Ep 54: Lauren Fernandez / Founder of Full Course, Legal Scholar & Restaurant Franchise Expert
Almost overnight, Lauren rolled up her legal degree, bought a pair of non-slip clogs and went to work in the restaurant industry. After getting a first-hand look at the challenges new restaurant owners face, she founded Full Course, a development and investment firm that incubates and accelerates emerging fast casual restaurant brands.
In this episode of Forktales, Joseph and Lauren break down the in’s and out’s of investing in new restaurants. The menu includes discussions about what makes an effective manager, the importance of cleanliness and what’s on the horizon for new and emerging restaurant brands.
Ep 53: Jonathan Weathington / CEO of Shuckin’ Shack & Lobster Roll Lover
Jonathan Weathington knows oysters. He also knows how to grow and build a restaurant brand, which is why he’s the CEO of Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar. From his days of crashing on the co-founder’s couch to today, Jonathan has helped turn Shuckin’ Shack into a thriving 16-location chain in five states.
In this episode of Forktales, Joseph and Jonathan talk about seafood, the challenges with dealing with franchisees, how to maintain a happy staff and what oysters and french fries have in common when it comes to delivery.
Ep 52: Kevin Bentley / VP of Technology & Automation for Papa Gino’s Pizzeria
After a 10-year career as an NFL linebacker, Kevin shifted his focus to technology. He’s a self-described “glutton for pain” when it comes to education with an MBA from Rice, a Masters’s in Technology from Northwestern, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in organizational leadership at USC.
Today, he’s the VP of Technology & Automation for Papa Gino’s Pizzeria where he’s helping to take the wildly popular New England brand to the next level thanks to his NFL leadership skills and his razor-sharp understanding of technology and its place in the modern restaurant.
Ep 51: Daniel Gonzalez / Co-owner of Simply Salad & Chicken Sandwich War Veteran
Daniel knows how to make a killer chicken sandwich. He was part of the team at Popeyes that went toe-to-toe (or bun-to-bun) with Chick-fil-A in the chicken sandwich wars. Daniel also knows his way around a healthy salad. That’s how he spends his time today as co-owner of Simply Salad.
In this episode of Forktales, Daniel and Joseph talk about how to make a killer chicken sandwich (and why so many challengers fail), how to grow a salad restaurant in non-traditional markets and how to have a big brand launch without a big brand budget.
Ep 50: Ellis Winstanley of Axial Shift, El Arroyo & More
When Ellis Winstanley and his wife, Paige, bought El Arroyo in 2012, they were buying more than just a popular local Tex-Mex restaurant. They were buying a brand that would become internationally recognized – thanks in large part to the restaurant’s witty marquee messages – despite only having a single location in Austin, Texas.
In this episode of Forktales, we talk with Ellis about El Arroyo and its iconic marquees. We also talk about Axial Shift, a software platform founded by Ellis that’s changing the way restaurants motivate and reward employees.
Ep 49: Alan Hickey / Founder of Vromo, Delivery Gamechanger
Third-party delivery is here to stay, but tools like VROMO allow restaurants to manage their own delivery fleets and take back ownership of the customer experience. That’s the dream that became a reality when Alan Hickey teamed with Brian Hickey (no relation) to create VROMO in 2016.
In this episode of Forktales, Alan and Joseph talk about the pandemic’s impact on delivery, the ROI with services like VROMO and exactly when we can expect to see pizza delivered by drones.
Ep 48 / Brian Hassan / Cofounder of Kickfin & Gratuity Guru
When Brian and his entrepreneurial partner Justin saw an armored car pull up to a restaurant in San Francisco to drop off cash to pay employee tips at the end of each shift, they knew a change had to be made. That’s how Kickfin was born.
In this episode, Joseph and Brian talk about how Kickfin is revolutionizing the way restaurants pay its employees, tip-shaming and why workers in the hospitality industry really are essential employees.
Ep 47 / David Abes / Founder of DASH Hospitality & Atlanta Industry Veteran
David Abes started in the hospitality industry as a dishwasher. Thirty-two years later, he’s the owner of DASH Hospitality Group, a management and consulting company for start-up and existing restaurants, hotels, and other food and beverage services.
In this episode of Forktales, Joseph and David dish on technology’s role in the restaurant industry, the hallmarks of a bad restaurant general manager, how restaurants can use social media effectively and why ooey, gooey, realistic food photos are almost always a great idea.
Ep 46 / Brett Spiegel / Cofounder & COO of Koala, Digital Ordering Mastermind
Brett Spiegel is a man who’s dedicated to creating a seamless, streamlined online ordering experience for restaurants. That’s why he co-founded Koala, a company that provides a premium digital ordering experience for more than 4,000 restaurant locations nationwide.
On this week’s Forktales, Joseph and Brett talk about the value of a branded online ordering experience, the importance of recognizing and embracing convergence in the restaurant industry and the exhaustive nature of epic European honeymoons.
Ep 45 / Richard Pennock / Brand Strategy & Fractional CMO
Richard came to America from the U.K. in 2006 and has been leading brand strategy revolutions ever since. Now based in Austin, Texas, his recent experience includes turns as the senior director of marketing of Tacodeli where he led a very successful brand evolution and as the VP of marketing for Freebirds World Burrito.
In this episode Richard shares his thoughts on brand strategy and its role in the brand building and brand evolution process and how technology is shaping modern marketing. He also waxes nostalgic about amazing meals at small mom-and-pop restaurants in Italy.
Ep 44 / Gonca Esendemir / Co-founder of Flatbread Grill & Thumb Bread®, Social Media Maven
Gonca is the co-founder and CMO of Flatbread Grill, a fresh casual Turkish Mediterranean concept conceived and developed by Gonca and her two sisters in 2007. The sisters built Flatbread Grill and launched the CPG brand, Thumb Bread, inspired by their Turkish roots and the work ethic instilled in them by their family.
In this episode of Forktales, Joseph and Gonca talk about the hard work of launching a brand, taking risks on social media, and whether Lebanese hummus really is the best hummus in the world.
Ep 43 / Tommy Yionoulis / Cofounder of OpsAnalitica & Data Lovin’ Operations Expert
In the restaurant industry, data is king. And if data is king, Tom Yionoulis and Opsanalitica are the king-maker. Opsanalitica is an operations data platform that helps restaurants manage and measure human activity and avoid missing the “little things” that can impact profitability.
In this episode, we dive deep on data and its impact on restaurant profitability and talk with Tom about how restaurant owners and managers can put data and analytics to better use to boost the bottom line.