Nathan's Famous Updates its Catering and Delivery Channels

On this episode of the Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast host Valerie Killifer chats with James Walker, the senior vice president of the beloved Nathan’s Famous.

Walker joined the restaurant industry as a chef back in the 1990s, and moved to the management and operations side by the end of the decade. With previous experience overseeing such brands as Baja Fresh, Cinnabon, and Subway, he joined the Nathan’s Famous team earlier this year and aims to grow the chain’s catering and delivery sales channels.

Walker sees three key disruptors for the industry at present: an increased demand for convenience, labor market challenges, and a growing outcry for higher quality products from all types of businesses.

“They are challenges, but they are also opportunities,” says Walker. And for Walker, addressing these challenges is a fairly simple process at a relatively small brand like Nathan’s Famous. “Smaller brands tend to be more agile. They may be less bureaucratic and have less considerations from a geographical footprint.”

Walker and his team were able to quickly create and implement a business plan to address the catering and delivery limitations across all of Nathan’s franchises. And Nathan’s has enjoyed sales growth both inside the restaurant and with delivery this year.

“I’ve been watching a lot of videos of our founder back in 1916,” adds Walker. According to Walker, co-founder Nathan Handwerker was primarily focused on convenience and excellent customer service. “I think from that standpoint, the delivery mechanism—the way that we get our product in the hands of our guests—will be different, but the goal will still be the same,” says Walker. “Take care of the guests in the way they want as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’ll just be in their home.”

Check out the episode above to learn more about how to implement and fully capitalize on off-premises catering, and how to select the right third party integration providers without damaging or preventing other potentially lucrative partnerships.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Olivia Aleguas


Data is King: How to Leverage Your Consumer Insights to Drive Catering, Delivery Sales

On this episode of the Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast host Valerie Killifer sits down with Daring Solutions founder and CEO Jeff Chasney.

Daring Solutions uses artificial intelligence to optimize restaurant kitchens and directly help staff improve sales, profits, and customer satisfaction. In this episode, Chasney shares how industry operators can leverage data to grow long-term sales in a marketplace that has been trending toward off-premise—according to Chasney, a reported 22 percent of delivery drivers tamper with orders.

“Data is of paramount importance not in and of itself, but in the analytics that you can draw,” says Chasney. Data needs to be kept in a coherent system that is properly validated and updated as needed. “There’s a lot of data that gets accumulated by any point of sales system. The key is not getting as much as you can, but is getting great quality data as it is coming into your system.”

For Chasney, analytics is key to keeping in line with—or getting ahead of—competition. “Our competitive landscape is getting more and more crowded, and we’re all fighting for the same share of stomach,” notes Chasney. “Everybody can only eat so much in a day.” How you leverage data to identify and attract your customer can mean life or death for your restaurant.

Check out the episode above to learn more about properly storing data and how Chasney’s company uses artificial intelligence to improve a restaurant’s maximum number of customers during peak hours.

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Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer


SLAB BBQ on Catering and Channel Management as a Fast Casual Restaurant

On this episode of the Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast hosts Valerie Killifer and Erle Dardick chat with Mark Avalos and Rafael Robinson, the co-owners of SLAB BBQ.

Avalos began SLAB in a barbecue trailer as a catering business in 2006. He subsequently opened a food trailer at the University of Texas in Austin, and established the company’s first brick and mortar restaurant location in 2014 with Rafael Robinson. A second SLAB BBQ location was opened in 2016.

In this unique episode, guests Avalos and Robinson ask the questions. As a small, independent fast casual restaurant, they are concerned about the cost of maintaining their company’s catering business, where to invest their time and money, and how best to implement the five pillars in the context of their restaurant.

“One of the headaches that I’ve had is trying to figure out—does full service catering fit with the concept of a fast casual restaurant?” asks Avalos. “The full service catering side isn’t doing enough to stand alone, and we can’t hire people, so we have to share the resources of our brick and mortar. The busiest days of our restaurant are on the weekend.” As he notes, many fast casual restaurants do not invest in catering.

“Ultimately, you have a consumer who wants to spend more money with your brand. And they want solutions at a particular time in their day,” says Dardick. “The more solutions that you can offer for their particular opportunity to feed them, the more revenue you’re going to capture.”

“This is the complexity that you’re managing as an operator,” adds Dardick. “You need to figure out what your channels are. Once you understand that dynamic, you can backfill.”

Check out the episode above to learn more about the pros and cons of working with third party vendors, the necessity of gratuities, and best marketing strategies!

Produced by:

Nathan Mikita

Nathan Mikita

Director of New Media/Producer


Building a Menu That Differentiates Between Takeout, Catering, and Delivery

On this episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast hosts Valerie Killifer and Erle Dardick chat with Tad Low to discuss the importance of menu differentiation within off-premise.

Tad Low is the Director of Off-Premise for Moe's Southwest Grill, an Atlanta based fast-casual restaurant chain with over 725 domestic and international locations. Low is leading a team that is working to bring delivery to the forefront of the guest experience.

When it comes to maximizing opportunity with off-premise, Low credits Erle at helping him understand the importance of recognizing the different revenue channels that exist within off-premise.

“We really have four main channels of revenue here. We have our in-store business, we have our catering business, we have our online business and we have now our third-party business. And understanding that each part of the business while representing a different percentage of our overall sales they each have a different impact to our bottom line,” says Tad Low. “And understanding that in order to maximize each of those channels we probably need to have a menu that is geared towards each of those segments.”

Learn how each menu for Moe’s Southwest Grill’s different revenue channels differ from each other along with more tips for off-premise success by listening to the podcast episode above!

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


Rethinking Food Safety In the Era of Food Delivery

On this episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, podcast host Valerie Killifer chats with Anthony Russo and Betsy Craig to discuss food safety concerns in the restaurant industry.

Anthony Russo is the Director of International Sales and the Domestic Regulatory Affairs Officer for Lava Gel Technologies. Lava Gel is a non-toxic solution made from natural minerals that, when activated by water, is able to create a long-lasting heat in food products. Betsy Craig is a national professional speaker and the founder and CEO of MenuTrinfo. MenuTrinfo provides certified, FDA-compliant menu labeling services.

As food safety experts, both Russo and Craig are committed to helping restaurants and caterers recognize and better address food safety concerns. Russo helps foodservice operators find solutions to temperature and quality control issues, and molds Lava Gel technology to the needs of the chef or caterer. Craig offers a food handler program to interested restaurants for training employees regarding best food safety practices and handling the pitfalls of third party delivery.

As Craig notes, “bacteria doubles every 20 minutes,” so packaging is vital. “The time from the grill to the gut—it’s imperative for people to have that nailed,” she says. “From loading dock to the table top of someone’s home, keeping it safe all the way to a person’s table is paramount.”

Listen to the episode above to learn more about the simple ways restaurants can tweak their current operations to better protect their customers and avert a food safety doomsday scenario.

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Produced by:

Nathan Mikita