In addition to serving food that packs a flavor punch, Hybl wanted to make the Gusto! menu accessible. Operating in a city like Atlanta means that the brand attracts a broad range of customers—Hybl says the restaurants see corporate professionals, doctors, construction workers, and families all coming in to choose their gusto. The price point is fairly low for the value offered (a bowl or flatbread starts at $8.65), and the brand offers a kids’ menu too.
Hybl also looks for accessibility in choosing location, placing units in areas with high traffic and with residents who need quick, affordable dining options. His newest store in Chamblee, Georgia, even has a drive thru. Hybl says this new drive-thru model will likely become the standard for future units if it performs well at the new store, upping efficiency. “Drive thru is hot and heavy for us right now, and I think we have a chance to alter the landscape of fast casual,” he says.
Looking ahead, Hybl plans to keep the brand in Georgia as he shifts into high gear for his double-by-2020 growth plan. He says the brand could most likely open another five well-performing units around Atlanta before expanding into other regional markets. The growth strategy focuses on expanding the team first. The individual units are run by local operating partners—Gusto! employees who receive a yearly salary as well as the opportunity to lead a store. The brand is motivated by what Hybl says is a desire to be a different company, and looks to grow its team member base by offering benefits, team outings, and opportunities to continue education with financial responsibility and public speaking classes.
Gusto! hiring materials stress the word “heard,” highlighting a company focus on easy, open communication. The word has become a mantra for the brand, even popping up in Gusto! kitchens as a shorthand stand-in for “I’m listening.” This emphasis on communication is about creating an environment of respect, openness, and positivity among team members. “We have an extremely diverse team and we love that. We’re all about inclusivity. It’s not just all about paying as much as we can afford. It’s about building a unique culture. To me, it’s easy. It’s about investing in our most important asset, which are humans, and it works well for the company,” Hybl says.