meez podcast

Ron Parker on Jose Andres Group and His New Company Hospitality Multiple

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About this episode

Meet Ron Parker, the visionary founder of Hospitality Multiple (HMx), a cutting-edge company designed specifically for the hospitality industry. Ron is not only the mastermind behind HMx but also the Chief Operating Officer of the Jose Andres Group, overseeing operations ranging from prestigious 2-Michelin starred restaurants to groundbreaking small plates establishments and bustling fast-casual eateries and food halls.

In this engaging conversation with meez CEO Josh Sharkey, Ron delves into the fascinating intersection of culinary artistry and entrepreneurship. They discuss why chefs often make exceptional entrepreneurs and gain valuable insights as Ron shares his wealth of experience.

Ron and Josh go into the innovative details of HMx, a platform crafted to assist hospitality owners in raising funds, forging crucial business connections, vetting industry resources, and securing mentorship. Ron also talks about his history with the culinary industry and touches on his past roles as CEO of Related Restaurant Group, Chief Operating Officer for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, and Director of Operations for Restaurant Associate’s Sports & Entertainment division.

Where to find Ron Parker:

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

What We Cover

(02:42) Ron's hospitality background

(05:43) How Ron fell in love with cooking(

07:17) How being a cook has influenced Ron's work today

(10:50) The things Ron has learned from opening multiple restaurants

(15:04) Ron's goal of maintaining human connection in hospitality

(18:16) Ron's experience with USHG and Related Hospitality

(29:59) HMx's goal to help chefs understand best practices

(33:06) HMx 101

(39:49) HMx's mentor program

(43:04) How to get involved in HMx

(50:30) Jose Andres Group and what Ron is most excited for


[00:00:05] Josh Sharkey: 

Welcome to the meez podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, the culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, I'll be interviewing world class entrepreneurs in the food space that are shifting the paradigm of how we innovate and operate in our industry. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show.


My guest today is the current Chief Operating Officer for Jose Andres Restaurant Group, as well as the founder of the Hospitality Multiple, HMx for short. Ron Parker built HMx to help democratize access to capital for hospitality entrepreneurs across the country. The platform already has hundreds of the best chefs from around the U.S.


signed up, as well as professional services like technology, real estate, design, construction, and more. It's also a place for mentors and a place for investors to find really talented chefs. And as you get to learn more about Ron's background, it becomes really clear why he built HMx and also why the platform is going to be really helpful.


for the industry. Prior to Jose Andres group and founding HMx, Ron was the CEO of Related Restaurant Properties where he managed billions in development deals. And before that, he was the Chief Operating Officer for Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. The kicker is Ron actually started his career as a chef, eventually attending CIA and then cooking at Union Square Cafe where he spent the next 14 years at USHG, eventually, as I said, as the Chief Operating Officer.


Ron and I talk a lot about why chefs make great entrepreneurs. We dig into everything that you're going to want to know about HMx, and of course we talk a bit about the culture and the enormous growth happening with the José Andrés group as a whole. You can check out HMx at, and as always, I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did.

[00:02:12] Josh Sharkey: 

Welcome to the show, man. I'm so excited to have you here. 

[00:02:16] Ron Parker: 

I'm excited to be here. Thanks for the invite.

[00:02:18] Josh Sharkey: 

Yeah. absolutely. I know you're a very busy man. And now even busier than before. But we'll try to keep this tight. If it's okay with you, I'm going to share a little bit of your background. Because it's so impressive.


And then maybe you can fill the blanks. And we'll kind of take it from there. I want to make sure we talk about HMx a lot today. But I think your background is important for people to know. 

[00:02:38] Ron Parker: 

It's always interesting to hear somebody else present my background. So I'm excited for you to do it. 

[00:02:42] Josh Sharkey: 

Well, I'm sure I'll screw it up, but you went to Culinary Institute, and you also went to college in Colorado for a while. I'm not sure everything that you studied there, but then you were at USHG Union Square Hospitality Group for like 14 years, eventually as a chief operating officer, moved to Related Restaurant Group, which is a subsidiary of Related Properties, and you were the CEO there. Curating properties, managing, you know, the portfolio, all that jazz.


You are currently the Chief Operating Officer of Jose Andres Group, formerly known as Think Food Group, and the founder of Hospitality Multiple Exchange, which is a big part about why we're talking today. You started your career in kitchens, right? Cooking. 

[00:03:24] Ron Parker: 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was, uh, I was the great disappointment with my family because my father absolutely refused to let me go to culinary school.

Ron Parker: 

They didn't think it was a real career. So after college, I got my business degree and they, they were adamant that I go get a master's in business. And at that point, that's when I felt like I was old enough to make my own decisions and, you know, they weren't wrong. I think my family was genuinely concerned, and I'm sure you have a similar background with your family.

[00:03:50] Ron Parker: 

They were concerned how hard the industry was going to be and that. Even though I had a business degree, they thought it would be better for me to go into business. And ultimately that's how I ended up landing at culinary Institute because I cooked my way all the way through college. Um, I think they thought I would just get it out of my system, but after graduating, I was adamant that I wanted to go to, to CIA.

And that started my path in the industry. So good summer, by the way, you got all the, all the key highlights, 

[00:04:15] Josh Sharkey: 

You know, and by the way, same. My father wanted me to go to Wharton. He passed away before I decided to go to college, but I'm sure he would, he did a little bit of a turn. 

[00:04:25] Ron Parker: He would have bemoaned your, yeah.Direction.

Yeah, no, it was pretty tough. Like I, I can't blame my parents. It came from a genuine place. Looking back, it was a genuine place of concern that, you know, it's going to be long hours. It was going to have to be not a lot of money. And back in the day, you know, I mean, going back 30 years in Manhattan, we were all paid salaries.


Which I know now is, is not legal and we work, you know, 80, 90 hours a week and you're just cranking it out on the line. And, uh, I loved every minute of it. And I am actually so thankful for that experience as a chef because, you know, I like to say it always defined my day in five minute increments, you know, Gotham Bar and Grill when it was in, it was heyday.


I used to say that for all the young kids coming in when you were training them, if you were five minutes behind on your mise en place, when the tickets started rolling at night, you were. dead. You were just playing catch up the whole night. And I really am always thankful for those five minute increments defining my life because for a long time in my career, I thought in micro increments for how efficient I could be.

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