Darren Tristano, Vice President of Technomic Inc. joins Paul Barron in breaking down the top 10 social restaurants during this mid year report on the Fast Casual Social 100.
Entries in Fast Casual (68)
Dear Foodist: Is it me, or is service in restaurants getting worse by the day?
You're right, it's getting worse. When people complain about restaurants, it usually has nothing to do with the quality of the fritto misto. It's about the service. And these days, with more and more casual spots--think cash only, no reservations--becoming destinations, a service crisis is just around the corner. (Often, if you get a mere "hello" when you walk in, you're doing pretty well.) The surly server is nothing new--ever been to a diner?--but no matter how grumpy his or her delivery, at least you get your order quickly and without judgment. But now, when people will spend hours in line to try a much-tweeted taco, some too-cool-for-school restaurants have started believing their own hype and think that the basic rules of hospitality don't apply to them. Instead of an attitude of "We're so grateful you chose to spend your hard-earned money at our establishment," it's "You should be grateful you even got a table." Read More
In a recent in-depth interview with Ron Shaich, Founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Panera Bread, we discussed the Panera Cares initiative, through which the Panera Bread Foundation created nonprofit community cafes aimed at addressing issues related to food insecurity. We also discussed balancing profit with purpose, the secret behind the success of their community cafes, leadership lessons learned along the way, why businesses more broadly should harness their core competencies against a societal ill, and much more.
Thirty years ago, Ron Shaich set out to change the world by changing the way America eats. He’s done that with not one, but two successful restaurant brands. By co-founding Au Bon Pain, Co. Inc. and founding Panera Bread, Shaich shook up the industry by offering an antithesis to fast food – hand made, artisan food served in warm and welcoming environments by people you can trust. Today, Panera Bread serves in excess of 7 million people a week, employs over 60,000 people and is a leader in the restaurant space.
Under Shaich’s direction, Panera has been the second best performing restaurant stock when measured over the last decade (ending August 17, 2012) and the second best performing consumer stock on the S&P consumer index when measured over that same decade. Today, Shaich serves as Panera Bread’s Chairman and co-CEO. Having made his name as an entrepreneur who grew his business into a national chain of nearly 1,600 bakery cafes in 40 states and Canada with a $4.5 billion market cap, Shaich remains focused on building a company of quality over the long term.
Shaich also serves as President of the Panera Bread Foundation and recently spearheaded the Panera Cares initiative, through which the Foundation created nonprofit community cafes aimed at addressing issues related to food insecurity. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation and on the Board of the Rashi School. Shaich formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Clark University. He is also a co-founder of No Labels, a political organization aimed at reducing hyper-partisanship and improving problem-solving in politics. Read More
They don't serve food in a sack from a drive-through window.
They also don't have waiters taking orders and delivering dishes tableside.
"Fast-casual'' restaurants fill a niche between fast-food and casual dining. Customers order at a counter, and an employee brings their meals to a table. Guests aren't expected to leave tips.
Nationwide, fast-casual restaurants reflect the fast-growing segment of the food service industry, generating $27 billion in sales last year. Here in the Tampa Bay area, a well-established testing ground for chains, diners eat them up.
"That's where all the action is right now,'' said Nick Vojnovic, president of Little Greek Restaurant chain. "Americans are getting more sophisticated in their tastes and demanding higher quality products. But the young generation is accustomed to getting things at a faster pace.'' Read More
As restaurants continue to fight slow sales, restaurant owners ponder how to attract the coveted well-heeled, reliable restaurant patrons. An interesting new study from foodservice research firm Technomic provides some insight into the factors that influence upscale diners’ restaurant choices. Read More