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

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9

July 09, 2021 00:21:24
Clean Juice aims to be a leader in the healthy foods market

Clean Juice aims to be a leader in the healthy foods market

Charlotte, N.C.-based smoothie and organic healthy foods chain Clean Juice saw significant growth during the pandemic with their focus on a healthy, organic lifestyle. Landon and Kat Eckles discuss how their brand saw double-digit growth in 2020 by focusing on the success of their franchisees and branding the Clean Juice concept as a lifestyle. ...

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8

July 06, 2021 00:16:40
Eggs Up Grill grows despite pandemic opening delays

Eggs Up Grill grows despite pandemic opening delays

Eggs Up Grill, the breakfast-lunch concept, adapted to the 2020 pandemic year despite suffering restaurant-opening delays, according to Ricky Richardson, CEO of the concept. The Spartanburg, S.C.-based midscale breakfast franchisor added nine restaurants in 2020, even though it had to delay opening two units by several months because of the pandemic. It also rolled out a new mimosa program and boosted its off-premises sales, Richardson said in this Nation’s Restaurant News video interview. In the most recent Datassential Firefly 500+ rankings, Eggs Up Grill rose to No. 417 in 2020, up from No. 479 in 2019. Unit growth was 17.5%, and sales growth was 15.6% in 2020. The 47-unit Eggs Up Grill, which franchises all but one of its restaurants, early on in the pandemic relied on its local operators to make the crucial decisions for their communities, Richardson said. “We put together a very simple framework as soon as this happened,” he said. “It was about survivability-sustainability and then growth and survivability. It was about allowing the franchisees the space that they needed to stabilize their business.” ...

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7

July 02, 2021 00:38:01
At Dutch Bros, “the product is love” — and that helped a lot in 2020

At Dutch Bros, “the product is love” — and that helped a lot in 2020

Early in the pandemic, many wondered whether the breakfast daypart and coffee segment would be left for dead after millions of Americans started working from home.  Dutch Bros didn’t get that memo, though. The Grants Pass, Ore.–based drive-thru coffee chain saw only a minor blip in sales last spring before roaring back and closing the year with 7.7% sales growth, according to Top 500 data.  In this interview with NRN editor in chief Sam Oches, Dutch Bros cofounder Travis Boersma and CEO Joth Ricci talk about how the brand evolved its daypart strategy, how its people culture helped overcome multiple crises in 2020, and why they aren’t worried about all of the competition flooding the drive-thru space. ...

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July 02, 2021 00:30:02
James Park to open Korean chicken concept WingWok in Denver

James Park to open Korean chicken concept WingWok in Denver

Former Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh CEO James Park is opening a concept of his own in the white-hot chicken space. The first WingWok location is slated to open in the Denver suburb of Centennial, Colo., July 7 selling chicken wings, fried chicken sandwiches, chicken burritos and Korean side dishes, along with Korean beer and soju. Park’s operating partners in the venture are Brian Gunning and Zach Frisch. The chef is Yong Ho. Another location is under construction, and several more are planned for the next two years, all in the Denver area, according to Frisch. Park says the concept, which is separate from his recent appointment as operating partner in Mercato Partners’ Savory Funds, will have as strong an online presence as it does a physical one. “We believe infinitely in the brick-and-mortar space, but we’re also big subscribers to the click-and-order space,” he said. So the restaurant will be marketed with catchy snippets of content customized for different types of social media meant to convince people that they need to buy WingWok’s food. “Some are long, some are short, and most of them are very much like those really spunky, fun ads that you see on Instagram,” he said. “The ones that … even though you don't really need a pair of shorts, for some reason, you click on it and you're like, ‘These are cool shorts ...  I think I'm going to buy these shorts.’” The menu leans into the Korean heritage of Park and chef Ho, both of whom were born in South Korea. Park, besides leading Garbanzo, held executive operational roles at fast-casual chains Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Charley’s Grilled Subs and Penn Station East Coast Subs. Additionally, he had a global ...

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6

June 29, 2021 00:17:30
Fatburger exhibits pandemic-era leadership as parent continues growth trajectory

Fatburger exhibits pandemic-era leadership as parent continues growth trajectory

Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Fat Burger had a banner year in 2020 with unit growth and sales up by 18 and 9%, respectively. The growth is part of parent company Fat Brands’ overall growth strategy following last year’s acquisition of Johnny Rockets. ...

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5

June 25, 2021 00:33:15
How Capriotti’s thrived in 2020

How Capriotti’s thrived in 2020

When Las Vegas-based Capriotti’s was looking at 40% same-store sales declines as the pandemic shutdown hit in 2020, CEO Ashley Morris remembered some profound advice from a mentor. “He said you have to run headfirst into your problems,” said Morris. So Morris decided, if the company was going to run out of money anyway, why not spend the most they could on a marketing program.  The fast-casual brand was already well positioned to expand on delivery and omni-channel ordering, he said. “We thought, let’s just see if we can remind the world that we’re available and we’re open.” Capriotti’s spent $250,000 on a local marketing campaign in Las Vegas, where the chain had about 40 units. Because so many other advertisers had pulled ads as a result of the pandemic shutdown, Capriotti’s was able to get more for the money, flooding TV channels with commercials. Within three weeks, the chain went from negative 40% same-store sales to positive results. Morris decided to take the marketing push systemwide.  Capriotti’s ended 2020 with same-store sales up by double digits. The mostly franchised chain had systemwide sales of $84 million, up 9.5%, and Capriotti’s added 18 units for a total of 114 at the end of the year, according to Datassential’s Firefly 500 report. Early this year, the company acquired Atlanta-based Wing Zone, a simpler brand for franchisees to operate. Now the goal is to re-concept Wing Zone as a tech-forward brand. ...

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