Meet Doug Marranci of PREP Cook | Create | Connect in Spaghetti Junction
Original Article on Voyageatl.com
Today we’d like to introduce you to Doug Marranci. Doug has been in the restaurant industry for 35-years. As a child he worked in his family’s food service business, and his passion for the industry followed him into adulthood. He has owned and operated seven restaurants in the Carolinas, and was involved in the conceptualization of numerous restaurant ventures, which ran the gamut from coffee houses to upscale Mediterranean dining. After leaving the food service business to start a Real Estate Brokerage company.
In 2010, Doug was given the task of leasing a local commissary kitchen space, and quickly discovered that there was a large and growing demand in Metro Atlanta for commissary kitchen space and shared kitchen facilities. After hearing stories from disparate food producers who were unexpectedly put out of business due to changes in food service regulations, Doug devoted himself to sharing his vast store of restaurant operational and promotional experience to help this unsupported group of small food business owners.
After working on the business and plan for 2 years, Doug and his partner JR Santos met up with Mitch and Michele Jaffe, and after two more years of planning, PREP was born. PREP’s goal is to eliminate the barriers to entry in starting a food business, and to provide food business acceleration services and facility resources.
Has it been a smooth road?
There were many false starts while trying to launch this new business. We worked with other food facilities to provide operators with a place to produce, but the reality was that this project would need to be built from the ground up. Navigating the rules and regulations of the FDA, USDA, Georgia Department of Agriculture and State and County Environmental health was a daunting task that took more than a year to put together into a plan.
Bringing products to market is daunting for PREP Members, and Doug has helped these startup food companies partner with amazing growth opportunities.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with PREP Cook | Create | Connect – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
With a great food idea or concept, PREP makes it easy to get started in the food business. We handle all of the permitting with our Members, as well as reducing the financial barriers to starting a food business. We have helped accelerate more than 200 food businesses. We provide all of the resources necessary so our Members don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
PREP is one of the only food accelerators that are permitted by every food authority (FDA, USDA, GDA and Environmental Health). These authorities refer people to us when they call to get information. That is the one of highest compliments that could be given to PREP!
PREP has had many Members graduate and move on to their own production facilities. Many of our Members have been on Oprah’s Favorites list, and many have won national and international contracts based on operating at PREP.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Doug’s love for Atlanta stems from the vibrant food scene. From fine dining to chicken joints, as well as the Farmers Markets all over the area. There is a great mix of cultures in Atlanta, which makes the available ingredients in Atlanta is phenomenal.
There is nothing Doug loves more than sitting down 1 on 1 with PREP Members to work on business development. Even just the simplest ideas will turn into a wealth of resources to help these budding entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Doug loves tenacity. The most fun people to work with have jumped into their business with both feet, and have a “can do” and a never give up attitude.
I imagine that many people answer this one the same, I least like driving around Atlanta. Rush hour is, well, always hour.
PREP is licensed by the USDA, Georgia Department of Agriculture and the GA Dept of Health.
PREP Cook-Create-Connect provides Private Kitchens for Commissary, Catering and Food Production as well as a shared kitchen workspaces. PREP is a culinary accelerator platform which reduces the barriers to entry and provides mentorship for food entrepreneurs bringing their products and services to market. PREP provides test kitchens resources, food procurement and guidance to a talented and creative class of entrepreneurs. These are specialty food producers, baker, caterers and mobile food service operators, along with the next generation of food artisans. PREP is a privately held company based in Atlanta, GA.