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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The Future of Food in an Evolving Food Ecosystem

The Future of Food in an Evolving Food Ecosystem

Our food ecosystem is evolving. More and more consumers are demanding high-quality ingredients, organically grown produce, humanely raised animal protein, sustainably and responsibly sourced food.   

For example, at the launch of the frozen foods company Hip Chick Farms, known for it’s 100% organic chicken nuggets, “the [consumer] demand was already there,” as the company’s co-founder and president, Serafina Palandech, puts it. “The demand in retail has grown phenomenally over the last four years and in opening our restaurant concept, which we call The Kitchen, you know, we have an incredibly sophisticated consumer. They know exactly what they are looking for and they know exactly what they want to feed their families. So, I really see that the demand was already there and we are filling that need.”

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Cava is Following Into Panera's Footsteps In Regards To Loyalty Programs

Cava is Following Into Panera's Footsteps In Regards To Loyalty Programs

Cava Mezze Grill is planning to use data to form a more intimate dialogue with its customers and build a personalized brand loyalty program, according to “Fast Company.”

The Washington D.C.-based fast casual brand is known for using data to enhance their restaurant design and improving kitchen operations and reducing food-ordering lines, for example. So, it’s no surprise the Mediterranean-style food brand now wants to take it up a notch to better learn about their guests in order to cater to their specific wants and needs.

Cava Grill will be doing this by tracking patrons orders and offering promotional coupons for menu items each guest favorites.

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Social Restaurant Visits Jump Over 5 Million: What Does That Mean for the Industry?

On this episode of “On Foodable Weekly,” host Paul Barron highlights the restaurants that have grown the most in the past month and what that means for the industry as a whole. We will also look at Del Taco’s brand performance and its biggest competitor: Moe’s Southwest Grill.

According to Foodable Labs, the restaurant industry continues to show an increase in growth. This growth is illustrated through the analysis of real-time data signaling a brand’s visibility across social media platforms. One of the big indicators of restaurant industry health is SRV or Social Restaurant Visits. A social restaurant visit is an action a consumer takes, whether it is a mention, photo share, or “check in” on a social media platform, referencing a restaurant’s location either in a post or within the post’s geo-metadata.

“If volume on conversation is up, that gives us a indicator that potentially we could be seeing either sales shifts or traffic in restaurants moving up or down,” Paul Barron said.

Foodable Labs has added another measurement known as Facebook and Twitter Combined Industry Visibility. Are people talking about going out to eat and are they engaging with top brands? Currently, the total industry visibility month-over-month was somewhat flat, with a slight increase in interactions, unique users, and units identified in the month of October over September.

Looking back at June 2016, the industry experienced the lowest number of interactions of the year to date, with numbers of interactions at 54 million and the number of unique users at 31 million. Contrarily, October showed continuous growth, although slow, in the industry with interaction figures reaching 71 million and unique users reaching over 42 million.

Growth Within the Industry

Restaurants showing notable SRV growth in October over September 2016, include:

  1. Tender Greens jumps to the No. 1 spot with an 8.82 percent SRV growth.
  2. Chick-Fil-A steals the No. 2 spot this month with a 5.11 percent SRV growth after not making the Top 10 list back in September.
  3. Arby’s has been consistent in its ranking month over month, staying at the No. 3 spot since August. Its SRV is currently at 4.92 percent.
  4. Shake Shack, which has been on the list before, is now at the No. 4 spot with a 4.87 percent SRV growth.
  5. Freshii drops from the No. 1 spot to No. 5 with just a 4.82 percent. SRV growth month over month
  6. &pizza is a new entry in the Top 10 list, coming in at the No. 9 spot with a 4.27 percent SRV growth.

An important takeaway from this data is total SRVs for the industry jumped up in August, September, and again in October by over 5 million.

Top Performers

Two brands that prove our case are top performers Del Taco and Moe’s.

Here’s what Foodable Labs found:

Del Taco

  • Same store sales growth for 12 quarters
  • New market and new menu item penetration
  • 68.48 percent increase in overall Foodable Labs score

Moe's Southwest Grill 

  • 36.4 percent of Chipotle guest crossovers
  • Overall higher engagement than Chipotle
  • 50.87 percent increase in overall Foodable Labs score

Watch the full episode to learn more!

Top 6 Restaurant Brands Dominating the Mobile Game in 2015

Top 6 Restaurant Brands Dominating the Mobile Game in 2015

By Mae Velasco, Assistant Editor

Take a look around you.

Whether you’re clinging to a railing on the subway, tittering at your desk, or sitting at a restaurant with your friends while waiting for your order to come sweeping in (maybe even especially then), you’d be hard-pressed to find someone without a nose to a mobile device, the glow of all of those electronic screens clustered together almost like a flurry of fireflies, or stars in the night sky.

But poetics aside, mobile usage has taken over, and no one’s surprised by its digital domination.

In 2008, analyst Mary Meeker of Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, released a bold statement in the headlines of her annual technology trend review: “Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014.”

She wasn’t wrong.

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