How Hot Chicken Takeover is Reinventing the Fast Casual Experience

“Our mission is clear now — simply put, we want to keep creating extraordinary experiences for extraordinary people,” says Joe DeLoss.

On this episode of Emerging Brands, Joe DeLoss—the founder of fast casual restaurant chain Hot Chicken Takeover—discusses bringing Nashville-style fried chicken to Columbus, Ohio. Inspired by Nashville restaurant favorites Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Monell’s, Joe DeLoss decided to create his own hot chicken restaurant chain.

Monell’s had family-style southern meals every day of the week,” says DeLoss. “You would join a table with ten other people, and I fell in love with the communal experience. Most guests walking into a fast casual restaurant don’t remember being called out or greeted—our question was, how do we build the infrastructure of our restaurant around recreating that communal experience for our guests and employees?”

Over the last decade, Joe DeLoss has worked in a number of industries in an effort to create employment opportunities for people experiencing or who have experienced incarceration, homelessness, and other hardships. Founded in 2014, Hot Chicken Takeover has become a breakout brand in the Midwest. The chain boasts an excellent employee retention rate and an ever-growing customer base.

In this podcast, DeLoss details his retention and employee development goals as well as the core values of the fast casual chain.

The Hot Chicken Takeover team endeavors to operate from a place of “bold humility” in everything they do. “We listen to everything we hear and take it very seriously. Our goal is to acknowledge and address trends that our customers are experiencing before they become large problems,” explains DeLoss. “We know that we can always improve, and we’re unwilling to get in the way of progress. We measure an employee’s performance against that.”

Listen to the above podcast to learn more about the future of Hot Chicken Takeover, and check out our Emerging Brands podcast to hear from other rising leaders in the restaurant industry. You can also download the Top 150 Emerging Brands Guide to check out the full list of emerging brands from Foodable Labs.

This post is brought to you by Tyson Foods. To learn more, visit The Modern Chef Network.

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


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Emerging Brand Series: McAlister's Deli Looks to the Future with Joe Guith

On this episode, seasoned food industry leader, Joe Guith, President of McAlister’s Deli®, shares with Foodable insightful information about the future outlook of the brand.

Within the course of the next year McAlister’s Deli plans to continue to elevate its menu to offer more premium items.

“We know that our guests want more from us and we can offer more and so you can expect to see that start in our soup lineup and more to salads, sides and even more spuds and sandwiches from a premium standpoint,” said Guith.

Be sure to download the Top 150 Emerging Brands Guide to see Foodable Lab's full list of emerging brands.

Villa Maria’s Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc Differentiates Itself from the Rest In the Category

On this episode of On Foodable filmed at Foodable.io Seattle sponsored by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, we get to learn a little from Rob Bigelow, Senior Director of Wine Education and On Premise Development at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, about a New Zealand winery—Villa Maria Wine Estate—that the company is in partnership with.

“When I think about New Zealand and the wines, obviously the first answer is Sauvignon Blanc,” says Bigelow.
Some of the characteristics of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, which make up two-thirds to three-quarters of all the vineyards in the region, are: “... crisp, aromatic, lovely, perfect with seafood,” as mentioned by Bigelow.

The wine that is featured in this episode is the Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, which is top rated at 90 points.

“The Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc has a sort of a broader mid-palate which means it’s lusher on the palette more sort of melon, floral aromas…,” says Bigelow. The grapes are actually sourced from a combination of two valleys in the Marlborough region, which helps provide maximum flavor, balance, and quality to the wine.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is a collection of distinctive wines estates, located in the Pacific Northwest, California, and abroad. The company provides administrative and financial support for each wine property it does business with. Ste. Michelle’s company philosophy is to allow each wine estate/vineyard to have all wine-making decisions “made on site by the people who grow the grapes and make the wine” as stated in the company website.

Villa Maria Wine Estates, for example, is a family-owned winery located in Marlborough island and is recognized as New Zealand’s most awarded winery thanks to its winemaker being fanatical about quality. The winery focuses on low yields and discards all imperfect grapes.

Watch the episode above to learn more about Villa Maria Wine Estates and its sustainability efforts!

Female-Led Funding Startup, AccelFoods Helps Other Food-Focused Startups like Soozy's Thrive

Ever wondered how grocery stores will look like five years from now?

This is something Jordan Gaspar, co-founder of AccelFoods, thinks about daily.

AccelFoods is a funding startup that invests in other startups that have the potential of disrupting food categories in the grocery aisles and beyond through their innovative products.

On this episode of The Barron Report, our host Paul Barron speaks with Gaspar and Susan Chen, CEO of Soozy’s, a frozen, gluten-free baked good product company that has partnered with AccelFoods in order to grow its business. The three discuss how the relationship has been between the venture capitalist group and the investee, Soozy’s role in its snacking category, what types of companies AccelFoods seeks to invest on, and trends in the marketplace among other topics.

Listen above to learn more about these trailblazing companies!


Show Notes:

  • 01:43 - Purpose of AccelFoods

  • 03:48 - Soozy’s Role in the Frozen Food Segment

  • 05:47 - AccelFoods’ Investment in Soozy’s

  • 09:26 - Types of Companies AccelFoods Invests In

  • 10:47 - Trends In The Marketplace

  • 14:38 - Soozy’s Differentiator in Snacking Category

  • 17:52 - Product Packaging

  • 23:16 - Size of Companies AccelFoods Invests In

  • 26:09 - Macro Understanding of Food Industry

  • 28:00 - Impact of Social Media for Soozy’s

  • 29:58 - Future Growth Plans for Soozy’s

  • 31:52 - Challenges in Male-Dominated Venture Capitalist World

 
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