Robin Van Tan

Robin Van Tan is a contributor to QSR's online exclusives.
Face to face interactions can support valuable relationships within a company.
June 2011

Quality face time with employees can help quick-serve CEOs establish useful, brand-building relationships.

Steve Ells, CEO of Chipotle, on NBC's "America's Next Great Restaurant."
May 2011

Big name executives have created a new prototype for CEOs. But this kind of celebrity might not be ideal for quick-serve execs.

BannaStrow's, a Miami crepe concept, is getting international expansion help.

The U.S. Commercial Service is helping startup U.S. brands expand into high-potential international markets.

April 2011

Since May 2010, TCBY has introduced a self-serve prototype, revamped its store design, and signed a deal to open 200 stores in Texas over the next 10 years.

It was no coincidence that TCBY hired a new CEO that same month.

Chef Art Smith will let you in on a little secret: Even chefs eat a lot of fast food.

“They might tell you that they don’t, but they do,” says the two-time James Beard Award winner who owns two fine dining restaurants and was Oprah’s personal chef for 10 years.

March 2011

The recession forced many quick-serve companies to make staff and cost cutbacks. New research shows that salary compensation for executives also took a hit in the economic downturn, drawing to the spotlight the subject of what kind of compensation executives should be awarded in the first place...

February 2011

Chris Newcomb, cofounder, president, and CEO of Newk’s Express Café, would have called himself an understanding manager. His two co-owners, however, would have described it differently—something along the lines of too forgiving.

January 2011

Jim Amos Jr., CEO of frozen dessert concept Tasti D-Lite, does exactly one thing to discourage conflict among members of his c-suite: nothing.

“There is no progress without disagreement,” Amos says. “As long as there’s no extreme fear of failure, people will dig in...

Cold Stone Creamery president Dan Beem will tell you that 2010 treated the company pretty well.

“We had our best October in about four years,” he says. “If you look at our year overall, we’re trending much better than the industry.”

In an attempt to...

November 2010

Send Paul Damico an e-mail between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and chances are he’ll respond within minutes, no matter where he is.

The CEO of Moe’s Southwest Grill prides himself on his responsiveness and keeps his inbox as empty as possible...

November 2010

Kevin West will tell you he’s been working in the coffee industry since he was 10 years old, when he would spend free time at a coffee roasting plant with his father, watching, learning, and tasting. Now, as director of coffee operations for Tim Hortons, West...

According to a recent study by American Express Business Insights, ultra-affluent consumers increased quick-serve spending by 24 percent in the second quarter of 2010, as compared to the same quarter last year. Ultra-affluent customers are defined as those who charge...

“A salad bar on the corner of Park Avenue and 51st Street doesn’t seem like the most obvious place for youthful romance, but on a sunny day, there’s a mob of post-collegiate suits lining up at Just Salad for takeout of leafy green veggies—and...

September 2010

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August 2010

It turns out the No. 1 trait for chief-exec success in the next five years won’t be dedication, influence, or integrity. According to a recent study by IBM, which consisted of more than 1,500 one-on-one interviews with CEOs worldwide, creativity will be the most...

July 2010

Between tracking food costs, trying to bring in more cash-strapped customers, and abiding by the new health care requirements, proper hiring practices can fall by the wayside on the list of day-to-day tasks operators face. But one wrong hire can have devastating consequences. Best-case scenario...

June 2010

Mike Tattersfield was living in Columbus, Ohio, in 2005 and working as vice president of store operations at Limited Brands, an apparel company, when he first visited a Caribou Coffee. The brand immediately piqued Tattersfield’s interest.

“It had outstanding coffee,” he...

June 2010

One of the most important rules of expansion might not be something operators learn on the job or in any kind of training. It might just be something most of them picked up long ago—usually in grade school during arts and crafts.

When Greg Van Winkle walked into a McDonald’s in Manhattan, he just wanted to order two cheeseburgers off the $1 menu. But when he tried to, he couldn’t—it was past midnight.

“As soon as 12 o’clock hits, the $1 menu is no more until 4 o’clock breakfast...

May 2010

The length of time companies filing for bankruptcy are allotted to develop a plan of reorganization is 120 days. One false move during that period or the months leading up to it can drastically reduce the chances of making it through the ordeal.

March 2010

“Natural.” It sounds like a good choice, but what does it really mean? What about the words “recyclable” or “chemical free”? What do they say about the products that bear them on their labels? As it turns out, not a whole lot. “...

After two years of hosting focus groups and interviewing quick-serve customers, Heinz finally has the answer to changing consumer ketchup demands.

The new Heinz Dip & Squeeze design “was really a package pulled together by the needs and insights of our...

February 2010

When the recession hit in 2008, quick serves in the U.S. got a wake-up call: Even in the Western world, where drive thrus and combo meals were invented, quick serves are not immune to tight wallets and budget cuts.

While brands in the U.S. struggled, some had a...