Fort Lauderdale’s Top Operator / Hospitality Group of 2016: Marc Falsetto / JEY Group | #iRockParties

We remember when RokBrgr FTL first opened we thought to ourselves “Holy Sh!t these guys hit a home-run” fast forward 6/7 years laters; 10 venues (up and running) & 4 more (in the works) in the JEY Group portfolio Marc Falsetto (MF) and his team have no plans of slowing down.

This is what happens when you get a group of badass mofos together that know what they want and know what they are doing. Love it or hate it JEY Group takeover is official and no party city is safe or will be the same once JEY Group arrives! We’ve had the pleasure of knowing of him and him personally for almost a decade, after having endless meetings with him and his team all we have to say is that this team is on a mission… Join them while you can because you’re not going to be able to beat them 😉

How did you get in to the hospitality industry?

MF: Well that’s an easy one, I am a byproduct of growing up in the restaurant business. My family has always owned and operated restaurants and it is in my DNA. I tried to the corporate route and went to school for Finance but I couldn’t escape the hospitality bug. It’s in my blood.

What’s does JEY stand for?

MF: For years my cousins and I have always told each “JUST ENJOY YOURSELF” when we go out for a night on the town as a joke. So when it was time to form our company name I thought what a perfect fit. JEY stands for everything in life and also what we want our customers to do, JUST ENJOY themselves when they are at one of our venues.

What make’s you stand out from your other hospitality group?

MF: We are hospitality guys not office guys. We are not managing from some office hundreds of miles away in a different city. We are super hands on local guys and touch tables and talk to every guest everyday. We focus on food quality and the overall experience of guest instead more then anything. We see to many groups drop a ton of money and build these beautiful restaurants and under deliver on food and guest experience.

A lot of hospitality group are popping everywhere mostly just because they have a few “I want to be a cool guy(s)” investor(s) backing them, how is JEY Group and your investors/partners any different?

MF: We see this a lot. Everyone wants to be an owner and a big shot. Groups with tons of money throwing a lot of cash at projects but no one has any real experience in the biz or understands what the customer wants. We are different because we don’t operate like that. We are just simple guys giving the guest what they want. Kick ass food in a fun environment.

Which 1 of your venues is your favorite and why?

MF: That’s a tough question that I get answered a lot. But I do have to say the original ROK BRGR has a big piece of my heart. It was my baby and first creation. We actually built the place ourselves and I even laid the bricks with my own hands. I feel a piece of me is there.

How would you describe the current state of Fort Lauderdale Nightlife?

MF: I think the nightlife scene as a whole is going thru positive changes. We are seeing a lot of new and up and coming projects popping up that break the traditional norm. I think we have a handful of great operators and pioneers that keep pushing the envelope.

Your venues are very unique, do you think that played a major part in JEY Group popularity?

MF: I have always said if you’re not different then you are irrelevant. Being unique and thinking outside the box has definitely played a huge role in our popularity.

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What is one thing you think would improve Fort Lauderdale Nightlife?

MF: The only thing I can think of that would help is to change the mindset of some of the old operators. There are too many bars/clubs in the downtown area that are living in the past. From cheap drinks, all you can drink nights and run down venues… they need to adapt. If everyone has the same vision amazing things could happen in the area.

You’ve turned Fort Lauderdale back to what is use to be, Classy and fun! What did your team & yourself do different then any other group that’s been in area for years but haven’t been able to evolve and take over like you guys did?

MF: Thank you for the compliments! Listen its like anything else; Downtown Fort Lauderdale went threw a cycle just like many other markets. As the consumer changed to young professionals and millennials most of the businesses didn’t adapt. If you don’t change with the times you get left behind. So what we did was do an assessment of the area and looked what was missing. The area needed elevated dining options, better cocktail programs and design driven entertainment venues. The days of plastic cups and $5 drinks are a thing of the past. The new consumer wants higher quality and better food and if you can deliver it they will happily pay for it.

How’s the city of Fort Lauderdale treating you?

MF: The City has been awesome; Mayor Jack Seiler and his team have been super supportive of the downtown JEY takeover and has been welcomed with open arms. The only people that don’t get it are the old minded old business owners that run these run down bars that aren’t adapting to the change.

If you can go back and do something different as far as JEY Group goes what would it be?

MF: I don’t think there would be anything I would change specifically. We built 10 venues in 6 yrs so the formula seems good.

You guys plan on opening a full on nightclub at all any time soon?

MF: This is something we’ve always talked about since I came from the nightlife side of things. But to answer your question the answer is NO. In my humble opinion “Nightclubs” are dead and the model is broken. Unless your in Miami, Vegas or New York there’s no place in local markets for big nightclubs. The Millennial consumer is looking for a different type of Entertainment experience. They are more interested in food, craft cocktails, a place to converse and dance all in one. That is why at JEY we incorporate a bit of nightclub in all our bars and restaurants.

When you pulling trigger on something outside of Florida? I think is about that time to take these brands to national level.

MF: We talk about this everyday; I think we are really, really close to making this happen. I have already turned down many opportunities outside of the state in the past few years. The reason being is you have to have the best systems and team to make it work. I think we are at the point that it’s going to happen very soon. Oh and capital! You can always use more capital. Managing a business hundreds or thousands of miles away is not easy. But I can tell you it’s going to happen soon… very soon… Can someone say Vegas? Lol

Any advice for up and coming young go getters that want to get in to this industry?

MF: The only advice I can give is to listen to your gut and be prepared to work your ass off. If I listened to everyone I wouldn’t be where I am at today. For example everyone told me opening a gourmet burger bar and whiskey joint in the middle of the recession was one of the stupidest things they’ve heard of. Fast forward 6yrs and that stupid ideas was ROK BRGR with 4 locations, 2 more on deck and plans for a national expansion. So stay focus and don’t let anyone tell you NO and don’t ever give up.

What’s your go to drink when you’re out and about?

MF: I am a cocktail type of guy not beer. I like Old Fashions and classic drinks. I like mine with RYE, preferably HIGH WEST. If it’s a simple joint I drink Kettle and soda 2 lemons.

Your wildest night out EVER Vegas, Colombian, Mexico etc lol the more details the better.

MF: A gentlemen never tells! But I can say there has been many wild nights. (Bad answer Marc lol – JC/iRP)

What are your top to go to and hang out spots?

MF: These days I do more restaurants and bars then clubs. My spots are usually the places where I chill. But if I venture out it usually is Miami and 95% of the time I end up at my pops place Primos Italian Kitchen.

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What’s next for JEY group in 2017?

MF: We are currently expanding the ROK BRGR brand and TACOCRAFT brands throughout Florida. We open ROK BRGR Delray Beach in 1 weeks and have plans for the Grove and Downtown Doral. We also have a some new concepts we are working on. Stay tuned!

Your thoughts on iRockParties.Com?

MF: My thoughts are keep doing what you’re doing! iRockParties.Com is the best of the best.

Thank you for taking the time out to chat with us buddy!

MF: Anytime my friend!

Well deserved guys keep killing it and like we always say “Keep Rocking the Parties” – iRP

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