Walker joined the restaurant industry as a chef back in the 1990s, and moved to the management and operations side by the end of the decade. With previous experience overseeing such brands as Baja Fresh, Cinnabon, and Subway, he joined the Nathan’s Famous team earlier this year and aims to grow the chain’s catering and delivery sales channels.
Walker sees three key disruptors for the industry at present: an increased demand for convenience, labor market challenges, and a growing outcry for higher quality products from all types of businesses.
“They are challenges, but they are also opportunities,” says Walker. And for Walker, addressing these challenges is a fairly simple process at a relatively small brand like Nathan’s Famous. “Smaller brands tend to be more agile. They may be less bureaucratic and have less considerations from a geographical footprint.”
Walker and his team were able to quickly create and implement a business plan to address the catering and delivery limitations across all of Nathan’s franchises. And Nathan’s has enjoyed sales growth both inside the restaurant and with delivery this year.
“I’ve been watching a lot of videos of our founder back in 1916,” adds Walker. According to Walker, co-founder Nathan Handwerker was primarily focused on convenience and excellent customer service. “I think from that standpoint, the delivery mechanism—the way that we get our product in the hands of our guests—will be different, but the goal will still be the same,” says Walker. “Take care of the guests in the way they want as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’ll just be in their home.”
Check out the episode above to learn more about how to implement and fully capitalize on off-premises catering, and how to select the right third party integration providers without damaging or preventing other potentially lucrative partnerships.