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 the first month of operations and working over 80 hours a week, his wife Pam walks in and says, “Guess what, I am pregnant and you working every night is not going to be the best thing for our family, you need to figure something else out.”

Today there are 15 Turning Point restaurants located throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Kirk’s vision for his restaurants has always been to provide creative breakfast and lunch items using the freshest ingredients. He and his staff also strive to maintain an atmosphere that is clean, comfortable and relaxing for all of the guests. Ruoff believes success in the restaurant business lies in paying attention to details and gives accreditation to his wonderful managers and staff for their tireless efforts to meet these standards.

Kirk has always had a strong sense of giving back to the community that believed in his crazy idea. The Turning Point restaurants have participated in many charitable events throughout the years, but focuses on 2 exceptional annual fundraisers. He, his staff, and customers have raised thousands of dollars for LADACIN, a nonprofit agency that provides services for children and adults with cerebral palsy and multiple physical and developmental disabilities, and for The Kortney Rose Foundation, which raises funds for pediatric brain tumor research. Along with the fundraisers, Ruoff also finds time to be the President of the school board in Monmouth Beach School system and coaches his son’s football and basketball teams.  Additional info



Carlos Serrano

Founder and CEO Empanada Guy



Carlos Serrano is the founder and owner of Empanada Guy, a company that specializes in empanadas and other Latin products. He started his journey 16 years ago out of his garage selling empanadas wholesale to restaurants. In June of 2012 he rolled out his first food truck and through social media Carlos has connected with his customers and has created a loyal fan base. With hard work and interaction with his followers, he has expanded his business to 9 food trucks, 1 restaurant and 2 mall locations and the company is quickly growing. He is very excited to be franchising Empanada Guy in the Spring of 2018.  Additional info


Foodpreneur®, a strategic sales/marketing, and educational consultancy, addressing the educational needs of entrepreneurial food, beverage and consumer companies, offering creative comprehensive curriculum to launch foodservice business. Representative works with established international companies seeking to enter the US market. Additional info


Rutgers Food Innovation Center: The Rutgers Food Innovation Center is a unique business incubation and economic development accelerator program, which is part of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The Center provides business and technology expertise to startup and established food companies in the mid-Atlantic region, and utilizes its outreach capacity to reach food and agribusinesses throughout the world.


Monmouth County Health Department: The Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) is one of six health departments in the County with the mission of empowering residents of Monmouth County to achieve optimum health through the provision of essential public health services. The MCHD oversees inspections on food handling, storage and commercial kitchens for 26 municipalities in Monmouth County.


Culinary Education Center of Monmouth County: The Culinary Education Center of Monmouth County is a unique collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District (MCVSD). The mission of the program is to provide a quality culinary education with transferable skills that are marketable in an ever-changing industry. More information