Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in human resource services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kristel Arabian, Founder of Kitchen Culture Recruiting, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a high-touch recruitment agency that focuses on the food industry. Our clients are restaurants, eateries, hotels, food start-ups, and food PR companies of all sorts, from the mom n pop, Michelin Starred operation to the growing, quick service model. We placed candidates at the unit level (both front and back of the house) along with corporate-level roles.

Tell us about yourself

I myself was a chef at a Michelin Starred restaurant. I worked my way up the ranks with no culinary school education. My education landed me a BS in Microbiology with an emphasis in Chemistry. My training was the chef mentors I worked under! About 10 years ago, I got into chef recruitment. I worked for a few smaller agencies before I moved to NYC to launch a major player on the national recruiting circuit. Shortly thereafter, I opened Kitchen Culture Recruiting -- We kept the national reach but decided to keep things small around here, working with a small handful of like-minded operators in our boutique agency.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We love making an impact with our work-- Our placements are usually the pivotal ones in a company. Looking back and seeing how our people doubled sales or earned a Michelin star, or opened 4 more units makes us happiest!!!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The new and unexpected ebbs and flows during and post-COVID have been the most interesting ride. Our agency has volunteered so much time and effort into advocacy for the hospitality industry. It has somehow thrived during these turbulent times. I am so proud of the last 4 years of Kitchen Culture Recruiting's history!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make a list of the top 25 things you want to do, and identify the most important 5. Stay away from the bottom 20 at all costs and make a plan of attack for the top 5!!!-- I read this in an interview with Warren Buffett, and I pass it along to all the young entrepreneurs I speak with.
  2. Find a tax accountant/advisor who you like and tell them everything!!! Have them help you set yourself and your business up.
  3. Work in collaboration with and develop your community, even if you're a solopreneur! I have so many synergetic and mutually beneficial relationships with people outside of my agency, and I can testify I wouldn't be where I am without this community.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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