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On the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout, co-hosts Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” sat down with a breakfast industry giant: David Birzon, CEO at . This conversation offers unique industry insights that you will not want to miss.

From Paradise Bakery to Snooze, A Journey of Expansion

Birzon, who began his journey in the hospitality realm with Paradise Bakery in Aspen back in 1988, recounted his experience of growing the chain to an impressive 80 restaurants. The successful endeavor ultimately attracted Panera Bread, leading to an acquisition in 2007. But Birzon’s entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop there. In 2012, partnering with a private equity group, he took on a new challenge, acquiring Snooze when it had a mere six units. Today, the chain boasts 65 eateries with eyes set on more.

Unlocking the Power of Loyalty Programs

Jimmy sparked a discussion around the power of loyalty programs, referencing Snooze’s recent revamp, . Birzon emphasized the depth of relationship that can be forged when patrons opt into these programs. It isn’t just about rewards, but the invaluable data that enables restaurants to truly cater to individual needs. As Schatzy noted, the cost of customer acquisition far outweighs retention, making these programs essential for sustainable growth.

Snooze’s Blueprint for Expansion

With an expansive trajectory in mind, Snooze aims to leave its culinary footprint in diverse locations including Orlando, Tampa, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Columbus. They’re strategically spreading their reach, from mature markets to entirely new territories, keeping their growth ambitions stateside for now.

The Fusion of Dining & Digital

The trio also delved into the accelerating marriage of hospitality and technology. While the restaurant sector was historically slow in embracing digital solutions, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a profound catalyst. Today’s challenge, Birzon notes, isn’t about finding tech solutions – it’s the integration and the tug-of-war over data ownership with third-party platforms.

Schatzy and Jimmy also touched upon the idea of “dynamic pricing”. A concept mirroring the pricing models of airlines and hotels could indeed reshape dining economics. However, Birzon believes a full embrace would demand a completely digital platform.

Interestingly, while digital menus soared during the pandemic, there’s been a trend reversal with many reverting to the tangible charm of paper menus, epitomizing the timeless essence of hospitality.

The convergence of hospitality and technology demands a fine balance. While tech undeniably augments the dining experience, it’s paramount that it serves to enhance, not eclipse, the very heart of hospitality.

Tune into the episode to hear these insights and more. Birzon’s experiences, coupled with Schatzy and Jimmy’s perspectives, promise a wealth of knowledge for anyone looking to navigate the evolving landscape of the hospitality industry.

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