Earlier this month, the Orange Door Supper Club took its first official steps out of the realm of part-time hobby and into the sphere of business. We filed to incorporate as Orange Door Hospitality LLC, a name that we weighed and debated for a couple of months until it finally felt right. Admittedly, the name is a drag to type out, but because we plan to expand beyond supper clubs, we needed a word that would encompass our business vision. We settled on “hospitality” because we are not, at the end of the day, a company that cooks and sells food. Rather, we provide experiences and create community around food. Hospitality is the relationship between host and guest in which the host receives guests and strangers with warmth, friendship, respect, and generosity. It is our vision to foster this type of relationship wherever we work, to empower our clients to maximize their own ability to host, and to build authentic community to enrich the lives of those we serve.
Last weekend, we took the supper club on the road to host a small group of guests at my parent’s beach house on Long Beach Island, NJ. The “events” of the weekend included a dinner of collaborative sushi making and sake tasting, as well as a brunch the next morning. In setting up the house, we had a great time thinking of ways to make our guests feel welcomed with homemade snacks, fresh flowers, fluffy towels, games, magazines, and (of course) little gifts of bourbon. Yet all of these material trappings of hospitality wouldn’t have mattered had we not also been present and excited to share this time with our guests. Yes, we had tasks to do over the course of the weekend that prevented us from spending every minute engaged, but we did make time for awesome conversations, walking on the beach, and late night catch phrase. It was in these moments that we unearthed the true essence of hospitality.
As we move further into the nuts and bolts business planning of Orange Door Hospitality, it will be important to remember that our “value-add” lies in our ability to provide experiences that exude warmth, friendship, respect, and generosity. Chris might not have formal culinary training, and I might not have advanced degrees in restaurant management, but our food is delicious and the heart behind it is genuine…and that’s a solid foundation on which to build a business.