A podcast that feeds food & beverage brands


Ep 75: Mark Schostak / Executive Chairman of TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants

Mark Schostak is the third generation of a four-generation family business that oversees 150 restaurants throughout Michigan. It’s a portfolio of culinary options that includes Applebee’s, MOD Pizza, Wendy’s and the company’s own brand, Olga’s Kitchen.

In this episode of Forktales, Michael and Mark talk about core values, the challenges of instilling those core values on teams spread across 150 locations, how to retain talent, why looking within to recruit high-quality managers is always a good idea and how to keep tabs on your restaurant’s competitors.

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Ep 74: Rob Grimes / Founder & CEO of IFBTA

As the founder and CEO of the International Food & Beverage Technology Association (IFBTA), Rob Grimes spends his time forecasting tech trends and helping brands apply those trends to stay one step ahead of the competition.

In this episode of Forktales, Rob joins us from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas where he offers his thoughts on what’s hot (and what’s not) at CES, drones, robotics, the rise of electric vehicles, and why we should all keep an open mind about plant-based steaks.

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Ep 73: Andrew Glantz / Founder of GiftAMeal

Studies have shown that 84% of Gen Z shoppers are more likely to purchase from a brand if the brand gives back and 71% of Millennials would pay more for a product if they knew that some of the proceeds were going to a good cause. That’s the inspiration behind GiftAMeal, an app created by Andrew Glantz that makes a donation to local food banks when diners take photos of their meals at participating restaurants.

In this episode of Forktales, Michael and Andrew talk about cause marketing, the profits-with-a-purpose business model, entrepreneurial spirit and how GiftAMeal beat out thousands of competitors to win a $25,000 Amazon Business grant.

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Ep 72: James Passafaro / Co-Founder of opsi

James has 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry and a strong vision for technology’s role in it. One day, while working as a chef de cuisine in an overworked, frenzied and disorganized kitchen, that tech vision and the need to create a more streamlined and organized kitchen became the inspiration behind opsi.

In this episode of Forktales, James talks about how opsi is changing how modern operators manage restaurants. James and Michael also talk about robots in restaurants, elk recipes and the light switch moment as an 11-year-old that made James pursue a career in the kitchen.

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Ep 71: Dan Costello / CEO of Home Run Inn Pizza

Dan Costello oversees nine Chicago area pizza shops and a thriving frozen pizza brand as the CEO of Home Run Inn Pizza. That position gives him a front row seat in the battle for hearts, minds and stomachs in the Pizza Capital of the World.

In this episode of Forktales, Michael and Dan talk about brand storytelling, creating synergy between restaurant brands and CPG brands and, of course, pizza. Specifically, they discuss the origins of the Home Run Inn Pizza name, which meat tops more Chicagoland pizzas (hint: it’s not pepperoni) and whether deep dish pizza is really just a casserole disguised as pizza.

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Ep 70: Joseph Szala / Digital Guru & Bullhearted Author

Joseph is a vice president of digital experience, an author of multiple books about modern marketing and brand-building and a board advisor to restaurant tech companies and startups. He’s also the former host of Forktales.

In today’s episode, we meet the new host of Forktales, Michael Pavone (President and CEO of Pavone Group, which includes Vigor). Michael and Joseph talk about how to be a good podcast host, effective email marketing, the future of the restaurant industry and we play a game that tests Joseph’s knowledge of past guests and Forktales episodes.

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Ep 69: Caroline Skinner / COO of Tupelo Honey

It’s no secret that attracting and retaining high-quality employees is one of the restaurant industry’s biggest challenges. Caroline Skinner knows that. She’s also leading the way at Tupelo Honey when it comes to implementing industry-leading hiring practices and building a strong, hard-working and happy employee culture. 

In this episode, Caroline shares tips for how to build employee support programs that work, how to use technology to build stronger relationships with customers and one of the most effective ways to communicate with younger employees. 

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Ep 68: Carl Orsbourn / COO and Co-Founder of JUICER

Ready or not, dynamic pricing is coming to the restaurant industry. Carl Orsbourn and JUICER helps restaurants embrace the new pricing model, boost its bottom line and do it in a way that doesn’t alarm or anger its loyal customers.

In this episode of Forktales, Carl and Joseph talk about the challenges and misconceptions about dynamic pricing, delivering the digital restaurant, and why Taylor Swift tickets are so darned expensive.

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Ep 67: Justin Bartek / VP of Marketing at Dog Haus

As the VP of Marketing at Dog Haus, Justin Bartek knows hot dogs. And not just hot dogs, but REALLY GOOD hot dogs. He also knows how to grow brands, which is one of the reasons Dog Haus added him to the team in 2022 to help lead the restaurant in its next phase of growth.

In this episode of Forktales, Justin dishes up lessons on the importance of quality, the challenges of doing delivery well, the value of good package design and the difference between an $8 hot dog and a $1.50 hot dog.

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Forktales podcast episode with Chef Troy Guard of TAG Restaurant group

Ep 66: Troy Guard / Chef & Founder of TAG Restaurant Group

Troy Guard was born and raised in Hawaii. He eventually traded that surf and sun for the mile-high atmosphere of Denver when he opened his first restaurant. Today, he oversees 10 restaurants and four concepts under TAG Restaurant Group.

In this episode of Forktales, Troy shares his thoughts on building strong restaurant culture, the importance of core values and how his first restaurant went from $40,000 in the hole to a $40,000 profit in just four months.

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Restaurant podcast episode with Sterling Douglass of Chowly

Ep 65: Sterling Douglass / Co-founder and CEO of Chowly

Chowly’s mission is simple: To simplify technology for restaurants – particularly smaller chains that don’t have big chain IT support – and help restaurants evolve. That’s why Sterling Douglass created Chowly and it’s what drives the company today.

Today, Joseph and Sterling dive deep on the topic of tech and “co-opetition” in the restaurant technology industry. They also answer the questions, do you need another app on your phone, is on-premise dining going away and can you commoditize a really great burger?

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Restaurant podcast episode with David Jones, President of the Excellence Advisory coach of winning restaurants

Ep 64: David Jones / President of The Excellence Advisory & Coach of Winning Restaurants

David Jones is a performance excellence coach. In short, he helps brands – including many restaurants – get better at what they do and win new customers.

In this episode of Forktales, David shares his thoughts on how the pandemic gave restaurants a second chance to make a first impression, the incremental process of improvement, and how restaurants desperately need to stand out in a sea of sameness.

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Forktales - a podcast that feeds food and beverage

Launching April 15th

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