meez podcast

Sam Bernstein on Revolutionizing Restaurant Revenue Streams with Table22

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About this episode

#61. In this episode of The meez Podcast, host Josh Sharkey welcomes Sam Bernstein, the founder of Table22. Table22 is a pioneering company designed to help restaurants generate incremental new revenue through subscriptions, including memberships, CPG products, and events.

Josh and Sam's paths first crossed at The Chef Conference in Philadelphia. Since then, their encounters have become frequent, most recently at the National Restaurant Association Show, where they connected at an event hosted by meez, Made In Cookware, and Fernet.

In this episode, Josh delves into Sam's entrepreneurial journey, discussing his impressive background as a Thiel Fellow and his early forays in real estate before founding Table22. Sam's passion and smart approach to supporting the restaurant industry shine through as he shares insights into the growth of Table22 and his vision for the future of restaurant revenue streams.

Tune in to hear about Sam's innovative strategies, his dedication to the restaurant community, and the story behind Table22. Don’t miss this engaging conversation packed with entrepreneurial wisdom and industry insights.

Where to find Sam Bernstein:

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

What We Cover

(03:41): Sam's background

(15:17): Sam's learnings from receiving a Thiel Fellowship

(22:00): How Table22 works

(47:39): Sam's interpretation of the 11 star experience for Table22


[00:00:00] Josh Sharkey:

You're listening to season two of The meez Podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, a culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, we're going to talk to high performers in the food business, everything from chefs to CEOs, technologists, writers, investors, and more about how they innovate.


And operate and how they consistently execute at a high level day after day. And I would really love it if you could drop us a five star review anywhere that you listen to your podcast. That could be Apple, that could be Spotify, could be Google. I'm not picky Anywhere works, but I really appreciate the support and as always, I hope you enjoy the show.


Hello, ladies and gentlemen. My guest today, his name is Sam Bernstein. He's the founder of this company called Table 22, which essentially is built to help restaurants get incremental new revenue from subscriptions. And that could be like subscriptions of memberships to the restaurant or CPG products or events and things like that.


Anyways, I ended up running into Sam and we coordinated Doing this podcast at The Chef Conference in philly had never met him before and coincidentally nick now We run into each other all the time. I just saw him this past week at the National Restaurant Association show, NRA, We hosted an event with Made in Cookware and Fernet and he dropped by and I was like, Hey, good to see you, Sam.


Anyways, we got to know each other over the last month or so and really, really love what he's doing. And more importantly, I just think he's a really great entrepreneur, really smart, really cares about what he's building. And I think it's just a really smart approach to. Helping restaurants generate more revenue.


So anyways, the company's called Table 22. You can check it out at and we chat about how he got started, his background in entrepreneurship. He was a Thiel fellow. Peter Thiel is a really incredible founder and investor. I think all the founders fund and it's really hard to get into the fellowship and Sam did.


So we chat about that and him starting a real estate company at a very young age and then pivoting to what Table 22 is today. And just generally, you know, how he's building the company and his thoughts on the growth of not just Table 22, but the restaurant industry. So, as always, I hope that you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.


Welcome. Thanks so much. Good to be here. Awesome to have you here. I just learned a lot more about you in the last like day or so. Great. So we're here just for everybody's awareness. We are here. Live, though this won't be live, at the Chef Conference in Philly, and Sam was on a panel yesterday right before me.


That's right. I didn't have the esteemed moderator designation. Oh, well, you know, it's funny, you know, I've been on a bunch of panels and I actually think moderating was more nerve wracking. Maybe just because of the group. It was quite a group. Yeah, it was great. Well, anyways, I learned a little bit about your background.


Well, I'm not gonna lie, last night. But it's pretty amazing. We're all busy. So you were analyst for for quite a while and then a Thiel fellow. I definitely want to talk to you about Peter Thiel because I'm a fan, at the very least, of some of his methodologies. Maybe there's some things that, um, Forbes 30 under 30, and  Went to UVA.

[00:03:29] Josh Sharkey:

I don't know if you're from Virginia, but you went to

[00:03:30] Sam Bernstein:

UVA, right? I grew up in New York City, went to high school in Brooklyn, and I went to college at UVA, lived in Austin, San Francisco for a little bit, and I've been back in New York since 2016.

[00:03:41] Josh Sharkey:

So, yeah, I was gonna ask you maybe just fill in the blanks on your background.


It also, It seems like, I mean you have a very young face, I don't know how young, but it seems like you're a pretty young entrepreneur and it's pretty incredible like how much you've been able to achieve. Thanks. I don't need to ask your age. It doesn't always feel that way. But I'm excited to learn like how you started, it's funny as a, as a chef I always think about I started cooking when I was like a little tiny, you know, person and most of my career was cooking.


I never once thought about being an entrepreneur or starting a business. It was like not a thing for 15, 20 years. And I, to be honest, I get envious and I'm like, Oh, I wish I had just thought of this when I was 20, even though I don't regret it all and love cooking. So I want to hear more about your journey, how that, how that happened, but maybe just a little bit of wind up like your background.

[00:04:25] Sam Bernstein:

Yeah, sure thing. So yeah, as I mentioned, I was born in New York city. I grew up there. Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, not in this sort of tech sense that, you know, maybe you and I would think of, but you know, my dad had started an architecture firm. My mom worked in the fashion industry and at different points had her own business.


And so I grew up around just kind of a reverence for, you know, starting a business, running a business and everything that that takes. We just celebrated, I think the 34th anniversary of my dad's business. We have a tradition on. April 1st, which is when he incorporated his architecture firm, we get Katz pastrami and have it at our apartment.


So, you know, a little bit of a mix of food and, and entrepreneurship really like interwoven in my growing up in my background. So with that, I started working at a pretty young age and by the time I was through, you know, high school and, and midway through my time at UVA, I had spent time. working in politics.


I worked for the Obama campaign in the DNC in 2012. I worked for a couple of different sort of financial institutions. I worked for a boutique investment bank that was looking at tech stuff. And I spent a couple of years while I was in school, uh, intermittently working for a firm called Fortress Investment Investment Group.

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