(Here’s the latest brand experience brief — video briefings of new and interesting restaurant and retail concepts.) Everyone, it seems, is trying to figure out the healthy fast casual business.  From LYFE Kitchen in California to Energy Kitchen in New York, there are dozens of budding concepts attempting to make it big by tapping into consumers’ […]

(Get the inside scoop on new and interesting retail and restaurant concepts with my Brand Experience Briefs — here’s the latest.) Wired magazine recently reported on a new restaurant concept that aims “not just to build a radically sustainable, healthy brand of fast food…[but] to transform the way the world produces organic ingredients, doing for […]

brand-as-business bit:  One of my colleagues in private equity, Rahul Aggarwal of Brentwood Associates, and I were recently discussing the importance of image and environment in the quick-service and fast-casual restaurant industry segments.  He relayed a sentiment that really resonated: new always wins He was referring to the buzz and excitement that a new facility […]

Fast-casual restaurant chain Firehouse Subs is…on fire!  Founded by firemen, the 450+ unit chain had a record-breaking 2011 with increases in same-store sales, AUVs, restaurants opened, and donations made through its Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.  In today’s interview, CEO Don Fox joins me to share some of the secrets behind the brand’s success. It […]

(Here’s the latest Brand Experience Brief — insights and analysis from my audits of a new or interesting retail or restaurant concept.) Pie-o-logy, a new pizzeria concept inspired by Chipotle, delivers a remarkable brand experience — check it out: other brand experience briefs: The Habit Burger Grill uniqlo ihop express   […]

(Here’s the latest in a series of “Brand Experience Briefs” — reports with insights and analysis of new and interesting restaurant and retail concepts.) The Habit is one of the many “better burger” chains generating a lot of buzz these days. Although its charburgers do taste good, the company needs to work harder to differentiate the brand […]

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2012, according to the Chinese calendar, is the Year of the Dragon.  In Chinese tradition, each year is dedicated to a specific animal and predictions for 2012 are for a dragon-like year of excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration, and intensity. With this expectation in mind, I’ve selected several brands to keep my eye on.  They’re likely to […]

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(Welcome to the latest “brand experience brief” — insights from my audits of new and interesting retail and restaurant concepts.) What:  ihop express test concept from the 1500-unit casual dining chain, IHOP targeted to “Millennials who don’t do breakfast,” the format is intended to give the younger target “an on-the-go option” since they don’t go […]