I worked in the fashion business, so I became super focused and super aware of the importance of health and wellness and looking great in front of cameras through my first job out of college. And I basically surrounded myself with a bunch of these mom-and-pop delis in Manhattan that were catering to fashionistas and designers, and became a customer of many of these fresh food bars that, while they had very fresh healthy food, they had really dull branding and really lackluster service. There really were no places that catered to convenient, affordable, healthy eating.
Sam Oches is <i>QSR</i>’s editor.
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Four hundred and fifty million dollars. That’s $450 million—nearly half a billion dollars. It’s a big chunk of change, approximately what McAlister’s Deli and Auntie Anne’s each did in system-wide sales last year.
I guess I was 14 when I first got into the restaurant business. My father owned nine Wendy’s down in north-central Florida, and when I would go visit him in the summer, I would work in the restaurants. I still have my first paycheck framed in my office. I think it was for $84.
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The saying goes that history repeats itself. That might be the case today in the limited-service restaurant industry, as one of the world’s oldest foods, street food, has again risen to prominence in the U.S., with everything from Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches to Italian piadas finding success among American consumers.
I came into the quick-service industry working for Tom Monaghan at Domino’s Pizza in 1995. My responsibilities at Domino’s were marketing and product development. I came from a career of marketing and innovation in the grocery industry at Procter & Gamble, Gillette, and Nabisco, and I brought those skills with me to the restaurant industry and helped Domino’s create exciting advertising, promotions, and new products to draw traffic into the restaurants.
The story of the future of the foodservice industry starts with a man, a man who trained to become a chef, a chef who wanted to do things differently. Or maybe it was that all he could afford to do was something different. But in his first restaurant, different is what he did: different service format, different ingredients, different sourcing partners, different idea of what was possible outside of the fine-dining arena.
Today’s so-called “celebrity chef” usually comes with a handful of calling-card resume builders: TV appearances, cookbooks, award nominations, a portfolio of esteemed restaurants. And Chef Rick Bayless, as celebrity a chef as they come, is no different.
I worked at Baskin-Robbins all through high school and all through college, and really got into management. I did everything for the franchisee when I was in college—I ordered product, I hired, I fired, I did payroll. So it really got me into the business and hospitality. I thought it was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed it.