When I started to look at this business, what I truly found beautiful was being able to bring my family every day. I am able to feed my children the very same products I strive to sell to the world. I love the foodservice business for that reason, but specifically Smoothie King for allowing me to have that feeling of satisfaction when offering my family the product we sell globally. I remember being in college and always looking at a late-night smoothie as a “sin-free” food.
Sam Oches is <i>QSR</i>’s editor.
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A lot has been said about the dramatic transformation the limited-service restaurant industry has experienced in the last five to 10 years. Observers have noted a range of factors that have shoved along the change, from the pressures to offer healthier food to younger generations’ desire for more creative menu opportunities.
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.
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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I’ve always loved foodservice. I started my journey with foodservice as a teenager. I worked at a Subway restaurant as a teen. After that I worked at Burger King and some other food establishments. That’s when I really developed a passion for the foodservice industry. I liked it because, in my nature, I’m about making people happy and being around people. The foodservice industry is an industry that really makes people happy.
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.