Free Event “Growing or Launching a Food Business in New Jersey”

Monday, April 30, 2018, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ.

NJSBDC at Brookdale Community College invites entrepreneurs to attend a free, high-impact Foodiepreneur event. The workshop will be focused on people growing or launching a food business in New Jersey, such as a restaurant, food truck, commercial food product development and/or artisan goods. This free event will take place on Monday, April 30, 2018, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ.

“Growing or Launching a Food Event in New Jersey” will give current and potential food entrepreneurs candid insights from the experts into one of the largest industries in our area. The goal of Foodiepreneur is to facilitate a real dialog about topics that are important to entrepreneurs in the food industry.

During the event, there will be a panel discussion with restaurant owners from Rook Coffee, Turning Point, and Empanada Guy. These panelists have successfully navigated the process of launching and growing food businesses and will discuss their backgrounds, successes, and challenges throughout the process and offer insight to fellow business owners.

Panelists will include the Monmouth County Health Department, Culinary Education Center of Monmouth County, and Rutgers Food Innovation Center. Rutgers Food Innovation Center will speak on food product development, commercialization, and selection.  The Monmouth County Health Department will discuss local guidelines pertaining to food preparation commercial consumption. Culinary Arts will discuss culinary training programs available.

A Q&A exchange will conclude this event.

Seating is limited for this free event and spots will go fast. To register call 732-842-8685



Holly Migliaccio

Co-Founder/Owner Rook Coffee


Holly was born in Monmouth County and raised in Oceanport. After spending several years experiencing the city life between New York and San Francisco, she returned to her Jersey roots and settled back in Monmouth County in 2008.

Holly spent the first part of her career working in the fast-paced world of the Internet for top companies such as Yahoo! and The Holding various management positions over seven years in sales, marketing, operations and training, she built a well-rounded set of business skills that would eventually prepare her for her own entrepreneurial venture.

In 2008, Holly took a leap of faith and resigned from her corporate career to spend three months traveling throughout Southeast Asia with only a backpack. Upon returning to the states, Holly and longtime childhood friend, Shawn Kingsley, decided to open a business based on a shared passion…coffee.

Holly is the Co-founder and Owner of Rook Coffee, a specialty coffee company complete with multiple coffee bars, a roastery and distribution center, a bottled cold brew business and an online store. Rook’s coffee bar experience involves exceptional product and over-the-top customer service. Using the finest quality coffees from all over the world, every cup of coffee is custom made to order. Rook Coffee. Additional info

Kirk Ruoff
Founder & CEO

Turning Point Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch

Kirk Ruoff grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he was trained by his best friend’s father, Michael Hurst.  At 13 years old, Kirk did not know he was learning the restaurant trade from one of the most respected restaurateurs in the country. Mr. Hurst not only owned and operated the gold plate award winning 15th Street Fisheries restaurant, but also was the past President of the National Restaurant Association and a professor in the hospitality management school at Florida International University. Kirk performed many “back house” functions while employed at the fisheries over his 7-year tenure and this experience planted his seed of love for the restaurant business.

Kirk grew up with three brothers in a very athletic and competitive household.  Hard work and commitment were instilled at an early age by his parents, Ellie and Chad Ruoff.  These foundations earned Kirk a football scholarship to Boston College, where he played for Tom Coughlin (New York Giants). After four years in 1992, he graduated with a business degree in entrepreneurial studies and a core belief that “In life there are two things you can control, your attitude and effort”.

After completing college, Kirk spent a brief time away from the restaurant industry with Toyota Motor Corporation. His responsibilities included consulting with franchisees and improving overall dealer operations. This experience made Kirk realize two things, one, if you want to be completely in control of your own financial future you need to work for yourself and two, there are a bunch of stupid rich people out in the world but the one thing they all possess is the willingness to risk it all and possibly fail. “The man that tries nothing makes no mistakes” was a new core belief.

After three years and plenty of soul searching with his college sweetheart and new supportive bride, Pam, he made the decision to leave Toyota and pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant. Realizing he needed more managerial experience before embarking on his own restaurant, they moved into his parents’ home in Farmingdale, NJ.  He walked into a Chili’s Bar and Grill and applied for a job as a server and within 3 months he was in their managerial training program and after 6 months he was managing the Holmdel, NJ location and winning awards. While at Chili’s, Kirk was refining his business plan, looking for a location and saving money as best he could.

In 1998 he gave his notice to Chili’s and purchased a failing 12 table lunch and dinner restaurant in Little Silver, NJ.  The old owner gave him a personally guaranteed loan and it was “Game on, let’s turn this thing around for Kirk”! During th