Fresh to Order

Operators: Is Winter Over Yet?

Sales, traffic down in parts of country hardest hit by winter weather.

Quick service brands see slow sales growth from winter snow and ice storms.
Pancheros, which has 65 units and is based in the Midwest, has experienced slower sales growth due to winter storms.

As winter storms continue to wreak havoc in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast U.S., a bleak sales picture among limited-service restaurants is starting to emerge.

Foodservice sales in the regions most affected by snow and ice storms dropped between 7 and 8 percent in January and February, according to foodservice consulting firm Technomic. National foodservice sales declined between 3 and 4 percent overall as a result.

Taking Office

Convenience, portability, and health are often top of mind for consumers who eat out during the workday, presenting unique challenges to operators embedded in large office buildings. But the brands that meet the needs of the working consumer, experts say, will find this nontraditional space presents an opportunity for new revenue streams.

“It’s a captive audience because the people are already there,” says Diane Coyne, principal at iBrandEz, a branding firm that focuses on nontraditional expansion. “So your opportunity lies with the people in the building.”

Fresh To Order Makes Nashville Debut

Fresh to Order (f2o), located at 2300 Elliston Place Suite 10, is now serving up entrees, Panini sandwiches, soups, and salads made-to-order in less than 10 minutes for around $10.

 

Fresh To Order combines the quality of food fine casual restaurants are known for with the efficient service and price point of fast casual.

 

Vegging Out

Beef, pork, poultry, and seafood may be the staples of the limited-service restaurant industry, but non-meat items aren’t taking a back seat on the menu these days. Although vegetarians make up a small percentage of the American dining population, an increasing number of consumers are deciding to eat less meat.

“Ten years ago, it might have seemed like a fad, with just a small population, but it’s been constantly increasing,” says Jesse Gideon, corporate chef and chief operating officer for Fresh To Order, a 10-unit fast-casual chain based in Atlanta.

It Starts at the Top

Every successful brand relies not only on its leader to craft and execute a winning brand strategy, but also on its executive team members to keep the concept running smoothly. A savvy CEO understands that his or her fellow C-suite members must consistently be inspired to be the highest-quality, top-notch executives possible.

For Phillip Chang, CEO of frozen-yogurt chain Yogurtland, treating employees with dignity and respect is of the utmost importance when it comes to motivating his team. He also prioritizes setting a good example for his fellow executives to follow.

Cloud-Based Payments Co. Gives Local Merchants A Leg Up

When even a payment-processing company admits that the idea of payment processing is a pain in the side of most local merchants, it’s hard to deny that credit card processing may need some changes. And Swipely is ready to make them.

The purpose behind the company, founder and CEO Angus Davis says, is to help local merchants find success by accepting payments, better understanding their customers, and growing their sales.

Fresh to Order to Expand in Nashville, Knoxville

Fresh To Order (f2o) announced its growth in Tennessee with territory launches in Knoxville and Nashville, as well as continued expansion in Chattanooga, where the chain operates one company-owned unit.  

Fresh To Order recently signed a development agreement for Knoxville with MRG Southeast LLC. Craig and Caterina Mason, co-owners of MRG, are experienced multiunit foodservice operators with real estate holdings in Knoxville. Frequent guests of f2o's Chattanooga location, they loved the food and saw the concept's growth potential.

Beyond The Tablet

In an age when, according to Pew Research Center, one in three Americans owns a tablet and most adults use the Internet on their cell phones, it’s no surprise that businesses of all shapes and sizes are bringing in technology to bolster sales.

Innovative technologies are nothing new at quick-service restaurant brands, with many concepts employing digital menuboards, kiosks, iPads at the table, and other ways of letting customers tap into technology while inside the four walls.

Atlanta Airport Gets a Lot Healthier with LottaFrutta Unit

Working with Concessions International (CI), Atlanta-based LottaFrutta opens its first airport location in Concourse B of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), making it one of the airport’s only Latina-owned restaurant vendors and its first franchised location.  

CI, which operates concessions throughout the airport and in eight airports across the U.S. and U.S. Virgin Islands, is working with the Atlanta airport officials to renovate the food court area of Concourse B.

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