Class Year: 2008
College: College of Arts and Sciences
Major: Communication Studies
A shared love of food proved to be a saving grace for Tanya Kropinicki, AS’08, and two of her co-workers when company downsizing resulted the elimination of their positions.
“It first started as a joke,” said Kropinicki, who had worked in her company’s marketing department after graduating with a degree in Communication Studies. “None of us had any experience in the restaurant industry except for cooking and waitressing. But we did some research, looking into what it would take. It was always a ‘what-if’ kind of thing. Then ‘what-if’ happened.”
Much of the research Kropinicki and her friends conducted centered on exclusivity: what food could they provide that wasn’t available anywhere else?
“I spent every summer in Europe and I really took interest in different types of foods. Frites stands – French fries stands – in Europe are just like hot dog stands in New York – they’re all over the place. I got to thinking that there aren’t any restaurants specializing in frites around Boston. In fact, when we started looking into it, we realized that the closest frites stand was actually in New York City. We were really surprised by that.
“But we also realized this was a great opportunity to be the first in the marketplace.”
Kropinicki and her partners found an ideal location in the area of Faneuil Hall and, after nearly a year of permit delays, Saus opened its doors in March 2011 and has been a huge hit for both the afternoon lunch and late-night crowds. Recently, Saus expanded its menu, adding sandwiches and salads to the frites and Belgian waffles that have drawn raves.
“We’ve adjusted concepts and themes and talked to customers about what they like,” Kropinicki said. “We wanted to add diversity to what we were serving and have some healthy alternatives.”
As any restaurant owner can attest, the hours are long and the work seemingly endless, but Kropinicki wouldn’t have it any other way. She’s her own boss – and she hasn’t had to pay a dime for marketing.
“I loved Northeastern, and the co-op program played a huge role in my decision to go there,” Kropinicki said. “I learned a lot on my co-ops and met a ton of people. And all that I learned in public relations has come in pretty handy for us.
”I made some many invaluable contacts through co-op, contacts that have been very important to our success at Saus.”
Things are going so well that, Kropinicki and her partners are pondering opening another shop in a “college-type town.”
“We’re just happy it’s gone as well as it has,” Kropinicki said. “The restaurant industry is tough to break into, but we did a lot of research and you have a better chance for success when you focus on something not many other restaurants are offering.
“And it sure beats an office job.”
For more information on Tanya and her restaurant, visit the Saus website