Hospitality Hangout

The Hospitality Hangout by Branded Hospitality Ventures

The Restaurant Guy and The Finance Guy are the personalities behind Branded Hospitality. Together they connect hospitality, technology, and capital. In the podcast, the Restaurant Guy and The Finance Guy explore exciting trends, happenings, and breakthroughs in hospitality technology. They will be chatting with leaders, marketers, and experts that are leading a new era of innovation. Our hosts bring their gregarious and entertaining personalities to all their topics.

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Episodes

New Orleans Treats Meet Luxury Eats: The Sucré Story | Season 11, Vol. 5
6d ago
New Orleans Treats Meet Luxury Eats: The Sucré Story | Season 11, Vol. 5
In today's episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” are joined by James Vitrano, Chief Executive Officer of Sucré.They discuss James' background, from his early ambitions to getting into the restaurant industry and working for major chains like Ruby Tuesday's. They talk about his current role as CEO of Sucré, a high-end New Orleans-inspired dessert chain that he and his partners acquired and are now focused on growing. The three discuss topics such as franchising models, use of technology in restaurants, what's right and wrong with the hospitality industry, along with James' vision for bringing Sucré to new markets.Key Takeaways:[00:08 - 03:19] Live from ICR Conference in Orlando Florida, introducing a conversation with James Vitrano, CEO of Sucré[03:20 - 04:44] Two Truths and a Lie[04:56 - 06:26] James talks about his background and journey, buying Sucré and becoming its CEO. The original New Orleans patisserie, originally founded by Joel Dondis[06:27 - 10:40] Sucré is opening up its 15th store, and reflecting on James' background at Louisiana Tech with an interest in pursuing law, but going into hospitality with Noah Restaurant Group, Ruby Tuesdays, among others[10:04 - 10:40] Ruby Tuesdays and being head of international, that taking James to Iceland, Romania, and Guam[10:42 - 13:37] Jimmy gives background on the fragmented nature of food service and hospitality, and asks James about leveraging tech. Thinking about the "tech stack"[13:42 - 15:42] Engagement, opportunity, and an explosion of software solutions. NOLA as a unique market.[15:52 - 16:38] New Orleans fusion of culture and heritage[16:39 - 19:18] Learning franchising and taking Noah's Bagels from 7 stores to 2 million. Currently focusing on corporate franchising.[19:47 - 22:17] Talking Back — How Jimmy and Schatzy met[22:17 - 24:54] Talking Back follow up — What's right with the hospitality industry?[24:54 - 27:16] Talking back part three — what's missing in the hospitality industry and needs fixing?[27:23 - 29:38] The Spice is Right — Disney World edition, the price of Chef Mickey character breakfast buffet[29:38 - 32:35] Trivia Tuesday answers[32:35 - 36:38] Branded Quickfire — Orlando edition
Beyond the Candy Bar: Transforming Iconic Treats into Foodservice Goldmines  | Season 11, Vol. 4
Feb 13 2024
Beyond the Candy Bar: Transforming Iconic Treats into Foodservice Goldmines | Season 11, Vol. 4
In this episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg, “The Restaurant Guy,” and Jimmy Frischling, “The Finance Guy,” are joined by Herb Ring, National Foodservice Director of The Hershey Company.Herb shares how he got his start working in his family’s restaurants before transitioning into foodservice sales roles at companies like The J.M. Smucker Company. Twenty years ago, Herb moved his family to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to take on a role heading up foodservice sales and marketing at Hershey. He talks about major foodservice customers like Dairy Queen using nostalgic ingredients like Twizzlers for milkshake straws, the importance of data and chopped candy in driving Hershey’s explosive growth, and more!Key Takeaways[00:08 - 03:17] Introducing Herb Ring, National Food Service Director of Hershey[02:47 - 03:39] An opportunity to work at Smucker[03:41 - 05:51] Moving to National County, and working with Aramark[05:50 - 06:37] The first thing Herb sold for Hershey's was their chocolate syrup[06:38 - 08:18] Moving to Hershey, Pennsylvania for work. Realizing it was a great place to raise a family, and connected to major hubs like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington DC[08:20 - 10:34] How Herb helps food service clients avoid the sandpits of business[10:58 - 15:19] How Hershey's is using technology and innovation to drive better decision making. Using data, selling goods as ingredients vs just candy bars, and having connections across the food industry[15:28 - 18:36] Limited time offers and how customers are incorporating Hershey's products into their line of nostalgic desserts and alcoholic drinks[18:45 - 22:27] Reflecting on four years of the podcast and 156 episodes, Hospitality Hangout podcasting frequency shifting to weekly,[22:32 - 24:49] Spice is Right, the price of a wing combo meal at Wingstop[24:49 - 28:44] Branded Quickfire with Herb Ring
The Inside Scoop on the Global Food Manufacturing Industry and How IFMA Is the Connector | Season 11, Vol. 3
Feb 6 2024
The Inside Scoop on the Global Food Manufacturing Industry and How IFMA Is the Connector | Season 11, Vol. 3
In today’s episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg, “The Restaurant Guy,” and Jimmy Frischling, “The Finance Guy,” are joined by Phil Kafarakis, President and CEO of International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA).Phil focuses on strengthening connections between the food manufacturing and restaurant industries. He also shares his career journey, from working for Oscar Mayer to going on to earn an MBA from Georgetown later in his career. As head of IFMA, Phil is focused on opening membership beyond just manufacturers. He discusses this year’s IFMA conference and collaboration across the “ecosystem,” highlighting the importance of manufacturers to the success of restaurants.Key Takeaways[00:08 - 01:30] Introduction — IFMA and the Global Restaurant Leadership Conference, introducing Phil Kafarakis the President and CEO of the International Food Manufacturers Association[01:38 - 04:55] 1980-1985, not loving football, getting married, creating a career in food service with Oscar Meyer and beyond. Phil’s career started with hotdogs, not hamburgers.[04:55 - 06:45] 1985—Now, getting an MBA, mastering English, and development goals at McCormick[06:48 - 09:52] Phil's work for IFMA and celebrating two years of leadership. An eighteen month listening tour and understanding some of the "dinosaurs" of the business[10:02 - 11:58] A living eco-system is what the restaurant industry is, inviting in the right people into that ecosystem[12:19 - 15:29] Some of the largest companies in the world are in food manufacturing[15:35 - 17:08] Phil's takeaways from IFMA, an environment for authority on food away from home, research, education, analysis, and data. Meeting consumer needs.[17:50 - 23:32] Talking Back — How Branded Hospitality Ventures evolved to Branded Hospitality Media and that journey. Manufacturers, the backbone of restaurants.[24:52 - 27:04] Spice is Right — Jack in the Box, Jumbo Jack Cheeseburger edition[27:07 - 31:25] Branded Quickfire
MEAT the man who pioneered the casual dining segment | Season 11, Vol. 2
Jan 30 2024
MEAT the man who pioneered the casual dining segment | Season 11, Vol. 2
In today’s episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg, “The Restaurant Guy,” and Jimmy Frischling, “The Finance Guy,” are joined by George McKerrow, CEO of Ted’s Montana Grill.George pioneered the casual dining segment with LongHorn Steakhouse, which he founded in 1981 and eventually took public. He later partnered with Ted Turner to bring bison meat mainstream at Ted’s Montana Grill. Now CEO of Ted’s, George reflects on lessons learned over his long career launching concepts and delighting guests. Key Takeaways:[00:08 - 01:46] Live from Pepsi Studios in Scottsdale, Arizona for IFMA the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association's President's Conference[03:30 - 08:19] Introducing George McKerrow, CEO at Ted's Montana Grill, talking about opening the first ever LongHorn Steakhouse in 1981 and founding Ted's in January 2002.[05:38 - 07:44] George on getting a job for gas at 16, working his way up the restaurant industry, and making Ted Turner a deal he couldn't refuse[08:56 - 11:17] George credited with giving birth to the entire casual dining segment by Nation's Restaurant News, and how he turned a single unit of LongHorn Steakhouse into a dining phenomenon[09:51 - 11:17] A fun honky-tonk saloon, quality feeds and genuine hospitality[11:19 - 14:59] Schatzy and George on bartending, on starting and working your way up the foodchain[15:01 - 18:42] The three greatest lessons George has learned in hospitality leadership: financial input, great people, and restaurant unpredictability[18:48 - 20:58] Democratization is part of the restaurant industry, there's a career path[21:04 - 26:17] Talking Back: George asks what Schatzy and Jimmy think are the next big trends in hospitality[21:40 - 23:29] Schatzy: People want to go out more, but you need to give them a reason, the rise of experiential restaurants and smaller footprints[23:43 - 25:39] Jimmy: meet the guests where they're at, leveraging technology in labor[26:21 - 28:42] The Spice is Right: Cost of a classic chicken sandwich at Popeyes in Route 17 in New Jersey[28:43 - 31:11] Branded Quickfire: George's lightning round
Beyond Cookies and Coffee: Nestlé Professional CEO Perry Miele On How Nestlé Is Innovating Food Service and Hospitality | Season 11, Vol. 1
Jan 23 2024
Beyond Cookies and Coffee: Nestlé Professional CEO Perry Miele On How Nestlé Is Innovating Food Service and Hospitality | Season 11, Vol. 1
In today’s episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg, “The Restaurant Guy,” and Jimmy Frischling, “The Finance Guy,” are joined by Perry Miele, President and CEO of Nestlé Professional North America.Perry talks about recently receiving the prestigious IFMA Oberkfell Award and what it means to be recognized for his leadership and impact. He also reveals that he will soon retire after an impressive 30 years at Nestlé! Perry provides insights into Nestlé Professional’s innovative efforts to embrace technology and better serve operators and consumers as he emphasizes the importance of understanding operators’ needs and leading the industry forward during a time of rapid change. Key Takeaways[00:08 - 02:09] Live from Pepsi Studios at the International Food Manufacturing Association's President's Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.[02:09 - 03:55] Trivia Tuesdays[03:53 - 05:41] Introducing Perry Miele, President and CEO of Nestlé. Perry talks about his path to 30 years at Nestlé and a passion for the food industry[05:42 - 07:52] Breaking News — Perry awarded the IFMA's Oberkfell Award for leadership and impact[08:05 - 12:21] Letting other people be in front, "Making more possible," and embracing the automation of robotics[12:35 - 15:28] How Nestlé is using AI to help operators drive traffic and their bottom line. Innovations inspired by the COVID pandemic.[15:29 - 16:33] Nestlé the future of food[16:33 - 18:03] Breaking news — Perry retiring after 30 years of leading Nestlé, and his plans for staying involved in the hospitality industry[18:19 - 22:17] Talking Back — Perry asks when and why Schatzy and Jimmy started the Hospitality Hangout podcast[22:20 - 24:45] Spice is Right — Tim Hortons Coffee and Donut Sampler[24:59 - 26:42] Coming back for Trivia Tuesday answers[26:46 - 29:42] Branded Quickfire — IFMA edition[29:43 - 32:09] Getting in touch with Perry
Toasting Your Partner In Crime and Ingredients for Restaurant Success! | Season 10, Vol. 18
Jan 16 2024
Toasting Your Partner In Crime and Ingredients for Restaurant Success! | Season 10, Vol. 18
In today's episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” are joined by Lance Trenary, President and CEO of Golden Corral Corporation, and Roy Gilad, Founder and CEO of Vitality Bowls.Lance discusses how Golden Corral persevered through COVID shutdowns by innovating business models while maintaining quality and caring for staff and partners. Roy shares how he started Vitality Bowls because of his daughter's severe food allergies.Listen to this episode to hear more about the role of technology like point-of-sale systems to enable service and efficiency, and the surprise capital of hard seltzer consumption!Key Takeaways[00:06 - 04:46] Live from RFDC Pt2 — Introducing Lance Trenary, President and CEO of Golden Corral[04:49 - 09:29] Golden Corral, revived and regenerated after the pandemic through innovative pivots and taking care of employees[05:47 - 09:29] Doing right by guests, seven new business models while fans waited for buffet to come back. Stronger now because of it. "Thank goodness God loves a buffet"[09:31 - 12:21] Breaking News: Lance talks about introducing a new fast casual concept of Golden Corral, Homework Kitchen in Southern Pines North Carolina.[10:15 - 11:48] COVID exposed Golden Corral's underbelly, Lance wanted to fix that weakness so Golden Corral will be around for at least a hundred more years[12:21 - 14:07] Food Service Feud with Lance: Which type of business performs worst on Mondays?[14:29 - 17:27] Branded Quickfire with Lance[18:36 - 22:15] Introducing Roy Gilad, Founder & CEO of Vitality Bowls[22:16 - 24:21] Roy talks about the secret sauce to his success. The secret is people.[24:28 - 27:15] Vitality Bowls' tech stack — Schatzy's impromptu ad for Vitality Bowl, and why they use Toast POS[27:15 - 29:14] Instant TVO Online Ordering and Loyalty, a golden ticket[29:18 - 31:12] Supporting growing teams, doubling down on culture and alignment with franchisees[31:13 - 33:35] Food Service Feud with Roy — Which state consumes the most amount of hard seltzer?[33:42 - 36:46] Branded Quickfire with Roy
Gridiron Burgers to Blizzard Billions: Fast Food Fortunes From Freddy's and Dairy Queen | Season 10, Vol. 17
Jan 9 2024
Gridiron Burgers to Blizzard Billions: Fast Food Fortunes From Freddy's and Dairy Queen | Season 10, Vol. 17
In today's episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” are joined by Chris Dull, President and CEO of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, and Chris Wren, Vice President Head of International Development of Dairy Queen.Chris Dull shares how Freddy’s great franchise partners have powered growth to over 500 locations by mastering operations and development. He highlights innovations like kitchen display software that optimize speed and consistency. Chris Wren provides an overview of Dairy Queen's 2500+ international locations, including a major presence in China. He emphasizes the importance of knowing a company's history before making changes. He also talks about the significance of recognizing restaurant workers during visits for the profound impact it has on morale.Whether you bleed DQ Blizzards or Freddy’s custard, don’t miss this cross-industry extravaganza!Key Takeaways[03:47 - 07:16] Introducing Chris Dull, President and CEO of Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers[04:03 - 05:50] Chris' time as a linebacker at Baylor University in 1995, then tracing his path from Marble Slab Creamery, the International Franchise Association, Global Franchise Group, Bean & Brew, and now Freddy's[05:59 - 07:16] Chris' journey in his own words[07:20 - 09:54] Jimmy gets the breaking news, Freddy's just opened their 510th restaurant in Freddy's Nation. Chris discusses the phenomenal growth and strategy behind it.[09:55 - 13:08] The importance of the tech stack in any restaurant,[13:09 - 14:26] What's next for Freddy's and Freddy's Nation? New innovations in quality chicken. The guys talk shop about the new chicken club sandwich.[14:27 - 18:41] Talking Back — Chris asks what Schatzy finds exciting about the industry right now, and asks Jimmy how to measure technology and savings that might see on paper versus interfering with guest experience[18:41 - 20:49] Food Service Feud, The Toast Restaurant Report: Which state sells most alcoholic beverages during lunch?[20:54 - 23:12] Branded Quickfire, Chris Dull Las Vegas Edition[24:49 - 28:56] Introducing Chris Wren, Vice President and Head of International Development for Dairy Queen. His history in Western University for political science, MBA from Southern Memphis University, to Yum! Brands, Pizza Hut France, then Dine Brands, Citibank Restaurant franchising, Wingstop, and finally Dairy Queen[29:05 - 30:21] Singing the Dairy Queen jingle[30:23 - 32:01] Expanding Dairy Queen into international markets and discussing growth, "People will seemingly consume an unlimited quantity of ice cream"[32:01 - 32:56] Chris thinks the Gulf is a huge area of opportunity for Dairy Queen's expansion, and in the United Kingdom[32:56 - 33:28] Discussing their favorite items at Dairy Queen[33:29 - 35:51] Enabling businesses to succeed and people to work their way up, Chris talks about how the industry should be having fun or you're doing something wrong.[35:53 - 36:37] Ice cream and beer summits[36:36 - 39:12] Chris' career in international franchising, and the lessons he learned, advice for visiting restaurants as corporate employees.[39:12 - 41:32] Learning on the job, cumulative result of the efforts of thousands of people over a long period of time and many mistakes[41:32 - 42:51] Food Service Feud, Chris Dull edition: Toast Restaurant Report, Which US state has the most generous tippers[42:53 - 45:20] Branded Quickfire, Chris Dull Vegas edition
REWIND | Blend Your Way to Success | Season 10, Vol. 16
Jan 2 2024
REWIND | Blend Your Way to Success | Season 10, Vol. 16
In this REWIND episode of Hospitality Hangout, hosts Michael Schatzberg, "The Restaurant Guy," and Jimmy Frischling, "The Finance Guy," were joined by Marianne Radley, the Chief Marketing Officer of Smoothie King. The trio engaged in a discussion revolving around effective marketing strategies and insights within the food and beverage industry.During the episode, Radley shed light on Smoothie King's recent marketing initiatives and shared valuable insights into the company's success. She emphasized the importance of understanding customer needs and tailoring marketing efforts accordingly. Radley pointed out that staying relevant in the ever-evolving marketplace requires continuous innovation and adaptation.Smoothie King's CMO emphasized the role of data in guiding marketing decisions. Radley revealed that the company leverages comprehensive customer data to create personalized experiences and develop targeted campaigns. By analyzing consumer preferences, Smoothie King has successfully implemented strategies to drive customer loyalty and engagement.They delved into third-party delivery services and the invaluable insights derived from their analytics. The trio eagerly discussed the challenges and opportunities that arise when partnering with external delivery platforms, emphasizing the importance of harnessing the power of data to enhance customer experiences and drive business growth. With Marianne's wealth of knowledge and expertise, they explored innovative strategies for leveraging third-party delivery analytics to make informed decisions and optimize operations.The discussion also touched upon the significance of brand authenticity. Radley emphasized the need for businesses to genuinely connect with their target audience by aligning marketing messages with their core values. She explained how Smoothie King's commitment to providing nutritious and delicious smoothies resonates with health-conscious consumers, leading to a strong brand identity.Hospitality Hangout once again proved to be an engaging platform for industry professionals. This episode delivers Marianne Radley's expertise and provides an enriching exploration of marketing strategies in the food and beverage industry.Key Takeaways:[01:50 - 03:36] Introducing Marianne Radley, CMO and Smoothie Queen of Smoothie King[03:36 - 04:38] Marianne's past at Anheuser-Busch, Monster, Pizza Hut[04:38 - 06:04] The Smoothie Bowl experience at Smoothie King[06:35 - 07:18] Innovation at Smoothie King, a new app and MVP platform[07:43 - 08:21] Growing and opening new stores internationally in the Caribbean, Korea and throughout Asia[08:21 - 09:02] Low entry fees for franchise start ups[09:24 - 10:23] Smoothie King origin story, 50 years of success[10:37 - 12:20] Takeaways from Food on Demand, the QSR landscape and third party delivery and new customer generation[12:22 - 13:31] How third party delivery can cause disharmony with intended food and brand experience[13:31 - 14:17] Third party delivery reflects poorly on the business not the delivery service[14:17 - 15:23] The analytics benefit of using DoorDash, UberEats, and third party delivery for data about your audience[15:23 - 20:40] Crystal Ball on digital engagement, minimum wage and tipping cultures[20:40 - 22:50] "What do you think of New Jersey?"[22:53 - 26:54] Branded Quickfire, Vegas EditionTo hear “Branded Quickfire” answers and all of Radley’s conversation check out this episode of Hospitality Hangout.
REWIND | There Is No Debate Over Taco Tuesday Vs. Fried Chicken Friday  | Season 10, Vol. 15
Dec 26 2023
REWIND | There Is No Debate Over Taco Tuesday Vs. Fried Chicken Friday | Season 10, Vol. 15
In the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” chat with R.J. Melman, President of Lettuce Entertain You, a fifty-one year old restaurant group that is privately held with over one hundred and twenty restaurants across the country in thirteen different states. It is based out of Chicago, Illinois.Melman’s dad, Rich Melman started the company back in 1971 when he opened a restaurant with his best friend Jerry Orzoff. Melman’s siblings Jarrod and Molly are both part of the Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants team.The guys share breaking news and say that Lettuce has just opened their first restaurant in Florida. It is Aba, a Mediterranean restaurant that brings cooking influences from the Mediterranean, including Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. Also the group is opening RPM Italian in West Palm Beach and Summer House in Orlando.In Chicago in 2023 Melman talks about the new collaboration between Tao Group Hospitality. The partnership will bring a new private members club. The guys also talk about the Lettuce loyalty program that has been around for more than three decades. Now the program is free through the app. Recently they announced that Lettuce has partnered with DoorDash for a first of its kind loyalty program. The program powered by DoorDash will now allow guests to receive loyalty points and redeem gift cards for takeout and delivery.Melman’s goal when he became President was to use tech to transcend hospitality in dining rooms, bringing hospitality and technology together. Melman says they are in the process of switching over our general ledger, HR solution and more.Melman shares how the company continues to keep things going well with all of the expansion. They have been consistent on expansion over the last thirty years and said that the team has played a role in the growth.Key Takeaways:[02:42 - 04:17] Introducing RJ Melman, President of Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants[04:18 - 07:20] RJ introduces himself and his company, its history in Chicago and their 120 restaurants[07:20 - 08:31] RJ's first job as a restaurant host[08:36 - 09:51] Breaking news, Aba opens its doors in Miami's Bal Harbor Shops[09:49 - 11:24] Working in Florida, the opportunity to do a restaurant for Disney Corporation[11:24 - 14:17] Partnering with Tao Hospitalities, more on working with RJ's brother and sister[14:24 - 16:07] Lettuce Entertain You partnership and menu powered by DoorDash[16:15 - 18:19] Redeeming loyalty points on delivery orders, bringing technology and hospitality together. The Tech Stack.[18:20 - 22:27] A family business that has focused on growth. RJ's dad gave them autonomy and acted as their cheerleader in managing the restaurants[22:30 - 25:11] Learning from RJ's store success, "Someone ahead of you never stops you from growing in this company...And developing someone below you never makes you be replaced either."[25:11 - 29:31] Talking Back, RJ asks about the best of the best[29:36 - 32:55] Food Service Feud, favorite pretzel chain and Franke The Tank[32:55 - 37:40] Branded Quickfire, Taco Tuesday or Fried Chicken FridayTo hear more about Lettuce’s tech strategy, the foodservice feud and the talking back segment plus get the answer to the trivia question, check out this episode of Hospitality Hangout.
REWIND | Restaurants Going Digital, CKE Restaurants | Season 10, Vol. 14
Dec 19 2023
REWIND | Restaurants Going Digital, CKE Restaurants | Season 10, Vol. 14
In the latest episode of the Hospitality Hangout podcast, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” sit down with Phil Crawford, the chief technology officer of CKE Restaurants, to explore the ongoing digital revolution in the restaurant industry.CKE Restaurants is a Tennessee-based, privately held company that runs and operates Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. The two regional brands combined represent over 3,800 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 43 foreign countries and U.S. territories.Crawford moved from New York City—having previously served as the chief technology officer for Godiva—to Nashville to join CKE in the fall of 2020.“Nashville and New York City are two parts of the spectrum. But the exciting part is that when it comes down to hospitality and technology, there’s a lot of synergies within both cities and corporations,” says Crawford. “They both have a desire and drive to be the best they can possibly be… it’s all about scale and size, and ensuring that we have the guest experience in mind.”Restaurants—looking to adapt to evolving operational and consumer needs—are moving away from POS systems. Most systems and processes have entered the realm of mobile technology, leading to the creation of more cloud-based systems, direct-to-consumer interactions, analytics, and artificial intelligence to better reach customers.“Any kind of digital ecosystem that’s out there that you can infuse the guest experience is where everything’s going,” adds Crawford. “It’s all about trying to bridge that gap between what we think our consumers know and what they do know, and making it a personalized journey. That’s the kind of tech incorporation that we need to be thinking of to become technology evangelists and to have that competitive edge in our industry.”Key Takeaways:[02:22 - 05:36] Introducing Phil Crawford, Chief Technology Officer at CKE Restaurants (Carl Karcher Enterprises)[04:12 - 05:33] Phil's background in hospitality started at 16 at Carl's Jr., to Shake Shack, to CKE[05:53 - 08:42] Phil's take on regional food differences between Nashville and New York City[06:30 - 07:38] New York City and Nashville are different parts of the spectrum, "The bigger we get the smarter we have to act"[07:44 - 08:42] "Being the health conscious Southern California, yoga, acupuncturist freak I am..."[08:46 - 10:13] Talking about Red Burrito and Green Burrito businesses[10:14 - 12:50] The Tech Stack and POS, new innovations in personalization and mobile technology[12:52 - 15:31] Revisiting the pandemic and the adoption of new technology[15:32 - 18:04] Maintaining 3,800 and all the training necessary to run new stores, an education opportunity for franchises[18:05 - 20:31] The pain points in the restaurant operator business, too much technology can be a detriment[20:47 - 22:48] Diving deeper into the digital transformation and education of what drives your business. You don't always need a Ferrari when a Ford will do.[22:49 - 24:16] Phil's take on virtual kitchens, there's a place for it[24:15 - 25:09] The virtual kitchen concept and burrito plans[25:10 - 29:10] Talking Back, discussing the Branded Marketplace and the technology behind it[29:27 - 32:19] Crystal Ball, the hospitality landscape in two years, 100% personalization and more contactless experiences[32:19 - 33:13] Mac 12 on the rocks[33:15 - 35:14] Branded QuickfireClick here for more recovery and relief information for restaurant, hospitality and food service operators. And to keep listening, check out The Hospitality Hangout podcast on Spotify!This syndicated content is brought to you by Branded Strategic Hospitality.
Fast Casual Revolution Part 2: The Sizzle Behind Emerging Restaurant Brands | Season 10, Vol. 13
Dec 12 2023
Fast Casual Revolution Part 2: The Sizzle Behind Emerging Restaurant Brands | Season 10, Vol. 13
LIVE from the Fast Casual Executive Summit in Louisville, Kentucky, the guys catch up with the visionaries of emerging restaurant brands, unpacking their innovative concepts and roadmaps to expansion!In today's episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” are joined by Prakash Karamchandani, Chief Executive Officer of Balance Pan-Asian Grille; Chris Medhurst, President and Chief Operating Officer of District Taco; and Chad Coulter, Founder and CEO of Biscuit Belly.Key Takeaways[00:34 - 03:07] Prakash Karamchandani: Opening an Asian restaurant after losing his finance job in the 2008 recession.[03:11 - 05:58] Growing your own produce using an aquaponics system.[06:00 - 07:40] Franchising growth for emerging brands, Pivotal Growth Partners (PGP)[07:42 - 10:51] Post-covid growth[10:55 - 13:20] Spice is Right: Prakash on the Wendy's Dave Combo[13:20 - 15:30] Crystal Ball: The next hot topics in hospitality are going to center around AI martech and back of house[15:32 - 17:21] Branded Quickfire: Five questions for Prakash[18:05 - 21:13] Chris Medhurst: Growth plans for New York and other East Coast markets.[21:14 - 23:32] What is helping District Taco catch fire? The brick and mortar story effect[23:41 - 24:56] District Taco is opening up stores in New York and New Jersey[24:56 - 27:44] Talking Back, Chris takes the mic and asks about ads[27:44 - 29:38] Spice is Right, Louisville and Carvel[29:45 - 32:37] Branded Quickfire: Chris answers 5 lightning round questions[34:52 - 40:05] Chad Coulter Founder of Biscuit Belly: Focusing biscuit business growth in Southeastern US.[37:59 - 40:05] The origin story of Biscuit Belly[40:16 - 41:15] Diving into the restaurant business and learning the ropes[41:17 - 43:34] The uptick in breakfast and brunch business[43:36 - 44:00] Fast-casual, craft-casual[44:05 - 45:19] Where Chad is seeing growth for Biscuit Belly, southeast growth[45:41 - 52:08] Talking Back: Tell Us About You edition[46:53 - 49:08] Schatzy's origin story and Branded Hospitality's focus[49:18 - 52:08] Jimmy's story and the idea of Branded Hospitality Group[52:13 - 55:07] Spice is Right: Fast Casual Summit Edition[55:13 - 58:36] Branded Quickfire
Fast Casual Revolution Part 1: Unleash the Flavor with the Hottest Emerging Restaurant Brands | Season 10, Vol. 12
Dec 6 2023
Fast Casual Revolution Part 1: Unleash the Flavor with the Hottest Emerging Restaurant Brands | Season 10, Vol. 12
In today's episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” are joined by Troy Hooper, CEO of Hot Palette America, the parent company of Pepper Lunch Restaurants, as well as Elisia Flores, CEO at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue .Troy has over thirty-one years of experience in the hospitality industry, having grown up helping his father build restaurants and bars in Miami. Troy talks about global expansion, his recent ten-unit deal in Arizona, and modernizing the over-thirty-year-old brand.Elisia returned to Hawaiian Barbecue five years ago as CEO to take over leadership from her father and company co-founder, Eddie Flores. She credits L&L's success to the strong family-oriented culture amongst employees and franchisees, as well as a delicious, craveable food product that leaves customers demanding more. Listen to this episode to find out the wild innovation and spicy challenges for the restaurant industry in 2024, and catch their recipes for expanding a gnarly franchise brand without losing cultural flavor.Key Takeaways:(00:08 - 01:55) Live from the Fast Casual Executive Summit in Louisville Kentucky(02:05) Troy grew up in hospitality helping Dad build Miami hotspots.(02:28) Dad threw parties; Troy handled the catering. Culinary school and then business school.(03:32) Brought in to spice up Pepper Lunch's US growth.(05:25) Ten new stores in five years - aloha expansion!(08:18) Pepper Lunch salsa dances across three countries.(29:57) Elisia returned as L&L CEO to take over family BBQ biz.(30:47) Started small but ohana customers couldn't resist the grub.(31:28) L&L smokin' the franchise competition with tons of awards.(32:23) Success is in their secret sauce (and culture).(33:22) Franchisees get schooled in Hawaii for legit tropical vibes.(34:41) Uh oh—are appetite pills putting restaurants on a diet?(36:16) Automated kitchens cookin' up some 2024 innovation.
Live from CREATE Conference in Palm Springs | Season 10 Vol. 10
Nov 21 2023
Live from CREATE Conference in Palm Springs | Season 10 Vol. 10
LIVE from the CREATE conference in Palm Springs California, the guys chat with emerging restaurant brand leadership on their growing concepts and path to expansion.Key Takeaways[00:06 - 02:18] Schatzy and Jimmy visit CREATE in Palm Springs[02:20 - 05:27] How and Why Francesco and Allessandro developed a restaurant rooted in healthy vegetables[05:29 - 08:02] Francesco's experience raising capital for Avocaderia on Shark Tank[08:08 - 09:38] Operating in the toughest markets, like NYC[10:10 - 10:53] Avocaderia is becoming...Avo! 🥑[10:57 - 13:01] Talking Back, Francesco's Version[13:06 - 14:59] Where is Avo at two years from now? Understanding consumer behavior and utilizing data to create rich hospitality experiences[16:46 - 18:55] Branded Quickfire: Palm Springs Rat Pack edition[21:19 - 24:42] Welcoming Mehdi Zarhloul, CEO of Crazy Pita Restaurant Group[24:45 - 26:53] Transitioning from a lifestyle business to legacy brand through franchising for 17 years. What do the next 17 years hold?[26:53 - 29:56] Combining tech and effective operations, Mehdi's tips for finding balance.[29:57 - 34:29] Talking Back with Mehdi, existential questions for Jimmy and Schatzy about their regrets and bucket lists[34:31 - 36:16] Spice is Right, the cost of a Jimmy John's combo meal[36:18 - 39:27] Quickfire with Medhi[39:45 - 40:26] Jimmy Buffet and Crazy Jimmy[40:27 - 42:26] Introducing Daniella Senor, CEO of Colada Shop[42:28 - 44:10] Daniella's entrepreneurial spirit and her goal creating a welcoming space in her stores[44:50 - 46:05] What's next for Colada Shop, new markets[46:08 - 48:46] Talking Back, Daniella picks Jimmy and Schatzy's brain on markets[48:50 - 50:47] Spice is Right, rounding out at Olive Garden[50:46 - 52:33] Crystal Ball: Daniella predicts more AI, more robots[52:33 - 55:56] Branded Quickfire lightning round[56:00 - 01:01:23] Talking Back, Jimmy-style
Culinary Crescendo: Lauren Bailey Dishes Out Wisdom for Aspiring Restaurateurs | Season 10 Vol. 9
Nov 15 2023
Culinary Crescendo: Lauren Bailey Dishes Out Wisdom for Aspiring Restaurateurs | Season 10 Vol. 9
In today's episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” talk to Lauren Bailey, co-founder and CEO of Upward Projects. As head of the Upward Projects Restaurant Group, Bailey steers five brands and 30 restaurants toward profit, success, and good experiences. In her conversation with Jimmy and Schatzy at CREATE, the trio discusses how Bailey got into the restaurant industry and some of the lessons learned as an emerging restauranteur. They also chat about working in the restaurant industries and the particular joy the environments can produce, including a story about encountering Jimmy Buffet while working as a bartender in Nantucket. Listen to this episode to learn Bailey's secrets to success with engaging with your hospitality team, navigating not having all the answers, and figuring out communication preferences in an age of chat bots.Key Takeaways[00:06 - 02:05] Introducing Lauren Bailey, Co-Founder & CEO of Upward Projects[02:08 - 03:36] How Lauren got into the restaurant industry, P.F. Changs and No-Doz[03:36 - 06:02] Lauren's lessons learned as an emerging restauranteur[06:21 - 08:21] 30 restaurants and 5 brands, having fun in the adventure with your teams[08:43 - 09:27] Leave your problems at the door, joking about men's and women's brains[09:29 - 10:28] Bartending in Nantucket, a Jimmy Buffet story[10:29 - 12:00] Schatzy and Jimmy on working in the restaurant industry[14:08 - 15:21] Is Lauren fearless?[15:38 - 16:33] How Lauren works with employees at her restaurants as someone who has worked every role in a restaurant[16:35 - 17:49] What happens when Lauren tries to "Undercover Boss" at her restaurants[17:54 - 23:49] Talking Back — Lauren tests how well Schatzy and Jimmy know each other[23:50 - 26:53] Spice is Right — Dunkin Donuts edition[26:54 - 28:13] Hospitality and communication preferences, restaurants don't answer the phones anymore[28:17 - 29:11] The tech side of restaurant communications, red rage[29:13 - 31:06] Branded Quickfire
REWIND | A Deep Dive Into Shake Shack's Tech Stack | Season 10, Vol. 8
Nov 7 2023
REWIND | A Deep Dive Into Shake Shack's Tech Stack | Season 10, Vol. 8
In the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” chat with Dave Harris, chief information officer as well as chief technology officer at Shake Shack about how technology can enable and enhance the guest experience. Harris has been with Shake Shack for four years and has led technology teams across companies in retail, hospitality and consumer packaged goods. Some companies include Virgin Atlantic, Avis, JetBlue, Yankee Candle and more.Shake Shake serves elevated versions of the classics using only the best ingredients, says Harris. He adds that they are known for great burgers, chicken, hotdogs, frozen custard, beer, wine and more. Core values that Shake Shack focuses on are elevated food, made with the best ingredients, gathering and enriching their neighborhoods, and delivering enlightened hospitality at every touch point, says Harris. The original Shake Shack opened in New York’s Madison Square Park in early 2000. They have expanded to more than 400 locations across the United States and internationally. Harris talks about how Shake Shack will retrofit all locations with kiosks by the end of 2023. In 2017 they deployed their first kiosks in the Astor Place location and were able to use that data to develop the rollout program. Harris noted that about half of their locations currently have kiosks. He says that the kiosks are their highest profit margin channel and highest in check average check. Harris talks about investing in technology, he says from a guest perspective they have invested the most. He says they have invested significantly in digital products, they have custom IOS and Android mobile apps, a custom web ordering platform and the kiosk solution. Over the last two years Harris says that Shake Shack had to become more accessible, focus on multichannel delivery and make it easier for the Shack team. To hear Harris talk about the Shake Shack tech stack, including the tech that determines order wait time, plus find out what Harris’ talking back question is for the guys and the details of the foodservice feud check out this episode of Hospitality Hangout.
Serving Automation with a Side of Integrity: Chipotle's Scott Boatwright | Season 10, Vol. 7
Oct 3 2023
Serving Automation with a Side of Integrity: Chipotle's Scott Boatwright | Season 10, Vol. 7
The latest episode of “Hospitality Hangout” hosted by Michael Schatzberg, known as “The Restaurant Guy”, and Jimmy Frischling or “The Finance Guy”, the podcast with Scott Boatwright, the Chief Operating Officer of Chipotle Mexican Grill. It was a delightful spread of insightful career stories, automation in restaurant operations, and a sprinkle of light-hearted banter to top it off.A Dishwasher’s Journey to COOAt 50, Scott Boatwright holds an impressive resume that starts from his initial role as a dishwasher, gradually climbing up the culinary and corporate ladder, showcasing an inspiring journey of diligence and passion for the food industry. With an MBA from Georgia State University and 18 years at Arby’s Restaurant Group under his belt, Scott joined Chipotle in May 2017, bringing a wealth of experience and commitment to restaurant operations and people-centric approaches.Commitment to Food IntegrityHaving been with Chipotle Mexican Grill for a significant time, Boatwright’s steadfast commitment to food integrity and innovative culinary techniques shines through. The COO diligently oversees the operations of over 3,250 restaurants worldwide, ensuring that each serves responsibly sourced, classically cooked meals without compromising on quality or taste. For Boatwright and the Chipotle team, it’s not just about serving food; it’s about cultivating a better world.Automation with a Human TouchThe lively discussion on the podcast delved deep into the realm of automation in the restaurant industry. Boatwright was quick to highlight that robotics and automation at Chipotle aren't about replacing the invaluable human touch but optimizing operations to enhance customer experiences. One such example is the introduction of “Autocado”, a collaborative endeavor with Miso Robotics. This innovative system is designed to efficiently prepare guacamole, cutting preparation time by an impressive 50%. With time being a precious commodity in the fast-paced restaurant environment, such savings are crucial and substantial, especially when scaled across all Chipotle locations.Pioneering Fast-Casual DiningThe hosts acknowledged Chipotle and its founder, Steve Ells, for their pioneering role in the fast-casual dining segment. With initial investments and support in real estate from McDonald's, Chipotle has never wavered from its commitment to quality and innovation, setting a benchmark in the industry for others to follow.Looking AheadAs the conversation flowed, Boatwright offered a glimpse into the future, anticipating hot topics in hospitality and technology likely to surface in the coming years. With a declining labor force due to demographic shifts and immigration challenges, the importance of robotics and automation in the restaurant industry is more significant than ever. Boatwright also expressed his advocacy for immigration reform to address labor shortages not only in the restaurant sector but across various industries.Engaging & Enlightening DiscussionThe podcast was not all serious and business-centric, as it lightened with a game of guessing popular ice cream shops and rapid-fire questions exploring Boatwright’s favorite foods, travel destinations, and sports teams. With a love for Mexican cuisine and a soft spot for New York and Florence, Italy, the conversation concluded on a delightful and relatable note for listeners.Wrap-UpFor enthusiasts and professionals in the foodservice, restaurant, and hospitality industry, “Hospitality Hangout” with Scott Boatwright is a must-listen. Engage with the podcast for a hearty serving of insights, laughter, and a deep-dive into the future of the restaurant industry with a side of Chipotle's signature integrity and innovation.
Lessons learned and stories shared at FSTEC from stand up CEOS | Season 10, Vol. 6
Sep 26 2023
Lessons learned and stories shared at FSTEC from stand up CEOS | Season 10, Vol. 6
In the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout, hosts Michael Schatzberg "The Restaurant Guy" and Jimmy Frischling "The Finance Guy" were on the road at FSTEC in Dallas, Texas. They ventured into the intricacies of the hospitality industry, with guests John Pepper of 211VC, Emily Williams Knight, CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, Angela Leet, CEO of QSR Automations, and Golden Corral’s CIO, Dawn Gillis.John Pepper: From Restaurant Startups to Tech StardomOpening the session was John Pepper, the dynamic force behind 211VC. As the co-founder of Boloco and the executive chairman of Hone, Pepper's entrepreneurial journey from launching a restaurant to investing in revolutionary restaurant tech is a masterclass in pivoting and seizing opportunities. The deep dive into the nuances of investing in startups and the seismic shifts expected in back-of-house operations.Emily Williams Knight: The Queen of Texas RestaurantsDescribed by the hosts as "Texas Restaurant Royalty", Emily Williams Knight, CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, illuminated her illustrious path. From being inspired by TV shows to leading global brands, Emily's stint has seen it all. Her insights into TRA's role during the pandemic, the embrace of technology in hospitality, and the challenges therein made for an insightful session.Angela Leet: Automating the Future of Quick-ServiceAngela Leet, the brilliant CEO of QSR Automations, shared her riveting trajectory from a dream in architecture to becoming an influential player in restaurant tech. Her discussion on strategic partnerships in the tech landscape and the need for constant innovation in kitchen technology gave listeners a glimpse into the future of QSR.Dawn Gillis: Golden Corral's Tech MaverickConcluding the series was Dawn Gillis, the strategic mind behind Golden Corral's tech initiatives. From her tech endeavors at 7-Eleven to her pivotal role in Golden Corral's digital transformation, Gillis's story is one of resilience and innovation. She unveiled Golden Corral's ambitious project, "Homeward Kitchen," set to redefine southern quick-serve dining.This Dallas edition of "Hospitality Hangout" wasn't just an episode—it was a culinary tech carnival. From playful banter and games, like the memorable "The Spice is Right," to in-depth discussions about the industry's challenges and future, it was a smorgasbord of insights, laughter, and expert knowledge. Restaurant professionals and tech enthusiasts alike, if you're looking to decode the future of restaurant tech and have fun doing it, this episode is your golden ticket.Tune in to Hospitality Hangout and stay updated with the latest trends, challenges, and innovations in the restaurant industry.
Flipping the Breakfast Script | Season 10, Vol. 5
Sep 20 2023
Flipping the Breakfast Script | Season 10, Vol. 5
On the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout, co-hosts Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” sat down with a breakfast industry giant: David Birzon, CEO at Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. This conversation offers unique industry insights that you will not want to miss.From Paradise Bakery to Snooze, A Journey of ExpansionBirzon, who began his journey in the hospitality realm with Paradise Bakery in Aspen back in 1988, recounted his experience of growing the chain to an impressive 80 restaurants. The successful endeavor ultimately attracted Panera Bread, leading to an acquisition in 2007. But Birzon's entrepreneurial spirit didn't stop there. In 2012, partnering with a private equity group, he took on a new challenge, acquiring Snooze when it had a mere six units. Today, the chain boasts 65 eateries with eyes set on more.Unlocking the Power of Loyalty ProgramsJimmy sparked a discussion around the power of loyalty programs, referencing Snooze's recent revamp, MySnooze Bennyfits. Birzon emphasized the depth of relationship that can be forged when patrons opt into these programs. It isn’t just about rewards, but the invaluable data that enables restaurants to truly cater to individual needs. As Schatzy noted, the cost of customer acquisition far outweighs retention, making these programs essential for sustainable growth.Snooze's Blueprint for ExpansionWith an expansive trajectory in mind, Snooze aims to leave its culinary footprint in diverse locations including Orlando, Tampa, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Columbus. They’re strategically spreading their reach, from mature markets to entirely new territories, keeping their growth ambitions stateside for now.The Fusion of Dining & DigitalThe trio also delved into the accelerating marriage of hospitality and technology. While the restaurant sector was historically slow in embracing digital solutions, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a profound catalyst. Today’s challenge, Birzon notes, isn’t about finding tech solutions – it's the integration and the tug-of-war over data ownership with third-party platforms.Schatzy and Jimmy also touched upon the idea of "dynamic pricing". A concept mirroring the pricing models of airlines and hotels could indeed reshape dining economics. However, Birzon believes a full embrace would demand a completely digital platform.Interestingly, while digital menus soared during the pandemic, there's been a trend reversal with many reverting to the tangible charm of paper menus, epitomizing the timeless essence of hospitality.The convergence of hospitality and technology demands a fine balance. While tech undeniably augments the dining experience, it's paramount that it serves to enhance, not eclipse, the very heart of hospitality.Tune into the Hospitality Hangout episode to hear these insights and more. Birzon’s experiences, coupled with Schatzy and Jimmy’s perspectives, promise a wealth of knowledge for anyone looking to navigate the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry.
How to Go from Dishwasher to Firehouse Subs CEO: The Secrets to Success | Season 10, Vol. 4
Sep 12 2023
How to Go from Dishwasher to Firehouse Subs CEO: The Secrets to Success | Season 10, Vol. 4
In the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout, hosts Michael Schatzberg, affectionately known as "The Restaurant Guy," and Jimmy Frischling, "The Finance Guy," sit down with the legendary Don Fox, Chairman of Firehouse Subs.The Meteoric Rise of Don FoxStarting his culinary journey scrubbing dishes at an Italian restaurant in New Jersey, Fox has seen it all. From his aspirations of being a trumpet player to a substantial 23-year tenure with Burger King, Fox's tale is nothing short of inspiring. The episode sheds light on his monumental contribution to Firehouse Subs, transforming it from a 65-unit brand in 2003 to a colossal chain of over 1200 restaurants under his leadership.Lessons from Five Decades in the Restaurant IndustryReflecting on his extensive journey, Fox underlines three key lessons for budding restaurateurs:The importance of fostering teamwork and building robust relationships.Embracing hard work, coupled with unwavering dedication and effort.Prioritizing company culture, with leaders leading by example.These insights, echoed by Michael and Jimmy, serve as valuable takeaways for anyone in the hospitality industry.Shaq and the Digital FootprintA hilarious highlight from the episode revolves around NBA superstar, Shaquille O'Neal. From Shaq inadvertently compelling Firehouse Subs to join Twitter to a memorable interaction at a franchise conference, these stories underscore the potent impact of celebrities on businesses.However, diving deeper into technology's role, Fox emphasizes the need to merge technology with traditional hospitality elements. With a cautionary note, he warns of the risk of restaurants losing their unique identities if they entirely sideline the human touch that defines true hospitality.Generation Z and the Future of DiningThe episode delves into the evolving restaurant landscape, particularly the integration of technology. As Gen Z becomes the primary customer demographic, Fox ponders over their heavy reliance on technology and wonders if a saturation point might lead them to seek more traditional dining experiences.With a nod to the next generation, Fox also dispels some common misconceptions about their work ethic, holding a positive view of their contribution to the restaurant space.Lighthearted Moments and Quickfire QuestionsBetween serious discussions, the episode is peppered with playful banter. From joking about popular burrito spots in "Food Service Feud" Don's quickfire revelations (he’s a fan of tomatoes on sandwiches and hails Chicago as his favorite food city!), the conversation keeps listeners engaged and entertained.Hospitality Hangout's latest episode is a blend of profound insights, playful jests, and industry reflections. Don Fox’s extensive journey, coupled with the shared experiences of Schatzy and Jimmy, provides a holistic perspective on the challenges, growth, and future of the restaurant industry. Don't miss this insightful dive into the intricacies of the hospitality world!