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Leadership

6 things restaurant operators could learn from Shaq

Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, an entrepreneur with interests in several chains, shared some wisdom (and several surprises) with the crowd at Restaurant Leadership Conference Wednesday.

Operations

East Coast Wings tinkers with a fast-casual model

The 34-unit casual dining concept is finding solid sales with a smaller restaurant and new service model, giving franchisees another option, according to the founder and CEO.

The limited test of the iconic D.C. area product is designed to introduce more customers to the sauce around the country.

Despite the recent flurry of restaurant activity on Wall Street, AJ Kumaran, co-CEO of the fast-growing chicken finger chain, said his fast casual plans to remain steadfastly private to keep its company culture intact.

The chain’s new sandwich and fries have given the company a big lift this year. But it’s been helped along by its buckets.

The fast casual, which rarely rolls out new menu additions, is debuting Orange Szechuan for a limited time for its wings and thighs.

Some customers who came to pick up prepaid dinners at the fast casual left empty handed due to “isolated instances of being extremely short-staffed,” the chain said.

The fast casual is recovering from the pandemic but it said its growth is being slowed in cities where it is having a hard time finding employees.

The tech-enabled fast casual, which has nine locations, nabbed a $4 million cash infusion less than a year ago from industry veteran Greg Dollarhyde.

The fast casual’s food costs are soaring and it is looking for ways to assert more control over its supply chain.

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