Top 100 Chefs: Chef Adrianne Calvo

With the restaurant and hospitality market exploding in popularity, there are now over 132,000 chefs in the United States alone. Each year, Foodable Labs collects and scores data regarding guest sentiment, food and service, and overall brand sentiment on the top 35,000 via the Chef’s Alliance to determine the top 100 chefs in the country.

Chef Adrianne Calvo made the list this year. A restaurateur, author, and celebrity chef, Calvo established her first restaurant—Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar—in Miami in 2007. She also opened fine casual restaurant Cracked earlier this year. A former competitor in Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay, her dishes are regularly featured in Gourmet and Bon Appétit.

This year marks the largest number of women to make the top 100, and for Chef Adrianne, it is simply about time. “It’s a natural evolution. A lot more women are stepping up,” says Chef Adrianne. More women are choosing to delay having a family to focus on their careers, or simply have both and find a schedule that works.

All that matters, at the end of the day, is commitment. “You need to have stamina and you need to have heart and you need to have passion,” says Chef Adrianne. “Culinary students coming out are lacking their own vision and passion right now. They think that they can go from zero to one hundred.”

“You’re always going to be a line cook,” adds Chef Adrianne. “If you’re in front of a camera or have written 120 books, it doesn’t matter—you always have to be willing to jump on that line.”

Check out the video above to hear more from Chef Adrianne on the importance of time management and some of the challenges she has faced as a woman and as an operator. And to pre-order the free Top 100 Chefs report, fill out this quick form. If you are not on the list, make sure we are indexing you here!

How to Win More Sales with the Right Catering Packaging

Customers get upset when they pop open a catering tray and find a cold burger or soggy salad. Especially when the food was meant to impress bigwigs at a meeting. So if you want to fuel your business with the fast-growing catering market—which has jumped 5.4 percent since 2018—it's a good idea to upgrade your packaging. Ordering better packaging is not too difficult, and it can make a huge difference in driving repeat catering business.

In this podcast episode, Sabert Corporation's Nicole Buck, Vice President of Food Service, and Susan Beaudry, Senior Director of Marketing, reveal how better packaging improves the customer experience of your catering business. Nicole and Susan discuss how to choose the right packaging for your menu and customers, and why you need a packaging budget for your catering operation. Tune in to learn how a great packaging strategy can help you grow your catering business.

Episode Takeaways:

  • Base your packaging choices on your catering menu. Choose packaging that reflects your food, the size of your orders, and the distance your delivery driver must travel, among other considerations.

  • Seventy percent of catering orders have leftovers, and only 24 percent of catering orders are eaten right away. So choose packaging that's easy to reseal, reheat, and reuse to ensure your customers get the most out of their catering orders.

  • One of the top concerns for catering customers is order accuracy. To give them peace of mind, use clear lids, label food, and make a catering drop-off checklist.

  • You can boost your catering sales by as much as 20 percent if you choose packaging that showcases your food and eases customer pain points.

This post is brought to you by ezCater. To see more content like this, visit The Catering Feed show page.

Foodable Partners with ezCater for The Catering Feed Podcast

Foodable is excited to announce that the network is collaborating with acclaimed business catering company ezCater for a brand new podcast: The Catering Feed. The podcast will be syndicated on the former Takeout Delivery and Catering Show channel and hosted by ezCater’s catering practice manager Genevieve Babineau.

The podcast features established and emerging restaurant industry leaders who give their best tips for crafting a successful catering business in a $61.5 billion market.

“The Catering Feed is very similar in content to our previous show,” says Paul Barron. “We are happy to be working with ezCater and their group of companies to propel great thought leadership forward in the very fast-paced business of catering.”

Founded in 2007, ezCater is available nationwide and services over 20,000 U.S. cities and towns, providing the largest marketplace in the world for corporate catering. The platform regularly caters for parties as small as five to as large as two thousand.

According to a recent Foodable Labs study, catering is second only to finding great talent when it comes to major business challenges for restaurant operators. “We think The Catering Feed is the podcast to help alleviate some of those business challenges,” adds Barron. “The catering side of the restaurant business [is] the key component of the syndicated podcast.”

Check out two of the latest episodes of the new show below!

In this episode, Babineau sits down with Chaz Patrick, the director of training and operations for restaurant chain Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q. Patrick provides a deep dive into hospitality training and setting employees up for success.

“If you can get someone engaged with cool technology, I think it gives you an advantage over the next person,” says Patrick, but it is a balance: “You want to think outside the box and give different avenues to learn the information.” The goal is to complement human-to-human training rather than to replace it.

Check out the episode to hear about the importance of thoughtful hiring, immersive training, and inspiring passion for your brand in your employees!

In this episode, Babineau chats with Tina McDonough, the partner marketing manager at ezCater. McDonough previously managed marketing for Disney and Coca-Cola. McDonough explores some of the key takeaways from a recent ezCater catering report—formed in partnership with Technomic, a research and consulting firm that services the foodservice industry—and its significance for the industry at large.

“From our survey, we found that 61 percent of respondents said that their catering business was coming from B2B,” says McDonough. The percentage was even higher for companies with more than 75 locations. The numbers suggest that most successful companies choose to increasingly invest in B2B as they grow.

Check out the podcast above to hear more of the insights into catering companies’ latest investments, how businesses are trying to grow catering sales, and why companies are choosing B2B over B2C!

Why Businesses Fail

Thirty percent of startups close their doors within eighteen months of operation. They tend to fail because of two major obstacles:

  • Lack of capital, or lack of access to capital. This is the number one reason why businesses fail. You could have a great concept, solid vision, and excellent company culture, but securing funding is key to the longevity of any business.

  • Poor management. Without a carefully cultivated marketing, finance, and hiring team, a business owner will almost certainly become overwhelmed and problems—both internal and external—will fester.

In this episode of Breakthrough, Barron explores why businesses struggle to secure capital and provides three key strategies for small businesses hoping to avoid these pitfalls.

1. Prep you and your business.

Having a solid business credit score is not enough—you need to build both your personal and business credit score to secure a loan.

Founder-funded businesses might be mythologized, but they are not the norm for success. “It’s a great business model to have, and it’s the best thing to do from a health standpoint of a business,” says Barron, “but it’s the worst thing to do from a future standpoint of a business.” You will need loans for your business for expansions or an unexpected crisis, and you need to establish credit with multiple banks now to ensure you will have competitive rates when you need it.

“Your organization should be at least an LLC,” adds Barron. “If you have enough confidence in your business, [establish yourself as] a C corp. Avoid starting as a sole proprietor at all costs.”

2. Develop a banking and trade relationship.

Even if you do not need a loan right now, start developing a small line of credit with short term money vendors. “It is nothing more than the cost of doing business,” says Barron. Many otherwise successful businesses fail because they cannot expand when they need to, as banks will not offer funding. Proving yourself a worthy, dependable company to invest in is crucial.

If you are wary of directly taking out a loan, you can also use a service like FundBox to factor your accounts receivable and better manage your funding.

3. Start small to go big.

Avoid rushing to expand your business before you are ready. Focus on consistency and slowly developing credit before searching for places where your business can grow.

When you do decide to expand, consider your financial options carefully. “I recommend a loan program over an equity play,” says Barron. Depending on the success of your business, investors can become much more costly than a loan.

Check out the episode above to learn more about the key valuation differences between brands with capital and non-capitalized brands, and how to avoid high interest rates!

Branding a Successful Business

About eighty percent of businesses today are simply that—businesses. The remaining twenty percent have successfully transcended from a mere business into a brand.

What is a brand? Brands typically:

  • Build value. A brand’s value to a loyal customer expands over time.

  • Transcend their own physical or online presence. Consumers can recognize a brand without the business behind the brand being present.

  • Begin to morph with the customer. Where businesses service every customer the same way, brands can cater to customers’ specific needs.

  • Grow exponentially. Brands evolve, adding business locations and customers at an increasing rate.

In this episode of Breakthrough, Barron explores the differences between a business and a brand, and provides three key steps for taking a business to the next level and transforming it into a brand.

1. Understand and execute your mission.

A well-crafted mission—paired with a perfect product market fit—is the core of every successful brand.

“Product market fit is so important because it needs to match your mission,” says Barron. “If your brand doesn’t fit your market, it will never become a brand.”

Simply creating a product is often not the hard part. The hard part is determining whether that product is simply a product, or the core of a business—and potentially a brand. And a brand is able to garner advocates and consumer loyalists who can share the brand with others.

Brands cannot wholly depend upon the support of influencers, of course. “The influencers can turn on a dime,” adds Barron. But “great brands can correct when they get off course.”

2. Create a transportable brand visual.

A successful brand visual is consistent in all aspects of your brand. The visual should be able to connect with your customer on a personal level, and flexible enough to go in whatever direction you decide to take your business.

“A business can build a product, and then build another product,” says Barron, but the products do not necessarily connect. “A brand builds product after product, and they all seem to mesh together.”

3. Develop a lockstep with your customer.

This step is simple in concept, but can be difficult in execution: you have to stay true to your mission. Your vision for the future of your brand needs to match the central mission you first presented to your loyal customers—and you cannot cut corners.

When your mission and vision are in alignment, “that’s when you start to accelerate your brand growth,” says Barron. “Expand into additional verticals… [while] staying true to those core qualities in your mission that make up your vision.”

Check out the episode above to get a deep dive into why brands like Shake Shack, Apple, and Cava have become so successful—and see an exclusive interview with Otto Othman, the co-founder and chairman of Pincho!