The quest for brunch has never been more delicious. Jeremy Jacobowitz, President of The Brunch Boys, spends his days scouring every nook and cranny of NYC in search of the perfect brunch. And his adventures have uncovered delicious results. Jeremy’s roots are firmly planted in food and media, from early days as a production assistant to Bobby Flay to producing various food competition, food travel, and cooking shows for Food Network, Cooking Channel, FYI, and more. For the last year and a half, Jeremy has been running Brunch Boys full time.
We sat down with the Head Brunch Boy to talk about what it’s like being one of the most popular food bloggers on Instagram, what it’s like starting a “food review” brand in today’s market, and why brunch is so darn good.
The Cattle Call
Tell us a little about how you launched Brunch Boys. How did things get started? And why the focus on brunch specifically?
I started Brunch Boys three years ago because I wanted a creative outlet for myself when I had time between TV shows. It started as a way for me to make a couple of brunch videos, and wasn’t every supposed to be a “food Instagram” Those things didn’t exist three years ago. I started the account because I wanted to “own” the name on all social platforms, that was really it. I chose brunch for two reasons; one, I do really love brunch, and two, I always want to try and stand out with what I do, and saw that everyone loves brunch but there wasn’t a lot out there dedicated to it.
With so many “Instafoodies” and food bloggers out there, how have you managed to keep Brunch Boys at the top of what is a highly saturated market?
Being one of the first certainly helps, but I really think it’s about creating engaging content, and I certainly use my TV background to do that. I am also always looking to improve what i do, whether that’s taking an online photography class, reading as much as I can, or upgrading my equipment. I think the videos have really made a difference too. Producing food videos is what I did forever, so I have an advantage there.
Walk us through your approach to food and restaurant reviews. What do you look for in a restaurant? What standards do you set for each location/cuisine?
My job is to put up the best photos and videos, so the first thing I do is look at the pictures of the food at the restaurant. I don’t want to see the perfect shots that are on the website, I want to see what it really looks like, so I will look at the geotag on Instagram to see what everyone else is posting there. Then it’s a mix of what kind of food I really want to eat, and what I think my audience would like. I do try and keep things “brunchy” but more than just staying on brand, that’s the food I like to eat.
Brunch Boys has gone beyond just a food blog to fully-fledged media company. To what do you attribute the success of the Brunch Boys brand? How has this growth changed your approach to food media opportunities, if at all?
The goal with Brunch Boys wasn’t to be a food Instagram, those didn’t even exist when I started the account, the goal was to have an outlet to produce food content. So being a media company was always the goal, I just honestly never thought I’d have an audience watching! I think that a lot of it was luck, I started early, I got a great name, and I picked brunch, which everyone loves! But its also the content; look at my account and look at the other thousand food accounts out there, and I think it makes sense why there aren’t that many accounts with more followers than me.
Are there any other “Brunch Boys”? What is it like being a one-man media company (at least publicly)? How does that affect the way Brunch Boys operates?
I am pretty much the only Brunch Boy. I have a manager that helps on the business side of things, I have amazing friends that help me here and there on a number of different things, and I have had interns in the past, but its pretty much a one man band. It’s certainly a challenge to do everything, it’s not just an Instagram, but a full blown company, and a full blown website. The goal would be eventually have a real team to take some of the responsibilities off my back, but we aren’t there yet.
Brunch Boys has partnered with several big-name brands since its inception. What is it like working with big brands in the food review space? Tell us a little bit about that process: the struggles and successes.
I think it’s really cool working with big brands! They look at Brunch Boys and see a young, and super engaged audience, and they use us to reach them in new ways. I think it’s fun because with all sponsored content its really about creating a balance of what the brand wants to get across in their message, and making sure that what I post fits within the Brunch Boys content. I think when the brands really let me dictate the best way to do that, it makes a much bigger impact. Engagement is always higher on posts that seem more organic, so the struggle is always finding the balance with that.
There are plenty of restaurants that hinge on the reviews of food bloggers. Does that make your job more difficult, knowing a bad review could have a potentially devastating impact?
I am very open in that I don’t “review” restaurants, I only highlight places. Almost all food I post is a comp from a restaurant, so ethically I could never give them a proper review, and I think there are enough places to read reviews, I just want want to be positive!
We have to ask: What was it like being named one of NYC’s 20 Most Eligible Bachelors in 2016 by Guest of a Guest? Did it affect the business of Brunch Boys at all?
As much as Brunch Boys has become a brand, it’s still very much me, so I think any way for me to personally get myself out there, the better it is for Brunch Boys. The day the article came out was the most traffic I’ve ever had on our website!
Are there any big plans for Brunch Boys on the horizon?
I’m always thinking big, so I certainly hope so! I think staying on brand with “brunch” but moving slightly away from just food, is the next step. I have an audience that has more interests than just food, so more travel opportunities, more lifestyle opportunities, more of everything is the goal.
What is the most important thing you learned over the years with Brunch Boys that you wish you’d known when you started the brand?
I think it’s learning how to delegate. Brunch Boys is still a very personal thing, but there is a limit to how much I can do myself. Even finding a manager was something I wasn’t sure about, since it is someone else representing Brunch Boys, but even just doing that has made a huge difference in how we operate. So I hope to continue to find good people to take on other roles within Brunch Boys.
What advice would you give to aspiring food bloggers looking to get their starts in the business?
Before anything else, worry about content. If your only concern is making money, or getting free stuff, you aren’t going to succeed. Concentrate on creating engaging and unique content, and the audience, and the money will come.
Fun Burger Questions
What is your favorite Burger from childhood?
I grew up in Westchester, New York; and my absolute favorite Burger came from this place Horsefeathers in Tarrytown.
What is the last Burger you ate?
I’m currently in Telluride, Colorado, traveling; and last night I had the Burger from this steakhouse, The New Sheridan Chophouse.
What Burger have you not had that you want to try?
I know I’m going to get crap for this, but I still have never been to Minetta Tavern! So I definitely want to get that one!
If you could share a Burger with anyone—alive or dead, real or fictional—who would it be?
Drake! My Jewish hero!
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