The “Lifestyle Brand” Formula: Authentic Connections and Passion in the Restaurant Industry

The “Lifestyle Brand” Formula: Authentic Connections and Passion in the Restaurant Industry
  • Today’s consumers expect more from their restaurants than just food.

  • With brands like Shake Shack and Taco Bell, how can your restaurant become a “lifestyle brand”?

On this Foodable.io session, brought to you by Kabbage, Host Yareli Quintana explores with &pizza, Pincho Factory, and Intelligentsia what it means to be a “Lifestyle Brand.” As well as how to push past just serving food with panelists who pour their passion for their brands into effective communication and marketing.

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Fast Casual Insiders Share Their Brand Identity and Future Goals

In this episode of On Foodable Weekly, our host Paul Barron sits down with the founders and CEOs of three of the 12 fast-casual brands thriving in the industry. These brands have been able to sustain themselves through a significant downturn (5.4%) for the category. So we find out what they are doing differently to remain successful.

Randy Dewitt from Velvet Taco, Nedal Ahmad from Pincho Factory and Michael Lastoria from &pizza, stopped by our remote set in Chicago to speak candidly about their brands.

 “So, what are you doing that you’re sustaining when you start seeing other concepts loose ground?,” asks Paul Barron.

The founders of Velvet Taco, a Texas brand which serves international flavors in taco form, and Pincho Factory, a Florida brand that serves two menus simultaneously, made up of everything from plantain burgers to kebab salads; admit they are not doing anything too different.

Dewitt who plans to grow Velvet Taco’s dedicated team within the next five years, manages and shares resources with seven other concepts including– Whiskey Cake, Mexican Sugar, and Sixty Vines. He assures that “extending open hours to let more people discover the brand” is something they are doing different. 

Ahmad, who claims his most mature store is up 18% and youngest store is up 10% over last year’s numbers, focuses on simply maintaining a positive experience for his Pincho Factory guests.

“Happy people equal happy guests. And the rest sort of takes care of itself,” said Ahmad, who is working on scaling Pincho Factory’s culture while protecting the soul and authenticity of the kitchens, within the next five years.

On the other hand, &pizza founder reveals that he allocates his resources to making sure his employees, or “tribe members,” as they call themselves, are getting better at certain disciplines.

“I’m not a restaurant guy. I’m not a food guy… I didn’t come from the space. I’m an advertising guy. And it for me, it’s about investment in our team, our people…,” assures Lastoria. “You can’t ever rest on the success you had today, the success you had in the past, so really forward-looking.”

Watch the episode above to learn more about what these brands are all about and what sets them apart!

The Not So Missing Millennial

The Not So Missing Millennial

By Paul Barron, Foodable Founder

The state of the millennial defection of the restaurant industry is greatly exaggerated by recent reports. The reality, at least the reality we track in the Restaurant Social Media Media Index, indicates a completely different landscape of Millennial Restaurant goers. While Millennials are in fact reducing their visits to top brands, they have increased their dining out habits with a new crop of local and independent restaurant brands.

Millennials have jumped as much as a 29% increase in dining occasions at Fast Casual Restaurant brands, but not the usual suspects. We broke down 36 markets that showed a more interesting analysis of localized restaurant activities with Millennials leading the way.  In fact, they have become silently loyal to many of these brands and businesses.

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Brand Startup DNA

In this episode of Fast Casual Trends TV, brought to you by the Foodable Network, we welcome Nedal Ahmad, Founder and CEO of Pincho Factory, onto the show. Watch the full episode to learn what it takes for upstart fast casuals to evolve into a solid brand and maintain a scalable growth development, as well as how advantageous technology and social media has become for local brands like Pincho Factory.

Pincho Factory Serves Up Creative Menu Options

In this episode of Fast Casual Nation, brought to you by the Foodable Network, we make our way to Pincho Factory in Miami. Owner Nedal Ahmad walks us through the Pincho experience – an assembly line-type, build-your-own operation with plenty of options. As one of the most unique menus we have seen thus far in a fast casual concept, Pincho Factory serves up “styles,” rather than individual topping selections. Watch the full episode as we dig in to the concept’s creative food – including some gluten-free options and a croquette burger!