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Innovative Dining Group
Lee Maen discusses Delphine Brasserie, W Hollywood's signature restaurant
Lee Maen, a founding member of Innovative Dining Group, has been instrumental in building and expanding the company. Entrepreneurism is also in his blood. “My dad was a serial entrepreneur,” he explains. “He was successful at developing things from scratch, so I learned by example early on you could do it yourself.”
A native of Los Angeles, Maen earned his undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, and, after graduation, entered the real estate market as a commercial real estate broker. During that time, he entered the MBA program at UCLA’s Anderson School, and, while still a student, founded the Gem Bar & Lounge, one of Hollywood’s most popular nightspots—a career move that was jump started by a seemingly innocuous event. “I decided to throw a party at a nightclub for the thrill of it,” Maen recalls,” and it turned into a career.” Maen was intimately involved in all aspects of the Gem, including design and development, financing, marketing and promotions, and other day-to-day operational responsibilities.
After earning his M.B.A. in 1996, Maen, along with his three business partners, developed the first Sushi Roku, an instant commercial and critical success. Since then, Along with partners Philip Cummins and Craig Katz, Maen is involved with day-to-day operations of all IDG concepts and ensuring the integrity, high standards, and overall dining excellence for which each is known. In particular, Maen is particularly hands-on with scouting new locations, raising money for new ventures, and the design of each IDG venue. Additionally, he oversees marketing and public relations and works closely with management and staff at each restaurant.
Maen regularly speaks at USC AND UCLA about his work and the restaurant business, and has sat on numerous panels at a variety of hospitality industry events, including the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. He is married and lives with his wife Jeanne in Beverly Hills.