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Executive Insights

LIVE: Purpose, Value Help Nick's to 25% Turnover

Nick Sarillo, owner of Crystal Lake, Illinois–based Nick’s Pizza & Pub, told Food News Media at the 2011 NRA Show in Chicago that an intense commitment to brand culture and values among his workers has helped build business and keep his employee turnover around 25 percent.

Nick Kokonas’ Next Big Thing

It is customary to buy tickets in advance for the opera, theater and sporting events. Now one Chicago restaurant is following suit by requiring its customers to prepay.Next restaurant opened earlier this month with a totally new concept.

Chef Melissa Trimmer Talks Dessert with RMGT*

Melissa Trimmer is the new executive pastry chef at C-House, the restaurant at Affinia Chicago hotel, which is owned by Top Chef master Marcus Samuelsson.Having worked in kitchens since she was 15, Trimmer has a world of experience.

Dawn Sweeney Gets Industry Back On Track

As soon as Dawn Sweeney joined the National Restaurant Association as president and CEO in October 2007, she was thrown into the fire and had to figure a way out.That fire was, of course, the recession.

All the World's a Stage at First & Hope

Timing is of the essence at First & Hope Supper Club in Los Angeles.This year-old restaurant, which opened April 15, 2010, caters largely to a crowd of theatergoers, so often needs to provide a fine-dining experience in just 45 minutes.

One CEO’s Big Plan for Global Seafood Trade

Last month, the Seafood Choices Alliance selected Steve Phillips, president and CEO of Phillips Foods, Inc., as a 2011 winner of its sixth annual Seafood Champions Award.Since the 1990s, Phillips has worked to establish a thriving blue swimming crab industry in Asia that is now on the path to sustainability.

Trust Her Instincts: An Interview with Ris Lacoste

To say Ris Lacoste trusts her gut is probably an understatement. In a career spanning continents, coasts, and all sorts of culinary tastes, Lacoste has lived by the simple rule of instinct.It’s certainly served her well.

Boy Wonder: Spike Mendelsohn

Spike Mendelsohn is a reality TV star. For those who watch Top Chef, he needs little introduction. After eight seasons, the Bravo hit series just wrapped an all-star version of its famous competition show where cheftestants are pitted against each other to earn industry respect, cash prizes, and, perhaps most importantly, national exposure.

Add Hours to the Day

Q: Now that I have a second store, is there a way to better use my time at both?One of the first things I would suggest someone in the restaurant business do is ready, aim, fire. You absolutely have to know where you want to go before you begin anything.

Back from Bankruptcy

There is plenty of advice a brand should heed when moving through the bankruptcy process. Bringing on outside advisers, staying honest with your lenders and suppliers, and timing the process appropriately are all ways to make sure the bankruptcy business goes as smooth as possible.

Step One for Lease Two

Q: I was able to successfully negotiate a lease for my first location. What should I expect with my second lease? There is no standard lease agreement. Whether or not you have negotiated a lease before, you have to carefully review everything and can’t assume anything.

How to Out Smart the Credit Market

When banks wanted a third-party guarantee who didn’t have to sell their house to repay franchisee loans, Ken Switzer, CFO of Marco’s Pizza, stepped in with an unusual idea. As a result of the frozen credit market, Switzer developed Marco’s Assurance, which offers a $50,000 guarantee on franchisees’ loans.

The Art of Site Selection

Being in the right place at the right time is the key to success in any business. And as the nation finally begins to climb out of one of the worst recessions in U.S. history, a number of quick-service companies are advising their franchisees that, with soft real estate prices, lower construction costs, and increasing availability of capital loans from lending institutions, now is the right time to get growing again—as long as the sites are right.