Franchise Chefs Deserve More Credit
Stealing a phrase from Special Agent Dale Cooper, there’s some “damn fine” food in franchising. I would know, because in my three years as a reporter at Franchise Times, I have been on a competitive eating marathon that has exposed me to some extremely tasty food -- and not just for a franchise.
Whether it’s seafood or barbecue, shawarma or baked goods, there are truly countless examples of franchised restaurants with delicious food. But who are the chefs behind this food? Typically, we never know, and that should change.
With that thought in mind, I was particularly delighted to receive a press release from Brixx Wood Fired Pizza announcing its collaboration with a James Beard Award-winning chef. International baking expert Chef Peter Reinhart collaborated with the pizza chain on a new recipe for focaccia bread that’s now available in eight of its sandwiches.
This release was the first time I’ve received PR specifically calling out a franchise brand chef, but I’ve had plenty of interviews with CEOs where they gush about new food items or an all-new menu. Even so, a chef’s name seldom makes it into marketing materials.
My expanding waistline can attest to the many good -- and massive -- meals I’ve had during my three years in franchising. As a reporter, my hosts often like to load me up with more food than I could ever possibly consume in one sitting, an embarrassment of caloric riches.
I have many examples, but a few brands come to mind in particular: the gyro LTO at Arby’s, the alligator at Walk-On’s, the new chicken tenders at A&W and the catfish at The Lost Cajun are a few recent examples that come to mind. Going through my notes and photos, I could go on and on about the great food in franchising. It’s time more franchised restaurants proudly talk about their food quality and the chefs behind it.
With more people turning into foodies thanks to food-based TV and the ongoing rise of celebrity chefs, franchised brands need to capitalize on this trend. Great food is all the more impressive if it’s consistently good across dozens, hundreds or thousands of restaurants -- and it’s often an interesting story behind the development of new menu items.
It’s almost like somebody in the franchise industry should put something together to recognize the best food in the industry. Hm… certainly food for thought.