McAlister's Deli

How He's Starting Over with Salsarita's

When Phil Friedman stepped down as CEO of McAlister’s Deli, a sandwich concept based in Ridgeland, Mississippi, that he grew from 30 to almost 300 locations during his 11-year tenure, many of his friends and colleagues assumed the 65-year-old industry veteran had retired.

“Most of the people were asking, ‘How’s retirement?’” Friedman says. “I’m not retired.”

Insider’s View on Managing Fast Casual, Casual Segments

As president of the Bistro Group, which owns 31 T.G.I. Friday’s and five McAlister’s Delis, Jeff Ritson has unique insight into both the fast-casual and the casual dining categories. He says the economy has forced the two to change in ways that shave away some of their differences.

He notices that casual dining has become more of a special event destination, while quick-casual concepts are more supportive of patrons’ everyday dining desires.

New Role for Former McAlister's CEO

Brandstand Group announced that Philip Friedman, former CEO and president of the McAlister Corporation (McAlister’s Deli), has been named vice chairman of the Board of Directors at Brandstand Group, a premier restaurant brand marketing and communication firm.

“We’re very fortunate and excited to welcome Phil Friedman to the Brandstand Group,” says president and CEO Chris Petersen. “His operational expertise, wealth of experience in developing new and creative concepts for the restaurant industry, and track record in guiding growing companies is unparalleled.”

The Power of Two

Marketing professors over the years have lectured students that they should never give a customer too many choices. Quick-serve operators must have missed that class. A look at several successful quick-serve menus reveals some form of a Choose Two option, where consumers can create a meal by combining items from an array of choices. 

Quick-Serve Concierge

At McAlister’s Deli, employees greet customers as they approach the counter to place their order and once more as they deliver meals to customers in the dining room. These same employees also walk the dining room, offering to get drink refills, removing meal debris, and assisting with additional needs as they arise. It’s a full-service restaurant approach in a quick-service operation, one that’s paying dividends for many quick serves both in terms of great customer service and boosting the bottom line. 

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