FTK partners with local restaurateurs Neal Brown and Greg Howe

Neal Brown image

FTK partners with local restaurateurs Neal Brown and Greg Howe

More than just a restaurant, the Fishers Test Kitchen (FTK) is a culinary incubator where up-and-coming chef entrepreneurs test concepts, refine menus, build a community following, and ultimately, launch restaurants of their own.

Local restaurateurs Neal Brown and Greg Howe are going to help them do that.

Chef Brown is well-known to central Indiana diners for owning and operating numerous successful restaurants such as L’explorateur, Pizzology and Ukiyo to name a few. Howe has spent more than a decade working in restaurant licensing, and currently oversees 20 throughout North America.

“We became involved in Fishers Test Kitchen because we know a lot of these chefs and they (FTK leaders) thought we could bring some operational expertise to the table,” Brown said. “We’ve been tasked with helping the chefs go from startups to operational as soon as possible.”

Brown said going from concept to operations is “usually the killer for restaurants.” His goal is to prevent the FTK chefs from languishing in the startup phase. The key? Establish repeatable systems and standards that integrate teams members across their respective kitchens.

“We’re going to be helping these chefs build a culture that says ‘this is how we do things every day’ all the way down to checklists that enable these chefs to work themselves out of a job,” Brown said. “We are telling the chefs to teach people under you to do the job just as you would.”

Brown says successful restaurateurs must learn how to merge creativity and business acumen. “While you should always be creative, at the end of the day it’s still a business and building the systems and processes to enable you to scale is how you get to the next level.”