Former Wahlburgers CEO, Rick Vanzura Shares A Valuable Leadership Lesson

Former Wahlburgers CEO, Rick Vanzura Shares A Valuable Leadership Lesson

"I was sure the purpose of that call was to fire me," said Rick Vanzura, Former Chief Executive Officer of Wahlburgers and Alma Nove restaurants, as he shared an anecdote about a time in his career as a consultant that taught him one of the most valuable lessons in leadership.

It touches on the importance of confidence, vision, and calculated action with clear intent with everything you do—especially if you’re a leader in your organization.

Vanzura recently made headlines when he announced his decision to step away as CEO from the famed concepts founded by the famous Wahlberg family. He says the parting with the Wahlberg brothers and the company was done in very good terms.

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How Chef-Inspired Brand Wahlburgers Is Rising to the Top

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

Wahlburgers, a better burger concept that opened its doors back in 2011 in Hingham, Mass., has rapidly differentiated itself from the pack not only by providing a split-service model to its customers, but also by quickly rising to the No. 24 spot in the 2016 Most Loved Brands Report by Foodable Labs after just under five years of its launch.

In this episode of "On Foodable Weekly," we are joined by the CFO of Wahlburgers, Patrick Renna, who discusses why he thinks the brand has ranked so high despite the adversities they face.

It’s All About Providing Options

Renna believes that having a unique service model helps attract more consumers because the restaurant does not limit itself to catering to a specific group of individuals.

The idea behind having a split-service model was mostly about giving people options, he said.

“Come in, order at the counter, take it out of the building to eat off premise or, you know, sit themselves…and not have to have a full-service component and be waited on,” said Renna. “Now some of the newer restaurants, we’re doing probably closer to 70/30 full-service/fast casual [respectively] because of the brand awareness,” he added.

The Brand Must Deliver on Their Commitment to Food

Wahlburgers is owned by Chef Paul Wahlberg, in partnership with his two celebrity brothers, actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg. In 2014, a reality television series by the same name gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant chain after its debut on the A&E network.

“I think, naturally, the celebrity appeal brings people to the brand, and the show proves that it’s a top ten television show. But, you still have to deliver on the dining experience,” Renna said.

“I think there is a future to the better burger segment…. We pride ourselves in that chef-inspired category where Paul is really driving the housemade ingredients, so from the sauces that go on the burgers to the housemade pickles, to fresh buns, to fresh beef, never frozen, so really taking pride in the ingredients that go into that burger and elevated experience,” he added.

The company currently has established and franchised restaurants in seven different locations across North America: Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Canada. They have signed many development deals, with 118 units under agreement, including 20 in big markets in the Middle East, Canada, and United States.

Watch the full episode to learn more!