Fast Casual Executives Share How Their Brands are Adapting to Stay Successful in Today's Market

The fast casual segment looks much different today than it did 10 years ago. The concepts in this sector continue to disrupt the foodservice space, but they have to find new ways to do this.

Fast casual concepts are often the pioneers or the first adapters when it comes to new trends.

On the IOChangeMakers live stream, we sat down with Donna Josephson, SVP and CMO at Corner Bakery Cafe and André Verner, Partner and co-founder of Dog Haus to see how these brands continue to pivot in today's market to stay successful.

According to Foodable Labs, over 30 percent of the U.S. Restaurant industry is using some form of on-demand third-party ordering solution. But to handle the influx of these orders presents a new challenge. So this is influencing established chains to jump on the virtual restaurant bandwagon.

Both of these restaurant brands see potential in ghost kitchens or virtual kitchens due to the recent third-party delivery surge.

"We see that as an opportunity for us. We have a big physical plant right now and we may not always need that," says Josephson. "And instead of shunning it and pushing away third-party delivery, let's get in fast and put our arms around it and bring it in close."

Dog Haus announced earlier this month that the restaurants are starting to utilize ghost kitchens. By prepping some of these delivery orders off-site, it allows in-store kitchens to focus on in-store orders.

"We are committed with our Kitchen United relationship. It's something new for franchisees as well. To get a brick-and-mortar, at least for our size, it's about $600,000 to build a store, then you have to sign a 10-year lease and hire 40 new employees right away. You're committed," says Verner. "On a Kitchen United location, you sign a one-year deal. All the kitchen equipment is there. They do everything, they do all the equipment maintenance. They do everything except for staffing the three people in the kitchen."

So there are are less overhead costs involved in these virtual concepts.

Want to learn more about what these successful brands are doing to compete in today's market? Check out the video above or the full interview is also now exclusively available on Foodable On-Demand here.

CEO Frank Paci Shares Why Corner Bakery is Considered a Catering Powerhouse

Having a proven strategy for your catering channel can take your restaurant from just making the margins to expanding your concept. The variables for creating a profitable catering channel are rapidly evolving, so best to learn from the best.

On this episode of The Takeout, Catering and Delivery Show, we sit down with Frank Paci, CEO of Corner Bakery Cafe. Corner Bakery Cafe is known as one of the top performing fast casual operations in the off-premise space with nearly 200 locations in North America. Catering makes up over 25 percent of its business.

We discuss how Paci views the concept’s off-premise business strategy, what his vision for off-premises is moving forward, and how the brand was able to build up its reputation as a catering powerhouse.

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Westcoast Brand Pacific Catch Revamps Leadership Team As It Gears Up for Expansion

Westcoast Brand Pacific Catch Revamps Leadership Team As It Gears Up for Expansion

Westcoast Fish House announces a new leadership team this week.

The brand is looking to expand in 2018, and to lead the company forward will be former co-founder Keith Cox, as the new president and CEO.

“I am thrilled to be back at the helm,” says Cox. “We’ve got some exciting new ideas to implement and we’ve assembled an incredible team to help take Pacific Catch to the next level.”

Demetri Gill and Johanna Rivera will also be joining the team. Gill as the new CFO and Rivera as the new VP of Marketing.

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Menu Trends

Guests want to be in control and have customization over their food options. When it comes to choice, guests want variety. This is the core mentality of why the Fast Casual segment within the restaurant industry has succeeded, and it’s also some of the attributes that Diana Hovey, CMO at Corner Bakery Cafe, says are important in menus today. In this episode of Fast Casual Trends TV, we Skype with Hovey to gain more insight into these emerging trends.