Culinary News from The Culinary Institute of America

Business Innovation Students Launch Restaurant Concept

With the opening of the Leyenda quick-service Mexican concept in September, the first class of the CIA's Intrapreneurship academic concentration put its business innovation ideas into practice. Leyenda serves the campus community as one of several dining options in the college’s new dining venue, The Egg.

Leyenda In contrast to “entrepreneurship,” which requires creating one's own business, intrapreneurship involves business innovation from within an existing organization. This new CIA program is for juniors and seniors pursuing their baccalaureate degrees in management.

During their pitch, students in each group must convince a panel of industry experts that their concept is the most compelling in terms of market, taste, uniqueness, and potential for profitability and replication. The full class then rallies around the winning pitch. The students have one semester to build the concept into a functioning restaurant which they actually operate during their final semester of senior year.

Preparation includes developing healthful recipes, focusing on maintaining food cost, and streamlining production and service. Each class also markets the restaurant, develops financial reporting documents and human resource materials, and programs the point-of-sale (POS) system. Students must put in at least five hours a week working in the restaurant in addition to their other classes.

Each semester, a new group of students will open and manage a different concept in the Innovation Kitchen in The Egg. The next concept will open in January.

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