Full Course, the industry’s first and only incubator and accelerator of early-stage food brands, is pleased to announce three new additions to its board of directors: Jennifer Ryan, Co-founder and CEO of Croux and Founder of BLUEROOT; Meredith Sandland, CEO of Empower Delivery and author of the Delivering the Digital Restaurant book series; and Stephanie Stuckey, Chair of Stuckey’s Corporation.
“We are excited about what these talented women will bring to the table as board members. They have a wealth of experience in innovation, disruption and reinvention through their business ventures and possess a strong understanding of the Founder’s journey,” says Lauren Fernandez, Founder and CEO of Full Course. “Their strengths will complement our executive team, and they will be valuable resources for our incubator and accelerator partners.”
Ryan is a founder of multiple businesses in the food and beverage space. Croux, her most recent venture, was born out of a desire to serve those who serve others, matching talented hospitality workers who are ready to work with restaurants, bars, event venues, and other businesses that need to fill shifts. The platform takes its commitment to its members to the next level by providing a benefits program, flexible shifts, and prompt payments. Hospitality businesses can access trusted talent on-demand and adjust staffing based on their needs. The award-winning startup service is currently available in select cities in Alabama, Georgia, and Wisconsin and is rapidly growing to new areas.
Sandland is an expert in the intersection between technology and restaurants. She is the CEO of Empower Delivery, a SaaS company that helps restaurants manage their delivery, kitchen management, and online ordering in one operating system. She also hosts a biweekly podcast “The Digital Restaurant” based on her book series. Previously, she was the COO at Google Ventures-based Kitchen United, where she developed the concept and raised two rounds of capital. She began her restaurant career with Taco Bell, where she was the CDO responsible for franchise and corporate growth.
Stuckey is known for building a team that has successfully engineered the comeback of her family business, Stuckey’s Corporation. Purchased in 2019 and operating at a loss, Stephanie and her partners have turned the company around as a consumer-packaged goods business. With the purchase of a manufacturing and distribution facility in Wrens, Georgia, Stuckey’s has grown from 7 to 75 employees and $2 to $14 million in sales in 36 months. Today, the product line of pecan snacks, pecan log rolls, pralines, and more is distributed to thousands of retailers nationwide, including c-stores, grocery, and specialty retail. Her experience in consumer-packaged goods and product development will be an asset to Full Course’s investment partners.
Each board member will serve a two-year term and will play an active role in the expansion and direction of Full Course. As part of their duties as board members, Ryan, Sandland, and Stuckey will advocate for Full Course’s mission to make space for underrepresented business owners in the hospitality industry. Utilizing their deep industry roots and strong professional relationships, they also will assist with recruiting prospective clients and investors.
About Full Course
Full Course, the industry’s first and only incubator and accelerator of early-stage food brands, is changing the way that independent restaurants grow. The company partners with restaurants in the early stages of development and helps them tell their stories by optimizing operations, developing strategies for sustainable growth and connecting owners or chefs with the right investors or franchise partners. Full Course Founder and CEO Lauren Fernandez has spent almost 20 years in the food and beverage industry, first as general counsel and head of franchise administration for a large company with more than 4,000 restaurants in over 15 countries, and then as an operator of a successful restaurant group. Fernandez was recently named to the Association of Latino Professionals for America Latinas to Watch list and Nation’s Restaurant News Power List. By providing support and expertise to burgeoning restaurant brands on the front end, Full Course is setting up a strong foundation for growth for them and their potential investors, from which they can successfully realize their dreams. Learn more at www.fullcourse.com.