visit, but I’ll be back eventually.
Now, it’s just me and my Insta Pot to make all my meals come true.
This article features contributions from WSYS Editor in Chief, Seth Mecklenburg.