Road to recovery: The future of food with chef Nick Brune

Chef Nick Brune has always been trying to innovate in the food industry. Nick started his career in New Orleans, moved to Los Angeles to become a Chef at Kai’s Catering, and then eventually manifested his passion for organic food with the creation of Eco Caters.

Instawork’s General Manager of Hospitality, Christian Crynes, speaks with leaders across hospitality to learn how they’re approaching the road ahead. To read others in the series, visit here

Nick started Eco Caters as a sustainable catering company in San Diego and eventually grew it to the LA and Washington DC markets. Nick has always been at the forefront of food trends, ranging from growth and staffing models to larger food trends.

Chef Nick Brune

Unique growth model

As Nick describes, it is not easy to grow a catering business into a new city without a powerful brand. It takes “time, energy, networking, and money.” Sports and the food and entertainment around it is a huge industry offering numerous opportunities. Eco Caters made a name for themselves by providing meals for the Los Angeles Kings, which eventually landed them a deal with the Washington Capitals. 

To expand, Nick worked with some friends under a licensing model to get the brand going on another coast. Before Covid hit, there were plans to grow this model into a few more cities in 2020.

Outsourcing recruiting to focus on the business

In 2019, Eco Caters was growing their business so quickly, that they were finding it tough to keep up with the recruiting. Instead of investing in building out his HR team, Nick decided to leverage the Instawork platform to streamline their entire staffing process. 

Nick and the Eco Caters team onboarded all of their on-call rosters to Instawork. This gave them one easy solution to manage both their on-call roster and external staff from the Instawork platform. By offloading the scheduling, recruiting, call-out management, and payroll to Instawork, his team could work more efficiently and focus on more critical priorities.

The future of food is “phone to mouth”

Nick has developed a passion for some of the technology trends that have been accelerated by the pandemic, especially in the ghost kitchen space. In this new food economy, he sees the new paradigm as “phone to mouth” rather than “farm to table.” 

Eco-Catering

With the acceleration of on-demand food platforms, he sees “restaurants becoming marketing companies that serve food.” Ghost kitchens are a great way to test out different concepts, collect data and roll out a new delivery or restaurant concept, with a lot less risk.

Eco Caters pioneered this full staff management model on Instawork. Now we are launching an official pilot of this model called Instawork Flex with a group across the country in April. 

As the pioneer, it seems that Nick will continue to push the industry forward, and we can’t wait to see what he creates next.

*If you are interested in learning more about Instawork Flex, be sure to reach out to our GM of Hospitality Christian Crynes at christian@instawork.com 

Instawork is a leading flexible staffing solution located in over 20 metro cities, including California (SF Bay Area, LA, San Diego), Texas (Austin, Dallas, Texas), Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, NJ/NYC Metro, Phoenix, and more.

Schedule a Demo

Browse Articles