What it means to have a good workplace culture
Everybody talks about having a good corporate culture. But what does that mean? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features James Pogue, the CEO of the leadership consulting firm JP Enterprises, to talk about culture and inclusivity. Pogue is a former researcher and administrator who now works with companies—including many restaurants—to help them attract and retain younger employees. We speak with him because we’re curious about what it means to have a good corporate culture, one that promotes inclusivity and diversity. Pogue is as good as anybody to talk about that topic. He quickly notes in the podcast that a company has a culture whether it tries to have one or not. And he talks about how to promote that culture—particularly in a time when so many things are so divisive. He talks extensively about promoting an open and honest culture at a time when political divisions are raging.
June 29, 2022
How chicken wings helped Charley’s escape the mall
How does a mall concept do well in stand-alone locations? With chicken wings. This week’s episode of A Deeper Dive features Charley’s Philly Steaks President Candra Alisiswanto, who talks about Charley’s growth strategy. Charley’s operates 670 locations. Most of those have traditionally been in mall settings. But more recently, the company began expanding outside of those shopping centers and into stand-alone locations, many of which have drive-thrus. It has done so in part with an expanded menu that features chicken wings in addition to its traditional menu of steak and chicken Philly sandwiches. We spoke with Alisiswanto about this strategy, and why chicken wings have helped the company intensify its growth. He talks about the difference between operating in malls and operating standalone locations and what it takes to make that transition. He also talks about technology and bringing kiosks and mobile apps to the malls. He talks about franchisee demand and how drive-thrus fit in Charley’s future.
June 22, 2022
A look into Subway’s future
How many restaurants does Subway need to close? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Trevor Haynes, president of North America for the Milford, Conn.-based sandwich giant, to talk about the chain’s future. Subway remains the largest chain in the U.S. by unit count. But it has been shrinking for years. Franchisees have closed about 6,000 locations since the brand peaked at 27,000 restaurants in 2014. Restaurants have low unit volumes and franchisees on average own just two locations. Haynes was acting CEO in 2018 and 2019 before giving way to John Chidsey. He talks about the likelihood of more closures ahead. But he also says the closures open opportunities for new locations, though the restaurants may be different and could feature things like kiosks and vending machines. Haynes talks about the company’s plan to recruit larger franchisees and the future of business developers, the sometimes controversial operators who act as master franchisees and take on some of the roles of the franchisor. And he talks about the company’s efforts to build unit volumes.
June 15, 2022
How to create a restaurant concept in a time of uncertainty
How do you create a restaurant concept when so much about the business is uncertain? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Jack Gibbons, the CEO of concept incubator FB Society, to talk about concept development and the industry’s future. FB Society, formerly known as Front Burner Brands, is known most for creating Velvet Taco, which has since been sold—though FB still has an interest in the chain and is a licensee. The company has created several other full-service and fast casual brands including Sixty Vines, Mexican Sugar, Whiskey Cake and Son of a Butcher, among others. Gibbons talks about how FB Society thinks when it creates a concept right now and what things they consider when developing full-service and fast-casual brands. He also discusses consumers’ continued desire for service and the demand for high-quality restaurants and what kind of takeout consideration full-service restaurants should have. And he talks about whether fast-casual restaurants should focus on the dine-in business at all. Gibbons also takes some time to talk about how best to win the labor shortage and about rethinking unit economics when everything costs so much.
June 08, 2022
How operators can overcome thinning profit margins
How do operators overcome rapidly shrinking profit margins? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Jim Balis, managing director with the investment firm CapitalSpring, to talk about the rising cost environment and how operators can overcome these problems. Labor costs are soaring right now, with wage rates up more than 13% over the past year. But food costs are up even more, rising more than 16% according to federal data. Add in the higher prices for construction, equipment, real estate and interest rates and it’s difficult to improve profits. Menu prices are up 7.2%, not nearly enough to offset the higher costs. In addition, a potential recession could push more consumers to shop on price, which may hurt operators’ ability to keep raising costs. Balis is an operational expert and discusses strategies restaurants can use to offset the higher costs without simply raising prices. But he also talks about price strategy. And he talks about the technologies that could do the most to improve operations down the road.
June 01, 2022
How restaurants are combatting multiple challenges
What is the state of the restaurant industry this year? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Lance Trenary, the CEO of Golden Corral and chairman of the National Restaurant Association, to discuss the general state of restaurants. Trenary joined the podcast from the association’s recently completed show, the first one in three years. The show was held just days after Congress could not muster enough votes to approve a package that would have provided $40 billion in funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Trenary talks about what that means for restaurants that had been counting on receiving their grants. He also talks about the numerous challenges facing the industry, notably soaring labor and supply chain costs, and what impact this is having on operators. Trenary also talks about how his own chain, Golden Corral, has been able to deal with these issues.
May 25, 2022
Why grocery inflation is so bad, and how it’s affecting restaurants
Why are grocery prices going up so much? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Christine LaFave Grace, the executive editor of RB sister publication Winsight Grocery Business, to talk about last week’s consumer price index data. The CPI rose 8.3% in April. Food prices have soared, rising 9.4%. That includes 7.2% at restaurants. But at grocers, prices are up 10.8%. This affects restaurants in two ways. First, it increases overall costs for the base consumer, which may cause them to cut back on spending. Yet they also see the prices and start dining out instead, especially given the 3.5% gap in pricing between the two industries. And indeed, restaurant and bar sales have continued to thrive this year. We talk about this issue from the retailers’ perspective. Why are grocery prices increasing so much? How are consumers reacting when they do shop for their groceries? And how long is this all expected to last? We also provide some context on what this means for restaurants.
May 18, 2022
A look into the impact of the driver shortage on distributors
Restaurants aren’t the only businesses with labor problems. Distributors have their own challenges that are also driving up costs for operators. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Terry Walsh, the president of small California distribution company Southwest Traders, to discuss the impact of the labor shortage on distributors and how that affects restaurants. A lack of truck drivers has been an increasing problem for distributors for years but was worsened during the pandemic, which has played a major role in an increase in supply chain costs while causing problems with delayed or even cancelled deliveries. But a warehousing worker shortage has also caused problems. Terry talks about these roles, why companies have had problems getting these workers, and what distributors are doing about it. He talks about their impact on operators and overall costs and what steps operators can do to make life easier on drivers. Walsh has more than 30 years in the distribution business and has president of Southwest Traders since 2016. He has spent 14 of those years on the board of the International Foodservice Distributors Association.
May 11, 2022
The story behind Crumbl Cookies’ sweet success
How did Crumbl Cookies go from an off-the-wall idea between two cousins into one of the country’s fastest-growing restaurant chains in just five years? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Jason McGowan, the CEO and cofounder of the fast-growing cookie chain, to talk about its history and its growth. McGowan founded the brand with his cousin, Sawyer Hemsley, in 2017. The brand has since grown to more than 400 locations that largely sell just cookies (as well as some ice cream). It was the fourth fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country last year, according to the Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. Sales are up nearly 500% since 2019. But there is a real foundation here. Crumbl’s locations average $1.7 million and generate more than $350,000 in net profit by largely selling just cookies. It also has a massive social media following. McGowan talks about the company’s unique formation, its quick rise and the strategy behind its success. He talks about the company’s franchising strategy, which has thus far completely avoided any sort of advertising.
May 04, 2022
How operators can avoid raising prices too aggressively
What can operators do to avoid raising prices too aggressively? Or should they? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features John Gordon, a restaurant consultant out of San Diego, to talk about the industry’s historic level of menu price inflation and whether consumers will ultimately respond. Restaurants are raising prices at historically high rates, including 6.9% year over year in March, continuing a high run of price inflation. Restaurants are doing this because their own costs are soaring. Consumers at least thus far have yet to reject these higher prices. Gordon discusses why consumers haven’t yet rejected higher prices. He also discusses how long this will last. There are growing fears that consumers will shift their spending habits in response to inflation. Yet operators’ own prices continue to increase. Gordon discusses what they can do to avoid further price increases, and a potential consumer blowback, without having their margins hurt even more.
April 27, 2022
How Wienerschnitzel handled a sudden surge of drive-thru business
How did a small hot dog chain handle a sudden rush of customers after the pandemic? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features J.R. Galardi, the CEO of the Galardi Group, parent company of Wienerschnitzel, Tastee Freeze and Hamburger Stand. Galardi was named CEO earlier this year but had been president and chief operating officer before that and has grown up with the concept, which was founded by his father and later run by his mother after he passed away. He talks about taking over a family business, including some of the pressures, challenges and opportunities that presents. J.R. talks about what he plans to do with the brand. He also talks a lot about the state of the business, including labor issues, supply chain concerns, franchising and expansion strategies. Galardi discusses how much demand there was for the drive-thru after the pandemic, the challenges that presented, and what the company did about it.
April 20, 2022
A look at which chains stood out in 2021
What chains recovered the most from the pandemic? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Joe Pawlak, managing principal with RB sister company Technomic, to talk about the latest Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. The 500 largest restaurants grew sales by 18% in 2021—and more than 8% over 2019, effectively recovering from the pandemic. They generated $361.2 billion in total sales. Pawlak talks about why they’ve been able to grow more quickly than anybody anticipated. He talks extensively about what sectors did best, notably fine dining along with some of the biggest chains in the U.S. Among the companies featured in this podcast are McDonald’s, Burger King and, of course, Chick-fil-A.
April 14, 2022
A look at the quality and value of virtual kitchens
What are consumers getting when they order from a virtual kitchen? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features our editors speaking of their recent taste test of a handful of virtual brands. The project was spearheaded by Senior Technology Editor Joe Guszkowski, who wrote about the experiences in a piece last week. We are joined by Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo and Senior Independents Editor Heather Lalley. The brands we tried were MrBeast Burger, Man Vs. Fries, Grilled Cheese Society and Another Wing by DJ Khaled. We rated them on delivery quality, food quality and appearance and overall value. You should check out the piece, which ran last week. The editors discuss the results of their orders, including which brands they prefer, which brands they disliked, and their overall value. We discuss how much this says about delivery charges, and whether we would order this in the future.
April 06, 2022
A look into Wendy’s plans to build more restaurants
Wendy’s has some big plans to add a lot of restaurants. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Abigail Pringle, the president of international and chief development officer for the burger chain Wendy’s. She talks about the chain’s numerous expansion strategies. Wendy’s has a lot going on. The company has a deal with Reef Kitchens to expand into 700 ghost kitchen locations around the world. Pringle talks about the potential impact that deal will have on the company’s expansion strategy. She also talks about the company’s move into international markets. Wendy’s recently opened units in the United Kingdom and is now targeting Mexico for expansion, among other locations. Pringle also talks about why Wendy’s has been behind its top competitors in international expansion. She discusses the chain’s recently announced Own Your Opportunity recruitment effort, which is designed to increase the diversity of the Wendy’s franchise system. That effort includes considerable work on financing. Pringle talks about how that recruitment effort fits in with the chain’s development strategy.
March 30, 2022
Why the supply chain crisis won’t go away anytime soon
Restaurants’ supply chain headache has evolved into a migraine. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Keith Anderkin, the chief supply chain officer for the fast-casual chicken chain Zaxby’s. Chains have been increasingly giving c-level status to their top supply chain officers. Anderkin took his position last year, and we wanted his insights into the challenges with the supply chain—why costs are going up so much, and what the company is doing about it.
March 23, 2022
How the pandemic has changed restaurants’ beverage deals
The pandemic has changed restaurants’ deals with beverage companies, maybe forever. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Tim Harms, CEO of the consulting firm Enliven, to talk about the market for beverages at restaurants. Enliven works with restaurants and other clients to negotiate their beverage contracts. Harms was recently named the firm’s CEO. He discussed the state of beverage deals on the podcast, and how much the pandemic changed demand for restaurant beverages. Growth in takeout and delivery has led to decreased beverage attachment, which has changed the way restaurants have to think about their beverage contracts.
March 16, 2022
Why people keep buying restaurants
Despite a number of challenges, there remains plenty of demand for restaurants on the open market. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast, A Deeper Dive, features Robin Gagnon, CEO and cofounder of We Sell Restaurants, to discuss the secondary market for restaurants. That market remains strong. There are more buyers than there are sellers, driving up the price. This is especially true for quick-service restaurants. But there is plenty of demand for all kinds of concepts. The demand is strong despite high labor and food costs and the prospect of rising interest rates.
March 09, 2022
How a small chain is coping with the tough operating environment
How does a small growth chain expand when the operating environment is so difficult? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Jason Morgan, CEO of the 17-unit Original ChopShop, to talk about it. Original Chop Shop is a better-for-you fast casual chain. The company has done quite well during the pandemic and has some significant growth plans, but it has faced some challenges on that front.
March 02, 2022
How Portillo’s is handling life as a public company
How has life changed for Portillo’s since the brand went public? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Michael Osanloo, CEO of the hot dog and Italian beef chain, to talk about life as a public company. Portillo’s has been a fast-growing chain of massive quick-service restaurants. It went public last year in what now looks like some bad timing. Stocks have struggled due to inflation concerns and the promise of higher interest rates. And investors have been particularly hard on some of the newly public restaurant companies.
February 23, 2022
A look at the future, and the present, of third-party delivery
What happens with third-party delivery from here? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” attempts to answer that question. Joe Guszkowski, RB’s senior technology editor, joins the podcast to discuss the service and some interesting data and trends. Third-party delivery took off during the pandemic. It provided a lifeline for many restaurants. Yet it remains in flux.
February 16, 2022
A look at the fierce competition for drive-thru real estate
Everybody wants a drive-thru these days. And that has an impact on the prices for real estate that can accommodate that wish. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Barry Wolfe, senior managing director of investments for the real estate investment firm Marcus and Millichap, to talk about the demand for drive-thru sites.
February 09, 2022
What restaurants can expect in 2022
What is 2022 going to be like for restaurants? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Hudson Riehle, SVP of the research and knowledge group with the National Restaurant Association, to talk about the group’s recent State of the Restaurant Industry report. The report is an annual compilation of data and surveys on the industry and provides a snapshot of where the business stands and where it’s headed during the coming year.
February 02, 2022
How the omicron surge has affected restaurant traffic
How has the omicron variant affected restaurant traffic? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features RJ Hottovy, head of analytical research with the data firm Placer.ai. Hottovy is a longtime industry analyst who went to work with Placer last year. Placer tracks consumer traffic, and he talks about how that traffic has been changing of late.
January 26, 2022
A former McDonald’s franchisee looks back at her long career
Tracy Johnstone wanted to go into academics. Instead she found plenty of teaching opportunities with McDonald’s. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features the now-former, longtime McDonald’s franchisee, who discusses her more than 30 years in the business.
January 19, 2022
How Biggby Coffee works to compete with its giant competitors
How does a small, Midwestern coffee chain compete with the big giants? Bob Fish, the co-CEO and cofounder of Biggby Coffee, joins the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” this week to discuss the chain’s growth strategy. Biggby is a 260-unit chain based in Lansing, Mich. The company has plans for some enormous growth in the near future after largely making it through the pandemic unscathed. It is doing this largely through a franchising model. Fish talks about that growth. He also talks about the need to constantly change in a market where new trends come and go quickly. And he talks about the need for convenience—and why coffee chains could not survive on customers hanging out in cafes alone.
January 12, 2022
How ghost kitchens and virtual brands could change the restaurant industry
Virtual brands and ghost kitchens have been hugely popular since the outset of the pandemic. But just how big will they be? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Denny Marie Post, the former Red Robin CEO who is now an advisor to the virtual brand operator Nextbite, among other roles.
January 05, 2022
The biggest stories of 2021
This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features staff editors, all discussing their takes on the year’s biggest stories. Editor At Large Peter Romeo, Technology Editor Joe Guszkowski, Independents Editor Heather Lalley and Menu Editor Pat Cobe join me in discussing issues related to labor, technology, the plight of independents, finance and menu trends.
December 22, 2021
What is the future of restaurant mergers and acquisitions?
Will high labor costs derail restaurant industry mergers and acquisitions? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Nick Cole, head of restaurant finance for the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, or MUFG.
December 15, 2021
Should restaurants worry about the omicron variant?
The omicron variant is spreading. Will it cause problems for restaurants? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Roslyn Stone, chief operating officer of Zero Hour Health, who talks about this new variant and what it means for restaurants.
December 08, 2021
Can a salad chain become the next big thing in the restaurant business?
Will people eat enough salads to fuel Sweetgreen’s potential growth? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Nancy Kruse, RB’s new menu trends columnist.
December 01, 2021
How operators can navigate twin inflationary waves
A Deeper Dive: Jim Balis, managing director with CapitalSpring, joins this week’s episode to talk about overcoming labor and commodity inflation.
November 17, 2021
How Andy Wiederhorn plans to pay for all his new chains
How is Andy Wiederhorn doing it? In this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive,” the CEO of Fatburger and Johnny Rockets owner Fat Brands discusses his company’s latest deal, a $130 million acquisition of Fazoli’s. It is the fourth major deal in 14 months, starting with Johnny Rockets, then Global Franchise Group and then Twin Peaks. All told, Wiederhorn’s company has made or announced more than $900 million worth of deals in that period.
November 10, 2021
A debate on the long-term impact of the labor challenge on restaurants
Just how bad is the labor shortage? In this episode of the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive,” I debate with Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo about that very topic. Restaurants have been dealing with one of the worst shortages of labor in history, with many locations shortening hours or reducing services because they do not have enough workers. Operators are paying much higher wage rates and they’re paying more for benefits than they ever had. Romeo in a recent column argued that these challenges will ultimately prove worse than the pandemic on the industry, citing the closures and a potential long-term loss of workers. Yet I argue that the issue will ultimately prove better for the industry by forcing it to improve efficiency and employee retention, which will improve operations in the long-term. Who is right? Check out this week’s episode and find out.
November 03, 2021
How Jack in the Box is reclaiming its unit growth potential
Want to grow your brand? Make sure you get your franchise relations right. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Darin Harris, the CEO of the San Diego-based burger chain Jack in the Box, to talk about the company’s growth plans.
October 27, 2021
Checkers has the upper hand in a drive-thru future
This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Frances Allen, CEO of Checkers and Rally’s, who talks about the chain’s growth, the industry’s current challenges and her outlook going forward. Checkers, traditionally a drive-thru-only chain, has thrived since the pandemic as consumers shifted more of their dining toward such service models. That has also given the chain the upper hand as more restaurant chains have started toying with drive-thru-only models.
October 20, 2021
How restaurants are coping with the labor shortage
Is there any positive outlook on the labor front? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Kevin Bazner, the CEO of A&W Restaurants, talking about the impact of the labor shortage on his company’s restaurants.
October 13, 2021
Why the FTC may take a harder look at franchising
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission appears ready to take a harder look at franchising. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features two people who are asking the agency to do just that. Eric Karp, an attorney with the law firm of Witmer Karp Warner and Ryan, and Subway operator and franchisee advocate Keith Miller, explain their recent request of the commission to investigate nine franchises. Those franchises include Subway, Dickey’s and 7-Eleven, along with IHG Hotels, Choice Hotels, the UPS Store, Experimax, Supercuts and Massage Envy.
October 06, 2021
Why independent restaurants are recovering more slowly than chains
When will independent restaurants catch a break? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features a discussion on the state of independent restaurants with Senior Editor Heather Lalley. Restaurants are currently facing a major shortage of alcohol, which has made it difficult to get some specific brands—the latest in a string of shortages that have affected all kinds of businesses. Yet independents, unsurprisingly, are feeling the brunt of this. Independents are also facing a host of other challenges and have not recovered quite as well as have chain restaurants. They are at a major disadvantage on labor issues, technology adoption and food costs, among other things.
September 29, 2021
How long will supply chain problems last?
This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Mark Rossi, the CEO of Avanti Restaurant Solutions, who talks about current challenges with the supply chain. Challenges getting equipment in the door have caused all sorts of problems with restaurants. Avanti works with restaurants to design their foodservice options and has been paying close attention to the problem. While he speaks specifically about equipment challenges, many of the issues—particularly a driver shortage—are affecting all kinds of industries that supply products to restaurants.
September 22, 2021
Why more careful selection is key to restaurant success
Fast growth isn’t necessarily the best growth. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast features Pete Pascuzzi, the CEO of MRI Heritage Brands, to discuss the best strategies for unit and franchise growth in a post-pandemic era. MRI is a Texas company that operates several chains, including Uberrito, Casa Ole, Monterey’s Little Mexico, Tortuga and Crazy Joe’s. Pascuzzi talks about why the company is more deliberative with its franchisee and site selection. A lot of mistakes are made when chains quickly get franchisees into the system and push them into bad sites. He talks generally about site availability and the cost of getting into locations these days.
September 15, 2021
How Sam Fox overcame early challenges to thrive as a restaurateur
What did Sam Fox learn from his early struggles in the restaurant business? Fox, the founder of Fox Restaurant Concepts, joins this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” to talk about his career in the restaurant industry. Fox is one of the industry’s most influential concept creators. He has created 20 unique restaurants, including North Italia, Flower Child, True Food Kitchen. In 2019 his company was sold to Cheesecake Factory in one of the industry’s most unique deals in recent years.
September 08, 2021
A look at restaurants' mixed relationship with delivery
Restaurants have a love-hate relationship with third-party delivery services. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” covers that relationship. Senior Editor Joe Guszkowski joins the podcast to talk about the issue, including several recent developments in an ongoing battle about charges and other delivery companies' practices.
September 01, 2021
Why restaurants’ recovery has been faster than expected
Why have restaurant industry sales recovered so quickly? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features David Henkes, senior principal with RB sister company Technomic, and Kevin Schimpf, senior research manager, to talk about where sales are and where they are headed. Technomic compiles industry sales data, including tracking the largest chains in the U.S., and also publishes regular forecasts for sales.
August 25, 2021
How long will the restaurant sales boom last?
How long will the boom in restaurant sales last? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast features Michael Swanson, an agricultural economist and consultant with Wells Fargo. Wells is a huge lender in the restaurant industry and Swanson’s focus is on consumer demand. He discusses the surge in industry spending this year and why sales are increasing—and how much price is affecting that increase. He also talks about how long operators can expect these sales to continue.
August 18, 2021
How organizations can best tackle diversity issues
What are the best strategies for companies to improve diversity and inclusion in their organizations? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features James Pogue, CEO of JP Enterprises, a Dallas-based leadership consulting firm. Pogue discusses issues related to diversity in management teams. He says that organizations need to be focused on recruiting and developing talent that can address their specific organizational challenges, picking the right people based on their ideas and not necessarily their background.
August 11, 2021
Can a franchisee be a successful brand operator?
Can a franchisee succeed as a franchisor? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Tabbassum Mumtaz, CEO of Ampex Brands, and Ericka Garza, brand president for its latest acquisition, Au Bon Pain. The two talk about what it takes for an operator to take over operations for an entire brand. A lot of franchisees have been buying up brands lately, taking advantage of favorable market conditions to add entire concepts to their collections. Ampex operates hundreds of Yum Brands and 7-11 locations and recently acquired Au Bon Pain from Panera Bread. Mumtaz talks about the experience of owning a brand after years operating restaurants for other brands. Garza, meanwhile, talks about the priorities for the brand itself and what it will take for the concept to succeed. Garza is a former franchising executive with Pizza Hut.
August 04, 2021
What it takes to make a good fast-food burger
What makes a good fast-food burger? Or a chicken sandwich? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Bill Oakley, a writer and producer best known for The Simpsons, as well as shows like Portlandia and The Cleveland Show. He is also a prolific food reviewer on Instagram. Oakley’s reviews, which are frequently done from his car and often feature major restaurant chains, have generated a strong following and are sprinkled with humor. He speaks about those reviews and what he looks for when trying a fast-food burger. He also talks about chicken sandwiches, and which one of the many upgraded versions he likes the best.
July 28, 2021
Why the real estate market is so hot right now
So much for the idea of real estate availability. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Barry Wolfe, senior managing director of investments with Marcus & Millichap, who talks about the real estate market in the aftermath of the pandemic. That market is hot. Wolfe works with investors, franchisees and retailers on real estate issues and he’s been busy. Very busy. Companies are looking to expand coming out of the pandemic, especially as their sales have been strong and financing, apparently, is readily available. Wolfe discusses why it’s hot so quickly, what kind of sites are in the most demand, and what companies can do to find good locations. He also talks about what kinds of locations can be had for lower prices.
July 21, 2021
Is the plant-based meat revolution past its peak?
In this week’s episode of the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive,” senior editors Pat Cobe and Heather Lalley join me to discuss the state of plant-based meat at restaurants. A lot is happening in that segment. Chains continue to experiment with plant-based meats, hoping to catch onto a segment of consumers who say they would like to order such items. Much of the focus is on pioneering companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. But more companies have been jumping into the market with their own versions, and fast-food chains like Wendy’s and Taco Bell have experimented with proprietary recipes. The three of us talk about all of this on this week’s episode and talk about the future of plant-based meats at restaurants.
July 14, 2021
Is there any hope for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund?
What happens with the Restaurant Revitalization Fund now? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs for the National Restaurant Association, to talk about the status of that fund and some other issues. Congress allocated $28.6 billion in funds for grants to restaurants. They were quickly snapped up, but more than 3,000 operators whose grants were approved were later told that their funds were rescinded due to court rulings in lawsuits filed by those who claimed that the process was discriminatory—the funds were first targeted at women and people of color. The fund has since been closed, with little indication that those 3,000 will get their funds.
July 07, 2021
How Red Robin is helping vault Donatos around the country
Donatos is expanding using any method it can. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Tom Krouse, the chain’s CEO, in a conversation about its various growth strategies. Donatos was one of the country’s fastest growing chains last year, with system sales up more than 14%. Krouse talks about the chain’s interesting history, including the impact of its years under McDonald’s ownership and the recession. But he also talks about its unique cobranding arrangement with the casual dining chain Red Robin and why that works for Donatos—and why it won’t keep the chain from growing in other ways. He talks about such other expansion strategies as using ghost kitchens.
June 30, 2021
How companies can keep their best employees in a tough market
This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Helen Lao, the founder and CEO of executive recruitment firm ClearPath Solutions. Lao discusses the company’s recent move into franchise matchmaking with ClearPath Franchise. She also talks about the market for industry executives.
June 23, 2021
How Jollibee plans to take over the U.S.
The track record of international concepts expanding in the U.S. is not great. Jollibee Foods plans to change that. Maribeth Cruz, president of Jollibee Foods North America, joins this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” to talk about the chain’s plans to change that. Dela Cruz talks about the company’s aggressive plans to expand that number, and how the pandemic introduced U.S. consumers to the chain’s bone-in chicken and the rest of its distinct menu. She also discusses challenges finding real estate and the ever-present labor issue.
June 16, 2021
How Jimmy John’s shifted marketing under Inspire Brands
Jimmy John’s has shifted its marketing under Inspire Brands. In this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive,” the chain’s chief marketing officer Darin Dugan discusses those changes, the chain’s thinking behind the changes and some of the impact. Jimmy John’s has made a number of changes in recent months. That includes the menu, something that had rarely changed at the sandwich chain over the years. The company also introduced a new ad campaign starting with its first Super Bowl ad.
June 09, 2021
How restaurants are fending off the labor shortage
How are restaurant companies finding and keeping workers right now? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo, who joins Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Maze to discuss the labor shortage and how restaurants are combating the problem. Restaurants of all kinds have reported difficulties hiring employees, to the point that many locations are closing early or for entire days because of worker shortages. Entire locations have been slow to reopen after the pandemic in part because of labor. It’s not just inside the restaurants. The labor shortage is making it difficult for restaurants to get supplies because of a lack of drivers and there are some concerns that it’s causing issues throughout the supply chain.
June 02, 2021
Why there are so many big franchise disputes right now
The three biggest franchise brands in the world are all embroiled in disputes with their U.S. franchisees. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features John Gordon, a restaurant consultant out of San Diego, who talks about these disputes and why they’re happening. The three brands are McDonald’s, Subway and 7-Eleven. At McDonald’s, franchisees have been pushing back against a $70 million technology fee and could take legal action to stop it.
May 26, 2021
How to best build a virtual brand
Virtual brands are all the rage right now. But how do they work? And how can they succeed with so many of them out there? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” focuses on this topic and features Alex Canter, the founder of Ordermark, who provides advice and insight into the creation of these concepts. Canter’s company includes Nextbite, a creator and operator of virtual concepts—which operate for a primarily delivery customer out of leased kitchens at places like restaurants or hotels or ghost kitchens. Nextbite’s brands include Grilled Cheese Society and Hotbox by Wiz Khalifa. Canter talks about what differentiates successful virtual brands and how to best succeed at creating them. He also talks about his own history in the restaurant business.
May 19, 2021
How Domino’s became a technology company
How did Domino’s become a tech company? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Dennis Maloney, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based pizza chain’s chief innovation officer who discusses the company’s effective use of technology. Maloney talks about what it takes for a pizza chain to become a tech company. He also talks about robots, including Domino’s partnership with Nuro to use its robot to deliver pizzas in Houston. He also talks about what it will take for that robot to go into more widespread use.
May 12, 2021
How long will the restaurant boom last?
The restaurant industry has enjoyed some remarkably strong sales so far this year. The Restaurant Business team of editors want to know how long this will last. Senior Editor Heather Lalley, along with Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo, discuss the recent spate of strong sales numbers.
May 05, 2021
How Jersey Mike’s was able to thrive during the pandemic
How was Jersey Mike’s able to outperform all of its competitors, and most of the restaurant industry, in 2020? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Peter Cancro, owner and CEO of the sandwich chain, to talk about the company’s performance. Jersey Mike’s last year was the 10th fastest growing chain among the Technomic top 500 even as most of its competitors struggled, notably the giant Subway.
April 28, 2021
What to expect from restaurant M&A coming out of the pandemic
Consumers are changing again coming out of the pandemic, and that is expected to change the market for restaurant chains. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Dave Bagley, the managing director of Carl Marks Advisors, to provide an outlook for acquisitions coming out of the pandemic. Bagley leads the restaurant group at the New York-based investment bank and has more than 20 years of experience in corporate finance, operations management, profit improvement and interim management roles.
April 21, 2021
How the Top 500 restaurant chains fared during a tough 2020
The Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, released earlier this month, has provided a clear picture of just how much the pandemic has influenced the restaurant industry. Joe Pawlak, managing principal with Restaurant Business sister company Technomic, joins this week’s episode of the podcast “A Deeper Dive” to talk about the ranking, including what chains won and what chains lost.
April 14, 2021
How activist investors hurt corporate diversity
Why are there so few Black and women CEOs? Activist investors. Or so says James White, the former CEO of Jamba, and Thomas Lynch, senior managing director of the private equity firm Mill Road Capital. White recently joined Lynch’s firm to be part of its newly created Progressive Governance Fund, which seeks to improve diversity at smaller companies through targeted investments. White and Lynch argue that activist investors ultimately hurt the long-term value of the restaurant companies they target. But they also argue that activists hurt diversity, frequently by pushing out Black or women CEOs or board members and then nominating mostly white men.
April 07, 2021
How Greg Flynn engineered the biggest franchise deal in U.S. history
The latest acquisition in Flynn Restaurant Group’s history was its biggest. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast features Greg Flynn, the giant franchisee’s founder and CEO, who discusses the company’s recent acquisition of most of NPC International’s restaurants. Flynn Restaurant Group has grown over the past couple of decades largely through a series of increasingly large acquisitions. But the purchase of NPC was likely the biggest in U.S. franchise history, essentially merging the two largest franchise operators in the U.S.
March 31, 2021
A deep look at the fast-food chicken sandwich wars
Fast-food chains are gung-ho for chicken sandwiches these days. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” explores why. Patricia Cobe, RB’s menu editor, discusses the industry’s sudden fascination with upgraded chicken sandwiches and why.
March 24, 2021
How Cooper’s Hawk is preparing for pent-up demand
How will an upscale casual chain prepare for a potential flood of post-pandemic customers? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Tim McEnery, CEO and founder of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, to talk about the chain’s strategies coming out of quarantine.
March 17, 2021
Why SPACs have become so popular
Why have SPACs suddenly become so popular among investors? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Andy Pforzheimer, the longtime industry executive who helped create the Tastemaker SPAC with former Jamba CEO Dave Pace.
March 10, 2021
Del Taco has big plans for its new prototype
Del Taco has big plans for its new prototype. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features John Cappasola, CEO of the 600-unit Mexican chain, to talk about the chain’s “Fresh Flex” prototype and why the new design can help the company expand in the post-pandemic era.
March 03, 2021
How Golden Corral survived the pandemic
How did Golden Corral, the country’s biggest buffet chain, survive a pandemic in which it couldn’t operate much if not all of its buffets? Lance Trenary, the chain’s CEO, answers that question on this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive.”
February 24, 2021
Why virtual brands are changing the restaurant game
Virtual brands are big and getting bigger. And they could change the restaurant industry. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features myself along with RB’s technology editor, Joe Guszkowski, to talk about what might be the biggest single trend in the industry: The proliferation of delivery-only restaurants, or virtual brands.
February 17, 2021
How Hungry Howie’s competes against big pizza chains
How does Hungry Howie’s compete in the pizza sector with so many giant competitors? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Steve Jackson, CEO of the 500-unit chain, who discusses the company’s response to the pandemic and its ability to grow in a market with so many bigger competitors.
February 10, 2021
The story behind Dutch Bros Coffee’s quiet yet impressive growth
Dutch Bros Coffee has quietly been one of the strongest growth chains in the U.S. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Joth Ricci, president of the 400-unit chain, to discuss its growth strategies, response to the pandemic, and its future.
February 03, 2021
Why fast-food restaurants need more than just a redesign
Fast-food restaurant companies are busy developing new prototypes to take advantage of the growth in takeout. But they need more than that to succeed. Or so says Juan Martinez, principal and founder with the consulting firm Profitality, who joins this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” to discuss the proliferation of restaurant redesigns. Martinez discusses the redesigns on this episode. Fast-food chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Taco Bell, have introduced innovative designs that feature multiple drive-thru lanes and additional points of service for takeout.
January 27, 2021
How Bartaco adapted to the pandemic
Bartaco has had a busy three years. Scott Lawton, CEO and cofounder of the 20-unit taco chain, joins this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” to discuss those years and how the company has had to overcome the challenge of the coronavirus.
January 20, 2021
Why Nathan’s Famous is big on ghost kitchens
Ghost kitchens are a big trend, and Nathan’s Famous is taking full advantage. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features James Walker, senior vice president of restaurants, with Nathan’s Famous to talk about the trend and why ghost kitchens work for the concept.
January 13, 2021
How Papa John’s quickly turned itself around
Papa John’s turned itself around last year. Its challenge in 2021 is to keep that momentum going. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Rob Lynch, the CEO of the Louisville, Ky.-based pizza chain.
January 06, 2021
A look back at a difficult 2020
There is no question what the biggest story of the year was. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” includes a discussion between Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Maze and Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo on the pandemic and its impact on the restaurant industry. They also discuss the stimulus package and its potential to help the industry this time around. They discuss the vaccination program and how restaurant workers will be toward the front of the line when they get inoculated.
December 23, 2020
Why ghost kitchens may not be all they’re cut out to be
Ghost kitchens are popular right now. But how long will the trend last? This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Dan Rowe, the CEO of Fransmart and co-managing partner at The Kitchen Fund, to talk about a number of topics.
December 16, 2020
The ‘Gain Train:’ How restaurants can win in the post-pandemic era
Restaurants facing a long pandemic winter have a number of strategies they can use to survive and thrive. That, at least, is according to Navin Nagrani, who joins the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” to discuss what he calls the “gain train,” a number of strategies on finance, real estate, operations and acquisitions that operators can use to grow their business.
December 09, 2020
Why restaurants are more resistant to pandemic shutdowns this time around
Restaurants seem to be more resistant to state shutdowns this time around. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo, who sits down with host Jonathan Maze to discuss the current state of the pandemic.
December 02, 2020
Inside Zaxby’s deal with Goldman Sachs
Earlier this month, the fast-casual chicken chain Zaxby’s took a major investment from Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division. Cofounder and CEO Zach McLeroy details the investment in this week’s episode of the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive.”
November 24, 2020
What the restaurant industry will look like when the pandemic is over
The restaurant industry is going to look a lot different once the pandemic is over. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features the consultant John Gordon, discussing this and a host of other issues.
November 18, 2020
Why some restaurants may struggle to get through the winter
A vaccine may be on its way, but so are additional restaurant closures. And that could make for a difficult winter. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Adam Werner, global co-leader of the restaurants, hospitality and leisure practice at the consulting firm AlixPartners.
November 11, 2020
What Inspire Brands is building with its Dunkin’ acquisition
Inspire Brands’ proposed purchase of Dunkin’ Brands was the culmination of three years of acquisitions that have taken the brand operator into the stratosphere. In this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive,” Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Maze and Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo discuss this deal and what Inspire CEO Paul Brown is building in Atlanta.
November 04, 2020
What restaurant sectors thrived during the pandemic?
This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Lorn Davis, who leads corporate and product strategy at the financial data firm Facteus. Davis discusses some of the sectors performing particularly well, such as chicken wings, and those that have a longer runway for improvement, like coffee.
October 28, 2020
Why private equity puts some restaurant chains at a disadvantage
Private equity groups may be hurting U.S. restaurants. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Joel Silverstein, the founder and CEO of East West Hospitality Group, who speaks on private equity in the restaurant business as well as international development.
October 21, 2020
Why franchise regulations are due for a makeover
Franchising can be a bigger risk than many expect. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast "A Deeper Dive" delves into that risk with one of the country’s foremost experts on the topic of franchising: Bob Purvin, the CEO of the American Association of Franchisees and Dealers.
October 14, 2020
Why a second wave might be worse for restaurant-landlord relations
This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Stephen Cohen, a solo practice attorney who works with a wide range of restaurants on real estate issues, including Dunkin’, Famous Dave’s, Caribou Coffee and many others. Cohen discusses the pandemic’s impact on leases, and why relations between operators and landlords have been relatively good thus far. But he worries that a second wave of the virus and corresponding sales challenges could cause problems, potentially leading more severe real estate problems for operators.
October 07, 2020
How restaurants are being designed for a mobile future
Restaurant design is adapting quickly to meet changing consumer needs. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Rapha Abreu, global head of design for Restaurant Brands International, to discuss the intersection of restaurant design and new technology and how it’s all being adapted in a post-COVID era.
September 30, 2020
How Reef Kitchens is riding the wave of delivery demand
Reef Kitchens has a unique business. But its model is more traditional than you think. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Alan Philips, the chief creative officer for Reef Kitchens. Ghost kitchens are expanding quickly around the country, and investors have poured a ton of money into these companies, banking on a new business model that takes advantage of the growth in delivery demand. Yet there are a lot of these providers, and delivery itself still has long-term questions. Reef takes a unique approach to ghost kitchens. The company builds its “neighborhood kitchens” using modular units on parking lots in urban areas, enabling it to build them quickly. But it is the operator of the kitchens, so the chains and independents that locate in the kitchens license their brands to Reef.
September 23, 2020
Why the CDC report will hurt the full-service recovery
The recovery in full-service dining likely hit a big speed bump last week, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control cited in-restaurant dining as factor in the spread of the coronavirus. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” focuses on that topic, and features former Red Robin CEO Denny Marie Post.
September 16, 2020
How the pandemic is changing restaurant finance
Mark Wasilefsky, head of franchise finance for TD Bank, joins the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” to discuss COVID-19’s impact on financing.
September 09, 2020
Some restaurants push growth while others struggle to survive
It’s almost as if there are two restaurant industries, with one struggling to survive the pandemic, and the other flourishing. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” discusses that dichotomy. Dennis Monroe, chairman of the Minneapolis law firm of Monroe Moxness and Berg, joins the podcast to talk about these issues.
September 02, 2020
Why the virtual brand gold rush may not be all it’s cracked up to be
Virtual brands are all over the place. But the trend is riskier than it appears. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Robert Byrne, the director of consumer and industry insights with RB sister company Technomic, to talk about what has suddenly become one of the biggest trends in the restaurant space.
August 26, 2020
Why Andy Wiederhorn keeps buying restaurants
Andy Wiederhorn has a penchant for burger chains. The CEO of brand-collecting company Fat Brands joins this week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive to discuss its planned $25 million purchase of Johnny Rockets, announced last week.
August 19, 2020
How Firehouse Subs hit record sales this summer
Firehouse Subs’ sales are on fire. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Don Fox, CEO of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based sandwich chain, talking about the company’s strong sales coming out of the pandemic.
August 12, 2020
How Qdoba survived the quarantine on its own
This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Keith Guilbault, CEO of Qdoba Mexican Eats, the 730-unit fast-casual Mexican chain. Guilbault talks about Qdoba’s response to the coronavirus and how the company got creative to serve customers during that time.
August 05, 2020
Where does the economy go from here?
The economy will not recover until the pandemic is under control. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features economist Joel Naroff discussing the prospects for an economic recovery in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
July 29, 2020
Taco John’s Jim Creel on the coronavirus, expansion and LeBron James
The Mexican fast-food chain’s CEO joins the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” to discuss how his chain has responded to COVID-19, and also Taco Tuesday.
July 22, 2020
Why BurgerFi is going public in a pandemic
BurgerFi president Charlie Guzzetta joins the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” to talk about the coronavirus and its merger with Opes Acquisition.
July 15, 2020
What restaurants should think of the worsening pandemic
This week’s edition of the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” features editors Jonathan Maze and Peter Romeo discussing the coronavirus resurgence and its impact on the industry.
July 08, 2020
How to protect unit profitability during a pandemic
This week’s edition of the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” features Juan Martinez, principal and cofounder of the industrial engineering firm Profitality, talking about unit economics and the coronavirus.
July 01, 2020
10 big challenges restaurants face post-COVID
Navin Nagrani, executive vice president and operating partner with Hilco Real Estate, joins the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive” to discuss pain points the industry faces in the coming months.
June 24, 2020
How Punch Bowl Social is surviving the pandemic, without Cracker Barrel
Three months ago, Punch Bowl Social was seemingly left for dead when its sponsor, Cracker Barrel, opted to pull its support less than one year after investing in the chain. This week’s episode of the Restaurant Business podcast A Deeper Dive features Robert Thompson, Punch Bowl’s CEO and founder, who discusses that event, and what the company has done in the succeeding weeks to survive.
June 17, 2020
Why cultural intelligence matters for restaurants
Gerry Fernandez, president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance, joins this week’s episode of the RB podcast “A Deeper Dive.”
June 10, 2020
How to avoid buying a bad restaurant franchise
This week’s edition of the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" features Jeff Lefler, CEO of FranchiseGrade.com, to talk about the risks of buying a bad franchise.
June 03, 2020
How Zaxby’s adapted to the pandemic and thrived
Cofounder and CEO Zach McLeroy joins the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" to discuss the chain’s response to the pandemic, as well as its future.
May 27, 2020
Restaurants are rethinking their costs during the pandemic
This week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive" features Neal Sherman, founder of restaurant equipment reseller TagEx Brands.
May 20, 2020
How is the pandemic affecting the food supply?
David Maloni of ArrowStream joins “A Deeper Dive” this week to discuss the pandemic’s impact on the food supply and prices.
May 13, 2020
How landlords view the future of restaurants
This week’s edition of “A Deeper Dive” features Jeff Brand, founder of real estate developer and broker Brand Partners.
May 06, 2020
How MOD Pizza is combatting the pandemic
Scott Svenson, cofounder of the fast-casual pizza chain, joins this week’s episode of the RB podcast A Deeper Dive to discuss the company’s strategy for dealing with the COVID-19 shutdown.
April 29, 2020
How the pandemic is affecting restaurant chains
Technomic Managing Principal Joe Pawlak joins this week’s episode of “A Deeper Dive” to talk about Technomic’s Top 500 and how the pandemic is influencing sales.
April 22, 2020
How the coronavirus is shaking up delivery
On this week’s edition of the Restaurant Business podcast “A Deeper Dive,” Melissa Wilson, principal with Technomic, talks about that subject.
April 15, 2020
How restaurants can get creative to help people and survive the shutdown
Randy Dewitt, CEO of Front Burner Restaurants, joins this week’s episode of “A Deeper Dive” to talk about his company’s response to the coronavirus.
April 08, 2020
How restaurants can survive as their sales plunge
Jim Balis of CapitalSpring joins “A Deeper Dive” to talk about strategies operators can use to emerge from the coronavirus shutdown.
April 01, 2020
How restaurant operators are coping with the coronavirus shutdown
Applebee’s and Panera Bread franchisee Ed Doherty joins this week’s RB podcast A Deeper Dive to discuss the impact of the shutdown on his business.
March 25, 2020
How the coronavirus shock is hurting restaurants
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," RB editors discuss how the virus and steps to prevent its spread are impacting the industry.
March 18, 2020
Raising Cane’s on its new restaurant partner program
Founder and Co-CEO Todd Graves and Co-CEO AJ Kumaran join "A Deeper Dive" to talk about the program as well as the chicken trend, growth and technology.
March 11, 2020
How Sonic is rethinking its brand identity
Claudia San Pedro, the chain’s president, joins this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive" to discuss its new marketing, technology and other issues.
March 04, 2020
What does the ghost kitchen trend mean for restaurants?
Dan Fleischmann, vice president with the investment firm Kitchen Fund, joins the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" to discuss the sudden surge in interest in shared kitchens.
February 26, 2020
How Barcelona Wine Bar survived the acquisitions roller coaster
CEO Adam Halberg joins "A Deeper Dive" to talk about the chain and its approach to delivery and service.
February 19, 2020
How Just Salad finds people to keep growing
Nick Kenner, founder of the 50-unit salad chain, joins "A Deeper Dive" to talk about the chain’s growth challenges.
February 12, 2020
How Macaroni Grill turned it around
CEO Nishant Machado joins the RB podcast A Deeper Dive to talk about the chain’s comeback and its multi-brand operation.
February 05, 2020
How the Burgerim story came together
This week’s edition of A Deeper Dive focuses on our recent Burgerim series and what it means for restaurants and franchises.
January 29, 2020
How G.J. Hart plans to keep Torchy's Tacos hot
The longtime industry CEO joins "A Deeper Dive" to talk about Torchy’s managing partner system and the chain’s strong growth.
January 22, 2020
How Velvet Taco prepared itself for delivery
CEO Clay Dover joins "A Deeper Dive" to discuss growth, labor and his own unique approach to learning about delivery.
January 15, 2020
How Smoothie King adjusts with an evolving customer
CEO Wan Kim joins "A Deeper Dive" to discuss the chain’s approach to technology and how it innovates with a limited menu.
January 08, 2020
How a former McDonald’s franchisee made it in New York
Jim Lewis, who recently sold his New York City-area restaurants, joins "A Deeper Dive" to talk about the brand, his focus on speed and overcoming operations challenges.
December 18, 2019
Restaurants struggle to find good real estate
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," Barry Wolfe of Marcus & Millichap discusses real estate trends.
December 11, 2019
Why restaurants are searching for new ways to build sales
This week’s episode of the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" features a discussion between Jonathan Maze and Peter Romeo about companies’ latest sales-building strategies.
December 04, 2019
What is the future of restaurant delivery?
Melissa Wilson of Technomic discusses the opportunities and challenges on this week's episode of "A Deeper Dive."
November 27, 2019
How Black Bear Diner is combating the labor shortage
Bruce Dean, CEO of the family-dining chain, joins "A Deeper Dive" to discuss the challenges of finding workers for a growing company.
November 20, 2019
Why so many big-chain CEOs are out
In the latest edition of "A Deeper Dive," Jonathan Maze and Peter Romeo discuss the spate of big-time chains changing chief executives.
November 13, 2019
Todd Penegor has big plans for Wendy’s
The CEO of the burger chain joins "A Deeper Dive" to discuss the chain’s breakfast and international expansions.
November 06, 2019
Why the restaurant lending market is still booming
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive, " Mark Wasilefsky, head of the restaurant finance group for TD Bank, talks about financing.
October 30, 2019
How restaurants can combat an economic slowdown
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," Joe Pawlak of Technomic discusses a recent downturn in industry growth.
October 23, 2019
How the plant-based trend is helping Veggie Grill
Steve Heeley, CEO of the veggie-friendly fast-casual chain Veggie Grill, joins this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive" to talk about the plant-based trend.
October 16, 2019
Debating the risks and rewards of franchising
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," franchising experts Matthew Haller and Keith Miller debate the riskiness of operating a franchise business.
October 09, 2019
How Portillo’s finds new markets
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," Michael Osanloo, CEO of Portillo’s, discusses how the chain finds its way outside of its home territory.
October 02, 2019
How Auntie Anne’s is evolving beyond the mall
Heather Neary, president of the pretzel chain, joins the RB podcast A Deeper Dive to discuss how the chain is adapting to meet consumer needs.
September 25, 2019
How fast-growing Tropical Smoothie keeps chugging
How fast-growing Tropical Smoothie keeps chugging by Restaurant Business
September 18, 2019
The IPO market reopens for restaurants
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," Ashish Seth of BMO Capital Markets talks about Kura Sushi's IPO and a crazy summer for M&A.
September 11, 2019
What is the future of casual dining?
This week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive" features former Red Robin CEO Denny Marie Post, speaking about the challenges faced by dine-in concepts.
September 04, 2019
How small chains can tackle delivery
Larry Ryback, CEO of Cotton Patch Cafe, joins "A Deeper Dive" to discuss how a small, regional chain can take advantage of the latest trend, even in small locations.
August 28, 2019
How Blaze Pizza’s founders figured it out
Rick Wetzel joins "A Deeper Dive" to talk about raising funds for expansion, LeBron James and taking on Domino’s.
August 21, 2019
How HMS Host works to get it right inside airports
How HMS Host works to get it right inside airports by Restaurant Business
August 14, 2019
How restaurants can solve the labor dilemma
On this week’s episode of “A Deeper Dive,” TDn2K Chairwoman Joni Thomas Doolin talks about the industry’s biggest challenge.
August 07, 2019
What to make of a flurry of restaurant acquisitions
On this episode of "A Deeper Dive," RB’s Jonathan Maze and Peter Romeo discuss what has been a busy summer season for restaurant M&A.
July 31, 2019
How Chicken Salad Chick makes it work
CEO Scott Deviney joins the RB podcast A Deeper Dive to discuss why Chicken Salad Chick works so well. He discusses the salad’s surprising flexibility. He also talks about the challenges associated with growth, including real estate and labor.
July 24, 2019
How growing Culver’s keeps its small-town culture
Cofounder Craig Culver and CEO Joe Koss join the RB podcast A Deeper Dive to talk about the chain’s history and its future.
July 17, 2019
How casual dining is fighting the beverage battle
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," Technomic’s David Henkes talks about the business of alcohol in restaurants.
July 10, 2019
Could any chain overtake McDonald’s?
This week’s edition of the RB podcast A Deeper Dive features Technomic’s Joe Pawlak, talking about the future of the Top 500.
June 26, 2019
How Punch Bowl Social gets customers to come back
Robert Thompson, the founder of the “eatertainment” destination, joins the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" to talk about his company overcomes growth challenges.
June 19, 2019
How small restaurant chains can compete against the big guys
This week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive" features Cousins Subs CEO Christine Specht and franchising attorney Caroline Fichter.
June 12, 2019
Why grocers are pushing into prepared food
Winsight Grocery Business Executive Editor Jon Springer joins "A Deeper Dive" to talk share of stomach.
June 05, 2019
How restaurants can walk the menu price tightrope
Consultant Mark Kelnhofer joins "A Deeper Dive" to talk about how restaurants can make their margins without pricing themselves out of traffic.
May 29, 2019
Have investors soured on small restaurant chains?
Jeff Brock, managing partner with Hargett Hunter Capital Management, joins the RB podcast A Deeper Dive to discuss the state of mergers and acquisitions.
May 22, 2019
How restaurants can combat the labor shortage
Kurt Schnaubelt of AlixPartners joins "A Deeper Dive" to discuss the how workforce challenges are affecting industry profits and sales.
May 15, 2019
How companies can ride the off-premise wave
Technomic’s Melissa Wilson and Fazoli’s CEO Carl Howard join the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" to talk about the off-premise trend.
May 08, 2019
How Habit Burger made delivery profitable
On this week’s edition of “A Deeper Dive,” Habit CEO Russ Bendel talks about delivery, expansion and the burger business.
May 01, 2019
How The Halal Guys found its name—and its growth
CEO Ahmed Abouelenein joins the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" to talk about how the chain went from a nameless NYC cart to an international growth chain.
April 24, 2019
How White Castle did 'The Impossible'
This week’s edition of the RB podcast 'A Deeper Dive' features White Castle CEO Lisa Ingram, talking about the chain’s introduction of The Impossible Slider.
April 17, 2019
How big will the restaurant industry be this year?
The National Restaurant Association’s Hudson Riehle joins this episode of "A Deeper Dive" and says there is still plenty of room for industry growth.
April 10, 2019
Why are restaurants now buying tech companies?
Why are restaurants now buying tech companies? by Restaurant Business
April 03, 2019
Modern Market, Lemonade, and the future of fast casual
Modern Market cofounder Anthony Pigliacampo talks about his chain’s merger with Lemonade in this week’s episode of the podcast "A Deeper Dive."
March 27, 2019
The Evolution of Kids' Menus
On this episode of "A Deeper Dive,” Aimee Harvey and Robert Byrne of Technomic explore today's trends in kids’ menus and the influence of millennial parents.
March 20, 2019
How marketing is fueling KFC’s turnaround
RB’s A Deeper Dive features KFC U.S. President Kevin Hochman, on the ingredients behind the chain’s comeback.
March 13, 2019
How Tim Casey plans to fix Quiznos
The CEO of Rego Restaurant Group joins the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" to explain why being part of a bigger group could help the sub chain.
March 06, 2019
How Buffalo Wild Wings is plotting its turnaround
How Buffalo Wild Wings is plotting its turnaround by Restaurant Business
February 27, 2019
How True Food Kitchen plans to grow with a healthy menu
Christine Barone, CEO of the Oprah-backed upscale casual chain, talks about the market’s challenges and opportunities in this week’s RB podcast A Deeper Dive.
February 20, 2019
Why restaurant chains are going private
In this episode of "A Deeper Dive," Barry McGowan, CEO of Fogo de Chao, talks about his chain’s future and why it opted to sell to Rhone Capital last year.
February 13, 2019
Why merger mania has hit the restaurant industry
In this episode of "A Deeper Dive," a trio of experts from investment banking firm PJ Solomon discuss why restaurants are consolidating so much.
February 06, 2019
How restaurants should adapt to rising takeout demand
This week’s RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" features Kitchen United’s Atul Sood, discussing how his company takes off-premise sales off premise.
January 30, 2019
Why takeout is taking over restaurants
Noah Glass of Olo joins RB's podcast, "A Deeper Dive," to talk takeout and debate the future of restaurant ordering.
January 23, 2019
Wingstop’s Charlie Morrison on the digital future
The CEO of the chicken wing chain discusses strategies to increase sales through mobile and online ordering on RB's podcast, "A Deeper Dive."
January 16, 2019
How demographics are affecting restaurant sales
In this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," Technomic’s Joe Pawlak talks about restaurant sales in the coming year.
January 09, 2019
Why 2018 was a big year for restaurants
This week’s RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" looks back at the year in marketing, technology, food and everything else.
December 19, 2018
How Greg Flynn kept the faith through Applebee’s struggles
In this week’s RB podcast A Deeper Dive, the big franchisee also discusses his recent purchase of 368 Arby’s restaurants.
December 12, 2018
Why the franchisor-franchisee relationship is worsening
This week’s edition of RB's podcast, "A Deeper Dive," explores the growing tension between franchisors and their franchisees.
December 06, 2018
How robots will change the restaurant business
The RB podcast, "A Deeper Dive," explores the influx of technology in restaurants, with Results Thru Strategy’s Fred LeFranc.
November 28, 2018
How independent restaurants handle labor pressure
This week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive" features R.J. Melman, president of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.
November 20, 2018
Restaurants’ looming debt problem
RB’s podcast, "A Deeper Dive," discusses how more chains face problems with falling sales and too much leverage.
November 14, 2018
Is casual dining coming back?
This week’s RB podcast, "A Deeper Dive" explores whether chains like Applebee’s and BJ’s can sustain their momentum.
November 07, 2018
How Domino’s plans to keep its momentum
This week’s "A Deeper Dive" podcast features Domino’s CEO Ritch Allison, talking international growth, technology, and following Patrick Doyle.
October 31, 2018
How Snooze, an A.M. Eatery perfected day drinking
In this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," Snooze CEO David Birzon discusses how a full bar spiced up the breakfast daypart.
October 24, 2018
Why so many restaurants are declaring bankruptcy
In this week’s podcast, restructuring expert Jonathan Tibus talks about what’s causing problems at so many chains.
October 17, 2018
How Honeygrow uses technology with a purpose
This edition of the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" focuses on technology, and how innovation can help a restaurant improve its experience.
October 10, 2018
Why franchisor-franchisee disputes are more common right now
This week’s edition of the RB podcast "A Deeper Dive" examines disputes at Tim Hortons, Subway, Applebee’s and others.
October 03, 2018
How Norman Van Aken developed his ‘New World Cuisine’
Also on this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," a discussion of the challenges at some fast-casual chains.
September 26, 2018
How restaurants are dealing with their labor problems
In this week’s episode, Pincho Factory CEO Jayson Tipp and RB Editor-at-Large Peter Romeo talk about labor challenges.
September 19, 2018
How restaurants can take advantage of delivery
RB’s podcast "A Deeper Dive" discusses how restaurant companies can adapt as consumers demand food be taken to them.
September 12, 2018
How a chain’s reputation influences its performance
Technomic’s Robert Byrne talks about customer perception at chains like Chipotle, Chick-fil-A and Starbucks.
September 10, 2018
First Watch’s Chris Tomasso on breakfast business growth
In this episode of RB's podcast, “A Deeper Dive,” the new CEO of the fast-growing chain talks about its keys to success.
September 05, 2018
Jersey Mikes’ Hoyt Jones on the shifting sandwich landscape
Also: Should Dunkin’ Donuts get rid of the donuts?
August 29, 2018
Why some restaurants are losing customers
In this week’s podcast, Howard Penney talks industry sales challenges, and a look at some concepts that could be the next big thing.
August 22, 2018
Dave Boennighausen details Noodles & Co.'s impressive comeback
Also in this edition of RB's podcast, "A Deeper Dive": upcoming menu trends.
August 15, 2018
Can Papa John’s recover from John Schnatter controversy?
Restaurant Business' Peter Romeo and Jonathan Maze weigh in on the dispute and where the chain goes from here in this special edition of “A Deeper Dive.”
August 10, 2018
Smashburger’s Tom Ryan on the burger wars
In the latest edition of RB's podcast, "A Deeper Dive," we also talk about Chipotle’s recovery from food safety-related sales challenges.
August 08, 2018
Firehouse Subs’ Don Fox on the impact of the takeout trend
Firehouse Subs CEO, Don Fox, talks about how much the shift toward takeout has impacted his company.
August 01, 2018
Why Chick-fil-A is getting into the meal kit business
Also on this week’s episode of “A Deeper Dive,” RB revisits some times when executives got their brands into trouble.
July 25, 2018
Subway’s James Walker on how delivery is changing restaurants
On this week’s episode of "A Deeper Dive," Subway’s VP of North America talks real estate, and we talk about the future of takeout.
July 18, 2018
How John Schnatter’s problems have damaged Papa John’s
In a special episode of "A Deeper Dive," Technomic's Robert Byrne talks about Papa John’s reputation challenges.
July 16, 2018
How McDonald’s is working to change its menu
Chad Schafer, McDonald’s senior director of menu innovation, discusses the chain’s improvement efforts in "A Deeper Dive."
July 11, 2018
Why small restaurant chains have the advantage
In its latest episode, “A Deeper Dive” provides highlights from the growth-oriented Restaurant Directions conference.
July 05, 2018
An inside look at the IHOb campaign
In the latest episode of RB's "A Deeper Dive," IHOP President Darren Rebelez talks about the company’s buzzy burger-centric move.
June 27, 2018
Technomic talks the state of the restaurant industry
In the second episode of Restaurant Business' "A Deeper Dive" podcast, Technomic Managing Principal Joe Pawlak talks about the companies that are doing well, and those that aren't, among the Top 500 restaurant chains.
June 20, 2018
Chipotle's Scott Boatwright on improving operations
In the first episode of RB’s podcast, "A Deeper Dive," Chipotle's chief restaurant officer details efforts to improve the chain’s operations.
June 13, 2018