Fresh Hospitality Has Its Finger on the Pulse of Fast-Casual Scaling

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

For an operator, it can be very overwhelming to think about seizing opportunities to grow a business from single unit to multi-unit operations, all while maintaining or improving their brand identity. You may ask yourself: How can I focus on business development while keeping up with my day-to-day responsibilities to my current customers and employees?

On a previous episode of “On Foodable Weekly,” we spoke to restaurateur Sam Fox, from Fox Restaurant Concepts in Phoenix, about the hurdles to conquer when it comes to restaurant expansion. In today’s episode, we traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to chat with Matthew Bodnar, a partner at Fresh Hospitality, a company that helps scale chef-driven concepts into multi-unit businesses with self-sustainable and profitable business models. We sat down with Bodnar at Cochon Butcher, a concept in its early stages of scaling by Fresh Hospitality.

Bodnar explains Fresh’s mission is to help entrepreneurs grow.

“Within our portfolio, we've probably created, maybe, three concepts out of the 15. The vast majority we invest in them, typically very [in the] early stage…one to three units is really where we like to get involved,” said Bodnar. ”We look for something that is very on trend…. Something that the consumers really align with, has a great brand, really compelling economics, but the founder, typically the chef in many cases, is sort of stuck,” he clarified.

Fresh Hospitality mainly focuses on providing the systems, processes, and the financial management support that come with scaling.

“We come in and layer in that infrastructure, that enables them to create a brand that becomes scalable,” said Bodnar. Although, Fresh Hospitality does not require their partners to give up the reins when it comes to branding, the company does offer that service in-house to whichever business needs the assistance.

“What we want our founders to focus on is food, the guest experience, and the brand identity. Everything else, we want to kind of take care for them…” added Bodnar.

Want to learn more on how Fresh Hospitality is offering a fresh perspective to fast casual? Watch the full episode now!

Cochon Butcher Serves Up the Whole Hog, From Southern Barbecue to Italian Salumi

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What started as an attempt to bring Cajun Country inspired plates to New Orleans has grown into thriving sandwich shop, butcher shop, and wine bar Cochon Butcher. The idea to take an old-world, meat-market-esque concept into the fast casual sphere expanded from its owners', Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, traditional, Cajun Southern establishment, Cochon Restaurant.

The more casual Butcher breaks down pigs for the main Cochon Restaurant, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it lies in the shadow of its elevated dining brother. In seven years, Cochon Butcher has gone on to receive recognition in its own right as a heightened fast-casual spot. Due to its unique structure, running as a butcher shop, a sandwich shop, and a wine bar all in one, it caters to customers of all types. Its atmosphere varies from bustling sandwich and soda shop around lunch, to a delightful bistro-like setting in the evening.

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Their menu offers traditional sandwiches, like the Barbecue Pork served Carolina style, as well as elevated housemade pastas paying homage to Italian salumi and charcuterie. The Butcher specializes in housemade cured meats, terrines, and sausages available by the pound.

In this episode of “Fast Casual Nation,” brought to you by the Foodable WebTV Network, we visit Cochon Butcher where Chef de Cuisine Hank Shackelford assembles a menu with Cajun Country and Creole influences. Host Paul Barron stops in to discuss the diverse menu and how it’s been received by New Orleans.