Tom Holt, Founder and CEO of Urbane Cafe, Shares His Thoughts On Sustaining Growth

On this episode, Tom Holt, Founder and CEO of Urbane Cafe, shares with Foodable insightful information about focusing on the consumer and their demands to sustain growth.

“If you nail down your culture in your restaurant, and you have the right systems and processes in place, those are the areas you can create a winning brand,” said Holt.

Holt emphasizes on setting the culture for your brand that both your team and guests can understand. Whether a brand is within the start-up phases or an already-existing restaurant, setting up the culture and mission statements are the most influential decisions.

Urbane Cafe opened in 2003 in Holt’s hometown of Ventura, Calif. The idea was to create a true community café that focused on quality, healthy and satisfying meals. The concept revolves around a hearth oven, providing freshly baked bread made to order.

Produced by:

Rachel Brill

Rachel Brill

Social Producer


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Emerging Brand Series: McAlister's Deli Looks to the Future with Joe Guith

On this episode, seasoned food industry leader, Joe Guith, President of McAlister’s Deli®, shares with Foodable insightful information about the future outlook of the brand.

Within the course of the next year McAlister’s Deli plans to continue to elevate its menu to offer more premium items.

“We know that our guests want more from us and we can offer more and so you can expect to see that start in our soup lineup and more to salads, sides and even more spuds and sandwiches from a premium standpoint,” said Guith.

Be sure to download the Top 150 Emerging Brands Guide to see Foodable Lab's full list of emerging brands.

Villa Maria’s Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc Differentiates Itself from the Rest In the Category

On this episode of On Foodable filmed at Foodable.io Seattle sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, we get to learn a little from Rob Bigelow, Senior Director of Wine Education and On Premise Development at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, about a New Zealand winery—Villa Maria Wine Estate—that the company is in partnership with.

“When I think about New Zealand and the wines, obviously the first answer is Sauvignon Blanc,” says Bigelow.
Some of the characteristics of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, which make up two-thirds to three-quarters of all the vineyards in the region, are: “... crisp, aromatic, lovely, perfect with seafood,” as mentioned by Bigelow.

The wine that is featured in this episode is the Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, which is top rated at 90 points.

“The Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc has a sort of a broader mid-palate which means it’s lusher on the palette more sort of melon, floral aromas…,” says Bigelow. The grapes are actually sourced from a combination of two valleys in the Marlborough region, which helps provide maximum flavor, balance, and quality to the wine.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is a collection of distinctive wines estates, located in the Pacific Northwest, California, and abroad. The company provides administrative and financial support for each wine property it does business with. Ste. Michelle’s company philosophy is to allow each wine estate/vineyard to have all wine-making decisions “made on site by the people who grow the grapes and make the wine” as stated in the company website.

Villa Maria Wine Estates, for example, is a family-owned winery located in Marlborough island and is recognized as New Zealand’s most awarded winery thanks to its winemaker being fanatical about quality. The winery focuses on low yields and discards all imperfect grapes.

Watch the episode above to learn more about Villa Maria Wine Estates and its sustainability efforts!

Female-Led Funding Startup, AccelFoods Helps Other Food-Focused Startups like Soozy's Thrive

Ever wondered how grocery stores will look like five years from now?

This is something Jordan Gaspar, co-founder of AccelFoods, thinks about daily.

AccelFoods is a funding startup that invests in other startups that have the potential of disrupting food categories in the grocery aisles and beyond through their innovative products.

On this episode of The Barron Report, our host Paul Barron speaks with Gaspar and Susan Chen, CEO of Soozy’s, a frozen, gluten-free baked good product company that has partnered with AccelFoods in order to grow its business. The three discuss how the relationship has been between the venture capitalist group and the investee, Soozy’s role in its snacking category, what types of companies AccelFoods seeks to invest on, and trends in the marketplace among other topics.

Listen above to learn more about these trailblazing companies!


Show Notes:

  • 01:43 - Purpose of AccelFoods

  • 03:48 - Soozy’s Role in the Frozen Food Segment

  • 05:47 - AccelFoods’ Investment in Soozy’s

  • 09:26 - Types of Companies AccelFoods Invests In

  • 10:47 - Trends In The Marketplace

  • 14:38 - Soozy’s Differentiator in Snacking Category

  • 17:52 - Product Packaging

  • 23:16 - Size of Companies AccelFoods Invests In

  • 26:09 - Macro Understanding of Food Industry

  • 28:00 - Impact of Social Media for Soozy’s

  • 29:58 - Future Growth Plans for Soozy’s

  • 31:52 - Challenges in Male-Dominated Venture Capitalist World

 
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How Which Wich Differentiates Itself from Competitors With Its Menu and Ordering System

High-quality ingredients are the driving force motivating consumers to visit better-for-you concepts. Some of these concepts are highlighted in Foodable’s free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator guide and report.

To give you a sneak peek into one of the sandwich innovator concepts in the list, we decided to visit Which Wich and meet with its founder, Jeff Sinelli.

Sinelli founded the first Which Wich in Dallas in late 2003. Now, this brand can be found in its 500 locations in 40 states and 12 countries.

“I was looking for the next thing to do and I was eating a lot of sandwiches at the time… and I just realized I thought I could do it better,” said Sinelli.

One of Which Wich’s biggest differentiators is its customization capabilities in their ordering system. They encourage their customers to write their name on their orders and personalize their sandwiches by checking off what ingredients they want to be included right on the sandwich bag.

Which Wich is not Sinelli’s first venture.

Prior to this sandwich concept, Which Wich’s Chief Vibe Officer had developed dozens of successful independent restaurants, bars and nightclubs before deciding to focus on national concepts—like Genghis Grill, a Mongolian barbecue chain Sinelli had created in 1998, grew to 11 stores in 5 states, and sold in 2003.

Which Wich has been Sinelli’s most successful business venture and he attributes a large part of the concept’s popularity to its diversified menu.

“We have a full spectrum of things for anyone who eats sandwiches. I want the food to be craveable, unique, and things you can only get at Which Wich… I think quality is about the elevation of food and people together and that’s what we try to provide at Which Wich,” said Sinelli.

To learn about some of Sinelli’s favorite menu items check out the video above! And to learn the ranking score of this innovative sandwich restaurant and others, be sure to check out our free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator report brought to you by Miss Vickie’s! Want to listen all about the concept that was ranked No. 1? Be sure to check out The Barron Report’s latest episode with Hunter Pond founder of East Hampton!