How the Urbane Cafe Plans to Conquer the Fast Casual Bakery Category

Many brand leaders today are faced with the decision to either upgrade their financial partners or to continue on their own.

Tom Holt of Urbane Cafe, saw value in forging a partnership and decided to team up with Industry Veterans Andrew and Peggy Cherng, the co-founders of the Chinese fast food chain Panda Express, to grow the brand. Urbane Cafe has quickly become a California staple for guests seeking out high quality products at a great value.

The unique fast casual concept is taking a bakery café to a whole new level with its featured bread baking center and solid menu items where simple food matters most. The chain evidently resonates with guests, which is also one of our Top 150 Emerging Brands for 2018.

With Panera Bread and Core Life Eatery taking the top spots in the Bakery/Café category in our Foodable Labs Index of the Top 150 Brands, Urbane Cafe is on the move and set to challenge even the hardcore performers of 2018.

Holt an ex-motocrosser understands the aspect of competition and is building a concept that is set to thrive in the saturated market. The brand has got the holeshot (a motocross term meaning a driver who has the strongest start). This paired with the investment from Panda Express founders will parlay into a controlled but aggressive growth plan.

Understanding the guest connection is the key with any great CEO. Holt has a key understanding of what the communities are seeking and has figured out a way to deliver the full package of great food, experience, ambiance, and performance as a rising brand.

If any weakness exists, it will be in the crowded fast casual sandwich segment in California as well as pressure from the vegan and healthy halo category leaders like Veggie Grill, sweetgreen, and Tendergreens.

As we see more performance from the Emerging Brands of 2019, we will be sure to update you with some of the latest trends and traction they are getting in the market. Be on the lookout for more Emerging Brands CEO specials on The Barron Report soon!

SHOW NOTES

11:08 - Addressing New Consumer Eating Styles

13:42 - Business Trends

20:26 - Social Responsible Restaurants

24:04 - Higher Labor Costs

27:50 - Menu Development and Culinary Trends

:50 - Welcoming Tom Holt

1:33 - Urbane Cafe, the Pioneer in the Fast Casual Bakery

4:47 - Building an Emerging Brand

7:12 - Panda Express Investment

9:15 - 5 Year Road Map

Produced by:

Rachel Brill

Rachel Brill

Social Producer


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Tom Holt, Founder and CEO of Urbane Cafe, Shares His Thoughts On Sustaining Growth

On this episode, Tom Holt, Founder and CEO of Urbane Cafe, shares with Foodable insightful information about focusing on the consumer and their demands to sustain growth.

“If you nail down your culture in your restaurant, and you have the right systems and processes in place, those are the areas you can create a winning brand,” said Holt.

Holt emphasizes on setting the culture for your brand that both your team and guests can understand. Whether a brand is within the start-up phases or an already-existing restaurant, setting up the culture and mission statements are the most influential decisions.

Urbane Cafe opened in 2003 in Holt’s hometown of Ventura, Calif. The idea was to create a true community café that focused on quality, healthy and satisfying meals. The concept revolves around a hearth oven, providing freshly baked bread made to order.

Produced by:

Rachel Brill

Rachel Brill

Social Producer


VIEW BIO

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12-Year Local Brand Urbane Cafe Thinks There's Room for Growth in Fast Casual

On this episode of On Foodable Weekly, host Paul Barron talks to Tom Holt of Urbane Cafe about why he decided to take on a full made-from-scratch menu in Ventura, California 12 years ago. In 2003, Holt was a professional motocross racer and couldn’t find a healthy fast casual in Ventura. He took that as inspiration to create his own. And thus, Urbane Cafe was born. Everything at Urbane is made from scratch from the bread and the sauces to the dressings. 

How to Adopt the Flavors of Japan

Guests are increasingly adventurous with the help of social media, which is educating and luring guests to establishments that are offering delightful new flavors. These flavors comfort, intrigue, and perhaps confuse a little–all at the same time. Adopting the flavors of Japan, even when used in non-traditional ways, is a way to offer guests an authentic flavor that satisfies and doesn’t have to add much to existing food costs. 

 

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12-Year Local Brand Urbane Cafe Thinks There's Room for Growth in Fast Casual

On this episode of On Foodable Weekly, host Paul Barron talks to Tom Holt of Urbane Cafe about why he decided to take on a full made-from-scratch menu in Ventura, California 12 years ago.

In 2003, Holt was a professional motocross racer and couldn’t find a healthy fast casual in Ventura. He took that as inspiration to create his own. And thus, Urbane Cafe was born. Everything at Urbane is made from scratch from the bread and the sauces to the dressings. The ingredients they use are as fresh and local as possible.

Barron asks Holt about his thoughts on how the fast casual sector is starting to get crowded. Of course, some concepts are going to succeed and other are going to fail, but being a “winner” isn’t the end goal for Holt. For him, there is a greater purpose to his menu.

“I don’t want to see any losers. I want to make sure that we’re able to really feed the general population with good healthy food,” he says.

Find out more about Urbane Cafe and their mission by watching the episode!

 
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