Extra Serving

This podcast will share ideas from restaurant innovators on leadership, food trends, technology and ... more

Hosted by

Latest Episodes

July 23, 2021 00:44:42
Quinn Adkins simplifies Culver’s menu development during pandemic

Quinn Adkins simplifies Culver’s menu development during pandemic

Quinn Adkins has been Culver’s director of menu development for the past six years, overseeing the creation of menu items such as the award-winning Pretzel Haus Pub Burger and other items popular with guests and franchisees alike, such as the pretzel bites that recently were made permanent additions to the menu because they’re easy to make and also contribute to incremental sales — both important factors at all times, but particularly during a pandemic. He also introduced a veggie burger made with actual plants rather than the meat analogs that he says are now so ubiquitous that a restaurant can no longer distinguish itself by using them. Frozen custard is another signature item at the 800-unit chain based in Prairie du Sac, Wis., and customers are known to make U-turns when they see signs alerting them that their favorite custard is the “Flavor of the Day.” Adkins has introduced two new custard flavors this year, but he did it without adding new SKUs by taking ingredients the opeartors had and blending them in different combinations. The chef recently discussed those innovations with Nation’s Restaurant News, and also hinted at what might be coming in the future, such as a vegan entrée that isn’t a salad. ...

Listen

12

July 20, 2021 00:14:30
Bonchon taps into South Korean culture

Bonchon taps into South Korean culture

Bonchon, which translates from Korean as “My Hometown,” has over the past year begun to offer a fast-casual version of the traditionally casual-dining fried chicken restaurant and plans to introduce a delivery-carry-out version later this year. “Our franchise partners are the ones that really led us down this path,” said Flynn Dekker, Bonchon CEO since 2019, in this Nation’s Restaurant News interview. “They were the ones that were saying, ‘Hey, we see where the market is going. We like casual [dining], but I'd like to test fast-casual and would like to test it in a delivery-carryout-only model.”  The two fast-casual versions have opened in Addison, Texas, and Towson, Md. Dekker said the fast-casual Bonchon units cover about 1,800 to 2,000 square feet and the delivery-carryout, or DelCo, version will range from 1,500 to 1,700 square feet.  In Datassential’s most recent Firefly 500-plus rankings, Bonchon rose from No. 235 in 2019 to No. 216 in 2020. Unit growth was about 10.2%. U.S. sales increased about 5.8% in the period. ...

Listen

11

July 16, 2021 00:27:05
Hooteers CEO Sal Melilli: Virtual brands have helped us thrive during the pandemic

Hooteers CEO Sal Melilli: Virtual brands have helped us thrive during the pandemic

Hooters was one of the success stories among large sports-bar chains in 2020, largely because it was ready to shift to an all off-premises menu. The Atlanta-based chain already had seen that takeout and delivery were going to be growing segments of their business and had launched a fast-casual spinoff chain, Hoots Wings, in 2017, allowing corporate management and franchisees to become familiar with catering to the off-premises space. Additionally, Hooters management had been approached before the pandemic started by third-party-delivery company Uber Eats to roll out a virtual burger concept, so Hootie’s Burger Bar was up and running even before last year’s lock down. Since then, the parent company has launched Hootie’s Bait & Tackle, highlighting the chain’s seafood items, as well as Hootie’s Chicken Tenders. All of those concepts have remained popular even as dining rooms opened up, leading to incremental sales with minimal added cost. In this video, Hooters CEO Sal Melilli discusses the chain’s success and his optomism for a bright future. ...

Listen

July 16, 2021 00:19:56
How customer preferences have shaped the design and menu at Moe’s Southwest Grill

How customer preferences have shaped the design and menu at Moe’s Southwest Grill

Like many restaurants, Focus Brands-owned fast-casual Tex-Mex chain Moe’s Southwest Grill had to think fast to keep up with changing customer preferences and technological needs during the pandemic. From recently updating its app to improve the digital ordering experience, to creating a refreshed logo and rolling out a new store prototype, Moe’s has been focusing on accommodating the modern customer’s changing needs.   “It's all about convenience for guests today,” Moe’s chief brand officer Alex Williams said. “They're always in a hurry, they're always on the go. […] So, the more seamless we can make that transaction, using technology will make it easier for them to choose us.”   The latest project for Moe’s is creating the new to-go focused store prototype with a smaller footprint that will be rolling out soon. The design was created with nostalgia in mind as Millennials are now becoming parents and remember going to Moe’s when they were kids in the early ‘00s.   “I think the family experience plays a significant part of who we are,” Williams said. “And some of those guests were probably some of our first most guests at one point in time as well. […] The atmosphere that we're creating now with some of these new prototypes, I think will serve in a way that will play out who we are as a brand: fun, vibrant and exciting, and a place to get a great burrito bowl.”   For more insight from Williams on how Moe’s has updated their menu and design as a result of the pandemic, keep listening. ...

Listen

10

July 13, 2021 00:22:10
Just Salad keeps sustainability as its ‘north star’

Just Salad keeps sustainability as its ‘north star’

New York City-based Just Salad was in a peculiar spot when the pandemic started. A small restaurant company — only 50 units — the fast-casual salad chain decided in March 2020 to donate meals to hospital workers while its own stores were temporarily shut down due to COVID restrictions. But, as CEO Nick Kenner explains, it’s in the brand’s DNA, caring for fellow New Yorkers and leaving the world better than when the company began. Another important element of that is sustainability, something that became trickier to uphold during COVID, when regulations took away the ease of reusables.  That, however, did not stop Just Salad and the team’s chief sustainability officer Sandra Noonan from continuing to innovate. “We’re always going to focus on sustainability; it’s our north star,” said Kenner. And Kenner points out that sustainability is not a financial hole as some companies think it is. In fact, Just Salad grew units and left 2020 in the black while remaining green at its core.  “[Sustainability] does not run counter to business…consumers demand it and consumers know which brands are doing it to do it and which are doing it to lead,” he said. ...

Listen

July 09, 2021 00:33:57
CKE Restaurants CEO Ned Lyerly discusses the success of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s during the pandemic

CKE Restaurants CEO Ned Lyerly discusses the success of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s during the pandemic

It has been a long two years in the restaurant industry, and at CKE Restaurants Ned Lyerly has been in charge of the company’s two brands, Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, during that time Both had their challenges during the pandemic. Carl’s Jr. has a large presence in urban areas of Southern California, which were hard hit by high infection rates and occupancy restrictions. Hardee’s, with restaurants mostly in suburban areas of the Midwest and Southeast, had a different problem: Some 48% of their sales normally occur during breakfast, and that daypart was hammered as consumers’ work and school patterns changed. But Carl’s Jr. customers moved their purchasing to the chain’s suburban locations and Hardee’s customers spent more money during lunch and dinner, meaning that both chains have seen same-store sales increases throughout the pandemic. In this podcast, Lyerly discusses how the chains have adjusted during his tenure. He also provides details about their new line of chicken products, their global center of excellence, plans for doubling their number of overseas locations from 1,000 to 2,000, strategies for domestic growth beyond the nearly 3,000 units currently in operation, and what’s in story for Carl’s Jr.’s 80th anniversary on July 17. Connect with us Our website: http://NRN.com Facebook: @RestaurantNews  Twitter: @NRNonline  LinkedIn:@NRNonline  Instagram: @NRNonline Youtube: @NationsRestaurantNews ...

Listen
Previous Next