Michael Baru

Food & Beverage

Michael Baru provides operational and concept guidance to KHL Retail’s food and beverage/hospitality clients. Michael is a 15-year veteran of the food and hospitality industry with experience ranging from restaurant concept development and operations, consumer products, branding and food media.  His expertise is in creating branded restaurant experiences from concept creation and financial feasibility, to operational execution and marketing know-how.

Prior to his work with KHL Retail, Michael was part of the opening management team of Porchlight, the first bar concept opened by Union Square Hospitality Group, recently recognized by Esquire as one of the “Best Bars in America”. Prior to his tenure at USHG, Michael spent over 9 years at Food Network, working on several different initiatives for the media brand. As a Director in the New Business Development team, he was charged with developing the company’s first-ever branded restaurants, Food Network Kitchen. As lead, he oversaw concept development, financial modeling, concept design, operationalstandards, business growth strategy, contract negotiations and marketing support. Within 4 years, the business grew to over 25 locations with gross sales of more than $14.0 million; Food Network Kitchen was recognized as a top-10 brand extension of the year by AdWeek. Michael’s concept development experience at Food Network also includes work with Disney, the New York Yankees and Union Square Hospitality Group.Michael has also worked in operations management for brands such as Starr Restaurant Group in Philadelphia, and Crafted Hospitality (Craft and ‘Wichcraft) in New York.

Michael is a graduate of Colby College in Waterville, Maine and received his Masters of Management in Hospitality with a focus on Restaurant Development & Operations from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.