The Restaurant Report

The Restaurant Report

The Restaurant Report is one of the longest-running podcasts in foodservice produced and hosted by award-winning journalists and Emmy award-winning podcasters. The Restaurant Report dives in weekly to the top stories, insights, and special guest interviews for the restaurant and foodservice business. This restaurant podcast delivers insights with over 25 years of insider knowledge to your podcast feed every week!


September 22, 2023 18 mins
Consumer spending is the driving force of the US economy, accounting for about 70% of GDP. So when consumers start to cut back on spending, it's a big red flag for the economy.

That's why economists worry about a potential fall consumer spending drop. There are several factors that could contribute to this, including:
  • High inflation: Inflation has been at a 40-year high in recent months, and it's eating into consumers' disposable...
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In this podcast, we visit with the Lettuce Entertain You Leadership team to discus success and the formula for the future.

  • Ethan Samson, Executive Partner - Vice President & Deputy General Counsel
  • Amarit Dulyapaibul, Managing Partner
  • Kevin Brown, CEO

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE) is a family-owned restaurant group founded in 1971 by R.J. Melman. The company has become one of the largest restaurant group...
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In this podcast, we get a chance to talk with Stefanie Miller, President, Away From Home at Kellogg Company - We explore the way we consume food away from home is rapidly evolving. Whether grabbing a quick snack at a convenience store (C-Store), dining on a military base, or choosing options at a college or university cafeteria, the food service industry is witnessing significant changes. One of the most notable trends is the shift...
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In this episode, we dive into research and trends from TJ Wommack, Partner at AlixPartners. We discuss the composition of management teams is undergoing a significant transformation. This shift is changing the face of leadership and influencing business strategies, particularly in the restaurant industry. This article delves into the demographic shifts in management teams and their profound impact on promoting diversity and inclusi...
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First up, we'll be exploring the incredible journey of Big Chicken, a fast casual giant that's redefining the way we think about chicken. Stay tuned as we sit down with their visionary CEO, Josh Halpern, to uncover the secret recipe behind their remarkable growth and exciting future plans.

Also, in the episode, we'll take you on a savory journey with Dog Haus, the pioneers of gourmet hot dogs and sausages. Join us as we chat with th...
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The fast-casual restaurant industry is booming, and two brands that are leading the charge are Velvet Taco and Starbird. Both brands have seen rapid growth in recent years, thanks to their unique offerings and savvy leadership.

Velvet Taco

Velvet Taco was founded in Dallas in 2011 by Randy DeWitt and his son, Travis. The concept is a fast-casual taco restaurant with a twist: the tacos are made with high-quality ingredients and featur...
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August 11, 2023 30 mins
In recent years, third-party delivery services have become increasingly popular, with companies like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub taking a large cut of restaurant sales. However, a new trend is emerging: restaurant takeout is starting to lead as the more popular model.

There are a few reasons for this shift. First, third-party delivery services can be expensive for restaurants. They typically charge a 15-30% commission on each o...
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White Castle is partnering with SoundHound to roll out voice AI at select drive-thrus. The technology will be added to over 100 White Castle drive-thrus by the end of 2024. Many of these drive-thru lanes will operate 24/7.White Castle initially tested drive-thru AI in 2020 through a partnership with Mastercard. SoundHound provided voice recognition for the trial, while Rekor Systems offered vehicle recognition. This trial served as...
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In today's fast-paced business world, the quest for effective executive education and leadership development is more critical than ever. Executives and business leaders constantly seek opportunities to enhance their skills, stay ahead of the competition, and foster innovation within their organizations. One platform that has been making waves in professional development is the Prosper Forum. I had a chance to interview Davide Jobe ...
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Starbucks is one of the most well-known and beloved brands in the world. The coffee giant has a loyal customer base that is estimated to be worth over $1 trillion. In recent years, Starbucks has been making a number of moves to embrace Web3 technology. In December 2022, the company launched Starbucks Odyssey, a Web3 loyalty program that allows members to earn and purchase digital collectible assets that unlock access to new benefit...
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June 23, 2023 20 mins
This entire podcast is based on a WHAT IF Mcdonalds’ and the likes of Starbucks and Chick Fil could enter the Web3 space with their respective 95 Billion in annual sales and the Impact it would have on the next generation of technology - in this podcast, I detail a lot of ideas within the podcast so LISTEN TO THE PODCAST first - then dive into just some of my research below.

McDonald's products could be merged into an NFT (Non-Fungi...
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    In this episode, Barry Westrum - CMO at Taco John’s, discussed the brand's current position and strategies for growth in the restaurant industry. With a focus on providing higher quality options in the quick-serve restaurant (QSR) sector, Taco John's aims to capture a niche between fast casual and traditional QSR chains. This write-up delves into the key points discussed during the interview, highlighting Taco John's efforts to bri...
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    Golden Corral, the popular buffet chain, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The company has come a long way since it opened its first location in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973. Today, Golden Corral has over 500 locations in 43 states.
    In our podcast interview, Golden Corral CEO Lance Trenery talked about the company's history, success, and future plans.
    How has the brand changed and evolved over the years?
    "Golden ...
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    Informa, a London-based global events, digital products, and academic services firm, announced the acquisition of Winsight, LLC, a leading B2B information provider in the foodservice and allied retail industries. The acquisition will create a category-leading B2B business with a strong presence in the restaurant industry.Winsight's portfolio includes a number of leading brands, including Restaurant Business, Nation's Restaurant New...
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    The fast food industry constantly evolves, with companies striving to meet customer demands and enhance profitability. In recent news, Wendy's, Sweetgreen, and Chipotle have made significant announcements regarding their operations and innovations. This article highlights the key developments from each of these popular brands.Listen to the Full PodcastWendy's to Shut Down Remaining US Reef Units
    • Wendy's plans to close all remain...
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    March 10, 2023 34 mins
    The Savory Fund is a restaurant growth company based in the United States that provides capital, expertise, and support to help independent restaurant concepts scale and succeed. They partner with talented restaurateurs to help them expand their businesses, with a focus on innovative and high-growth concepts.

    We had a chance to talk with Andrew Smith an executive with the Savory Fund, serving as a Managing Director. He has over 15 y...
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    The challenge that operators are dealing with today is the issue with consumer sentiment, and it's underperformance when sales and menu prices are up. Has the art of hospitality been lost? In todays podcast, I get a chance to break this down with Claiborne Irby, SVP, of Strategy & Insight at Focus Brands.

    Our discussion topics:

    1. Thoughts on new customer growth this year in the wake of consumer pushback on menu pricing - what ...
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    January 31, 2023 25 mins
    Breaking down some of the emerging and fast growing brands in the fast-casual space had always been a passion of mine; even when I founded, some of the most memorable takeaways from the segment were always in my conversations with CEO's and founders. This convo was no different with my long-time friend Clay Dover, CEO of the Dallas-based Velvet Taco.

    So much has changed for the fast casual segment, and one of the area...
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    January 24, 2023 18 mins
    In this episode, we dive into the brand-building elements for legacy brands to break thru and connect with a new generation of consumers. Dawn Petite serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Friendly’s Restaurants, which operates over 130 (company-operated and franchised) friendly, full-service restaurants. Dawn began her career at Friendly’s Restaurants as an operations manager and has been with the Friendly’s brand for over 40 y...
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    January 17, 2023 33 mins
    Looking at the fast casual segment opens up some of the key categories as new movers based on consumer changes in the past few years. Operational restaurant trends in 2022 included an ongoing focus on off-premises dining, which put snacks and desserts front and center for operators seeking to optimize sales in the drive-thru and via carry-out and delivery.

    This has led an array of brands like Orange Leaf, Red Mango, and others to ex...
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