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zest: A Passion for Food & Entrepreneurship
Luciana Gencarelli’s new business career was not going well. As a recent graduate, she had been excited to start the next phase of her life. But finance and IT internships and a full-time corporate job left her cold. She was bored. Winning a business plan competition during her first year of college had reinforced her interest in entrepreneurship. And she loved experimenting with new healthy recipes, especially dairy- and gluten-free dishes. Could she translate her passion for healthy food and her love of entrepreneurship into a livelihood? Gencarelli starting dabbling with business ideas at night and on weekends, while still working at her “day job” to pay the bills. Eventually she took the plunge and launched zest, a restaurant that offered “delicious and nutritious food” in a “family like, happy environment.” At the end of the case, students are challenged to determine where zest should go next.