CO-FOUNDER, CARBONATE + FOUNDER, AF&CO.
Named as one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, Andrew brings a combination of experience, passion and creativity to every endeavor. Andrew is a New Jersey native with a Marketing Degree from Montclair State University. He learned the restaurant business by working through the ranks at several legendary New York venues including Windows on the World, the Russian Tea Room and the Rainbow Room. Andrew was Vice President of Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants for 10 years, helping to launch over 40 hotels and restaurants as well as the global brand. In 2005 Andrew launched his own agency, af&co., and with his amazing team of professionals, the agency has developed and launched concepts, created unique culinary events, provided ongoing marketing, public relations and operations consulting for over 300 restaurants and hotels. In 2019, Andrew co-founded Carbonate to offer expanded creative strategy and brand communications services. Andrew is a contributor to numerous industry magazines and blogs and guest speaker at industry conferences both in the USA and internationally. The af&co./Carbonate annual trend report is highly regarded and has garnered tremendous worldwide coverage.
CO-FOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR
A brand strategist with over 15 years of experience, Candace has worked for a range of clients from large corporations to multi-concept operators to Silicon Valley start-ups. Prior to launching Carbonate, Candace was Managing Director of Consulting Services at af&co., one of the country’s leading hospitality consulting firms. In this role, she led a team in creating, launching and refining brand identities for over 40 different restaurants and culinary experiences. Her team authored the publication of af&co.’s highly regarded annual hospitality trend report. With experience across a wide range of channels, Candace is a results oriented marketer, experienced at translating creative vision into communications programs that build brands and generate revenue. Candace holds a B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University and an M.S in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University’s Medill School.
DIRECTOR OF CREATIVE SERVICES
A strategic creative director with over a decade of hospitality expertise, Kyle has developed and managed brands for over 30 clients from independent restaurants to luxury hotels and food technology companies. He has worked with branding agencies, design firms and
in-house teams to refine existing brands and bring new ones from concept to launch. Prior to joining Carbonate, Kyle spent four years at af&co., as Associate Director of Consulting Services, leading a wide range of creative projects including visual identity development, menu design, collateral development, naming, concept strategy and more. Kyle also worked as a Jr. Designer at Busta Studio, an interior design firm in NY. Kyle has had a lifelong attraction to food and hospitality, one that began in his grandmother’s kitchen and continued through college at the University of Vermont. After graduating with B.A. in Art & Sociology, Kyle operated wilderness-adventure tours in Alaska before returning home to NY to launch a gourmet prepared foods market and roadside-burger bar.
Bringing with her unique experience at the intersection of culinary arts and brand strategy, Katie is passionate about finding creative solutions for clients. After launching award-winning advertising campaigns for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Katie returned to her home state of Maryland where she graduated first in class from culinary school at L’Academie de Cuisine. Leading the line at the Michelin-starred Blue Duck Tavern, Katie was later tapped by acclaimed Chef Fabio Trabocchi for the opening of Fiola Mare. Prior to joining Carbonate, she spent four years at af&co. where she worked on a range of hospitality clients and led the development of the annual trend report. She also helped develop the concept as opening executive sous chef for Stomping Ground, a fast-casual restaurant in Alexandria, VA. She graduated with a B.A. in journalism and strategic communication from the University of Wisconsin–Madison but skipped her graduation ceremony because it conflicted with the local Saturday morning farmers’ market.
Perhaps not a surprise given that one could argue she was named after a restaurant, Leith entered the culinary realm upon graduating Cornell University and spent the next five years in restaurant kitchens in the US and Europe, picking up a Culinary Arts degree along the way. She joined af&co. as the fourth employee where she managed many notable restaurant accounts and orchestrated a number of opening PR programs before departing for Italy, where she lived for six years, managing marketing for a luxury real estate agent in Chianti, helping open and run an airbnb in Florence and leading private food & wine tours. With over 15 years in the
eno-gastronomic industry Leith is thrilled to be a part of Carbonate and combine her love of food and wine with a
strategic business sense.
GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PRODUCTION MANAGER
Since graduating college with her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts as her university’s Designer of the Year, Hannah has worked in various realms of the art and design world. From agencies to freelance to teaching as an adjunct professor, she has worked to garner a portfolio that is as diverse as her favorite cuisines. She has been fortunate enough to have designed for megaliths like BP and Bacardi but has a soft spot for the mom-and-pops and the local up-and-comers. Hannah first flirted with the idea of working in the hospitality and design realm as Creative Director for a restaurant in the Chicagoland area. It was there that she whet her appetite for hospitality design, menu layout, and product sourcing. Since then, she’s loved any opportunity to provide a company with a visual language through which to communicate. Hannah continues to be enraptured by the constant evolution of both food and design trends and feels fortunate to be able to exercise both in her work at Carbonate.