Chef Mike Gieseman, a culinary expert formerly with Qdoba Restaurant Group, has been named Director of Culinary and Innovation for REGO Restaurant Group, the fast-casual restaurant platform that includes Quiznos and Taco Del Mar.
In this role, through which he oversees one of REGO’s centers of excellence, Gieseman is responsible for reinvigorating the menus of Quiznos and Taco Del Mar by developing craveable items that are operationally achievable. Gieseman previously served as Manager of Research and Development for Qdoba Restaurant Group where he pioneered exciting new menu items that supported the brand’s transformation. Immediately prior to joining REGO, Gieseman consulted for a variety of Denver-based food brands and restaurants.
“Mike brings a tremendous understanding of the culinary experience our guests are seeking when they step into one of our restaurants,” says Mark Lohmann, chief brand officer of REGO. “As the leader of our culinary center of excellence, his consumer insights-driven methodology is a major competitive advantage for our portfolio of turnaround brands as we continue to drive a transformational agenda. Even if the menus at each of our restaurants are drastically different, the notion of fully understanding what the guest craves is a central driver across brands.”
One of Gieseman’s first areas of focus is continuing to improve the quality of the dining experience at Taco Del Mar as well as creating the restaurant’s latest limited-time offer, the Lobster and Seafood Taco, which debuts on May 7. True to its “del mar” or “of the sea” roots, the Lobster and Seafood Taco will be served chilled and features lobster salad with fresh cilantro, onions and serrano peppers, served over shredded cabbage and topped with house-made pico de gallo and Taco Del Mar’s signature white sauce.
For Quiznos, the brand has been honing delicious recipes that feature brisket and prime rib. These moves align with the portfolio’s direction toward introducing higher quality meats and unique sauces that will satisfy guests’ cravings and entice or make them want them to return more often.
“I’m incredibly excited to add the next premium items and look forward to adding more quality recipes that guests will love,” says Gieseman. “If we look back to understand what’s worked and what hasn’t, we see that we don’t need to come up with some over-the-top, crazy concoction. Instead, our consumers want simple, back-to-basics recipes that meet their cravings.”
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