Restaurant People: Where we (to-)go from here is a limited series podcast about the future of the restaurant industry in the midst of one of its greatest years of change. Host and Kitchen United Chief Business officer Atul Sood interviews restaurant operators from national brands to independent owners to check in, gather advice, and provide some direction for where we’re all headed.
You can find our show and episode links below.
1– Customers Love Safety and Sanitation: with Carl Howard, Fazoli’s
Carl Howard, CEO of Fazoli’s, joins Atul for a conversation on what Fazoli’s has learned from operating during quarantine, what’s next for the brand, and where the industry goes from here.
2– Moving and Shaking: with Zaid Ayoub (Sajj Mediterranean) & Aaron Noveshen (Starbird Chicken)
In our second episode, Zaid Ayoub of Sajj Mediterranean and Aaron Noveshen of Starbird Chicken and The Culinary Edge (both on Fast Casual’s 2020 Movers & Shakers list) join Atul for a conversation on the fast casual side of the industry, how they’ve adapted from catering and to delivery, and what lessons and innovations are sticking with them for the long haul.
3– The Independents: with Jeff Chang (Island Loco) and Joel Fried (Eldorado Cafe)
The independent restaurant community has had it particularly rough during the pandemic, to say the least. In our third episode of Restaurant People, Atul is joined by two independent restaurateurs from two different cities: Jeff Chang, owner/operator of Island Loco in Scottsdale, AZ, and Joel Fried, owner/operator of Eldorado Cafe in Austin, TX. They dive into the predicament of food trucks, having to adapt to constant regulation and culture changes, and finding strength and support in their local restaurant communities.
4– Transcending Off-Premise: with Beth De La Cruz (Jollibee)
In our fourth episode, Atul is joined by Beth De La Cruz, President of Jollibee North America, to discuss how the much-loved international brand has adapted to operating in 2020, creating memorable and satisfying to-go experiences and taking the opportunity to overcome the limits of off-premise hospitality.
5– A Slice of Advice: with Geoff Goodman (Fresh Brothers) and Eric Greenwald (Grimaldi’s Pizzeria)
In our fifth episode, Atul is joined by Geoff Goodman, CEO of LA-based Fresh Brothers, and Eric Greenwald, President of Scottsdale-based Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, for a discussion on the ups and downs of the pizza market in 2020.
6– All In This Together: with the Kitchen United team
In our sixth and final episode, Atul visits with five leaders among our Kitchen United team, each with a unique perspective on the restaurant industry from their own place in it: Zach Adams, GM of our Austin kitchen center; Larrah Pawlak, VP of Operations; Kwame Brathwaite, SVP of Real Estate; Jessi Moss, Chief Technology Officer; and Joy Lai, Chief Operating Officer. Together they dive into operating ghost kitchens during an unprecedented (and somewhat unexpected) time of explosive off-premise sales growth, and what they see coming for restaurants in the future.
Produced by Kitchen United and Level Ground
Production credits: Elizabeth Villa, Samantha Curley, Dustin Mares, Mitch Collins
Sound design & editing: Elizabeth Windom
Theme music: “Rowdy” by Shane Becker