QSR is excited to announce a new virtual program in partnership with Savory Fund: Restaurantology. Restaurantology is a five-day virtual conference that will be hosted both on QSR’s Fast Forward podcast feed and through a video experience online, and it’s designed to educate emerging restaurant operators on how they can overcome the challenges of the pandemic, prepare for smarter expansion and better profitability, and navigate the search for investment partners that can serve as a support along the way.
Savory Fund was launched earlier this year by investment firm Mercato Partners, and was established to make investments in exciting up-and-coming restaurant concepts and then equip them with the resources they need to scale up and become more profitable. To date, Savory Fund’s portfolio includes the brands Mo’Bettahs, Swig, and R&R BBQ, and it recently closed on acquisitions of Via 313 Pizzeria and The Crack Shack as well. (Read more about those acquisitions here and here.)
Restaurantology launches on Monday, November 9. We’ll roll out one session per day for five days, each one focused on how to successfully build and grow a restaurant concept that’s prepared to thrive in today’s marketplace, particularly considering the COVID-19 crisis.
To access the Restaurantology content, subscribe to Fast Forward on Apple, Spotify, or whichever podcast service you listen to. You can also stream the panel sessions on demand here on QSR’s page; just bookmark this page and it will update each day with a new session.
EPISODE 1: Why Hospitality is Still Critical to Restaurant Success
Today is our first episode in the Restaurantology series! Restaurantology is a partnership with Savory Fund, which was launched earlier this year by investment firm Mercato Partners, and was established to make investments in exciting up-and-coming restaurant concepts and then equip them with the resources they need to scale up and become more profitable.
First up in the Restaurantology series, we’re talking with R&R BBQ president Neil Harfert and Savory Management President Shauna Smith. R&R is an eight-unit, Utah-based fast casual with plans to become the premier barbecue player in the Western U.S. In this session, Harfert and Smith talk about how R&R is banking on hospitality and its culture to get through the pandemic and to fuel its exciting growth plans.
EPISODE 2: It's Time to Focus on Growth Again—Here's How
It’s part two of our Restaurantology series, and we’re talking with emerging restaurant leaders about their unique expansion plans. The coronavirus pandemic clearly slammed the brakes on restaurant momentum in the spring, but nimble operators have found ways to navigate the crisis and return to growth—albeit growth that considers the “new normal” of restaurant operations.
Kimo Mack, cofounder of Hawaiian fast casual Mo’Bettahs, and Chase Wardrop, president of beverage and sweets chain Swig, are two such operators. They’re joined by Savory Management vice president of learning and development Jessica Moyer in this session to talk about their niche concepts, how they view real estate in an increasingly digital and off-premises world, and the future growth that they’re charting for a post-pandemic environment.
EPISODE 3: How Two Brands Landed Post-Pandemic Investment Deals
It’s part three of our Restaurantology series, and today we’re talking about the state of the mergers and acquisitions market during the COVID-19 crisis. Prior to the pandemic, Savory Fund’s portfolio included the fast casuals Mo’Bettahs, Swig, and R&R BBQ. But just this fall, Savory closed on controlling investments in The Crack Shack, based in Southern California, and Austin-based full-service brand Via 313 Pizzeria.
In this session, Michael Rosen, founder of The Crack Shack; Brandon and Zane Hunt, the brothers and cofounders behind Via 313; and Savory Fund managing director Andrew Smith discuss how these emerging brands have managed to succeed during the COVID crisis, how they landed a deal in the middle of the pandemic, and what they were looking for in the ideal investment partner.
EPISODE 4: The Benefits of Thinking Like an Investor
It’s part four of our Restaurantology series, and we’re getting into the nitty gritty of how a management team like Savory supports the restaurants within its portfolio and leverages its resources to turn emerging brands with tons of potential into more profitable entities.
Savory Management president Shauna Smith and vice president of brand development and strategy Alonso Castaneda also talk with us about the goals of the $100 million Savory Fund, the types of restaurant concepts they’re excited about, and how they think restaurant operators can differentiate themselves into today’s marketplace.
EPISODE 5: An Investor's Perspective on the Opportunity for Restaurants
It’s the fifth and final installment of the Restaurantology series, and we’re talking with Savory Fund’s managing partners, Andrew Smith and Greg Warnock.
Chock-full of valuable and practical insights for leaders of emerging restaurant brands, this session offers a very detailed glimpse at how investors search for smart investments, what kind of opportunity they see in the restaurant industry today, and the things they think restaurant leaders should be doing today to set their brands up for an investment deal.