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Forktales

Vigor

A weekly podcast that feeds food and beverage brands with insights, ideas, trends, and anecdotes discussed with restaurant, hospitality, and beverage industry leaders.

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EP 29 / Karl Travis / Senior Interior Designer & Partner at Hager Design Intl
Dec 15 2021
EP 29 / Karl Travis / Senior Interior Designer & Partner at Hager Design Intl
Partner and Senior Designer at Hager International Karl has over 20 years design experience and is a graduate of Algonquin College in Ottawa and has a Diploma of Interior Design. He is also a 2010 inductee of his alma mater Hall of Fame for the School of Media and Design. Karl’s background is in hospitality which included partnership in a restaurant located in Whistler, BC, Canada. Karl is NCIDQ qualified, is registered with the Interior Designer Institute of BC, the Interior Designers of Nova Scotia and the Interior Designers of Canada. www.hagerinc.com “There are so many shifts happening as a result of the behavioral shifts with consumers - designers are reacting, absorbing, and developing new solutions.” - Joseph “Things like drive thru’s were shunned for the most part.” - Joseph “What also shunned it was city council, because of the environmental factor.” - Karl “There’s potential for overcorrection, but it depends on the board rooms of the large companies, they have some very smart people and they pay them to do the research.” - Karl “It’s giving people the option to not interact with other people, so it’s all about choice.” - Karl “McDonald’s was always way ahead of the game.” - Karl “It’s all automated. You can see the appeal from investors - its very low cost of entry, you dont need a lot of labor, and the food is delicious.” - Joseph “It has a lot to do with location as well, and rent/leasing/availability. And of course the labor shortage - this will factor into how companies will determine what they want to do.” - Karl “I used to go to Starbucks a lot and I don’t go anymore .... I’m gonna get my coffee and go on with my life.” - Karl “What if people want to stay and watch? Maybe it’s a spectacle … watch the hustle and bustle of what’s happening behind the glass wall with these robots. I love watching people as well.” - Karl “It was always fun to go into the village, sit on the patio, and patio rules. You’re invisible, nobody can hear you or see you. You watch people go by … it’s definitely something that I enjoy. So having a takeout place where you have the option to sit and watch and have the conversation - it’s more options for what you want to bring to that particular space.” - Karl “We design for the owner. We’ll take your vision and bring it to fruition and bring it into a living space.” - Karl “There’s a lot of emulation that happens on lower scale brands - they look up and say oh they’re doing it, we need to do the same thing but cheaper … and I think that’s a bit dangerous.” - Joseph “One thing that has impressed me is how the hospitality industry came together - sharing the knowledge of oh we did this and it didn’t work.” - Karl “Are you ever gonna have 40 bums in 40 seats at one time? People aren’t interested.” - Karl “You want to increase your back of house … you need to keep the kitchen going so there’s more storage and you’re not ordering as much.” - Karl “In my day the back of house was cramped, it wasn’t thought of. The cooks will deal with it. But it’s changing … you’re focusing in on the cooks and it’s been a long time coming. It’s them who make the restaurant tick.” - Karl “There’s an octopusification of the restaurant world … there’s many arms that have to happen.” - Joseph “What’s priority? The guy or girl in line, or the person who ordered ahead, or the person who just booped on a kiosk out front?” - Joseph “My head is spinning and I’m glad I’m an interior designer, not a QSR owner! That’s a big piece of chicken sandwich t
EP 29 / Karl Travis / Senior Interior Designer & Partner at Hager Design Intl
Dec 15 2021
EP 29 / Karl Travis / Senior Interior Designer & Partner at Hager Design Intl
Partner and Senior Designer at Hager International Karl has over 20 years design experience and is a graduate of Algonquin College in Ottawa and has a Diploma of Interior Design. He is also a 2010 inductee of his alma mater Hall of Fame for the School of Media and Design. Karl’s background is in hospitality which included partnership in a restaurant located in Whistler, BC, Canada. Karl is NCIDQ qualified, is registered with the Interior Designer Institute of BC, the Interior Designers of Nova Scotia and the Interior Designers of Canada. www.hagerinc.com “There are so many shifts happening as a result of the behavioral shifts with consumers - designers are reacting, absorbing, and developing new solutions.” - Joseph “Things like drive thru’s were shunned for the most part.” - Joseph “What also shunned it was city council, because of the environmental factor.” - Karl “There’s potential for overcorrection, but it depends on the board rooms of the large companies, they have some very smart people and they pay them to do the research.” - Karl “It’s giving people the option to not interact with other people, so it’s all about choice.” - Karl “McDonald’s was always way ahead of the game.” - Karl “It’s all automated. You can see the appeal from investors - its very low cost of entry, you dont need a lot of labor, and the food is delicious.” - Joseph “It has a lot to do with location as well, and rent/leasing/availability. And of course the labor shortage - this will factor into how companies will determine what they want to do.” - Karl “I used to go to Starbucks a lot and I don’t go anymore .... I’m gonna get my coffee and go on with my life.” - Karl “What if people want to stay and watch? Maybe it’s a spectacle … watch the hustle and bustle of what’s happening behind the glass wall with these robots. I love watching people as well.” - Karl “It was always fun to go into the village, sit on the patio, and patio rules. You’re invisible, nobody can hear you or see you. You watch people go by … it’s definitely something that I enjoy. So having a takeout place where you have the option to sit and watch and have the conversation - it’s more options for what you want to bring to that particular space.” - Karl “We design for the owner. We’ll take your vision and bring it to fruition and bring it into a living space.” - Karl “There’s a lot of emulation that happens on lower scale brands - they look up and say oh they’re doing it, we need to do the same thing but cheaper … and I think that’s a bit dangerous.” - Joseph “One thing that has impressed me is how the hospitality industry came together - sharing the knowledge of oh we did this and it didn’t work.” - Karl “Are you ever gonna have 40 bums in 40 seats at one time? People aren’t interested.” - Karl “You want to increase your back of house … you need to keep the kitchen going so there’s more storage and you’re not ordering as much.” - Karl “In my day the back of house was cramped, it wasn’t thought of. The cooks will deal with it. But it’s changing … you’re focusing in on the cooks and it’s been a long time coming. It’s them who make the restaurant tick.” - Karl “There’s an octopusification of the restaurant world … there’s many arms that have to happen.” - Joseph “What’s priority? The guy or girl in line, or the person who ordered ahead, or the person who just booped on a kiosk out front?” - Joseph “My head is spinning and I’m glad I’m an interior designer, not a QSR owner! That’s a big piece of chicken sandwich t
EP 28 / Alonso Castañeda / VP of Brand Development & Strategy of Savory Management
Dec 9 2021
EP 28 / Alonso Castañeda / VP of Brand Development & Strategy of Savory Management
VP of Brand Development & Strategy at Savory Restaurant Fund Started career at 18 - managing a small Mexican grill (under 10 units) Began franchising and helped the company expand until acquisition by Jack In The Box Then helped grow the Paradise Bakery with franchising until acquisition by Panera Moved on to 14-unit company called Cafe Rio, grew to 100 units and, you guessed it, acquisition! Grew another franchise system with Four Foods Group; then purchased 48 Little Caesar’s locations. Added 30 more locations, then sold them off and “lived happily ever after”. “Small brands - those 5 to 15 location concepts … this growth from that moment to 50, 100, 200, seems very enigmatic and tough.” - Joseph “During that growth phase … we learned a lot on going fast but not too fast.” - Alonso “There’s nothing you can read, nothing you can do, that will teach them but your experience. You can’t replace experience.” - Alonso “Every stage in the restaurant business is difficult. It has its own little challenges. The industry in itself is hard, right? The initial stage from 5 to 50 is especially hard … you gotta keep that momentum. Setting up that foundation is so important.” - Alonso “Sometimes restaurants get funding and they slowly forget to be scrappy.” - Alonso “There’s all these services that come to you as a young operator and they offer you … this extra little software that tells you the weather … the sales pitch was fantastic … so the middle of your P&L fattens up and your profits are so low.” - Alonso “You have to be brilliant at the basics. If you have great service, great quality food, and a clean environment, and you’re consistent with it, that’s all you need.” - Alonso “If you’re not careful you can get rid of your money. It’s pretty easy.” - Joseph “What’s needed today and a little bit of tomorrow, instead of what’s needed five years from now.” - Joseph “If you’re a mom and pop shop, opening your first or second location, do you need to spend $50k on a brand identity? Probably not.” - Joseph “Focus on operations, get those systems smooth… when you hit that 10, 15, 20 location mark then take a look at the brand.” - Joseph “Your food is your branding. Your marketing budget is getting your food in people’s mouths .... Feed the local football team for free. That’s your marketing” - Alonso “Everything you do does build a brand, so if you do it wrong you’re doing yourself a disservice.” - Joseph “We find these brands that have so much potential to become a great emerging concept and all they need is a team of restaurant experts and the right funding. Our model is to help them grow from 4 to 40.” - Alonso “It’s sort of the morning party! Eggs benedict and Lil Jon.” - Joseph, about Hash Kitchen, a breakfast spot with a DJ. “I used to own and run a nightclub in Palm Springs … I thought I was done with DJs, but this is my 40’s DJ life now … but they don’t let me touch the playlist” - Alonso “In the casual dining space, people want ‘eatertainment’ - that experience when you go out and sit down with your friends and have a server and have to pay a tip - you want that experiential dining.” - Alonso “Finding people that show up for interviews … the flake ratio of people that show up is ridiculous.” - Alonso on the challenge of finding great labor. “It’s a cool place to be, it’s cool to say I work here, and the tips are great.” - Alonso on the challenge of finding great labor. “The conversation is centralized on compensation, but I’ve heard many other factors that play a large role.” - Joseph, on the challenge of finding great labor. “The restaurant industry has had a bad rap for years, working their employees hard, work life balance and all this, and I think we need to squash this. That’s old school, back in the day … you’ve got very educated restaurateurs and operators n
EP 27 / Bill Gardner / 2021’s most notable restaurant rebrands
Dec 2 2021
EP 27 / Bill Gardner / 2021’s most notable restaurant rebrands
The very first Pizza Hut was only a half mile from Bill in Wichita! And they asked their fraternity brothers to open franchises. Pizza Hut’s red roof was so iconic you could identify them from aerial photography. It was designed by Robert Burke. Sagmeister & Walsh book: Taco Bell’s logo evolution: Papa John’s logo evolution: Home on the Range: Bullhearted Brand Book: Handles IG @gardnerdesignusa Twitter @gardnerdesign FB “Back in the 70s 80s and maybe 90s, there was a lot of character in restaurant brands… it seems like there was a push to eliminate that.” - Joseph “People forget that the McDonald’s golden arches were the original arches on the building. These things draw this language and vernacular of the architecture of the restaurant. That’s where the color comes from, the pattern, the textures.” - Bill “There’s been this regrasping from the 70s especially - with Stranger Things - the typography, wonderful fat swervy, bold, and spoke of food, people love that.” - Bill “If you didn’t live through it, it’s new to you, but you remember it in a retro way - you remember the good, not the bad.” - Bill “I rarely say this about design … but God, it’s sexy.” - Joseph “If we all believe that brown rectangles are the ugliest thing in the world then why are we building them?” - Joseph, paraphrasing Sagmeister “We brown-rectangled logos and design elements for so long.” - Joseph “Familiarity is what we consider ugly” - Bill, interpreting Sagmeister “If you come to me, I can do (Burger King’s) 2050 logo, the bun will be just enormous on the thing … but the type will be the same.” - Bill “I’m not speaking about how good the product is, I’m just speaking about from a design perspective, I love the fact that they’ve picked up that vernacular and pushing that forward as a brand component.” “Is it lazy? I don’t mean in the amount of thought or work, but it seems like a parlor trick to leverage nostalgia.” - Joseph  “The logo was king, and the application, the visual vocabulary, was the court that went with the king … and it still is to a degree but what smart branding is finding is that the things we remember first are color, pattern, then we get down to the fine granular imagery that you find inside a logo. The color and pattern are becoming more important to brands.” - Bill (edited) “I think it’s only smart. It’s not being lazy. They’re taking advantage of equity that they’ve had over a period of time.” - Bill “Taco Bell ushered in this bright pink purple yellow fluorescent taco bellness, and now they’ve almost gone too far, it’s just a purple bell.” - Joseph “Reminds you of a prophylactic that hasn’t been unrolled.” - Bill “I have kind of a love hate for it. In design we’re always told to take that mark and keep pushing and pushing it until you have pushed too far and then you take a step back because that’s about where people are going to recognize it. I felt with that mark, they pushed it one step too far and forgot to come back.” - Bill “The typography has been completely sanded down to be forgettable and unownable. It’s lost its beauty.” - Joseph “They dropped the apostrophe, which is always a bitch.” - Bill (about Papa John’s) “They labeled ingredients - and I get the thinking … but it’s mozzarella. It’s tomatoes. You don’t need to label them.” - Joseph “Their advertising now is all typography, no product - and I’ll go to fisticuffs on this - you gotta show the product, I don’t care what anyone says.” - Joseph “If you’re saying ‘better ingredients’ then I still have questions. Namel
EP 26 / Justin Bartek / Director of Marketing at Jinya Ramen Bar
Nov 11 2021
EP 26 / Justin Bartek / Director of Marketing at Jinya Ramen Bar
Jinya is franchised across the US and Canada 40 locations with a plan to add between 15 and 20 restaurants Pork broth is a 20 hour process Quotes “What it comes down to is the best marketing is word of mouth” -Justin “Trying to define who that customer is and once you have that definition then, putting the resources to where those folks are: -Justin “I cant underscore enough how important it is to truly think local at all costs” -Joseph “I try to let the data tell the story and kind of guide us” -Justin “If you’re not communicating with your franchisees on the “why”, they can go rogue rather easily” -Justin “It’s not just explaining what or how, it really is why” -Joseph “An elevated experience isn’t just the food, it’s all of it” -Justin
EP 25 / CJ Moyer / Founder of Presley’s Mobile Bar
Nov 4 2021
EP 25 / CJ Moyer / Founder of Presley’s Mobile Bar
Decided to go mobile first to get feet wet and understand how the industry works.They tailor the bar options and garnishes to the season RAMP Certification - certification that servers and bartenders need to receive in order to serve food and beverages.Presley’s is named after CJ’s goddaughter Quotes “Make an experience with your brewery” -CJ“If you don't have good beer to match your experience, you’re going to get washed out unfortunately” -CJ“What I’m really yearning to find is a brewery who really starts to take the brand seriously” - Joseph“I’m hoping that we just find a stride where people realize it’s not just the beer, it is the brand and people really need to start buying into the brand” -Joseph“We want you to have the experience that you’re sitting down in a really comfortable dim lit bar” -CJ
EP 24 / Eli Altman / Naming Expert on Ghost/Virtual Kitchens
Oct 28 2021
EP 24 / Eli Altman / Naming Expert on Ghost/Virtual Kitchens
Book — Run Studio, Run Naming Tips Look around to see what other people aren’t doing Understand the field and know what’s been done Be clear about what you want to put on the table and why you’re existing Nopicnicpress.com Twitter — @elialtman QUOTES “The middle ground is where the bad names exist” -Eli “We would rather have someone do something ridiculous and interesting and fail than try to do something completely bland” -Eli “Mediocrity is driven by a desire to appease everyone simultaneously” -Eli “If you spend your time trying to fit in, you’re gonna waste your budget trying to stand out” -Danny Altman “You know you’ve done a really good job at strategy and absorbed it because it makes innovation feel more comfortable” -Joseph “We as humans have an innate desire to want to fit into something and when you haven’t effectively defined what that something is, it becomes just fitting in” -Joseph “Names are really introductions to stories” -Eli The name is about getting you to the front door, beyond that, it’s about experience” -Eli
EP 23 / Heather Stennis & LeAnne Cavallero / Cinnaholic
Oct 21 2021
EP 23 / Heather Stennis & LeAnne Cavallero / Cinnaholic
Cinnaholic, a gourmet cinnamon roll bakery, was founded in 2010 by a husband and wife team in California No freezers, rolls are made fresh everyday Menu is 100% vegan and over 20 frostings and toppings Owners went on Shark Tank in 2014, deal fell through so they decided to go into franchising shortly after that. Each location has their own Facebook and Instagram page 59 units opened right now Menu Innovation  Have to think USA and Canada from a sourcing perspective Change flavors at least 5 times a year Don’t focus on being 100% vegan in marketing Future of Cinnaholic — lots of growth and new markets!
EP 22 / Michael Pavone / Founder of Pavone Marketing Group
Oct 14 2021
EP 22 / Michael Pavone / Founder of Pavone Marketing Group
Notes coming soon!
EP 21 / QSR Uncut
Oct 7 2021
EP 21 / QSR Uncut
Caribou coffee is starting a subscription programTaco Bell is testing a subscription service in ArizonaClean Juice and Urban Plates are testing out subscription services as wellWendy’s is launching a Friday Freebies in October - every Friday, with the purchase of a medium fry, you unlock a free deal. There’s also a $0 delivery fee in the month of October.Internal Branding & Marketing to employeesUnderstanding what your brand meansWhy does it matter?Follow up and deliver on your promises as a brandDutch Bros. Coffee lives thisYellow Pages is an example of a company that failed to recognize a cultural shiftTater tots are not fries! Quotes “The McRib is one of those sandwiches that we all remember where were when we first ate it whether or not it a was a good or bad experience” -Danny“You can get customers onto loyalty, but how do you keep them?” -Danny“Now more than ever it's become very clear how important marketing internally is” -Joseph“The restaurant industry has long been one of those industries where you can enter the workforce no matter what your background is and yet you can also still climb the ladder” -Danny“Great service is a by-product of a strong, real, authentic culture that people have bought into” -Joseph“It cannot be understated the importance of brick and mortar and having a sign out there that consumers can see” -Ben“Dine in is returning and the value of being able to sit in a restaurant is returning” -Ben“I think there’s going to be a lot of these virtual brands that burst at the seams and then fall off when people realize that they’re not really much more beyond what the gimmick may be” -Danny“It definitely does feel like you’re narrowing your customer reach when you develop a Cheetos flavored wing” -BenWhy do brands fail? “I think it's because they fail to recognize a cultural shift that is beyond trend” -Joseph“Are people going to want to eat at buffets post COVID?” -Ben“A lot of these restaurants need to have that in their back pocket to reactivate who they were and why they matter to people” -Danny“Do not become too much of somebody else in a world that already has too many options” -Danny
EP 20 / Zack Oates / Founder of Ovation, Lover of Feedback
Sep 30 2021
EP 20 / Zack Oates / Founder of Ovation, Lover of Feedback
Ovation is an actionable guest feedback platform that works exclusively with restaurantsNamed the #1 guest feedback platform in AmericaIt’s an omni channel 2 question surveyCustom comps are coming out soon, testing live chat on the website, etc.Custom questions in the Ovation app have just launched! With the longer surveys, you can send a coupon, you can ask about new dishes, favorite dishes, etc.Desert Dorado poem reference… “Listen to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story”Zack’s Book — Dating Never Works... Until It Does Quotes “Eighty to ninety percent (depending on the brand) of our customers are going to have a five star experience” -Zack“It’s not just about getting a good rating, it’s about keeping those ratings coming in” -Zack“Online reviews are really critical to every single location” -Zack“We all have something to learn from everyone we meet” -Zack“It’s so important that we’re able to be open to the fact that we’re not perfect” -Zack“When you’re able to empower your staff, Ovation becomes like the superpower” -Zack“You get action from people when there is passion; positive or negative passion” -Joseph“Unfortunately, it’s really easy to trigger negative passion in this industry” -Joseph“One thing that Ovation does is we pick up the people in the middle” -Zack Background/History Grew up in the restaurant industryLearned early on that the most important thing is the guest experienceOvation is Zack’s 3rd startup
Sam Slaughter / Author, Copywriter, Lover of Cheeseballs
Apr 15 2021
Sam Slaughter / Author, Copywriter, Lover of Cheeseballs
In our inaugural episode, I speak with Sam Slaughter. Sam is an author of a fantastic drinks recipe book, a copywriter at Vigor, and a lover of cheeseballs. We have a relaxed and fun chat about the state of spirits and drinking culture and dive into the story behind his episode image.