NYU alum finds food industry success

via yelp.com

Customer experience is of the utmost significance when it comes to the hospitality industry — especially through the eyes of entrepreneurial powerhouse and marketing genius Margaret Zakarian. Zakarian is one of the owners of The Lambs Club, a premier New York City restaurant. She focuses on conceptualizing and marketing the perceptibility of her business ventures.

“It’s 80 percent about the atmosphere, and only 20 percent about the food,” Zakarian said. “A lot of planning goes into every detail that the customers are seeing, touching and experiencing, because we cater to the diner’s experience.”

An NYU alumna who majored in Theater at Tisch School of the Arts and received a minor in Entertainment Marketing at Stern School of Business, Zakarian comes from a family of entrepreneurs and sees the business world as part of her DNA.

She started her unexpected restauranteur career when she took a position fresh out of college at the 60 Thompson Hotel where she managed breakfast and room service.

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“The group I worked with [while at the hotel] also owned Republic, a restaurant that I frequented often with my friends, and whose vision I extremely admired,” she said.

After 60 Thompson Hotel, Zakarian began working for the infamous nightclub and lounge, Lotus. It was here that she grasped the value of authenticity.

“It’s important, while branding and marketing a venue, to stay true to your message,” Zakarian said.

By the time she left Lotus, she was running the event planning department, which was in charge of booking disc jockeys. She was also one of the earliest to join the Meatpacking District Initiative, an association for transforming the region into the city’s playground and promoting it as a tourist destination. But most importantly, the initiative is in charge of protecting the neighborhood’s essence.

In addition to her role as an owner of The Lambs Club, Zakarian and her husband, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, own the restaurant Country. Country houses a casual, cozy café and formal dining space — both of which are defined by elegant constructions married with modern elements. The ever-evolving Zakarian brand is in the midst of developing home and lifestyle products, as well as fine wine.

Despite her hectic professional life, Zakarian makes time for her other passions: travel writing and photography. Her work has been featured in many publications, including the Daily and the Travel Curator.

Lindsay Forbes, an NYU alumna and former hostess at The Lambs Club, said her favorite part about her job was the staff.

“Everyone was so friendly and had such interesting stories,” Forbes said. “Also, the management really knows food, wine and the restaurant business, and they encouraged everyone to learn as much as they could.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 11 print edition. Angel Chang is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected] 

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