The QSR Experience Show

The QSR Experience Show is designed for operators and executives looking to drive more revenue by providing a better guest experience. In each episode, host Bobby Marhamat interviews a QSR leader to unpack tactical insights, tips, and best practices that will help our audience take their restaurant to the next level. This show is brought to you by

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5 days ago

In this special episode of The QSR Experience Show at the National Restaurant Association Show, Bobby speaks with Ming-Tai Huh, Head of Food & Beverage at Square and Partner at Cambridge Street Hospitality Group. Ming-Tai shares his journey to becoming a leader at Square and his passion for community involvement. 
He dives into how Square's technology is revolutionizing the food and beverage industry by streamlining operations and enhancing decision-making. Ming also offers invaluable advice for aspiring restaurateurs, including the importance of leveraging AI and knowing the right time to expand. 
Topics discussed:
Insights on how Square's technology helps streamline operations and enhance decision-making in the food and beverage industry.
Challenges and strategies for integrating technology into restaurant operations, ensuring seamless transitions and improved efficiency.
Effective marketing strategies, including targeting specific segments to stand out and drive customer engagement.
The importance of focusing on the employee experience to create a positive and productive work environment.
Knowing the right time to expand and create new restaurant concepts, based on market demand and operational readiness.
The value of talking to other operators to make informed decisions and avoid reinventing the wheel in the restaurant business.
How to maximize the benefits of attending industry trade shows by setting clear goals and gathering relevant information to improve your business. 

Tuesday Jun 11, 2024

In this episode of The QSR Experience Show, Mike LaRue, Vice President of Franchise Development at Angry Chickz, shares his extensive experience in franchise development, in particular the ins and outs of when to start franchising and when to continue to expand. He emphasizes the importance of selecting the right partners and the lessons learned from emerging brands. 
Mike also discusses the critical role of maintaining personal guest interactions to stand out in the competitive QSR industry that is leaning into technology more heavily every day. Additionally, Mike offers insights into the future landscape of quick service restaurants, highlighting the balance between technology integration and preserving the guest experience. 
Topics discussed:
The importance of selecting the right partners and reaching multiple locations before considering franchising.
Lessons learned from working with emerging brands and understanding what not to do in franchise development.
Maintaining personal guest interactions to avoid becoming a commodity in the competitive QSR landscape.
Developing a comprehensive onboarding process for franchisees to ensure smooth operations and consistency across locations.
Proving a successful labor model even in challenging labor markets, essential for franchise growth and sustainability.
Balancing the integration of technology, such as kiosks, with maintaining a personal touch in guest interactions.
Strategies for expanding into new markets, including understanding psychographics and demographics to select the best locations.
The significance of operating numerous corporate locations to refine and prove the business model before franchising.
The role of community engagement and the impact it has on differentiating a brand in the marketplace.

Thursday May 23, 2024

In this episode of The QSR Experience Show, Rob Swain, Global Chief Operations Officer at KFC, shares insights from his rich background in the restaurant industry. Rob discusses the challenges and importance of scaling operations, focusing on both guest and team member satisfaction. 
Rob also talks about leveraging technology for improved customer experiences, integration of employee feedback into brand strategies, and the future of the restaurant industry. He emphasizes the value of actionable insights and the significance of surrounding oneself with a talented team.
Topics discussed:
The scale of KFC's operations, spanning 150 countries with over 30,000 locations and a million employees.
KFC’s focus on maintaining quality through taste, education, standards, and compliance to drive brand loyalty.
Ensuring consistent in-location experiences across diverse markets and channels amid technological advancements.
The significance of employee feedback in shaping brand strategies and enhancing operational efficiency.
Embracing technology for convenience, with a spotlight on drive-thru innovations and customer touchpoints.
Implementing technology to streamline operations, reduce paperwork, and improve team productivity in restaurant settings.
How the "KFC Listens" program, along with leveraging Qualtrics for cross-experience management, helped drive guest and employee satisfaction.
The interconnectedness of customer experience and employee experience, highlighting the impact of engaged teams on brand success.

Thursday Apr 25, 2024

In our recent episode of The QSR Experience Show, Justin Bartek shares his journey from the fry station at Burger King to his current role as Vice President of Marketing at Dog Haus. 
Justin explores the challenges and strategies of scaling a restaurant brand, emphasizing the importance of aligning marketing initiatives with operational goals. Justin also shares his insights on leveraging technology for growth and enhancing the guest experience. 
Topics discussed:
Strategies for maintaining a consistent guest experience across different locations within an expanding restaurant chain.
Dog Haus’ unique positioning in the industry, focusing on menu diversity and culinary innovation.
Insights into the future of the restaurant industry, including the impact of technology on changing customer preferences.
Lessons learned about the importance of aligning marketing and operations within a restaurant brand for success.
Leveraging technology, such as loyalty programs and digital advertising, to drive growth and enhance customer engagement.
The role of regional differences and operator input in tailoring marketing strategies and guest experiences.
Justin's perspective on scaling restaurant chains effectively, considering goals, market niches, and operational strategies for growth. 

Thursday Apr 11, 2024

On today’s episode of The QSR Experience Show, Bobby speaks with Craig Dunaway, Chief Operating Officer at Penn Station East Coast Subs, about how Craig and his team maximize a franchisee's return on investment using in-person evaluations of each location. 
They also discuss how quickly the restaurant industry has had to shift to a hybrid ordering model and how that has affected Penn State East Coast Subs specifically.
Topics discussed:
What distinguishes Penn State East Coast Subs from other restaurants and brands.
How to maximize a franchisee's return using regular, in-person evaluations.
Ensuring that a customer's experience is high quality and consistent not only across locations, but across ordering platforms.
How a traditionally dine-in restaurant accommodates hybrid ordering while maintaining customer experience across the board.
How customers have leaned into the hybrid ordering model: they have fully embraced it.
Craig's philosophy on new store locations and growth.
What Craig foresees in the future of the restaurant industry and how Penn State East Coast Subs will fit into it.

Thursday Mar 07, 2024

In this episode of The QSR Experience Show, Bobby sits down with Doug Willmarth, President of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. Doug shares his journey from the packaged goods industry to leading a top franchise in the QSR sector, emphasizing the importance of quality food, brand love, and the unique role of franchisees in community building.
Topics discussed:
Doug's Path to MOOYAH: Starting with a passion for MOOYAH's product quality, Doug outlines his career progression from Kraft Foods and PepsiCo to Wingstop and eventually MOOYAH, driven by a commitment to delivering the best-tasting cheeseburgers in America.
Brand Attraction and Philosophy: Doug details what drew him to MOOYAH, highlighting the brand's focus on great food, customer service, and the sense of family among franchisees, which serves as the cornerstone for the brand's hospitality approach.
Growth Strategy and Customer Focus: With 75 locations, MOOYAH targets a broad customer base, from burger enthusiasts to health-conscious individuals, emphasizing a quality experience over speedy service. Doug discusses refining the brand's focus to ensure a consistent, high-quality customer experience across all locations.
Challenges and Adaptations: Addressing the balance between speed and quality, Doug explains MOOYAH's commitment to quality, the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior, and the importance of digital engagement in today's fast-casual landscape.
Future Outlook and Advice for Growth: Looking towards expansion, Doug shares insights on scaling up while maintaining brand identity and quality. He advises emerging chains on the importance of understanding their unique value proposition to ensure sustainable growth.

Thursday Jan 25, 2024

On today’s episode of The QSR Experience Show, Bobby speaks with Andrew Rebhun, Chief Experience Officer at CAVA, a growing Mediterranean culinary brand. They discuss the ways in which CAVA engages and welcomes customers through menu customization, offering different ways to order, and locally-focused Community Days. They also talk about changing customer trends, how CAVA invests in developing leaders, and why it's key to tell a great brand story.
Topics discussed:
How CAVA sets itself apart through its customizable experiences and high-quality ingredients.
How they engage customers in local markets through Community Days and by supporting non-profits.
CAVA's approach to personalization through mobile ordering and its new app.
Changing customer trends and why QSRs need to nail the experience each time.
How CAVA empowers its employees and invests in their long-term training with a GM academy.
The process CAVA uses to choose where their next location will be.
Advice to QSR leaders on the importance of understanding decision impacts and telling a great brand story.

Thursday Jan 04, 2024

On today’s episode of The QSR Experience Show, Bobby speaks with Dawn Nielsen, COO at Kolache Factory, a bakery and cafe serving Eastern European pastry. They discuss how operations have evolved over the past 40 years, what technology they're using to streamline the customer experience, and why consistency across locations begins with communication. They also talk about strategies to increase employee satisfaction, how they're improving their menu, and what the future of QSRs will look like.
Topics discussed:
How Kolache Factory has evolved its operations and technology from the 1980s.
Why creating consistent customer experiences across locations begins with frequent and timely communication.
The technology they're leveraging to handle backend management and provide seamless payment experiences to customers.
How they're evolving their menu to be "bold and unique."
The strategies they use to increase employee satisfaction, including gamification, flexible schedules, and holiday bonuses.
Advice for QSR owners and franchisees to rely on others and not do it all alone.
What the future of the restaurant industry may look like in terms of footprint, focus, and equipment.

Thursday Dec 21, 2023

On today’s episode of The QSR Experience Show, Bobby speaks with Adam Klaers, Executive Vice President at Roy Rogers Restaurants, founded in 1968. They discuss how Roy Rogers is an "emerging legacy brand" and what experiences they deliver to differentiate themselves from competition — like offering a "fixin's bar," staffing dining room attendants, and serving multiple proteins. They also talk about how Roy Rogers creates consistency through app-based training, how they're leveraging AI to help with administrative tasks, and advice on how to build your career in QSR.
Topics discussed:
The history of Roy Rogers, why they consider themselves an "emerging legacy brand" today, and how they're focused on corporate and franchise growth in the future.
The in-location experiences that differentiate Roy Rogers from competitors and how they make it a "home away from home."
The tactics they take to ensure a great customer experience, like having a dining room attendant present.
How Roy Rogers is leaning into technology, like using AI and ML to handle administrative tasks and create one-to-one marketing opportunities.
How Roy Rogers creates consistent in-location experiences through app-based staff training.
The challenges that arise when serving multiple proteins, like food costs and kitchen complexities.
The three attributes that will get you far in the restaurant industry.

Thursday Nov 16, 2023

On today’s episode of The QSR Experience Show, Bobby speaks with Jodie Conrad, Chief Marketing Officer at Donatos Pizza, a family-owned pizza company with more than 150 locations. They discuss the ways in which digital channels have transformed the customer experience, how they’re optimizing their menu to create more consistency across locations, and why QSRs need initiatives to help their frontline employees be more successful. They also talk about why a great marketing strategy is staying true to the brand, "no gimmicks," and prioritizing solving problems.
Topics discussed:
What Jodie's marketing philosophy is and why it centers around solving problems and "no gimmicks."
How the rising role of IT and technology in QSRs provides better customer experiences.
How digital channels and in-store experiences converge to reduce friction and give customers more control.
How Donatos is creating consistency across locations by optimizing its menu to ensure the same pizza wherever you are.
How Donatos is thinking about food trends, and how customers enjoy basics with a twist.
Why QSRs need to invest in initiatives that bring more value and success to their employees.
Why a great strategy is to stay true to what makes the brand “the brand” and to find your unique offering.


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