Executive Insights | October 2015 | By Robin Hilmantel

Money Where Your Mouth Is

Quick-serve brands talk a lot about health and nutrition these days. But these seven executives are actually practicing what they preach.

In 2015, any company that wants a healthy bottom line has to think about healthy menu offerings. “Consumers’ definitions of health will continue to evolve, and descriptors like ‘fresh,’ ‘local,’ and ‘sustainable’ will lose their elitist associations and be insisted upon by all consumers, not just the affluent and the activists,” Technomic wrote in its “5 Ways Food Brands Get ‘FIT’ for the Future” guidelines in June.

But it’s one thing to talk the talk and show consumers you’re pandering to their health concerns. It’s another entirely for executives to walk the walk and actually lead healthy lifestyles themselves. We found seven who are doing just that, all while offering their health-conscious fans plenty to be excited about.

Randy Garutti / Shake Shack


How Shake Shack stays healthy: A burger chain might not seem like the most obvious host for an athletic club, but the Shack Track & Field club has exploded since a general manager (and triathlete) launched it at a D.C. store about three years ago. “This thing has turned into its own brand,” Garutti says. “We have running chapters, we have biking, we have yoga, we have softball. Shack Track & Field exists in London at the Shake Shack there, and it exists in Moscow. … You know that at the end of it you’re going to be rewarded with a burger and a beer and be with people who have a healthy outlook on life.”

How Garutti stays healthy: Garutti isn’t able to run with the Shack Track & Field club—he suffered a foot injury during a basketball game about 10 years ago—but he’s always made it his mission to incorporate fitness into his life. His first restaurant job after he graduated from Cornell University was in Aspen, Colorado, and he would do the bookkeeping at 6 a.m., catch the first gondola, ski all day, and then run the restaurant at night. When he moved to Maui, Hawaii, for his second restaurant job, Garutti followed a similar schedule, but with surfing replacing skiing. After that, he moved to Seattle and lived on a houseboat, so he would kayak in the middle of the day.

“I’ve just had good role models in life who work hard and eat well,” he says. Garutti now takes one or two Bikram yoga classes a week and bikes outside or takes classes at SoulCycle—a trendy indoor-cycling studio—two to three times a week. “When you run a burger company like I do, it’s important for me to lead that way,” he says. “If you looked around our office right now, you’d see about seven or eight bikes here of team members who bike into work from Brooklyn or wherever they live.” Someone in the office also volunteers to lead a yoga session every Wednesday afternoon. “We’re constantly just trying to get physical around here,” Garutti says.

Dan Kish / Panera Bread

Senior vice president of food

How Panera stays healthy: In May, Panera announced its “No-No List,” which included more than 150 artificial ingredients that the chain vowed to phase out of its stores by the end of 2016. Moving forward, Panera plans to focus on what it calls “optionality,” or providing options to any customer, regardless of their dietary restrictions. “There’s a lot of mixing and matching we can do,” Kish says.

How Kish stays healthy: “I’m a bit of a technology geek, so I’ve really enjoyed the fitness band,” Kish says. The chef also runs three to four times a week (usually for a distance of two or three miles) and had his wife’s personal trainer design a workout he can do in the comfort of his hotel room when he’s on the road.

“When I don’t want to go to a gym or it’s raining outside, I have this little key sheet of workouts I can do in 15 minutes to break a sweat, get my heart rate up, and then I feel great,” he says.

In terms of eating healthy, Kish says he was “raised on good, clean flavors made with local ingredients”—which wasn’t so hard considering his parents grew their own food. “It wasn’t trendy; it was a necessity,” he says. Now he continues to put an emphasis on clean and natural ingredients in his own eating routine—although he also allows the occasional indulgence. “For me, it’s really simple,” Kish says. “Clean and simple is always better, and great food comes from great ingredients.”

Keith Hertling / Jersey Mike’s

Vice president of operations

How Jersey Mike’s stays healthy: Jersey Mike’s recent campaign, “Ingredients Matter,” emphasizes the company’s commitment to fresh and high-quality ingredients, like its hand-sliced meats and its fresh-baked breads.

How Hertling stays healthy: Hertling has been a fitness buff since college, when he became a strength and conditioning coach. That made him the obvious choice to consult when Jersey Mike’s CEO, Peter Cancro, decided in 2010 he wanted to install a free gym at the company’s corporate office.

“I asked him for a budget, and he said, ‘Put the best stuff you can find in it,’” Hertling says. The 2,500-square-foot facility includes treadmills, climbers, ellipticals, recumbent and upright bikes, a rowing machine, free weights, kettlebells, and more. A personal trainer also comes in once a day to lead boot camp–like classes.

Hertling uses the gym himself, usually in the morning. During the summer, he’ll do a 30-minute total-body weight-training regimen three times a week, as well as run, bike, and swim. During the winter, he increases his weight training to four times per week.


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