11 episodes

A weekly podcast that feeds food and beverage brands with insights, ideas, trends, and anecdotes discussed with restaurant, hospitality, and beverage industry leaders.

Forktales Vigor

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

A weekly podcast that feeds food and beverage brands with insights, ideas, trends, and anecdotes discussed with restaurant, hospitality, and beverage industry leaders.

    EP 29 / Karl Travis / Senior Interior Designer & Partner at Hager Design Intl

    EP 29 / Karl Travis / Senior Interior Designer & Partner at Hager Design Intl

    Partner and Senior Designer at Hager International
    Karl has over 20 years design experience and is a graduate of Algonquin College in Ottawa and has a Diploma of Interior Design. He is also a 2010 inductee of his alma mater Hall of Fame for the School of Media and Design. Karl’s background is in hospitality which included partnership in a restaurant located in Whistler, BC, Canada. Karl is NCIDQ qualified, is registered with the Interior Designer Institute of BC, the Interior Designers of Nova Scotia and the Interior Designers of Canada.



    “There are so many shifts happening as a result of the behavioral shifts with consumers - designers are reacting, absorbing, and developing new solutions.” - Joseph
    “Things like drive thru’s were shunned for the most part.” - Joseph
    “What also shunned it was city council, because of the environmental factor.” - Karl
    “There’s potential for overcorrection, but it depends on the board rooms of the large companies, they have some very smart people and they pay them to do the research.” - Karl
    “It’s giving people the option to not interact with other people, so it’s all about choice.” - Karl
    “McDonald’s was always way ahead of the game.” - Karl
    “It’s all automated. You can see the appeal from investors - its very low cost of entry, you dont need a lot of labor, and the food is delicious.” - Joseph
    “It has a lot to do with location as well, and rent/leasing/availability. And of course the labor shortage - this will factor into how companies will determine what they want to do.” - Karl
    “I used to go to Starbucks a lot and I don’t go anymore .... I’m gonna get my coffee and go on with my life.” - Karl
    “What if people want to stay and watch? Maybe it’s a spectacle … watch the hustle and bustle of what’s happening behind the glass wall with these robots. I love watching people as well.” - Karl
    “It was always fun to go into the village, sit on the patio, and patio rules. You’re invisible, nobody can hear you or see you. You watch people go by … it’s definitely something that I enjoy. So having a takeout place where you have the option to sit and watch and have the conversation - it’s more options for what you want to bring to that particular space.” - Karl
    “We design for the owner. We’ll take your vision and bring it to fruition and bring it into a living space.” - Karl
    “There’s a lot of emulation that happens on lower scale brands - they look up and say oh they’re doing it, we need to do the same thing but cheaper … and I think that’s a bit dangerous.” - Joseph
    “One thing that has impressed me is how the hospitality industry came together - sharing the knowledge of oh we did this and it didn’t work.” - Karl
    “Are you ever gonna have 40 bums in 40 seats at one time? People aren’t interested.” - Karl
    “You want to increase your back of house … you need to keep the kitchen going so there’s more storage and you’re not ordering as much.” - Karl
    “In my day the back of house was cramped, it wasn’t thought of. The cooks will deal with it. But it’s changing … you’re focusing in on the cooks and it’s been a long time coming. It’s them who make the restaurant tick.” - Karl
    “There’s an octopusification of the restaurant world … there’s many arms that have to happen.” - Joseph
    “What’s priority? The guy or girl in line, or the person who ordered ahead, or the person who just booped on a kiosk out front?” - Joseph

    • 40 min
    EP 28 / Alonso Castañeda / VP of Brand Development & Strategy of Savory Management

    EP 28 / Alonso Castañeda / VP of Brand Development & Strategy of Savory Management

    VP of Brand Development & Strategy at Savory Restaurant Fund
    Started career at 18 - managing a small Mexican grill (under 10 units)
    Began franchising and helped the company expand until acquisition by Jack In The Box
    Then helped grow the Paradise Bakery with franchising until acquisition by Panera
    Moved on to 14-unit company called Cafe Rio, grew to 100 units and, you guessed it, acquisition!
    Grew another franchise system with Four Foods Group; then purchased 48 Little Caesar’s locations. Added 30 more locations, then sold them off and “lived happily ever after”.


    “Small brands - those 5 to 15 location concepts … this growth from that moment to 50, 100, 200, seems very enigmatic and tough.” - Joseph
    “During that growth phase … we learned a lot on going fast but not too fast.” - Alonso
    “There’s nothing you can read, nothing you can do, that will teach them but your experience. You can’t replace experience.” - Alonso
    “Every stage in the restaurant business is difficult. It has its own little challenges. The industry in itself is hard, right? The initial stage from 5 to 50 is especially hard … you gotta keep that momentum. Setting up that foundation is so important.” - Alonso
    “Sometimes restaurants get funding and they slowly forget to be scrappy.” - Alonso
    “There’s all these services that come to you as a young operator and they offer you … this extra little software that tells you the weather … the sales pitch was fantastic … so the middle of your P&L fattens up and your profits are so low.” - Alonso
    “You have to be brilliant at the basics. If you have great service, great quality food, and a clean environment, and you’re consistent with it, that’s all you need.” - Alonso
    “If you’re not careful you can get rid of your money. It’s pretty easy.” - Joseph
    “What’s needed today and a little bit of tomorrow, instead of what’s needed five years from now.” - Joseph
    “If you’re a mom and pop shop, opening your first or second location, do you need to spend $50k on a brand identity? Probably not.” - Joseph
    “Focus on operations, get those systems smooth… when you hit that 10, 15, 20 location mark then take a look at the brand.” - Joseph
    “Your food is your branding. Your marketing budget is getting your food in people’s mouths .... Feed the local football team for free. That’s your marketing” - Alonso
    “Everything you do does build a brand, so if you do it wrong you’re doing yourself a disservice.” - Joseph
    “We find these brands that have so much potential to become a great emerging concept and all they need is a team of restaurant experts and the right funding. Our model is to help them grow from 4 to 40.” - Alonso
    “It’s sort of the morning party! Eggs benedict and Lil Jon.” - Joseph, about Hash Kitchen, a breakfast spot with a DJ.
    “I used to own and run a nightclub in Palm Springs … I thought I was done with DJs, but this is my 40’s DJ life now … but they don’t let me touch the playlist” - Alonso
    “In the casual dining space, people want ‘eatertainment’ - that experience when you go out and sit down with your friends and have a server and have to pay a tip - you want that experiential dining.” - Alonso
    “Finding people that show up for interviews … the flake ratio of people that show up is ridiculous.” - Alonso on the challenge of finding great labor.
    “It’s a cool place to be, it’s cool to say I work here, and the tips are great.” - Alonso on the challenge of finding great labor.
    “The conversation is centralized on compensation, but I’ve heard many other factors that play a large role.” - Joseph, on the challenge of finding great labor.
    “The restaurant industry has had a bad rap for years, working their employees hard, work life balance and all this, and I think we

    • 34 min
    EP 27 / Bill Gardner / 2021’s most notable restaurant rebrands

    EP 27 / Bill Gardner / 2021’s most notable restaurant rebrands

    The very first Pizza Hut was only a half mile from Bill in Wichita! And they asked their fraternity brothers to open franchises.
    Pizza Hut’s red roof was so iconic you could identify them from aerial photography. It was designed by Robert Burke.
    Sagmeister & Walsh book: https://sagmeisterwalsh.com/work/all/beauty-book/
    Taco Bell’s logo evolution: https://www.grayflannelsuit.net/blog/logo-evolution-taco-bell
    Papa John’s logo evolution: https://1000logos.net/papa-johns-logo/
    Home on the Range: https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/kansas/state-song/home-range
    Bullhearted Brand Book: https://bullhearted.co/
    Handles IG @gardnerdesignusa Twitter @gardnerdesign FB https://www.facebook.com/WeAreGardnerDesign/


    “Back in the 70s 80s and maybe 90s, there was a lot of character in restaurant brands… it seems like there was a push to eliminate that.” - Joseph
    “People forget that the McDonald’s golden arches were the original arches on the building. These things draw this language and vernacular of the architecture of the restaurant. That’s where the color comes from, the pattern, the textures.” - Bill
    “There’s been this regrasping from the 70s especially - with Stranger Things - the typography, wonderful fat swervy, bold, and spoke of food, people love that.” - Bill
    “If you didn’t live through it, it’s new to you, but you remember it in a retro way - you remember the good, not the bad.” - Bill
    “I rarely say this about design … but God, it’s sexy.” - Joseph
    “If we all believe that brown rectangles are the ugliest thing in the world then why are we building them?” - Joseph, paraphrasing Sagmeister
    “We brown-rectangled logos and design elements for so long.” - Joseph
    “Familiarity is what we consider ugly” - Bill, interpreting Sagmeister
    “If you come to me, I can do (Burger King’s) 2050 logo, the bun will be just enormous on the thing … but the type will be the same.” - Bill
    “I’m not speaking about how good the product is, I’m just speaking about from a design perspective, I love the fact that they’ve picked up that vernacular and pushing that forward as a brand component.”
    “Is it lazy? I don’t mean in the amount of thought or work, but it seems like a parlor trick to leverage nostalgia.” - Joseph
     “The logo was king, and the application, the visual vocabulary, was the court that went with the king … and it still is to a degree but what smart branding is finding is that the things we remember first are color, pattern, then we get down to the fine granular imagery that you find inside a logo. The color and pattern are becoming more important to brands.” - Bill (edited)
    “I think it’s only smart. It’s not being lazy. They’re taking advantage of equity that they’ve had over a period of time.” - Bill
    “Taco Bell ushered in this bright pink purple yellow fluorescent taco bellness, and now they’ve almost gone too far, it’s just a purple bell.” - Joseph
    “Reminds you of a prophylactic that hasn’t been unrolled.” - Bill
    “I have kind of a love hate for it. In design we’re always told to take that mark and keep pushing and pushing it until you have pushed too far and then you take a step back because that’s about where people are going to recognize it. I felt with that mark, they pushed it one step too far and forgot to come back.” - Bill
    “The typography has been completely sanded down to be forgettable and unownable. It’s lost its beauty.” - Joseph
    “They dropped the apostrophe, which is always a bitch.” - Bill (about Papa John’s)
    “They labeled ingredients - and I get the thinking … but it’s mozzarella. It’s tomatoes. You don’t need to label them.” - Joseph
    “Their advertising now is all typography, no product - and I’ll go to fisticuffs on this - you gotta show the product, I do

    • 41 min
    EP 26 / Justin Bartek / Director of Marketing at Jinya Ramen Bar

    EP 26 / Justin Bartek / Director of Marketing at Jinya Ramen Bar

    Jinya is franchised across the US and Canada
    40 locations with a plan to add between 15 and 20 restaurants
    Pork broth is a 20 hour process


    “What it comes down to is the best marketing is word of mouth” -Justin
    “Trying to define who that customer is and once you have that definition then, putting the resources to where those folks are: -Justin
    “I cant underscore enough how important it is to truly think local at all costs” -Joseph
    “I try to let the data tell the story and kind of guide us” -Justin
    “If you’re not communicating with your franchisees on the “why”, they can go rogue rather easily” -Justin
    “It’s not just explaining what or how, it really is why” -Joseph
    “An elevated experience isn’t just the food, it’s all of it” -Justin

    • 39 min
    EP 25 / CJ Moyer / Founder of Presley’s Mobile Bar

    EP 25 / CJ Moyer / Founder of Presley’s Mobile Bar

    Decided to go mobile first to get feet wet and understand how the industry works.They tailor the bar options and garnishes to the season RAMP Certification - certification that servers and bartenders need to receive in order to serve food and beverages.Presley’s is named after CJ’s goddaughter
    “Make an experience with your brewery” -CJ“If you don't have good beer to match your experience, you’re going to get washed out unfortunately” -CJ“What I’m really yearning to find is a brewery who really starts to take the brand seriously” - Joseph“I’m hoping that we just find a stride where people realize it’s not just the beer, it is the brand and people really need to start buying into the brand” -Joseph“We want you to have the experience that you’re sitting down in a really comfortable dim lit bar” -CJ

    • 35 min
    EP 24 / Eli Altman / Naming Expert on Ghost/Virtual Kitchens

    EP 24 / Eli Altman / Naming Expert on Ghost/Virtual Kitchens

    Book — Run Studio, Run
    Naming Tips

    Look around to see what other people aren’t doing
    Understand the field and know what’s been done
    Be clear about what you want to put on the table and why you’re existing

    Twitter — @elialtman


    “The middle ground is where the bad names exist” -Eli
    “We would rather have someone do something ridiculous and interesting and fail than try to do something completely bland” -Eli
    “Mediocrity is driven by a desire to appease everyone simultaneously” -Eli
    “If you spend your time trying to fit in, you’re gonna waste your budget trying to stand out” -Danny Altman
    “You know you’ve done a really good job at strategy and absorbed it because it makes innovation feel more comfortable” -Joseph
    “We as humans have an innate desire to want to fit into something and when you haven’t effectively defined what that something is, it becomes just fitting in” -Joseph
    “Names are really introductions to stories” -Eli
    The name is about getting you to the front door, beyond that, it’s about experience” -Eli

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

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2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Andy Alabiso ,

A Must for F&B Lovers

Loved the first episode of this new podcast that has the right mix of quick wit, storytelling, food & bev passion and a few nuggets of wisdom to take with you. Can’t wait to hear/watch more!

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