The Table aims to provide fresh food for breakfast, late-night dining


Source: Matt Schnadig

(Left to right) Students Troy Daley, Amelia Russo, Matt Schnadig, Aaron Empedrado and Rob Konoff. The group created The Table, a startup that will offer alternative breakfast and late-night options to dining hall food.

Cameron Cook, Reporter

When Weinberg freshman Matt Schnadig came to Northwestern in September, he didn’t expect to become a CEO.

But after visiting his friends at other universities in the fall, Schnadig found a large discrepancy when it came to the quality of breakfast and late-night food choices between Northwestern and the other schools.

“(Those schools) had ready-to-go breakfast and late-night options and Northwestern just didn’t,” he said. “When I came back I wanted to make a change.”

Schnadig’s startup, The Table, aims to offer alternative choices to dining hall food. His idea took off when he joined EPIC Launch Program, a program in which students get a crash course in entrepreneurship basics before being able to pitch their own business ideas and create a startup. Schnadig said he started and finished his application the night before it was due.

“I didn’t plan on doing this when I came to Northwestern,” he said. “I didn’t even plan on being in this Launch program, (but) I started learning a lot more about entrepreneurship and thought it was really cool.”

Schnadig’s idea was popular: Weinberg freshmen Amelia Russo and Rob Konoff, and McCormick sophomores Troy Daley and Aaron Empedrado joined the startup.

During Winter Quarter, the team applied and was accepted for a residency at The Garage, and it began selling its inaugural product — overnight oats — to BrewBike last month.

Empedrado said The Table originally focused on late-night options, but members had to reevaluate their business plan to include breakfast food when the opportunity to sell to BrewBike surfaced. The decision was cemented when, after interviews with students, the group found many were dissatisfied with the breakfast offerings in the dining halls, Schnadig said.

“Now we’re ‘right food at the right time’ because we cover both ends of the spectrum,” Empedrado said.

At the moment, Daley is the sole chef and makes all the overnight oats in an off-campus commercial kitchen. The Table has no location of its own, but members will buy a food cart that they plan to park in front of Technological Institute.

Once the food cart is up and running — ideally in time for Fall Quarter — Daley plans to add breakfast sandwiches and waffles to the morning menu. His ideas for late-night dining include street tacos, burgers and buffalo fries.

“Our real mission is convenience,” Empedrado said. “We want it to be quick and fast, and that’s what differentiates us from other options on campus.”

Thanks to this distinction, Schnadig is optimistic about The Table gaining traction — the business met its fundraising goal of $5,000 in just four days. Its Indiegogo fundraiser is open until mid-July and offers perks for those who decide to donate, including free food and the chance to name a sandwich after oneself. The team has enough money to buy a cart, Russo added.

“We’re really excited to have a full launch in the fall,” Daley said. “It will be a lot of work getting the cart up and running all the time, but I think it’ll be worth it for all of Northwestern.”

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