Archive for fastcasual SmartBlogs

“Flat what?” That’s what everyone was asking when Starbucks introduced the flat white to its menu in January. “Starbucks is introducing a new drink to its menu that you’ve probably never heard of,” said ABC News. “Starbucks to serve a coffee Americans know little about,” announced CNN. “The first time I order a flat white, I have no idea what I’ve just asked for,” wrote Fast Company.[…] Continue Reading »

Innovation ain’t easy. For starters, it requires something precious that all consumer product brands must work hard to achieve — trust. And once that trust is finally won, brands naturally tend to stick with the relative safety of the known. Instead of leaping forward with profound innovations — which, after all, could inadvertently alienate those hard-won loyalists — they play it safe and move sideways.[…] Continue Reading »

Denver’s identity as a hub of fast-casual innovation is by now well-cemented, as the Denver Post reported last week. The Mile High City was the birthplace of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Qdoba and Noodles & Company, stars in the first generation of what has become the industry’s fastest growing segment nationwide.

One of those pioneers was Aaron Kennedy, the founder of Noodles and Company, who came up with the idea for an eatery serving noodles and pasta inspired by the world’s favorite cuisines in 1993, after passing a noodle shop in New York City, where he was living and working as a corporate marketer.[…] Continue Reading »

Denver-based Mad Greens turned 10 late last year, with 12 restaurants and plans to open another dozen in 2015. The fast-casual salad chain will make its first forays outside Colorado this year, expanding into two as-yet unnamed states.

As the company doubles in size it will also double its employee base, which has grown to 250 since founders Marley Hodgson and Dan Long opened the first Mad Greens restaurant in December 2004.[…] Continue Reading »

When Denny’s recently unveiled their newest restaurant, set to open in Manhattan’s Financial District, the design was nearly unrecognizable. The new restaurant is full of dark woods, tufted leather seats, copper ceilings, and full-wall photographic murals. There is even a craft cocktail bar serving pre-Prohibition era cocktails and an eye-catching $300 “Grand Cru Slam” which pairs two entrees with a bottle of Dom Perignon and a “bartender high-five.”

But the new Denny’s concept is representative of a broader shift in the industry, as a number of brands seek to regain market share lost during the recession and compete with fast casuals for the Millennial dollar.[…] Continue Reading »