Building the Next Generation Brand

On this Session, FCSI Consultant and Foodable Host Bill Bender gathers some growing companies to discuss top-performing food brands and what is responsible for their growth. While we often explore new advances in technology and innovation in menu development and design, these brands bring it back to the basics.

Jonathan Christensen, Freshii's Vice President of Store Development kicks off outlining their guiding principles, also known as the “3 P’s”: people, profit and the planet. And while all three are extremely important, none is as important as the people. From franchise partners to team members, to guests, Freshii attracts people who believe in their mission of making healthy food convenient and affordable.

“A lot of what makes a successful brand is the ability to create an emotional relationship with the guests and that’s something that’s definitely built into everything we do," he says. "When you have a clearly defined mission like Freshii does, that’s easily understood and really well communicated, that gives our guests something to believe in as well.”

Honey Butter Fried Chicken Chef and Owner Christine Cikowski agrees. While they don't have the“3 P’s,” their guiding principles are food, service, and finance with service extending way beyond serving their customers to serving their employees and serving their local community.

Cikoski says, “Chefs have a lot of power, I think, especially these days, and we kind of want to use that responsibly. I think that we have an opportunity because people listen to us because we feed people. We know how to feed people and they look to us for answers.“

And while her fare is not necessarily as healthy as the dishes at Freshii, she takes pride in knowing her menus are wholesome with top quality ingredients and sourced responsibly.

“We do think of our food as wholesome and nutritious. Obviously, I think it’s a 'sometimes food,' we were talking about that earlier. You shouldn’t be eating fried chicken every day, but when you do eat it, we feel pretty good about ours,” she adds.

Troy Deus, Chief Experience Office at Kabbage talks about how his perspective has allowed him to see that what really drives restaurant success is the culture of the business. Consumers are attracted to the personality of a business, not just the food. Visiting a restaurant today is like going into someone’s home, and if your consumer likes you and what you stand for, they’ll come back.

Bill then steers the conversation in the direction of the decline of fine dining and the move towards more casual dining experiences. The panelists discuss the changes in eating habits, consumer demanding better food, faster. Not only is fast casual faster, but it’s also more economical without asking consumers to give anything up.

In this episode, we talk about how treating your employees well impacts your productivity and thus profits, and how your profits come full circle to pay your employees well. We explore meeting your customers where they are and scaling without losing a winning culture. Tune into this episode for all that and more. And be sure to check out the rest of Foodable’s .io content on our On-Demand Page and on Foodable+.