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Give an Ovation: A Podcast For Restaurants
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Give an Ovation: A Podcast For Restaurants

Author: Ovation

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An ad free resource for restaurateurs! About to hit 100 episodes and a new episode every Monday. Listen in to learn from industry leaders how to grow your restaurant, improve your guest experience, turn your customers from strangers to relationships, and to leverage data and marketing tools to increase your revenue.
99 Episodes
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Jacobe Hollins is the Digital Program Supervisor at McDonald's where he has worked since 2013. He has an MBA in New Age Digital Marketing, is an advocate for frontline employees, and just implemented a system connecting 1.9 million employees at McDonald's. In this 100th episode of Give an Ovation, he and Zack discuss:Transparency in the restaurant hiring industryHospitalityJacobe's digital platformFrontline workersMoreThanks Jacobe!
Edward Zimmerman simply had too much good stuff to say to on his first episode, so we invited him back for a second round of Give an Ovation! If you missed it, Edward has over 40 years in the food and hospitality industry and currently uses all of that experience as President of The Food Connector, a company that develops marketing plans for small to mid-size food manufacturers and distributors. Edward has been both a restaurant operator and distributor, so he offered some great perspective on building that relationship. Thanks Edward!
Wade Allen is the Senior Vice President and Head of Innovation at Brinker International, the parent company of Chili's Bar and Grill, Maggiano's Little Italy, and their new virtual brand and Wade's passion project, It's Just Wings. Wade spends each day searching for cutting-edge technology in the restaurant space, and shared what's working for him on this episode. He and Zack discuss: The importance of focusing on innovationThe most important part of the guest experience todayDrone delivery and the futureMoreThanks Wade!
Pete Peng is the founder and CEO of Jetson, the "Shopify of Voice Commerce". Jetson is a platform that enables businesses of any size to easily sell products and services through voice interfaces using AI technology. On this episode, Pete and Zack discuss how Jetson can help restaurants, how it was funded, and Pete's upcoming appearance on a business-centered reality TV show. Thanks Pete!
Mike Bausch is the Owner of the 17-year-old Andolini's Pizzeria, which was recently voted one of the top 10 Pizzerias in the United States by Tripadvisor. He also wrote the book, "Unsliced: How To Stay Whole In The Pizzeria Industry", is the VP of World Pizza Champion Team, and is a successful public speaker! On this episode, Mike shared his expertise on the following topics: Loyalty can be fortuitous or "death"The discipline of organizationDefining why employees would want to work for youGuest experienceDoing more of what's workingThanks Mike!
Warwick McLaren is the VP of Omnichannel Marketing at Global Franchise Group, which includes brands such as Round Table Pizza, Marble Slab Creamery, and Pretzelmaker. He oversees the development and execution of digital strategies across GFG's portfolio, and has learned a lot about digital customer engagement over throughout the pandemic. Lucky for us, he shared a few of his main takeaways from the last year about digital restaurants: Frictionless digital customer experienceOnline ordering is still up despite restrictions looseningMeeting your customers where they areGetting comfortably uncomfortableThanks Warwick!
Bill Stavrou is the founder of Foodhaul, a Chicago-based restaurant group that provides under-utilized kitchens with ghost concepts created by notable chefs. Bill's family business has been in operation for over 50 years, and he's now bringing his 30 years of hospitality experience to help restaurants with branding, staffing and costing! Here were a few of Bill's main points on this episode: Leveraging under-utilized kitchen spaceGhost kitchens are about storiesHospitality means love, even virtuallyThe world has changed, so change with itThanks Bill!
Alonso Castañeda is the VP of Brand Development and Strategy at Savory Restaurant Fund, a group that partners with small restaurant concepts and takes them to the next level. He has also run operations at Cafe Rio, Paradise Bakery Cafe, and is an all around great guy! Here are some of the main topics he discussed with host Zack Oates: Customer expectationsDigital systems of the futureCollecting contact infoKeeping customers on 1st party channelsThanks Alonso! 
To put it simply, Preston Junger is the real deal. He's the VP of Sales and the Head of US Operations at 7Shifts, the practically ubiquitous employee scheduling software of the restaurant industry. His background includes VP at Yelp as well as great tenures at Yahoo, Expedia, and Apple. He's the co-founder of Mile Square Labs, a consulting group for high-growth tech companies, and was also named one of The Software Report's Top 25 Software Sales Executives of 2021. On this episode he and Zack discuss: CollaborationTeam AlignmentDynamic RolesCulture
Alan Magee is the VP of Digital Marketing and Technology at Church's Chicken, a national chicken chain. He is also one of the Brand Innovators 40 under 40 and has led brand marketing at Moe's Southwest Grill and InterContinental Hotels Group.Alan developed the digital marketing channel at Church's and through some small tweaks increased their mobile conversions by 25%! Find out how he did it in this episode. Thanks Alan!
Kyle Inserra is a restaurant growth strategist, thought leader, and current advisor with Sabre Real Estate Advisors. He started his career in the corporate finance and advertising industry, but changed careers and found his passion in the restaurant business (like many do!) After attending the French Culinary Institute and cooking around the world, he opened his own restaurant in 2007 and is now the host of the National Restaurant Owners podcast.On this episode he and Zack discuss: Following your passionThe fundamentals and not following every trendGhost kitchens and online marketingDeliveryMore
Edward Zimmerman has over 40 years in the food and hospitality industry and currently uses all of that experience as President of The Food Connector, a company that develops marketing plans for small to mid-size food manufacturers and distributors. He is also the former President of pizza.com, Successfoods Marketing, and has done business in all 50 states (yes, even North Dakota.) On this value-packed episode he explains the power of group purchasing and the benefits it can bring to restaurant owners. Thanks Edward!
David Bloom is the Chief Development and Operating Officer at Capriotti's Sandwich Shop and Wing Zone, where he is focused on growing those brands to national names.  With 40+ robust years in the hospitality industry and experience at locations like Quiznos, Hurricane Grill and Wings, and Famous Brands International, David had amazing things to say on this episode! He and Zack discuss: The process of growing a restaurant Corporate alignmentRestaurant technologyThe guest experienceMoreThanks David! 
Andrew Martino is the founder of Ghost Truck Kitchen, the world's first digital food truck lot. He's on year three of running the 12 concept concept out of his 800 square foot location, is the owner of Martino Hospitality Services, is starting a New Jersey co-op, and knew Zack in high school. What a guy!There was a lot of great info on this episode, but here are a few of the main points: Finding Gaps In The MarketMinimizing Food WasteCo-ops3rd Party DSP's Owning Customer Data
Chip Klose is the owner of Chip Klose Creative and works with brands to promote their unique value proposition to the right people as a restaurant consultant. He made a name for himself in operations, and went on to learn the in's and out's of marketing. Now he mixes both in his work with restaurants and on his podcast, the Restaurant Strategy podcast.On this episode of Give an Ovation, he and Ovation CEO Zack Oates put restaurant marketing in simple terms, and Chip shares some great success stories. Here are some of their talking points: CreativityMarketing put in simple termsUniquenessMoreThanks Chip!
Amy Mills is the Owner and Chief Strategist at 17th Street Barbecue, one of the "best BBQ brands on earth." She is also an author, speaker, consultant, and has judged on numerous cooking channel and food network shows. Unfortunately, many storied restaurants have had to close their doors due to COVID-19, but 17th Street Barbecue isn't on that list! Amy tells their story and gives valuable advice along the way. Here's a few things she and Zack touch on: Staying true to your brand while expandingRegrouping during crisesRaising pricesEmbracing relationshipsThanks Amy!
This episode of Give an Ovation features the final interview as part of Table for 10, an e-book focused on technology transformation and collaboration. Kelly MacPherson, former CIO at Burger King, Popeye's, and a current Advisory Council Member at USHG Acquisition Corp, oversaw the creation of the e-book and interviewed 10 different innovators in the restaurant space. She and Zack discuss her main takeaways, which include: CollaborationDataSpecializationFlexibility*This conversation took place in late 2020. 
Christy Lamagna is a dynamic keynote speaker, author, and coach who uses her 30+ years in strategic planning to help people overcome challenges and press forward. She's also the MarCom advisor at ShedWool, a smart scheduling platform that works with many restaurants and other businesses. She and Zack discuss: What strategy meansMaking it about the guestCleaning the bathroomsAllowing yourself to be happyMoreThanks Christy!
Molly McGrath is a culinary innovation leader with over a decade of experience in strategy, menu execution, and operational efficiency. She's worked at The Chopping Block, CSSI Marketing, Roti Modern Mediterranean, and is now teaching how to transform everyday cooking into light work as the Founder and Chef at Light Work Kitchens. On this episode, she and Zack discuss: Tips for simplifying home cookingHow to simplify your restaurant menuThe psychological benefits of eating healthilySaturday morning cleaning partiesMoreThanks Molly!
Not only is Shawn Walchef the owner of the award-winning Cali Comfort BBQ and the larger Cali BBQ Media, he is also the man who beat us to naming a podcast "Digital Hospitality" - a video podcast that he has hosted since 2017. As a pioneer in the digital restaurant space, Shawn brought expertise and insight to this episode of Give an Ovation where he and Zack discuss:How Cali BBQ Media started and grewPersistence in online digital effortsBuilding friendly ghost kitchensContinuity between offline and online activitiesLeading with loveOvationMoreThanks Shawn!
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