In the vibrant city of Las Vegas, hosts Michael Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “The Finance Guy” took their listeners on an exhilarating journey in the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout. Broadcasting from the Food On Demand conference, they were joined by a lineup of guests who are shaping the future of the hospitality industry. Kicking off the episode was Kevin King, the President of Donatos Pizza. A brand with a rich history dating back to 1963. Next, the dynamic duo welcomed Kristen Hawley, the Founder of Expedite, a cutting-edge newsletter that spotlights revolutionary news and big ideas transforming the hospitality landscape. And finally, they talk with Brita Rosenheim, the Managing Partner of Vita Vera Ventures and author of the highly acclaimed 2023 Restaurant Tech Ecosystem. With their expertise in advancing the food industry’s resiliency, efficiency, and sustainability, Brita and her team are dedicated to supporting tech entrepreneurs who are defining the future of dining. Together, this engaging trio explored a wide range of captivating topics, leaving listeners inspired and eager to embrace the ever-evolving world of hospitality.
They were joined by their first guest, Kevin King, the President of Donatos Pizza, famous for their Edge to Edge® pizza. With a fascinating background in the restaurant business, Kevin shared his journey from working in a pizza shop as a kid to holding leadership positions at renowned pizza chains like Domino’s, Papa Murphy’s, and Smoothie King. Having rejoined Donatos as President in 2022, Kevin’s passion for the pizza industry and dedication to the company’s growth was evident throughout the conversation. Donatos, founded by Jim Grote in 1963, has since expanded to 375 locations across 22 states, with a strategic partnership with Red Robin further boosting its nationwide presence. The episode delved into various topics, including the challenges and opportunities of third-party delivery, the significance of technology in the industry, and Donatos’ commitment to giving back to the community.
Kristen Hawley, the founder of Expedite, a newsletter in the restaurant industry, was the next guest. Known for her insightful articles and deep understanding of restaurant technology, Kristen shared her perspective on how technology is transforming the dining experience. She highlighted the importance of leveraging technology to enhance customer interactions, covering delivery, loyalty programs, and reservations. Kristen also emphasized the need for a nuanced understanding of the industry, challenging the prevailing narratives around technology’s impact. Additionally, she shared her cautious optimism regarding chat GPT, acknowledging both its potential benefits and the importance of regulating its rapid development.
Brita Rosenheim, Managing Partner of Vita Vera Ventures and Author of the 2023 Restaurant Tech Ecosystem. They talked about Brita’s recent panel discussion and her expertise in the industry. During the conversation, Brita discussed various topics, including the unique focus of Food OnDemand compared to other conferences. She also highlighted the importance of investing in the food industry’s resiliency, efficiency, and sustainability. The discussion touched upon the growth and challenges of ghost kitchens and virtual brands, emphasizing the need for maintaining quality and consistency. Brita also shared insights on dynamic pricing and revenue management, advocating for a rebranding of the concept. Additionally, she discussed the saturation of single-point solutions in the market and predicted that automation would be a significant topic in the industry’s future.