The Restaurant Business podcast Buzzworthy Brands is a must-listen show for operators of emerging brands. Host Heather Lalley, editor at RB, talks with the founders and CEOs of growth concepts, to discuss their opportunities, challenges and strategic innovations. Look for a new episode released every other Tuesday.
Drive Shack is betting big on consumer desire to return to food-and-games concepts
Fresh off a $10 million investment from pro golfer Rory McIlroy for her company’s newest concept, Drive Shack Inc. CEO and President Hana Khouri joins the "Buzzworthy Brands" podcast to talk about what’s next for food-and-games brands as consumer reemerge from the pandemic.
Khouri’s company runs nearly 60 traditional golf courses, but it also has four massive Drive Shack locations featuring high-tech driving ranges in 60,000-square-foot, multi-story venues with full food and drink menus.
The operator is slated to open its first location of its new concept, called Puttery, this summer near Dallas. The new eatertainment concept is much smaller and can fit into existing retail space rather than being built from scratch. It’ll feature an upscale food and beverage menu.
Union Square Hospitality eyes the other side of the pandemic
Chip Wade joined Union Square Hospitality Group as president just over two years ago. Nine months into his time with the Danny Meyer-led multi-concept operator, the pandemic hit. USHG shut down all of its restaurants and laid off some 2,300 employees.
Now, as Wade says, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train. The company’s restaurants are reopening, though a handful remain closed, and USHG is easing out of pandemic mode.
Listen to this Buzzworthy Brands conversation with Wade to hear how the New York City-based company is navigating the other side of the crisis.
Junzi Kitchen and Nice Day want to change the way Americans eat Chinese food
This week’s episode of the “Buzzworthy Brands” podcast features Yong Zhao, co-founder and CEO of the two brands, talking about his company’s plans to re-imagine this dining segment.
Gold Star is finally ready to grow its Tom & Chee brand
GSR Brands, the parent of Cincinatti’s iconic Gold Star chili concept, acquired Tom & Chee in late 2017. At the time, Tom & Chee was a grilled cheese and soup brand with a cult following. It had been featured on Shark Tank and other TV shows. By 2019, GSR had ambitious plans for Tom & Chee. But then came the pandemic. Now, with some crucial changes, the company is getting ready to grow its melt concept. Listen to this Buzzworthy Brands interview with Roger David, president and CEO of Gold Star Brands, about what’s ahead for Tom & Chee.
5 things to know about: Southern Classic Chicken
Southern Classic Chicken started in Northern Louisiana 35 years ago and has since grown to 17 units. The low-tech concept has developed a loyal following with its consistent menu of bone-in fried chicken and simple sides like Cajun rice, mashed potatoes and apple pie. A couple of years ago, though, the family that started the chain decided to give franchising a try. They’d tried it about a decade ago, with unsuccessful results, so they wanted to be better prepared this go-round. They brought in a couple of experts to help. One of them, Nick Binnings, is the chain’s director of brand development. Binnings has worked for the past couple of years getting Southern Classic Chicken’s brandings, systems and operations in place to ready the brand for franchising.
Rise Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chicken
How Rise Southern Biscuits and Righteous Chicken is back in growth mode and is now seeing profits increase at both company-owned and franchised stores after its founder and CEO Tom Ferguson realized the concept’s complexity was setting franchisees up for failure.