Why East Hampton Leads The Top 50 Sandwich Innovators List

After a quick stint at law school, Hunter Pond decided his true passion laid with the restaurant business.

“I just felt this gravitational pull to the industry and it was strong enough... [that] I dropped out of law school after one semester,” said Pond. “...It was a rough three months trying to convince everybody that this was the right move for me.”

On this episode of The Barron Report, our host, Paul Barron, sits down with Hunter Pond, CEO of East Hampton Sandwich Co. to learn how this concept came to be and made its way to become the top Sandwich Innovator concept from our free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report.

East Hampton

“I studied the marketplace and I saw that the key differentiator in all of the fast casual sandwich players out there was the bread,” said Pond.

According to Pond, everything that went in between the breads tasted the same, from the lettuce and tomatoes to the meats.

“I kind of looked at it as a mathematical equation and thought, ‘if we could just figure out a way… to utilize our kitchen to focus on what goes in between the bread, I can outsource the bread baking to local European-style bakeries and that would produce, in theory, a higher quality product,” said Pond.

Hunter Pond wanted East Hampton to be the ingredient artisan of the sandwich category while partnering with a bread artisan to provide best sandwich possible to consumers.

Take a listen to the podcast above to learn more about East Hampton’s beginnings and future plans!

Show Notes

  • 00:51 - Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report

  • 02:18 - How Hunter Pond Got His Start

  • 05:50 - Inspiration for East Hampton

  • 07:25 - Key Differentiator in the Fast Casual Sandwich Segment

  • 09:13 - Consumer Driver Is Ingredient Quality

  • 10:27 - Quality Beyond The Food

  • 13:03 - Future Plans for East Hampton

  • 15:47 - Sourcing

  • 24:21 - Instagram

  • 27:42 - Hiring & Real Estate Challenges

  • 30:40 - Hunter Pond’s Industry Outlook

About the Report

The free Top 50 Sandwich Innovator Report is based off a sandwich study conducted by our sister company, Foodable Labs. “We put together a study that looked a consumer sentiment around mentions of their favorite sandwiches and then we poured out the shops and concepts that came out on top through our algorithm…,” says Barron. That’s the same algorithm that ranks Foodable’s Top 25 Restaurants in each city, for example.

 
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Meal-Kit Companies Are Gearing Up for Competition or Getting Out

On this episode of The Barron Report, Paul Barron interviews Brittain Ladd, a Supply Chain Management expert and Logistics Consultant for the world of meal kits.  

When the meal kit first came into existence, customers lined up to try this new and innovative system that fulfilled the desire for a high-quality meal without the restaurant price tag. Once the idea gained popularity, meal kit companies began popping up, claiming to have the best meal kit on the market. Slowly but surely, these companies starting shutting down as the market became oversaturated.

“The meal-kit industry is still the wild west. The industry is going through a lot of growing pains...,” says Brittain Ladd.

He believes one of the main reason these companies are unable to stay afloat is they just don’t have enough capital to keep going. One of the biggest challenges for the meal kit is the delivery model and its cost. Known in the restaurant industry as  “the last mile,” these start-ups are struggling to find a location that puts them close enough to a customer in order to keep costs down.

Bigger, established companies like Starbucks or Subway have the most distribution potential with access to resources, real estate, and capital.

Meal kits are a great product–unfortunately, they’re not enough to start a business. Brittain found that many founders of these companies did not have enough business expertise to evolve the idea into a full-fledged business. Consequently, companies faced the harsh reality of high cost-low retention. And although acquisitions may seem like the only light at the end of the tunnel, Brittain sees other opportunities for success.  

“If they’re not going to be acquired, they absolutely should be reaching out to restaurants chains and offering them a branded product or ask them to sell their meal kit exclusively in their store…,” says Ladd. Meal kit companies need to brainstorm a way to close the gap between the product and the consumer.

Listen to this episode of The Barron Report for more insights on the meal kit industry and his recommendations to founders in order to stay afloat!

SHOW NOTES

  • 12:33 Top 5 Companies To Watch

  • 15:34 Restaurants Co-utilizing Space and Meal-kit Delivery System

  • 18:10 Chef’d Biggest Flaw

  • 21:25 Misconceptions Of Success

  • 24:00 Fast Casual New Delivery Systems

  • 30:00 The Future of Meal Kits

  • 33:52 Deliver as Close to the Customer as Possible

  • 00:18 Introductions

  • 01:57 The Demise of Chef'd

  • 02:06 Current Status of the Meal Kit Industry

  • 04:23 Ready-to-eat Meal-Kit Development Ideas

  • 08:08 The Problem with the Meal-kit Industry as a Whole

  • 11:03 Convenience Stores as Distribution Points

 
 

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