• Scaling Surcheros: Luke Christian's Journey from Farm to Fast Casual Success

    4 ABR. 2024 · Welcome to Surcheros' Story We Dive into Tex-Mex Evolution In this inspiring episode of Fast Casual Nation, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Luke Christian, the visionary founder and CEO of https://www.surcheros.com/. Our conversation unfolded the remarkable journey of Surcheros from its humble beginnings to becoming a cornerstone of the fast-casual Tex-Mex industry. Rooted in Resilience: The Birth of SurcherosLuke Christian's Transformational Journey Luke's path from intending to take over his family's farm to founding Surcheros is nothing short of inspirational. His transition through various roles in the food industry, coupled with a passion for quality and community, led to the creation of Surcheros—a testament to Southern hospitality and fresh, friendly Tex-Mex.Strategic Growth and Community FocusExpanding Surcheros with Purpose A significant part of our discussion centered on the strategic growth of Surcheros, including its thoughtful rebranding and expansion efforts. Luke shared how embracing community feedback and focusing on college towns propelled Surcheros into the hearts of many, highlighting the brand's commitment to becoming a local favorite. Quality and Consistency: The Core of SurcherosMaintaining the Surcheros Experience As Surcheros continues to grow, Luke underscored the importance of maintaining quality and consistency across all locations. He spoke about the balance between expansion and staying true to the brand's roots, ensuring that each Surcheros restaurant serves not just meals, but experiences enriched with the brand's signature hospitality. Empowering Aspiring EntrepreneursLuke Christian’s Nuggets of Wisdom Luke's journey offers invaluable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially in the fast-casual sector. He shared his advice on the importance of passion, commitment, and building a strong support system, highlighting the integral role of resilience and vision in navigating the complexities of entrepreneurship. https://substackcdn.com/image/fetch/f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fsubstack-post-media.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F7df9a895-cc92-41de-88dc-3109a4f2d665_5509x3443.jpeg The Future of SurcherosA Vision for Innovation and Expansion Looking ahead, Luke expressed excitement about Surcheros' future, aiming for 100 locations in the next five years while balancing innovation with the brand’s core values. This vision for growth, grounded in community and quality, sets Surcheros on a path to redefine fast-casual dining.Reflecting on a Fast-Casual Phenomenon Luke Christian's Enduring Impact on Fast Casual Our conversation left me inspired by Luke Christian's dedication to his vision for Surcheros. His story is a powerful reminder of how passion, resilience, and a deep connection to community can shape the future of fast-casual dining. As Surcheros embarks on its next chapter, it remains a brand deeply rooted in delivering quality Tex-Mex with a smile, proving that good food and genuine hospitality never go out of style.For those intrigued by Surcheros' journey and eager to taste the experience firsthand, I encourage you to visit their locations and follow their growth on https://www.instagram.com/surcheros/. This episode of Fast Casual Nation once again shines a light on the innovative and inspiring stories that are reshaping our food industry. https://substackcdn.com/image/fetch/f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fsubstack-post-media.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F37a3e9ad-f086-4388-ac84-9ad93f11d52e_728x100.png Key Takeaways - Community-Centric Growth Strategy: One of the most compelling takeaways from Luke Christian's journey with Surcheros is the power of a community-centric growth strategy. By focusing on underserved markets, particularly college towns, and actively engaging with local communities through sponsorships and support, Surcheros has not only cultivated brand loyalty but also fueled its expansion. This approach demonstrates that understanding and serving the community's needs can be a significant growth lever for fast-casual brands, offering a blueprint for building a loyal customer base that feels connected to the brand beyond the dining experience. - Importance of Maintaining Quality and Consistency During Expansion: As Surcheros scales, a key focus has been maintaining the quality and consistency of its offering across all locations. Luke Christian’s strategy involves systematizing processes, from creating spice blends to streamline preparation to investing in training platforms like Fresh Academy. This emphasis on consistency ensures that customers have the same high-quality experience at any Surcheros location, underscoring the critical balance between growth and operational excellence. For industry professionals, this highlights the necessity of investing in systems and processes that safeguard brand standards during rapid expansion. - Leveraging Founder’s Story and Authenticity for Brand Differentiation: Luke Christian’s transition from farming to founding a fast-casual brand is not just a personal journey; it's a core part of Surcheros' brand identity, imbuing the brand with authenticity and a unique narrative. This story of resilience, community, and commitment to quality resonates with customers and sets Surcheros apart in a crowded market. For industry professionals, it underlines the value of leveraging the founder's story and brand authenticity as powerful tools for differentiation and emotional connection with the audience, enhancing brand loyalty and customer engagement. https://www.savor.fm/t/fast-casual-nationhttps://www.savor.fm/t/fast-casual-nation Join us next time on https://www.savor.fm/t/fast-casual-nation for more inspiring stories and insights from the forefront of the fast-casual sector. You're sure to find the motivation and ideas you need to excel in this dynamic industry. Thank you for reading Savor.fm. This post is public so feel free to share it. https://www.spreaker.com/cms/episodes/59264867/edit/%%share_url%%
    34m 29s
  • Pincho: Reviving Consumer Sentiment in Fast Casual Dining

    4 ENE. 2024 · In this episode of Fast Casual Nation, Paul Barron dives into Pincho's incredible journey. This South Florida restaurant brand spearheaded the remarkable resurgence of consumer sentiment in the fast casual dining sector in 2023. Join us as we sit down with Pincho's CEO, Otto Othman, to unravel the secrets behind their success and explore the pivotal role of hospitality and order accuracy in shaping customer sentiment. Podcast Rundown - Pincho Updates - Consumer Sentiment and Why It Matters - Review the latest updates from Pincho - What technology works - Why is the restaurant industry dropping in service Visit http://www.savor.fmfor more podcasts https://www.savor.fm/s/restaurant-power-index
    36m 50s
  • The Power Of The Micro-Influencer on Restaurant Brands - Are you being left behind?

    14 DIC. 2023 · The Power of Micro-Influencer Marketing: Benefits and Predictions In today's Fast Casual Nation Podcast, we talk with Nekter Juice Bar and their innovative strategies around next gen marketing. Staying ahead of the curve is essential. One strategy that has been gaining traction, especially in Technology-forward media and related industries, is micro-influencer marketing. This approach leverages individuals with smaller but highly engaged social media followings to promote products, services, or ideas. In this blog post, we'll explore the key benefits of micro-influencer marketing and provide some predictions based on historical analysis. Benefits of Micro-Influencer Marketing Authenticity: Micro-influencers are known for their authentic and relatable personas. Their endorsements often come across as genuine, which can significantly impact their audience's trust in your brand or message. Targeted Audiences: Micro-influencers tend to have niche-focused audiences. When collaborating with them, you can precisely target the demographic or market segment that matters most to your industry or product. Cost-Effective: Micro-influencer collaborations are usually more budget-friendly than macro-influencers or traditional advertising methods. This makes it an attractive option, especially for businesses looking for cost-effective marketing strategies. High Engagement: One of the standout features of micro-influencers is their ability to engage deeply with their audience. With a smaller following, they can interact on a more personal level, leading to higher conversion rates and better engagement metrics. Diverse Content: Micro-influencers are versatile. They can provide a variety of content types, including reviews, tutorials, or unboxing videos tailored to your brand's unique needs. Improved ROI: Thanks to lower costs and higher engagement rates, micro-influencer campaigns often yield a better return on investment for brands. Scalability: Micro influencer marketing is highly scalable. You can collaborate with multiple micro-influencers simultaneously, allowing you to reach a broader audience and have a more significant impact on your marketing efforts. Predictions for Micro-Influencer Marketing Continued Growth: The trend of micro influencer marketing shows no signs of slowing down. Brands are increasingly recognizing its effectiveness in reaching niche audiences and are likely to continue investing in it. Industry-Specific Campaigns: In the future, expect to see more brands collaborating with micro influencers who specialize in specific industries. This approach allows brands to tap into highly targeted and niche markets. Enhanced Analytics: As the industry matures, advanced tools and analytics will emerge to provide better measurement of the impact of micro influencer campaigns, offering brands deeper insights into their marketing efforts. Regulatory Changes: With the growth of micro influencer marketing, there may be regulatory changes to ensure transparency and ethical practices within the industry. Greater Integration with Web3 and Blockchain: As blockchain and web3 technologies continue to evolve, micro influencer marketing may integrate these innovations to enhance security and transparency in influencer collaborations. AI-Powered Matching: Artificial intelligence will play a significant role in matching brands with the most suitable micro influencers for their campaigns, streamlining the collaboration process. Increased Competition: With the increasing popularity of micro influencer marketing, competition among brands to collaborate with top micro influencers is expected to intensify. Brands will need to employ innovative strategies to stand out in a crowded market.
    35m 31s
  • Revolutionizing the Cookie Game with Dirty Dough and Bennett Maxwell

    13 NOV. 2023 · In this deep-dive conversation on Fast Casual Nation, I speak with Bennett Maxwell, the visionary founder of https://dirtydoughcookies.com/, and discuss his groundbreaking strategies that are transforming the franchising world. A Sweet Journey from Solar to Cookies First off, who is Bennett Maxwell? He's a multifaceted entrepreneur, not your average cookie-cutter businessman. Starting from real estate in Utah to co-founding a renewable energy firm, Switch to Solar, Maxwell's journey has been as diverse as it gets. But the real twist came when he dipped his hands into the cookie jar, founding Dirty Dough Cookies in Tempe, Arizona. Rapid Expansion: Dirty Dough’s Delicious Growth Dirty Dough isn't just another cookie retailer. This summer and fall, they've been on a cookie conquest, opening dozens of locations nationwide. Their growth trajectory is nothing short of impressive. Imagine, over 40 locations and counting! And guess what? There's more in the oven, with new markets and exciting developments on the horizon. The Utah Cookie Wars: A Sweet Victory You might have heard about the Utah Cookie Wars. As a startup, Dirty Dough found itself in a legal spat with Crumbl Cookies, but they turned this challenge into a triumph. How? By leveraging the situation into a growth opportunity. With the hashtag #UtahCookieWars and witty billboard ads, Dirty Dough transformed a potential setback into a pipeline for loyalty, communication, and brand exposure. From Negatives to Positives: Mastering Social Media and Marketing Bennett's strategy during the Cookie Wars was ingenious. He used humor and smart marketing to flip the script, creating a buzz on social media that propelled Dirty Dough into the spotlight. This approach not only garnered public support but also cemented Dirty Dough's position as a bold, innovative player in the fast-casual space. More Than Just Cookies: Paving the Way for Mental Wellness But Bennett's vision extends beyond cookies. With the Cookie Wars behind them, Dirty Dough is focusing on impactful initiatives like mobile franchise opportunities and community mental health programs. They’ve even founded a nonprofit to bolster their commitment to mental wellness in the communities they serve. The Mobile Franchise Revolution Let's talk about their mobile https://dirtydoughcookies.com/franchising/ initiative. It's about making entrepreneurship accessible, offering a lower-cost, high-margin alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar setups. This approach aligns perfectly with their mission – empowering individuals and lowering the barrier to business ownership. A Recipe for Success So, what can we learn from Bennett Maxwell and Dirty Dough? It’s simple: Innovation is key. Whether it's handling legal challenges with a pinch of humor and a lot of smart marketing, or expanding the franchise model to include mobile operations, Dirty Dough is setting a new standard in the industry. Looking Ahead: The Future of Dirty Dough What's next for Dirty Dough? They're not just resting on their laurels. With plans to introduce new products and deepen their community impact, the future looks deliciously promising. Why This Matters to Us As industry insiders, we know that staying ahead of the curve is crucial. Dirty Dough's journey is a masterclass in innovation, resilience, and social responsibility. It’s not just about serving cookies; it’s about serving the community and making a difference. So, let’s take a leaf out of Bennett Maxwell’s book. Let’s innovate, inspire, and impact. And maybe, just maybe, find our own version of a cookie revolution. Wanna know more about Dirty Dough and their journey? Head over to https://dirtydoughcookies.com/ and get a taste of innovation and success. Let’s bake a difference, one cookie at a time! Catch you next time, as we continue to explore the exciting world of fast-casual dining and the innovators who are baking up a storm.
    28m 16s
  • The Best Cities for Fast Casual Brands

    10 NOV. 2023 · Fast-casual dining has become a staple of the modern dining experience, offering a perfect blend of convenience and quality. As the food industry continues to evolve, certain cities are emerging as hotspots for fast casual brands. Covering this sector since 1996 has given me a unique insight to emerging and rebirth markets - today will explore five cities that stand out as ideal locations for fast casual restaurants: We'll delve into the unique factors that make these cities promising for fast casual brands and provide predictions based on historical analysis.Austin - Where Tech Meets Culinary Curiosity: Austin, Texas, has gained a reputation as a tech hub, attracting a growing population of tech-savvy individuals. This influx of young professionals is accompanied by rising wages, particularly in the 25-34 age group. Austin's tech scene is not just about coding and algorithms; it's also about culinary curiosity.Key Factors for Fast Casual Success in Austin: - Growing Tech Population: Austin's tech boom means a steady flow of young, affluent professionals who seek convenient yet high-quality dining options. - Rising Wages: With rising wages in the 25-34 demographic, residents have more disposable income to spend on dining out. - Culinary Curiosity: Austin is known for its vibrant food culture, making it a perfect playground for innovative fast casual concepts that cater to foodies looking for unique flavors. Prediction: Key growth will depend on how the upstart brands manage a demanding new set of consumers in the area of customer service, as Austin is one city with the fastest declining sentiment on service from restaurants.Fort Lauderdale - Gen X's Fast Casual Paradise: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is experiencing rapid growth, especially among high-income Gen X individuals. This demographic segment has a deep appreciation for fast casual restaurants that offer quality meals with speed and convenience.Key Factors for Fast Casual Success in Fort Lauderdale: - Fast-Growing Gen X Population: Gen Xers are increasingly choosing Fort Lauderdale as their home, bringing their purchasing power and a preference for fast casual dining. - Love for Fast Casual: The Gen X cohort values quick, delicious meals without compromising quality, making them ideal customers for fast casual brands. Add this with recent growth in brands coming to the Fort Lauderdale markets. - Tourist-Friendly City: Fort Lauderdale's status as a popular tourist destination provides an additional customer base for fast casual restaurants. Prediction: Fast casual restaurants in Fort Lauderdale are poised for success, as they cater to a rapidly growing Gen X demographic and appeal to both residents and tourists.Dallas - The Sleeper in Fast Growth Sectors: Dallas, Texas, may not always be the first city that comes to mind when thinking about fast casual dining, but it's quietly becoming a hotspot. The city's rapid growth sectors in finance and medicine are driving a growing demographic of fast casual food consumption.Key Factors for Fast Casual Success in Dallas: - Growing Sectors: Dallas boasts a thriving finance and medical sector, attracting professionals with busy schedules who value convenient dining options. - Expanding Demographic: The increasing number of white-collar workers in Dallas translates to a more extensive customer base for fast casual brands. - Diversity of Palates: Dallas is home to a diverse population with varying culinary preferences, making it a fertile ground for fast casual restaurants offering various cuisines. Prediction: Dallas is a sleeper city that's gradually emerging as a fast casual haven, thanks to its growing sectors and diverse dining scene. One this to watch for are a few key brands in Dallas to breakout as rising stars - East Hampton Sandwich Co. and Velvet Taco. Special Mentions: Raleigh, North Carolina - The Upstart Hub for Fast Casual: Raleigh is making its mark on the fast casual dining scene with an expanding offering of upstart brands competing against traditional casual dining concepts. The city's entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness of residents to embrace new culinary experiences make it a promising location for fast casual restaurants. Salt Lake City, Utah - Population Growth and Entrepreneurial Energy: Salt Lake City is experiencing population growth and boasts a new upstart entrepreneur class creating new jobs. This growth, combined with a diverse and dynamic dining scene, provides a solid foundation for fast casual brands to thrive. In the ever-evolving world of fast casual dining, selecting the right location is crucial for success. Austin, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, Raleigh, and Salt Lake City each offer distinct advantages for fast casual brands, from tech-driven culinary curiosity to a love for convenience and fast growth sectors. Based on historical analysis, these cities are poised to be the best places for fast casual brands to thrive in the future, providing exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs and restaurant enthusiasts alike.
    16m 2s
  • Building a Segment Leader: Alessandro Biggi on Avo’s Rise in the Fast Casual

    5 NOV. 2023 · Welcome to another insightful episode of Fast Casual Nation Podcast, where we uncover the latest and greatest in the fast-casual sector of the food industry. Today, we're diving into a story of innovation, health, and the entrepreneurial spirit with Alessandro Biggi, founder of Avo.The Genesis of Avo – A Health-Focused Culinary Delight In our conversation, Alessandro shares the fascinating evolution of https://www.avocaderia.com/. Starting as the first avocado bar in 2017, Avo has now transformed into a top destination for New Yorkers craving healthy, satisfying bowls and salads. The Italian Influence and a Commitment to Quality Alessandro's Italian heritage profoundly influences Avo's culinary approach. He emphasizes creating dishes that are not only healthy but also deeply satisfying. "We're both Italian and we're used to having access to healthy food... eating is a pleasure. So why not make healthy food a pleasure?" he remarks. This philosophy is evident in Avo's carefully crafted menu, balancing nutrition with irresistible flavors. https://substackcdn.com/image/fetch/f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fsubstack-post-media.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F615fe45c-636e-40cf-8752-553a1bb94798_6094x4063.jpegTechnology and Innovation in Restaurant Management Avo’s success is also rooted in its tech-savvy approach. Alessandro, with his tech background, has seamlessly integrated technology across Avo's operations. "We use technology at 360 degrees across every aspect of the restaurant," he states. From online ordering and loyalty programs to sophisticated CRM systems, Avo sets a benchmark in using technology to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency.The Shark Tank Experience and Growth Strategy Alessandro recounts their thrilling experience on "Shark Tank," where they initially agreed to a deal but later chose independence to maintain control over their vision. This decision highlights their long-term approach and belief in their unique concept. Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing – Core Values at Avo Sustainability isn't just a buzzword at Avo; it's a way of life. Alessandro explains, "All our packaging is compostable... We buy through a program called Pledge Local, which prioritizes locally sourced produce." This commitment extends to minimizing waste and partnering with platforms like Too Good To Go, reinforcing Avo's dedication to ethical and sustainable practices.Cultural Empowerment and the Future of Avo Looking ahead, Alessandro is excited about expanding in the tri-state area while maintaining a strong company culture. "Culture is the core of the company," he asserts, emphasizing the importance of empowering employees and fostering a positive work environment.Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs Alessandro’s advice to budding entrepreneurs is invaluable. "Reach out to as many founders as possible in the industry," he suggests, highlighting the importance of learning from others' experiences and challenges.Final ThoughtsOur conversation with Alessandro Biggi of Avo on the Fast Casual Nation Podcast offers a masterclass in combining passion, innovation, and sustainability to create a successful fast-casual dining experience. His journey is a testament to the power of a clear vision, unwavering commitment to quality, and the ability to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing landscape of the food industry. Visit http://www.savor.fmfor more podcasts https://www.savor.fm/s/restaurant-power-index
    36m 50s
  • Transforming the Fast Casual Landscape: A Conversation with Jeff Drake of Protein Bar & Kitchen

    4 NOV. 2023 · On "Fast Casual Nation," I've had the pleasure of engaging with some of the most innovative minds in the restaurant industry. My recent conversation with Jeff Drake, President and CEO of https://www.theproteinbar.com/, stands out as a highlight. Jeff's journey from a chemistry graduate to a visionary in the fast casual dining sector is a story that's as unique as it is inspiring. A Rebrand that Resonates Since taking over Protein Bar & Kitchen in 2017, Jeff has led the company through a significant transformation. The decision to add "and Kitchen" to the brand's name might seem simple, but as Jeff explained, it was a strategic move to better represent the brand's essence. He said, "our name Protein Bar didn't accurately convey the experience of the brand." This rebranding was more than a name change; it signified a deeper commitment to quality and an embrace of an active lifestyle brand.Embracing Technological Innovation Jeff's foresight in integrating technology into Protein Bar & Kitchen's operations is particularly impressive. He shared how the company built a tech stack to reduce friction for both employees and customers, a move that proved invaluable, especially during the pandemic. It's a testament to Jeff's leadership that Protein Bar & Kitchen was able to adapt so quickly to changing times. https://substackcdn.com/image/fetch/f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fsubstack-post-media.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F33329333-951e-4047-b520-670240beba1b_2048x1367.jpegFranchising: A Strategic Focus During our talk, Jeff's enthusiasm was palpable when discussing Protein Bar & Kitchen's franchising strategy. He believes in the brand's potential for growth, both corporately and as a partner in licensing and franchising. The flexibility of their business model, which accommodates diverse venues like airports and hospitals, is innovative and sets them apart in the industry.Culinary Innovations As a food enthusiast myself, I was particularly excited to hear about Protein Bar & Kitchen's culinary innovations. Jeff's focus on catering to various dietary preferences and ensuring a range of flavors is commendable. He aptly put it, "We have protein for everybody," highlighting their commitment to inclusivity in food choices. Leadership and Company Culture What truly makes Jeff a remarkable leader is his philosophy on company culture and performance. He values understanding the customer's needs and emphasizes the importance of rewarding performance, fostering a motivated and dynamic work environment.Advice for the Future Leaders Jeff’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is invaluable: seek mentors and build strong partnerships. His emphasis on collaboration and learning from other's experiences is a lesson for all of us in the industry.Looking Ahead With plans for licensing, a strong franchising program, and a new digital platform on the horizon, the future looks bright for Protein Bar & Kitchen under Jeff's leadership. His blend of strategic thinking, passion for food, and tech-savviness is not just transforming the brand but also providing a blueprint for success in the fast casual dining sector.We have witnessed countless stories of innovation and transformation in the restaurant industry, my conversation with Jeff Drake is a reminder of the limitless possibilities in this vibrant sector. Stay tuned for more conversations as we explore the exciting world of fast casual dining. Visit http://www.savor.fmfor more podcasts https://www.savor.fm/s/restaurant-power-index
    25m 3s
  • Chipotle Goes Robotic To Combat Industry Labor Woes

    6 OCT. 2023 · Chipotle Mexican Grill is one of the most popular fast food chains in the United States, but the company has been facing some challenges in recent months. The Restaurant Power Index (RPI) has shown a slide in Chipotle sentiment, and the company's stock price has also fallen. One of the challenges that Chipotle is facing is labor shortages. The company has had to close some stores due to a lack of staff, and it has also raised wages in an attempt to attract new employees. Another challenge that Chipotle is facing is rising menu prices. The company has raised prices several times recently, angered some customers.To address these challenges, Chipotle is turning to robotics. The company is testing a new robotic system called Hyphen, designed to automate the process of making burrito bowls and salads. Hyphen is a collaborative robot that can work safely alongside human workers. The robot moves bowls and salads down a conveyor belt, dispensing the correct ingredients into each bowl or salad.Chipotle believes that Hyphen will help to reduce labor costs and improve order accuracy. The company is currently testing Hyphen in a few restaurants, and it plans to roll out the system to more restaurants.Hyphen: A Potential Solution to Chipotle's Challenges? It is too early to say whether Hyphen will succeed for Chipotle. However, the system can potentially address some of the company's biggest challenges, such as labor shortages and order accuracy.If Hyphen is successful, it could help to improve Chipotle's customer satisfaction scores and boost its stock price. However, it is essential to note that robotics is not a magic bullet. Chipotle will still need to focus on other areas, such as food quality and customer service, to be successful.Menu Price Increases and Robotics at Other Restaurant Chains Chipotle is not the only restaurant chain that is raising prices. Many other chains have also increased prices in recent months due to rising costs. For example, McDonald's recently raised the price of its Big Mac for the first time in over 14 years. Other restaurant chains are also testing robotics. The Wendy’s Company announced a new partnership with Pipedream, a hyper logistics company, to pilot its underground autonomous robot system to deliver digital food orders from the kitchen to designated parking spots in seconds, for faster and more convenient pick-up experiences for Wendy’s digital customers. https://substackcdn.com/image/fetch/f_auto,q_auto:good,fl_progressive:steep/https%3A%2F%2Fsubstack-post-media.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F1aad0750-9ef7-43b2-a2e3-703449b75cfe_600x338.jpeg The use of robotics in the restaurant industry is still in its early stages. However, the potential benefits of robotics are clear. Robotics can help to reduce labor costs, improve order accuracy, and increase efficiency.It remains to be seen whether Chipotle's use of robotics will be successful in the long term. However, the company's decision to invest in robotics is a sign that it is serious about addressing its challenges and improving its performance.
    11m 55s
  • 130. Digital Evolution in the Fast Casual Sector with El Pollo Loco

    5 OCT. 2023 · When you think about the evolution of the fast-casual restaurant industry, digital innovation might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But for those of us tuned into the latest episode of Fast Casual Nation, digital marketing's role in revolutionizing the customer experience became crystal clear. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Gabe Alonso, Vice President of Digital Marketing at El Pollo Loco. Gabe's 15+ years of experience across music, entertainment, apparel, and food and beverage gives him a unique perspective. Having led digital strategies for giants like PepsiCo, Activision, and Nike, Gabe’s dynamic career journey has now brought him to El Pollo Loco. The allure of the food sector for Gabe? A chance to intimately connect with the Hispanic culture. Though https://www.elpolloloco.com/our-story/ finds its roots in Mexican heritage and Gabe is of Cuban descent, the essence of food and familial bonds remains a shared thread. Gabe keenly observes the rising influence of Latino culture in mainstream media, echoing the successes of artists like Bad Bunny and Karol G. His ambition: position El Pollo Loco to ride this cultural wave. But the episode didn’t stop there. A major focal point was the transformation of El Pollo Loco’s https://www.elpolloloco.com/rewards/. Gabe unveiled a shift from a simple point-based system to a tiered, gamified structure. Every dollar spent earns the customer 100 points, with the flexibility to redeem rewards across varying tiers. The introduction of multipliers as you climb the ranks? Simply genius. It’s an engaging method to keep customers coming back, making them feel a part of the El Pollo Loco "Familia." One intriguing takeaway was Gabe’s approach to influencer partnerships. It isn't just about roping in food bloggers. El Pollo Loco's collaborations span artists, dancers, and family influencers, ensuring the brand's core values of flavor, family, culture, and craft resonate across a wider audience. Drawing from his time at Nike, Gabe stressed the necessity of centering the consumer in marketing strategies. The future, as he sees it, is in tech-driven restaurants with a strong emphasis on labor efficiencies. With machine learning to predict customer preferences and AI tailoring offers, El Pollo Loco is well on its path to shaping the future of fast-casual dining. In essence, if you’re in the restaurant and foodservice industry don’t miss this episode, filled with a treasure trove of insights. We've seen the future of fast-casual dining, and with forward-thinkers like Gabe Alonso at the helm, the future of fast-casual dining promises to be vibrant, tech-savvy, and innovative. Dive into the conversation, and while you're at it, maybe grab a https://www.elpolloloco.com/our-food/tostadas from El Pollo Loco – Gabe's recommendation! Are you as intrigued by the innovations in the fast-casual industry as we are? Keep it locked on https://www.fastcasualnation.com/s/podcast for more insights and industry trends.
    32m 21s
  • 129. Fast Casual Brand Growth In Uncertain Times with Wow Bao and Fat Brands

    21 SEP. 2023 · In this podcast, we sit down with two leaders who are breaking the mold of how to grow brands - Wow Bao exploding in virtual brands and Fat Brands growing in multi-concept. We pick the brains of Geoff Alexander and Andrew Wiederhorn. Wow Bao is a fast-casual brand that specializes in steamed buns. The company was founded in 2003 and has grown to over 500 locations in the United States and continues to grow the new model of virtual brand development with unused capacity of various restaurant concepts. Wow Bao has implemented several initiatives to drive digital and virtual brand growth. These initiatives include: - Expanding the brand's digital presence: Wow Bao has invested in its website and mobile app, making it easy for customers to order and pay for food online. The company has also expanded its presence on social media and third-party delivery platforms. - Launching virtual brands: Wow Bao has launched a number of virtual brands, such as Wow Bao Kids and Wow Bao Express. This allows the company to offer customers a wider variety of options and to reach new markets. The digital and virtual brand growth of Wow Bao has been impressive. In 2022, the company's digital sales increased by over 100%. Wow Bao is now one of the top virtual restaurant brands in the United States. Fat Brands Inc. is a leading global restaurant franchise company with a portfolio of over 3,200 restaurants in more than 30 countries. The company owns and franchises a variety of restaurant brands, including Fatburger, Marble Slab Creamery, Johnny Rockets, Hurricane Grill & Wings, and Ponderosa Steakhouse. Fat Brands has been able to reach a number of demographics by offering a variety of food options at a variety of price points. The company's brands appeal to a wide range of customers, from families to young adults to seniors.
    17m 45s

Follow the longest-running podcast in the Fast Casual sector as it continues to be the darling of the food industry and is destined to redefine what restaurants and food can...

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Follow the longest-running podcast in the Fast Casual sector as it continues to be the darling of the food industry and is destined to redefine what restaurants and food can be for the consumer of the future.
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