First Bite

Welcome to Nation’s Restaurant News’ newest podcast, First Bite. This podcast, hosted by digital editor Holly Petre, is your morning burst of news followed by a deep dive into one of the trending stories of ...more

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Latest Episodes

December 01, 2022 00:09:06
How being a conscious business can pay off

How being a conscious business can pay off

Norman Wu isn’t just out to build a restaurant empire, he’s out to do it consciously. So much so that he even named his restaurant company, parent to his legacy brand Just Poké, Conscious Hospitality. “We are building out restaurant concepts that keep in mind an ethos outside of just kind of making money,” Wu said in a recent episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches. That includes the takeout containers, the building of the restaurant, the materials used for the build, the sourcing of products, and the career development of employees at the restaurant. The restaurant group is working toward “building a framework for the team that can really allow for people to have careers [at Just Poké], as opposed to just a job.” That’s just part of it. The team at Conscious Hospitality pays about 30% above minimum wage and has offered healthcare to workers since its inception. To offset those costs, Wu said that the costs of their fast-casual menu are a bit higher than competitors, but that the Seattle-based customers really appreciate what they’re providing employees and customers are “voting with their dollars.”  Hear more from editor-in-chief Sam Oches. ...

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November 30, 2022 00:08:50
What we learned about RRF this week

What we learned about RRF this week

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the government agency would be distributing $83 million in unobligated Restaurant Revitalization Fund money to 169 restaurant operators with pending RRF applications. Over the summer, NRN reported on an independent audit by the U.S. Government Accountability Office that found the SBA was sitting on $180 million of unobligated Restaurant Revitalization Fund money. At the time, the SBA said that they planned to distribute the funds with help from the Justice Department, though no further details were available. Earlier this month, the SBA provided an update that no further applications were needed, and funding would be distributed soon on a “first-applied, first-serve basis.” According to the National Restaurant Association, the previous estimate of $180 million in leftover funding was inaccurate, and the $83 million represents the last of the RRF funding that any restaurant will ever see. ...

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November 29, 2022 00:08:37
Why growing through casinos is a winning strategy

Why growing through casinos is a winning strategy

Adam Goldberg grew up a “huge rock and roll fan” with a Kiss poster on his bedroom wall, so it’s a bit poetic that he is now the CEO of Rock & Brews, a casual dining chain founded in 2012 by Kiss' flashy front men Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, among others. Goldberg, a restaurant veteran who co-founded Fresh Brothers Pizza, took the helm four years ago. He just so happened to live down the street from the Rock & Brews headquarters in California and knew the founding partners well – including Michael Zislis and Dave and Dell Furano – through community outreach efforts both of their restaurant brands facilitated. When Rock & Brews hit some stumbles, including a franchisee’s bankruptcy, the partners asked Goldberg to look at the books and he’s been running the company ever since.  It wasn’t necessarily a plan he anticipated. But there’s some serendipity at play he couldn’t ignore – the rock and roll, the location, the familiar faces, the restaurant industry. Learn more about the concept and its plans for growth in the ...

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November 28, 2022 00:07:09
Why restaurants are going all-in on loyalty

Why restaurants are going all-in on loyalty

Welcome to First Bite, a Nation’s Restaurant News podcast, your daily source of news from NRN. Today, we’re talking about loyalty. In the face of relentless inflation and an impending recession, loyal customers are more valuable to restaurants than ever. Chains are responding accordingly, implementing and upgrading their loyalty programs. The digital revolution has also opened up new opportunities for loyalty marketing beyond the old standard of punch cards. Restaurants can also collect more data on customers through apps and digital loyal programs. Hear editor-in-chief Sam Oches describe the engaging, innovative loyalty programs that restaurants are rolling out these days. Plus, catch up on all the top news of the day with our daily news recap at the beginning of each episode. Be sure to subscribe to First Bite wherever you get your podcasts or on Spotify, or Apple Podcasts. ...

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November 23, 2022 00:10:45
Why operators are optimistic about the future of the industry

Why operators are optimistic about the future of the industry

Welcome to First Bite, a Nation’s Restaurant News podcast, your daily source of news from NRN. Today, we're talking about the Restaurant Development and Finance Conference.  A few overarching themes emerged, and none of them should be a surprise to anyone in the restaurant space.  To summarize, things are challenging right now with across-the-board inflation, supply chain pressures, labor pressures, name it. One operator said he wouldn't recommend anyone open a restaurant until "things get better." That said, there is optimism things will get better. When, however, is the million-dollar question. Here to share her observations from the conference is executive editor Alicia Kelso.  Plus, catch up on all the top news of the day with our daily news recap at the beginning of each episode.  ...

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November 22, 2022 00:09:14
How restaurants are responding to surging turkey prices

How restaurants are responding to surging turkey prices

Turkey prices are rising. The bird flu has driven prices up during a year that inflation has already caused prices at the grocery store to rise. That leaves restaurants at an interesting spot during Thanksgiving. Many have turned to value propositions for customers to draw them in at a time when the grocery store is just unreasonable or unattainable. Hear more on this upcoming story on nrn.com from Alicia Kelso. Plus, catch up on all the top news of the day with our daily news recap at the beginning of each episode. Be sure to subscribe to First Bite wherever you get your podcasts or on Spotify, or Apple Podcasts. ...

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