Josh Kopel | Award Winning Restaurant Consultant

Restaurants Technologies: Erik Oberholtzer on Building During Recession

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Restaurant Margins

In 2006, two chefs and a foodie set out to change the way people eat for the better. Their guiding light was the 10 year plan created by founder Erik Oberholtzer. That plan took the restaurant chain from one location to 30 and carried Tender Greens through the crash of 2008, illuminating opportunities in a difficult time. Today, Erik shares how his plan helped the company weather the recession and offers a path forward for restaurants in a post coronavirus world.

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  • Opened their second restaurant in the midst of the recession.
  • The recession created opportunities in the real estate market that they capitalized on.
  • They innovated in product offering by bringing in whole animals at a lower cost and shopping the daily specials at farmer’s markets.
  • Doubled down on vision and intentions
  • This became a recruiting tool for out of work chefs
  • Roadblocks and tension points are opportunities
  • This was all based on TYP, a Ten-Year Plan
  • Taking the long view
  • 30 restaurants over 10 years across California
  • Anyone who participates gets to take part in the wealth creation at the end of 10 years.
  • Danny Meyer invested
  • The magic of long-term thinking is that the plan never changes no matter what happens.
  • When you’re going from LA to New York, the route might change but the destination does not.
  • Foundational Changes that need to happen in the industry
  • The restaurant market is overbuilt
  • High development costs
  • Disruption via third party delivery
  • The pause button has been hit and we all need to think about how things need to change
  • Innovation through a subscription model
  • Opportunities exist within the delivery space
  • The hidden gift in the pandemic is that we get the opportunity to reevaluate our lives and make new choices
  • Time is now abundant. What are we going to do with that time?
  • Deeper connections
  • New priorities
  • Evaluate what we miss most about community
  • Tactical Advice to get open and stay open
  • Conversion to a community kitchen
  • Conversion into a bodega
  • How can I be of service to my immediate community?
  • Start with team
  • Then Those in Need
  • Biggest mistake made
  • I didn’t pay attention to 3rd party delivery
  • Been a disruptive element in consumer behavior
  • What is the worst part of quarantine?
  • Missing my community
  • Best part of quarantine
  • Time and simplicity
  • Words of encouragement
  • We’re resilient industry
  • People have to eat and restaurants are central to the community
  • We’re going to come back stronger than ever

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