George Green

George Green

George Green is vice president of the Nashville-based fast-casual concept Bread & Co. Since establishing itself as the first European-style bakery in the Tennessee city when it opened in 1992, Bread & Co. has grown into a brand with more than $10 million in annual sales.

Green’s 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry started in his native city of New Orleans where he worked with the Brennan family, a restaurant-industry dynasty. He shares his insights on the fast-casual industry in his monthly column Fast Break!

March 2012

I consider myself a grizzled, old, cynical foodservice veteran.

After two decades in the industry, growing up in one of the nation’s top food cities, and eating hundreds of items from dozens of concepts each year, it is very hard to impress me. For this reason, I have never written...

September 2011

Over the last four years, I have heard dozens of presentations on social media.

Most of had a common theme of: Social media is the hot new thing, its growing rapidly, and your company must be there. For lack of a better term, I have generally held the position of being an early adopting...

July 2011

In both my business and personal life, I always take a few minutes in July to look over the first half of the year to recalibrate and get ready for the next six months. Let’s take a look at how the industry has fared in the first half of 2011.

June 2011

Every year, many of us anxiously await the release of Technomic’s Fast Casual Top 100 report. Technomic’s Darren Tristano, one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry, gave me an interview and a sneak peek at the report. Here are his thoughts, followed by a few of my own....

May 2011

Each of the last two years, I have been fortunate to take part in the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C. The NRA provides briefings on top issues, and attendees hear from some great speakers. However, the most important work happens when the 500...

April 2011

As someone who has always been proud of the opportunities our industry has provided to women and minorities, I have been disappointed by the small number of women I have seen at industry conferences, especially those with a high number of attendees from the fast-casual and quick-service segments...

March 2011

Last October, I attended an industry conference and saw Panera’s founder Ron Shaich moderate a panel of great industry leaders. Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I also had the chance to ask Ron a question about the development and future of the fast-casual industry. Ron answered...

February 2011

I am often asked what I think are the hottest or best fast-casual concepts. I think it’s important to tackle that question from the consumer perspective first. Like many others in the industry, I love checking out the competition. Over the last several years, many colleagues and I have...

January 2011

Continued Commodity Pressures

Many of the forces that caused the crazy commodity price increases several years ago are still at work: concerns about supply, rising energy costs, growing worldwide demand, and financial speculation through recently developed financial...

December 2010

Seven years ago, at the height of the Atkins craze, our sales were down especially at breakfast. Our amazing artisan breakfast pastries and breads stayed on the shelves. And our customers stayed at home instead of just coming in to get the specialty coffee drink that had accompanied their...

November 2010

While I have covered many aspects of operations and the fast-casual segment in past columns, the election season has prompted me to think about the big picture and our industry’s place in society.

October 2010

During the height of the recession a year and a half ago, I was really concerned about the future of fast casual. Before the downturn, the rise in home prices, easy credit, a growing economy, and consumers’ growing desire for luxury goods of all types had combined...

September 2010

In past columns, I have expressed both my disdain for most discounting at fast-casual restaurants and my general pessimism regarding the state of the U.S. economy. I have not changed my views on either subject in recent months. We are in for a slow and rocky recovery,...

August 2010

The battle to hire and keep the best people starts with the first time you have contact with prospective employees. Customers of the best fast-casual operators expect more in terms of food and service than what they get from competitors in other segments. 

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July 2010

Many operators claim that their people come first, but few really walk the walk. Food quality is definitely the most important focus for the best fast-casual operators, but it is our people who actually make and deliver excellent food. 

June 2010

With hundreds of great concepts and thousands of great operators, the fast-casual segment certainly holds its own in terms of both innovation and leadership. The last 10 years can arguably be called “the decade of fast casual” due to the growth and flourishing of the segment.

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May 2010

Today’s reality is simple. The economy still sucks and business conditions continue to be challenging for industries like ours that depend on consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy. Millions of people have lost their jobs since the begining of the recession in...

April 2010

Gallup recently reported on the nation’s new normal patterns. According to the findings on Feb 25, 2010, a majority of Americans are spending less than they have in the past, with 62 percent enjoying saving more than spending. This points to a long and slow recovery. Fast-casual operators...