IMI Agency and in the Mix Remember the Life of
December 24, 1957 – April 19, 2023
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear colleague and friend, Joel Feigenheimer, PhD. Joel, 65, passed away on April 19, 2023.
IMI Agency developed a long-lasting friendship working with Joel throughout his professional career. As an industry executive, Dr. Feigenheimer brought instrumental performance, passion, and innovation to all that he pursued and accomplished during his time in the Hospitality arena.
Joel Feigenheimer’s professional background in the hospitality industry included working with people as a manager, owner, and strategist of restaurants and related organizations for over 30 years. His skills in customer service and leadership, as well as his industry knowledge, allowed him to successfully navigate the restaurant industry in a number of different roles.
Joel graduated from the State University of New York Delhi in 1977 with his A.A.S. in Nutrition and Restaurant Management. His passion for hospitality continued after he earned his B.S. in Restaurant Management from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1979. Immediately following his graduation, he took a position as Assistant Manager at Houlihan’s Old Place. After quickly progressing through the managing ranks, Joel eventually opened a major location in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1981, he moved on to TGI Friday’s, Inc., transforming struggling locations into profitable ones and earning the company’s highest distinction, the Presidential Gold Star.
In 1983, Joel became the owner of The Cranberry Bog, an upscale establishment specializing in seafood and prime beef. Due to his experience as a restaurateur, The Cranberry Bog became a critical hit when it opened; his role in developing the menu and training the staff ensured a superior dining experience. Over time, Joel expanded the restaurant to encompass Bog Events, a catering service with the capacity to serve 4,000 people. The company brought its recipes and menus to perform white-glove catering occasions at country clubs and events such as the Professional Golfers’ Association’s charity Skins Game. After an 18-year career with the restaurant, Joel transitioned into purchasing for China Grill Management, where he acted as the principal purchaser for over 25 restaurants. After he joined the company in 2002, Joel developed the purchasing department, his efforts were responsible for almost $30 million of annual purchases.
While working full-time at China Grill Management, Joel taught as an adjunct at Florida International University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, earned his MBA and then his PhD in Business. He also acted as an advisory board member of The American Fine Wine Competition and operated a successful consulting firm which focused on hospitality operations.
Larry McGinn, President of IMI Agency, commented “IMI and I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Joel for the greater part of his work journey, starting with China Grill. Whether we were working on partner relations, beverage program specifications, distributor pricing issues/opportunities or LTOs and special VIP beverage activations…every minute spent with Joel was filled with education, perspective, and dedication to his craft. When Joel had a few minutes, he jumped in to assist Shari in making sure that her wine tasting events were best-in-class.
The true love of his work life was teaching and his time with the F&B Department at FIU. Joel invited me to appear as a guest lecturer on the ins and outs of beverage alcohol trade practice permissibility. That experience and the bewilderment on the faces of Joel’s students (never having been exposed to this subject) during that hour ignited a spark within me to someday share the knowledge and experience through education. Joel was a class act, and we will miss him!”
Don Billings, Publisher, in the Mix, also shared, “I can only say that chance made us colleagues, laughter made us friends.
I once read a poem written in Hebrew called “There are Stars” and the first few lines read: