Founding Student Name(s): Samay Bansal, Daniel Jones, JJ Li, Chloe Kubrin, Robert Dandliker, Luke Verzella, Sabrina Sam,
Darius Ganji, Noah Horns
Brief Description of Solution: 2 to Stay to Go is an innovative student-founded hospitality brand. It was initially started as a pop-up restaurant in October of 2020 in Ithaca, NY. 2 Stay 2 Go is attempting to test the viability of a concentrated omnichannel presence in Ithaca.
What led you to launch this venture? We saw an opportunity to apply the skills to the real world acquired at the Cornell Nolan School of Hotel Administration. The Cornell School of Hotel Administration recently received a $50M gift from alumni Peter and Stephanie Nolan, which resulted in the new naming of the school. There was a need for high-quality food in the Ithaca Collegetown market and a supply of students willing and able to produce high-quality food items. By applying our in-class learnings such as brand marketing, operations management, and culinary design — coupled with the supply of eager students looking to work in segmented departments — we created the perfect opportunity to launch 2 Stay 2 Go amidst a global pandemic.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? 2 Stay 2 Go’s biggest accomplishment has been being able to create a self-sustaining organization. We were proud to be able to build the business up to the point where we were confident to attend class during our operations or prepare for an internship interview without a decline in the service of 2 Stay 2 Go. Around late spring, 2 Stay 2 Go began gaining additional traction and recognition by students, Cornell University, alumni, and the local Ithaca community at this point of the business.
How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture? Our experience as students at the Nolan School has been extremely valuable in scaling 2 Stay 2 Go’s operational capabilities, revenue streams, and management team. Courses, professors, students, and the greater Nolan School network have greatly contributed to our ability to grow our network as a business.
Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Our Food Industry and Consumer Packaged Goods class, taught by Professor Daniel Hooker, was a major influence in the evolution of 2 Stay 2 Go. In the course, we learned from real-world guest speakers coming from prominent brands such as Instacart and Wegmans. It was very inspiring to learn about which food categories major businesses are going into and how they analyzed the market to determine the products to fit those categories. Additionally, this class taught me how to establish and execute a hospitality service business. We learned the multifaceted enterprise approach, including how to manage employee benefits, brand marketing, and operational organization, which was instrumental in the 2 Stay 2 Go LLC launch.
What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Business professor Dave Roberts from the Nolan School was a significant driver of our success. Professor Roberts was able to help in two major ways – teaching us how to manage a brand and how to balance being a student. With years of experience working at Marriott, Professor Roberts has a wide array of professional hospitality experience that he used to help guide the launch of 2 Stay 2 Go. He saw many restaurant concepts fail and succeed and used his experiences to help 2 Stay 2 Go operate effectively. He also helped us with finding the right products and pricing them correctly and contributed as a personal mentor. Professor Roberts explained how he believed it was possible to balance being a full-time student and starting a business. His tips for balancing recruiting for internships, studying for exams, being present at the storefront, and training employees were extremely valuable as a student-entrepreneur.
What is your long-term goal with your startup? The long-term goal for 2 Stay 2 Go is to create a brand that builds products that help hospitality businesses become more efficient using technology, hardware products, and operational guides. We are currently striving to build a brand that the hospitality industry trusts, and as we continue to build our products and improve on them, we hope to one day become the gold standard of hospitality-related products.