A podcast that feeds food & beverage brands


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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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. 

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »
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.

Read More »
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?

Read More »
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.

Read More »
Forktales restaurant podcast episode with Meredith Sandland of Empower Delivery

Ep 63: Meredith Sandland / CEO of Empower Delivery & Digital Restaurant Dynamo

The 2008 recession sped the disruption of the retail industry and the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in the digital disruption of restaurants. Meredith Sandland understands that disruption – and why it’s a good thing – better than anyone.

In this episode of Forktales, we chat with Meredith about the restaurant tech revolution, eliminating complexity in restaurant operations and how “Delivering the Digital Restaurant” is actually a whole lot easier than most people think.

Read More »
Forktales restaurant podcast episode with Zach Anderson of Seasoned.co restaurant recruiting and staffing

Ep 62: Zach Anderson / Brand Partner at Seasoned & Restaurant Talent Rainmaker

Attracting and retaining high-quality talent is the single biggest challenge facing restaurants today. Zach Anderson and Seasoned – a social community often described as “Linkedin for restaurant workers” – makes that process easier.

On today’s Forktales menu, Zach and Joseph talk about the best qualities restaurants should look for in younger workers and which restaurants are doing a great job of attracting and retaining talent. Joseph also reveals why he has nightmares about half-eaten plates of dippy eggs.

Read More »
Restaurant podcast episode with CEO of Thanx, loyalty leader and restaurant money-maker

Ep 61: Zach Goldstein / CEO of Thanx, loyalty leader and restaurant money-maker

Zach Goldstein’s goal? To help restaurants make more money. That’s why he founded Thanx, a leading loyalty and guest engagement platform for restaurants, and why he’s so passionate about helping restaurants build effective loyalty programs.

In this episode of Forktales, Joseph and Zach talk about apps (and why they’re not always the answer), the power of good data, the best way to get loyalty program sign-ups, and how a year-round McRib could be the most effective loyalty perk of all time.

Read More »
Forktales - a podcast that feeds food and beverage

New episodes every two weeks!

Sign up to get notified when new episodes are available.