Tony Dellamano, a former baseball player with the Texas Rangers organization, came to COrnell Universiy's Hotel School for his Master's degree to learn the corporate side of the restaurant business. He already knew some of its operations: after earning a managerial economics degree from the University of California, Davis, he had been a server, floor manager, and financial consultant for high-end restaurants in San Diego.
At Cornell, he discovered entrepreneurship. He and classmate Mark Kuperman created a fast-food snack that they called Johnny Applestix. They submitted the idea to the Big Red Venture Fund, a campus-wide competition sponsored by the Johnson Graduate School of Management, and they won the first prize of $10,000. With that seed money and valuable contacts made while attending Cornell, they raised the necessary capital to launch the business at three locations in northeast Ohio.
Now, the partners are involved in every aspect of the startup, with Dellamano concentrating on building the brand - to make Johnny Applstix the fast food of choice in malls across America.
You can't - I mean you can't patent a pretzel or a cinnamon roll. It all comes down to marketing and growth. It comes to your brand against somebody else. And with the original idea of Applestix, we wanted McDonalds to sell Applestix. Because one of our biggest challenges are just people knowing...(Full transcript available to logged in subscribers.).
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