BTC Podcast Ep 6: Carl Orsbourn, Future Concepts & The Blurring of Divides | Hathway

BTC Podcast Ep 6: Carl Orsbourn, Future Concepts & The Blurring of Divides

Published by Kevin Rice, CMO
July 16, 2020

Carl Orsbourn, Future Concepts & The Blurring of Divides

Our recent podcast guest, Carl Orsbourn, is a triple-threat in the food and beverage space with experience in c-stores, restaurants and ghost kitchens. In this episode, he sits down with Kevin and Jesse to discuss the research he is doing for his upcoming book that details the disruption happening in off-premise dining and the new branding opportunities available as consumers opt for curbside, delivery and pick-up. Carl also shares his predictions for what the dining experience may look like in 2030 and how c-stores can compete to get their piece of the restaurant pie.

Check out this episode and a handful of others on your favorite podcast platform or the video below.

 

Video Transcription

Kevin:

Hey guys! Welcome to another episode of Beyond the Counter. You’ve got Kevin and Jesse as always, today we have an incredible guest, Carl Orsbourn, who’s had a fantastic career in the C-Store category, recently worked at a ghost kitchen company called Kitchen United, and right now he’s in the process of writing a book about the changes in the restaurant category. So we’re excited to have you here and we’re gonna jump into it.

Kevin:

Hello, good morning. We’ve got our guest, Carl Orsbourn, Carl. Hello.

Carl:

Hi, Kevin. Hi, Jesse. How are you guys?

Jesse:

Great.

Kevin:

Well welcome. We’re really excited to have you on, it sounds like you have a lot going on right now, but before we jump into the book and chatting a little bit about you know, the C-store industry and retail food service, we’d love for you to just kind of give our audience a little bit of backstory, who are you? Tell us a little bit about your career.

Carl:

Sure, I mean, my career’s kind of splits into two halves; the first 18 years I was with BP, the big oil and gas company and I spent about 15 of those years in the retail environment doing a whole range of different roles, both here in the US and in the UK and that kind of culminated in me running the AM-PM retail part of the business between 2015 and 2018. Great kind of franchise business, a thousand units across a number of West coast States and had a great time there, but I was ready to do something a little different, do something perhaps a bit more innovative and disruptive and in the kind of last few years, I’ve kind of pivoted more into the restaurant industry and I’ve been spending time in the ghost kitchen space.

Carl:

And so my role at Kitchen United, where I was last, was really running the operations of ghost kitchens like Kitchen United, helping them understand what was necessary to scale from that one site up to the four sites that they are today and hopefully beyond that. And so it’s been an interesting journey going from a thousand sites down to one side and taking all those learnings from big company to big startup coming at the same time.

Kevin:

I know a number of our clients are working with Kitchen United, so we’ll give them a little shout out. I know Portillo’s just struck a partnership deal and are super excited about leveraging Kitchen United to expand ghost kitchens. So that’s a really cool company that’s doing a lot of innovative things in the restaurant category. So what of what have you been up to since then?

Carl:

Well, now I’m a co-authoring in a book actually, and about the restaurant industry, it’s around the disruption occurring through off-premise it wasn’t an idea that came to us through the pandemic the idea came to us before the pandemic and the disruption already occurring, but of course, as you can imagine recent months have catalyzed that even further and really now the book is trying to talk about the trends that were emerging before what’s happened through the pandemic and trying to highlight the best practices that we’re identifying through speaking to C-suites across some of the bigger chains, as well as local restaurant operators as well. Because we’re trying to find a means of bringing together all the different threads on “why is this happening to the restaurant industry? What have we learned from those that have failed perhaps in the past, who’s leading the innovation right now and how restaurants can perhaps win in this new future and, and perhaps what the future might look like in 2030?” So it’s a fascinating space. I’m learning a huge amount by speaking to some really impressive people, both in the restaurant world, but also in the tech world that is supporting them.

Jesse:

Absolutely. Yeah, and one of the things that we’ve been forecasting is that some of the consumer behavior and business changes that COVID is bringing about, some of them will be permanent. Some of them will be kind of temporary and we’ll go back to the way that things were before. But largely I think we’ve been operating under a hypothesis that in many ways, COVID has just been a great accelerant to behavior changes that were, maybe due and that are just happening sooner. When you look at maybe the advent or prevalence of mobile payment and curbside delivery online, ordering what are your thoughts? I mean a couple examples in each category, things that you think are temporary and will go back to the way they were, and maybe some things that you think are here to stay?

Carl:

Well, I think there’s a number. I think the, the dining occasion will come back, right? So the need for people to go out, enjoy a special occasion, the ambience of a restaurant, that will come back in time, it still will serve a role. And I think the changes that are going to exist are going to be more in the way in which they were already starting to emerge. I think Bill Gates actually supports what you said, Jesse, in the sense that he said 10 to 15 years worth of digital adoption has been achieved in two or three months or something to that effect. And I think that’s very true to the point that people now are increasingly used to the idea of using delivery as a means of being able to get something of convenience delivered to them.

Carl:

And of course that could be a restaurant food. It could be a grocery delivery. In fact, I think grocery delivery and the likes of Instacart and those in that space, have probably seen even more levels of growth over the last few months than what even the Uber EATS and the Door Dashes of this world have. So I think it’s, it’s interesting to me that I think the idea now is that people are going to understand that delivery can actually work for them through the course of their week, on the Tuesday nights and the Thursday nights. It’s not necessarily on the Friday and Saturday eat-in occasions where they might associate to going out for a meal. But I think that when you take the actual interaction with restaurants differently, I think you’re going to start to see touchless become far more obvious. I think you mentioned payment you know, the payment is something where the U.S. Is very much behind many other international markets around the world you know, touch with us and the ability to pay through your phone has been something that Asia has been light years ahead of most of the U.S. Market for quite a while now. So I think those trends will continue and all of that will be very much in the kind of interest of improving the speed of a transaction. And I would hope that over time, we’ll get to a place where both speed, quality and accuracy in delivery orders actually improves as well, because that of course is something that people are now very much accustomed to the more common of off-premise experiences and that is drive through. And I, people now expect to be able to get through drive-throughs faster and faster, and that when they get their order, it’s correct. And of course that it’s at an appropriate temp. That same level of thinking needs to come through into the restaurant delivery world as well.

Jesse:

So you know, you mentioned speed is, is critical and we’ve had a number of clients that we work with who’ve actually voiced some concerns that the faster people are in and out of their restaurant or the fact that maybe they never come into the restaurant cause they’re doing curbside or delivery that it’s removing these huge branding opportunities, whether it’s just the ambience onsite or the the smells, the sights, or the actual ability for the team member to strike a conversation and you know, express some show some differentiation in the brand. What are your thoughts about how brand marketers or restaurants can kind of combat the, maybe the commoditization or just focusing on speed or, or removing the real extended exposure that people might have to a brand?

Carl:

Yeah. I think brands will still serve a role. But I think they’re going to appeal to slightly different things now. So absolutely I think brands will become better known for their speed, but I think we’re seeing a much higher intensity associated to niche brands, things that are actually focusing on very hyper niche focus areas, which of course can be achieved more in digital environments than perhaps they can in the bricks and mortar kind of world. So I think brands will still play a role. I think the, the way in which the local kind of local restaurant, the ones that you actually know the owners by first name, you speak about what your kids were doing last week and things like that, that level of camaraderie with those kinds of local businesses will actually be an advantage to many of the independents out there. You know, you think about #takeouttuesday and the way in which people have been using those to really support restaurants that are struggling at this time. I think that’s tremendous. And I think that will continue to be something that really highlights the success of the restaurant industry if we focus in on their brand in that way, but consumer dialogue, that part of brand management, I think is going to become even more important. The ways in which traditional restaurant marketing had worked 10, 20 years ago, whether that be restaurant adverts or critics reviews, that kind of thing is no longer as relevant and the way in which consumers are having a dialogue on Tik-Tok and on Instagram and the ways in which their brand is evocative through the pictures and the representation of the clients they are servicing, those are the ways in which now I think brands are going to be able to do and call out their voice in a way that perhaps they weren’t able to do a number of years ago and more and more people are becoming better and effective at that. So I think that that is the way in which we’re going to see continued digitization of the way in which brands connect with their consumers, but it is about that dialogue. It is about the ability to speak to your consumers quickly and be able to give them a feel that they’re not speaking to a chat bot, but actually someone that actually cares about their food experience.

Kevin:

The brand building opportunities just change, right? So if it’s delivery, if it’s take out you need to figure out a way to continue that brand experience before and after the ‘in store restaurant experience’, these are all consumer behaviors that are going to stick, right? There’s a ton of research about first time delivery orders who intend to continue to order for delivery following the pandemic. So a lot of these trends like contactless payments and delivery, they might temper down a little bit, but all signs point towards it’s going to continue. It’s going to continue to accelerate the need for digital in the restaurant category.

Jesse:

One interesting thing maybe to consider a lot of restaurant brands, and I think Domino’s was the first to say, “Hey, we’re an e-commerce company that happens to sell X type of food.” I think more and more we’re seeing that be the trend or the, the charge that executives have with their restaurants, especially now that e-commerce is such a large portion of it, but then it kind of begs the question of what type of eCommerce company do you want to be? Do you want to be an Amazon, or do you want to be as Zappos where you are known for customer service and your brand? A lot of times, it’s not just the product you sell, but it’s the knowing that you can trust that brand, knowing that you can call somebody, get them on the phone, knowing that they’re going to do whatever it takes to make you happy. And I think there’s, there’s huge opportunities now that one of the big challenges, especially with a distributed franchise operation is how do you maintain consistent customer service. So if you’re able to actually centralize that into one you know, one call center that can always pick up the phone can always respond the right way, can give you instant comp cards digitally to make it right. I think there’s potentially huge power for brands to actually maintain that connection with their customers.

Carl:

Great. Yeah. I mean I put out a blog only a few weeks ago about a relatively poor customer service experience I had and the way in which the third party platform was actually responding to me yes, quickly the chatting, the base I was having was relatively quickly, but the, the fact that they instantly gave me money back and that was seen as the kind of way just to solve the issue was, was an interesting experience for me because it was almost if you listen on the blog, if you listen to it, you’ll hear me talk about, imagine if that was in an actual dining environment whereby you know, the, the manager comes across and give you $20 back and says, “right, that’s it, we’re done, yeah?” And it’s about customer service now in the sense of how you can feel like you’ve been listened to and how you feel like they care about your issue, as opposed to just paying you off in some way, you know? Do that’s the difference between this kind of combination of restaurant, world and tech is that the wonders of hospitality, the things that we remember about restaurants, that we all know and love is not always about the food or the setting, but it’s the way in which people have made us feel when we’ve been there. And that need to be able to grow hospitality into the delivery infrastructure is something that’s still being worked on and I think there’s still a lot of opportunity I think in that regard.

Jesse:

That’s a, that’s a really good point because I’m just thinking through, I had a similar experience and it was, I mean, I hate to say this, but I was ordering from a marketplace application. My clients won’t be happy with me. And the food was late and they comped or no, they brought, it was a, they brought the wrong meal and it was, Oh, don’t we immediately submitted a ticket to them or whatever, “Oh, don’t worry. We comped it.” I was like, yeah, but I’m hungry now. And I actually wanted the food. So what I have to do? I got to order again? I got to wait another half an hour? You’re right, like it actually it would have been a lot better if they had fast tracked me to the front of the line and said, “we will immediately drive over the new food to you”, but yeah, you’re right money is not the universal remedy. That’s for certain!

Carl:

If we were comedians on Saturday night live, that would be a good comedy skit showing a delivery experience in reality, and in a kind of restaurant setting. Because if you you think about it, you’ve got all these different parties that are telling you things and you’re, you’re waiting for your food. And then the food doesn’t turn up. And then some person dressed in a different uniform, turns up and throws the food on the table and runs out because they have a delivery driver. You know, it’s just very amusing when you think about the delivery experience in a dining setting.

Kevin:

Yeah. Carl, I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head, in the difference between like a customer journey and a customer experience. It’s not just about that, the things that happen, but it’s the way that the brand makes the customer feel as each of those interactions are happening.

So I want to know a little bit more about the book you’re writing. I assume third party and intermediation is a big part of it. You know, what inspired you to write the book in the first place? Can you give us kind of a sneak preview into what, what research you’re doing right now and what you’re learning?

Carl:

Yeah the insight behind the book was when I was at kitchen United I was noticing the challenge that restaurants were going through in trying to adopt this new world of digitalization. There’s a lot of analogy there where you compare restaurant owners thinking to the independent retailer of the early two thousands when eCommerce was coming about. And there’s a level of resistance. There’s a level of reluctance to really throw all your eggs in one basket. And then there’s this capability and capacity gap that exists today to understand well, where do I focus? Where do I need to spend my time to really be able to ensure that when I do really throw myself into the off premise world, I’m going to be able to succeed. And of course, in a ghost kitchen world, the world that I was in restaurants don’t have the pieces that you were mentioning earlier, which is the lovely smells of the food coming from the kitchen, the wonderful service you have when you’re greeted at the front. Now it’s just your menu and your photos and the way in which you call out your brand in the various different digital channels that you have through social media and the like. And so the, the book is trying to talk initially about why is this happening? What is it about society that is actually saying they need this extra level of convenience? What is it around the fact that people now have time and have less and less time to be able to do the things they typically want and why delivered food is here to stay. So it starts off in that regard. And then it talks about the fact that actually it’s not a relatively new phenomenon. The fact is, is that it’s happening in many other international markets at a pace and far more advanced than perhaps what we’re seeing here in the U S and also there’s been a number of folks trying to play into this space for a number of years now.

You know, Noah Glass from Olo was, was talking about the way in which this was going to appear. I think maybe eight, 10, 15 years ago. I can’t remember the exact time, but he had saw this comment. And then reality is, is that it’s consumer adoption and restaurant adoption that has been holding us back a little bit along with the fact that the U S is so spread out. It’s a challenge from the infrastructure standpoint of logistics. So we talk about some of the challenges that exist to delivery, why it has taken a while for the U.S. To be able to adopt. And then we talk about those that are innovating in this space and are really trying to identify some of the best practices that are helping those succeed as well. And then we finish up really in with a view on what the future might look like and what a restaurant in 2030 might look like and how the experience of the consumer will play out.

And we’re speaking to c-suite executives from the big chains. We we’ve been speaking to small, independent restaurant operators, technology entrepreneurs it’s fantastic cause we’re, we’re able to be able to get each of these different perspectives and tie the story together through the voices of others.

Kevin:

So that’s super interesting. Well, what does the restaurant look like in 2030?

Carl:

Well, I don’t want to sell the book too much to you, but I’ll tell you the way I would tell you is that search fatigue is a problem. You think about your own last order and experience when you order food online you know, you’ve got a particular type of food that you’d like in mind, unless you’ve got a specific brand, you’ve got search fatigue, you’re going through a number of different pages. And for all intents and purposes, it’s a little bit like the old yellow pages. Now, when you’re flicking over page after page after page, there’s a point where it becomes a pain for the consumer to actually find exactly what they’re after. So I think there’s going to be a shift towards the way in which a curation and a personalization of food, it goes to another level. So what do I mean by that? So imagine your dietician or your daughter or your personal trainer says that you need to be able to have this type of diet to be able to match your particular goals that might be for health and medical purposes. It might be for fitness purposes, but you’ll have a kind of profile in that regard. And then the way in which that plays out into the right type of food and the right types of brands that are servicing the food that you can actually have through their particular offerings, the way I think it will evolve too, is that we’ll start to see the food coming to you designed against your actual dietary needs and preferences.

So that might be a online bidding marketplace whereby you say, I want to spend $20 a night and $20 a night then means you get one particular meal delivered to you from one particular restaurant that is a big brand that actually happens to do this through their own digitally native brand. And then maybe the following night, it’s actually a chef entrepreneur in their own kitchen, actually sending you something for $15 because that’s the best kind of price you would get that evening. So I think we’re going to move away. And there’s a chapter that we have in the book called “The menu is obsolete”. We’re going to move away from people choosing that food to a place where people are actually having the food chosen for them against a certain level of parameters.

Kevin:

That’s really interesting. It reminds me of an article that the founder of Acquia wrote, Dries, he wrote an article called like the ‘future of the web’, and it was a really, in my opinion, profound piece about the idea that as the internet becomes more connected between various services instead of going to a browser to search for something, the internet should become more intelligent to actually push the information you’re actually looking for to you. And it sounds like that’s kind of what you’re describing, right? It’s and maybe it’s not just health and fitness, maybe it’s pleasure to, a lot of people go out and eat food for pleasure so understanding what makes you happy and what your, what flavor profiles make sense for you and, and balancing that for you. So you can spend a lot of your time eating healthy for health benefits, but also enjoying the food that you eat at restaurants.

Carl:

I mean, we kind of seeing it through meal-kits a bit aren’t we? In the sense that meal kits are providing people those kind of choices. And so it’s just another play on that, but I think the you’re right, it’s going to be fascinating to be able to see how it’s, how restaurants and platforms use customer data to be able to give them exactly what they’re after.

Jesse:

What are your thoughts on automation and technology in the restaurant space, both kind of in store automation and, You know, delivery drones, and that sort of thing.

Carl:

Yeah. Well, I mean, let’s deal with them separately. So automation in the restaurants we, we are kitchen United, you had a partner company called Miso robotics. And I, I was able to see one of these kinds of giant robotic arms actually going through the entire process of frying fries and it’s very impressive. I think it’s got a way to go for it to be able to have a mainstream level of introduction into your modern day kitchen. Because again, it’s, it can work for certain food types, but actually what you’re seeing in the modern day kitchen these days is the way in which a base set of ingredients can be combined together to be able to make a range of different dishes. So I there are companies out there where you’re seeing a food truck and automation come together to make smoothies and salads. So I think it will have its place. I don’t think it’s going to completely replace the, the chef and the cook. I think there’ll always be some form of human interaction in the kitchen, but of course there’s a level of progress that’s needed to really be able to make sure it’s a, a modern day application that can be utilized in an efficient manner.

 

When we come to drone delivery. You know, there’s a company called Starship over in the U.K., Starship Technologies, that have basically delivered through these small little three foot size three by three foot size kind of robot drones to 250,000 homes with grocery deliveries. So it’s happening, I mean, it literally happening. There are of course companies like Wing that are looking to take your products from kitchens and restaurants and be able to deliver them and land in spots in your kind of front yard. So I think we’re going to start to see drone technology over the course of the next 5, 10 years become far more prevalent than perhaps automation in kitchens. But I do think it’s going to still require that level of thinking on that last 10 feet. It’s not about really the first few miles now. And the drone delivery itself is that last 10 feet. And being able to ensure there’s an easy way to be able to get the food delivered to the front door or close to the front door for every consumer, that wants it.

Kevin:

So for all these reasons handoff modes, delivery, consumer behaviors, we’re seeing this massive proliferation of competition across the kind of whole retail food service category as a whole. Today, if you’re a QSR, you’re not just competing with other QSRs, you’re competing with fast casual, you’re actually competing against full service dining. In some cases who’ve been investing in their off premise capabilities. You’re competing with the third party delivery companies who are now vertically integrated. You’re competing with grocery stores who have really great grab and go you know, food for lunch and dinner. You’re also competing with the C-store category which is a long way of me coming back around to, I’d love to talk a little bit about what’s happening in the C-store category, because we’re seeing some of these brands investing in their food quality and they’re becoming a real option for consumers when they’re looking to dine out or have food delivered.

Carl:

Yeah. I’m glad you bring it up. The C-store industry, I was last in that industry in 2018, but the industry was still under threat at that point with the growing element of digitalization. And then of course you add in electrification automation, more fuel efficient cars, the mainstay of that business, the gasoline side of things, and it was starting to see less and less visits. And so the C-store industry was already trying to address how can we be able to make as good about converting customers that come to visit us each time into our C-store? And the element of food is continuing to be a clear differentiator between the great C-stores and the good C-stores. One of the things that I was able to do at AM-PM was launch a fresh food, a sandwich and salad program across our thousand sites. And the mindset shift to be able to develop a product range that has now three to four day shelf life from what was perhaps the traditional West coast sandwich model, at least which would be a sandwich, which would be sat at the back of a C-store having a 20 to 25 day shelf life. You know, those things are an abuse to the word sandwich. But we were able to move away from that at AM-PM and bring in this brand new kind of product range, which was addressing something that millennials were after, which was better for you, healthier products, alternatives, and raising the profile of C-stores as a very credible opportunity for you to be able to get a healthy and value orientated meal while on the go somewhere. And I think that is where certainly AM-PM was able to take advantage, but also there’s a number of folks far more advanced than the, even the West coast retailers over on the East coast, the likes of Wawa and chains, et cetera, that have been doing this for years. And they’re taking it to another level now with the way in which their loyalty programs, that digitalization of the way in which people are ordering through the phones and through kiosks,

Kevin:

They’re starting to delivery now, too.

Carl:

Absolutely. Now, while I deliver this is working with the Grubhubs of this world, and the, and the Doordashes to be able to take their products out to consumers. So it’s that ability to pivot and the ability to adapt to both consumer trends in terms of taste preferences, but also in terms of order preferences that I think the C-store industry is moving in the right kind of direction.

Kevin:

Right. I mean, I don’t know the exact number, but I know Casey’s sells a whole lot of pizzas, and they actually serve as a threat to pizza brands. Do you see any reason that C-store companies maybe have an actual advantage when it comes to selling food at retail over a traditional restaurant concept?

Carl:

Yeah, I think, I think so. Obviously they’re going to be struggling through the COVID pandemic issue as well. Right now, because are like we were working from home and on the road as much. And so therefore you’ve got less trip incidences as a result of that, but that will change, people will get back on the roads in time and the wonderful thing about C-stores is that they’re located in brilliant locations for all intents and purposes. They’re micro fulfillment stores, right? And you think about all these dark retail locations that are closing their doors to the consumers so that they can actually have a distribution network for their delivery customers, well C-stores are already there. They’re able to do that. They’re able to get you those most convenient products to your doorstep in relatively quick fashion. Like we were talking about speed earlier, that’s another good example of how C-stores just by their very infrastructure are at an advantage state.

Carl:

They’re also a place where I think they give a customer service angle. They give the kind of ability for you to form that relationship with your local kind of C-store. And they also provide a level of choice and variety, a lot of the big CPG folks that we would worked with would use the convenience channel as a means to try out new products, to be able to see what consumers were really interested in. And so when you go to a C-store and you work with a C-store chain that actually does embrace that in variety in that way, you’re then able to try out new products and be at the front of new trends and so I think a lot of consumers are enjoying that environment because sometimes you don’t necessarily get that same exposure in a digital environment only.

Kevin:

How do you, how you seem COVID affecting the C-store industry? I know for me personally, like I don’t want to go out and touch buttons on a gas pump. I would much prefer to be able to pay for my mobile phone, but it doesn’t seem like that has really reached a lot of, at least the fuel side of C-stores. If restaurants, as an industry is five to 10 years behind the retail category, and it seems like convenience stores and gas stations are another five to 10 years behind the restaurant category. So do you think COVID and this pandemic and the resulting shelter in place is going to accelerate this industry like it has done for the restaurant category?

Carl:

Yeah. It’s an interesting one with regards to the effect in people’s minds and what they touch when they’re interacting at a gas station. Some way. Of course, it depends on which state you’re living in those where it’s self service is where it’s serviced is a factor. I think you’re going to start to see far more attention being placed where gloves are provided in the kind of full court environment. But I think contactless payment, the way in which pay at the pump is going to become more prevalent in those chains that perhaps haven’t adopted it as much, it’s going to be important. But you also going to perhaps see the emergence of players that haven’t necessarily dominated the market yet, but they certainly got a lot of kind of media attention. That’s the likes of Yoshi and Booster, which are companies that bring the guests to you as opposed to you going to the gas. So I think you might see the further level of growth in players in that particular regard. But again, we talked about Wawa earlier, a lot of it’s around being mindful of having the appropriate levels of sanitizer, disinfecting wipe dispensers right next to the kiosks. Being able to be mindful that your digital platforms, whether it be your app or the ability for you to connect with the consumer with the actual operation to pay for your gas or your C-store purchase. You know, the, I think it was the Chief Exec at Yum! Brands, David Gibbs, he said back in March the best kiosk, is your cell phone. And so the way in which C-stores and gas stations move towards being able to pay through your cell phone, that’s going to remove some of the level of concern I think with it, when it comes to actually the engagement on payment.

 

I also think you’re going to find a level of improvements in loyalty programs as well in that regard and the way in which you start to see loyalty programs have a high level of influence. And then of course, there’s the connected car, the way in which our cars are becoming increasingly digitized themselves, and the way in which you can actually preorder certain levels of gasoline or potentially food products, so that they can be brought direct to your car when you arrive, because your car is geo-tagged to your location and saying, you’ve got some form of curbside pickup through that regard as well. So I think it’s going to be those kinds of things that we start to see that COVID will only catalyze further because of people’s attention to not wanting to touch things when in a full court.

Kevin:

Just to kind of wrap us up here. You know, we have a lot of CMOs and CIO’s within the retail food service category, hospitality category that watch this podcast, any you know, major just kind of takeaways or thoughts, parting thoughts that you want to share with the audience?

Carl:

The way I’d say it quite honestly, Kevin is there’s a lot of change still yet to come. It’s a really exciting place to be in. Register on our site, deliverthedish.com if you’d like to hear more of my opinions on it. And obviously our book is coming out in early 2021. So hopefully some of your listeners will be interested in preordering that once that’s available. But it’s an exciting place, you know, the reality is that COVID has accelerated the consumer mindset, it has accelerated the way in which restaurant owner operators are having to adjust to this new normal, which was happening anyway.

 

And that is going to be a good thing for the industry. Ultimately, the restaurant industry in the U.S. has the second most amount of restaurants per capita of any country in the world, Japan is number one, out of interest, but that means there is going to be some kind of level of correction, but that correction is going to leave opportunities for those that are thinking about food in a different way, thinking about that digitization in a different way, and hopefully with what we’re doing at deliver the dish, we can, can help people in that journey.

Kevin:

Cool. All right, Carl. Well, thank you very much. Appreciate you joining us.

Carl:

It’s been a pleasure sir, thanks for your thought provoking comments it helps me get through it by having your insights. So I appreciate it. And Kevin always a pleasure catching up, sir. And speak soon yeah.

Jesse:

Absolutely. Yeah.

Kevin:

That was a great conversation with Carl. I I think we really dug into quite a bit of change in the restaurant category from things like new hand off modes and concepts and store formats, and how brands need to think about operationalizing all these new changes really enjoyed kind of talking more about the C-store category. I think we’re going to be hearing a lot more about C-store as it relates to better food quality and becoming like a legitimate option when it comes to dining. It was a great conversation with Carl. Would do you think Jesse?

Jesse:

Yeah, absolutely definitely interesting. I mean, I think for us, as you mentioned, kind of the convergence in C-store, grocery, restaurant, ghost kitchens they’re all kind of coming together and especially when you consider that most dining, these days is happening off premise. Does it really matter where your food is getting made or the legacy of that that type of store? I suspect that C-stores probably have more rebranding as a category than maybe grocery even. But you know, you mentioned Casey’s, I think there’s a lot of examples where maybe they’re a little bit closer and also just a lot of them are the line between C-store and grocery or, or food and masses is getting blurred as well.

Kevin:

Absolutely. As always, we’re going to be donating to No Kid Hungry in Carl’s name, so Carl, thank you again for joining. We really enjoyed the conversation. Great discussion, please, if you like the podcast, subscribe we’re on Spotify, Apple or just check this out on our blog at wearehathway.com. Until next time!