How Starbird Chicken is Changing the Fast Food Experience

An emerging restaurant brand has to be so much more than just an innovative food concept. Nowadays, the market is highly saturated, especially in the QSR and fast casual segments. 

But emerging brand concepts are outperforming the rest. They are not only doing this by resonating with customers but are also redefining the restaurant business. 

The California-based Starbird Chicken hasn't been just wingin' it. 

"Starbird Chicken is really different from other chicken concepts in that we have modernized the entire food experience. We set out to really reinvent everything from food quality, ingredients, design, and convenience in the fast-food space. We reinvented the experience for the modern consumer," says Aaron Noveshen, founder & president of The Culinary Edge, the parent company of Starbird. 

Noveshen hatched the Starbird concept back in 2014 with the goal to offer a “super premium fast food" experience for guests. But just because the food is served fast, doesn't mean Starbird skimps on food quality. 

"In terms of Starbird staying on top of food quality control, it's a relentless commitment to greatness every single day. But ultimately, we are constantly thinking about new ways to improve our product. We taste it, I'm in the restaurants a lot and we're trying the food all the time and are being highly self-critical," says Noveshen.

Learn what else Starbird Chicken is doing to continue to outshine the competition in today's market in the Emerging Brand podcast above. 

According to Foodable Labs data, chicken increased in mentions by 12.9 percent by millennials and was featured on 82.5% of chefs menus. So, how are you showcasing chicken on your menu? 

Food sourcing plays a pivotal role when it comes to quality and consistency. Finding the right supplier is the first step. Tyson Foods, for example, works with partners to find exactly what they’re looking for. Learn more at Tyson Foods now. 

How The World's First OatMeals Cafe Has Reimagined The Use of The Traditional Grain

“I really believe that if you start your day with oatmeal you normally make better decisions throughout the rest of your day… So, this brand has a lot of legs in today’s world,” says Stephens.


On this episode of Emerging Brands, Samantha Stephens, chef and founder of OatMeals shares with Foodable the origins of her single-ingredient fast casual concept and how she built it from the ground up.

OatMeals is the world’s first oatmeal cafe located in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood in New York known for its brownstones buildings. Stephens believes her brand in very on-trend right now especially with the rise of the health movement and all the benefits and versatility that oats have to offer.

What sets this concept apart is the fact that not only it is a business concept that revolves around oats, but also the fact that it aims to evaluate the way traditional breakfast meals involving oats have been regarded for decades.

“So, it’s a build-your-own toppings bar. We’re sort of putting a non-traditional twist on old-fashioned oatmeals...,” says Stephens. “The more and more I ate oatmeal the more I realized it’s very similar to risotto or rice… You could really think about it as like a savory side dish. It’s so versatile! It sort of adapts well to any kind of topping you put on it…”

Stephens went on to explain how she experimented with the grain by adding parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, truffle oil, goat cheese, eggs, and bacon. She offers savory oatmeals as well as the traditional breakfast and sweet oatmeal offerings.

Listen to the podcast above to learn about how Samantha Stephens gained the confidence to build this business, the challenges she faces when figuring out a reasonable price point for her menu items, and how her concept aims to stay relevant in the food world in terms of trends.

To learn more about the Shark Tank-backed concept—OatMeals— check out the The Barron Report Live video interview below!

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

How the Emerging Brand and Shark Tank-Backed OatMeals Ventures to Define a New Fast Casual Category

Emerging brands continue to outperform the pack of cornerstone restaurants brands over the past year and the category breakouts are in a race for leadership. Take the crowded fast casual pizza category that now has a clear leader that has prevailed in Mod Pizza.

More and more category challengers are being created in a variety of segments today.

When you analyze the healthy halo category, it’s being dominated by sweetgreen and Tender Greens with new challengers like Lemonade and Flower Child.

Fresh Mex has been holding strong with Chipotle, however, they have seen some fall off in the dominance they once had in meal occasions. This leads us to a much more fragmented field of new category leaders.

OatMeals, on the other hand, is one of these unusual but potentially new category entries that could set a new standard for what it means to innovate at the brand level.

I had a chance to sit down with Founder and CEO Samantha Stephens of OatMeals, a one-unit NYC concept that is aiming to transform what was once a breakfast only menu item into an entire category for menu innovation.

Join me and watch this episode of The Barron Report above as we discuss how consumers are responding to this unusual brand, what it takes to launch a concept like this, and what it was like to present to the sharks on hit TV show "Shark Tank" and actually get a deal with Lori Greiner to build out the brand concept with an entirely new approach to brand building.