Blair Chancey

Blair Chancey is <em>QSR</em>&#8217;s former editor.

You Can’t Stop Shake Shack

Hundreds of children file past the floor-to-ceiling windows at the newly opened Shake Shack at the corner of Fulton Street and Boerum Place. It’s late January and all are bundled up as best they can to keep out the wintery gusts and freezing temperatures. It’s a clear, cloudless day, which makes it colder, but the school children seem to be happy adventuring away from their lessons and out to a protest of some sort.

Must-See Speakers

A recap of the Dine America conference!

From October 9-11, 200 industry insiders gathered in Atlanta at what has become known among executives as one of the can’t-miss conferences of the year.

Leadership: Kat Cole Style

Why the Cinnabon president’s management style is making people take notice.

Kat Cole represents the new breed of restaurant executives.

She’s active on Twitter (@KatColeATL). She has a blog ( that mixes both personal and professional anecdotes. And she’s determined to leverage every level of employee to grow her Cinnabon brand.

Cole became president of the Focus Brand snack and coffee concept in January, after serving as COO at the company, and ever since has worked to focus the four generations of employees she has under her leadership on one common goal: Cinnabon’s success.

Seattle’s Best Pres. Eyes Market Left by SBUX

Michelle Gass will explain to Dine America attendees how she’s grown the company’s “touch points” ten fold.

Here’s a statistic that may surprise you. Starbucks controls less than one-tenth of the coffee consumed in the U.S.

Despite its seeming domination of every city corner and suburban strip mall, Starbuck’s market control leaves room for others to profit off America’s obsession with a good cup of joe.

One of those companies is Starbucks’ own Seattle’s Best Coffee, and it’s president Michelle Gass plans to leverage that remaining 90 percent of the market to the brand’s advantage.

Securing Financial Assurance

The CFO of Marco’s Pizza, and presenter at this year’s Dine America conference, didn’t let the frozen credit market stop his growing franchise.

Fresh off of a crippling recession, debt-ceiling debates, and a credit down grade, the American financial climate is merely crawling along. But an executive at Marco’s Pizza isn’t letting that stop the growth of his brand, or yours.

Ken Switzer, CFO of the 225-unit pizza chain, has big growth plans for the concept and developed a series of internal programs that he says will finance more than 1,000 new stores, despite the frozen credit market.

The Coast is Clear

There is a constant murmur during the July 27, 2010, Congressional hearing before the Committee on Energy and Commerce. As politicians shuffle in and out from their burgundy leather seats, Ken Feinberg, made famous for distributing insurance claims to 9/11 victims and their families, stays still, hunched over the tabletop microphone in front of him.

Boy Wonder: Spike Mendelsohn

Spike Mendelsohn is a reality TV star. For those who watch Top Chef, he needs little introduction. After eight seasons, the Bravo hit series just wrapped an all-star version of its famous competition show where cheftestants are pitted against each other to earn industry respect, cash prizes, and, perhaps most importantly, national exposure. Mendelsohn first appeared on the show as a contestant in Season 4, then again as a guest judge in Season 6, and this season competed against past cast members in an all-out, drama-filled culinary cut throat.

How to Upsell Drinks in the Drive Thru

More than one-third of restaurant off-premise customers leave without purchasing a beverage. Why? That number quite frankly is somewhere around 13 billion servings a year, just to give you some dimension for how big it really is. So we think that’s a huge, huge opportunity from a quick-service standpoint. It’s somewhere around 30 million opportunities a day for quick-serve outlets to get a sale and generate profit.