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Danny Klein (RTS13)

Episode #: 048
Danny Klein (RTS13)

Guest: Danny Klein
Topics: Restaurant industry, digital content


Chris Ressa 0:01
This is retail retold the story of how that story ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris ReSSA. And I invite you to join my conversation with some of the retail industry’s biggest influencers. This podcast is brought to you by DLC management.

I’d like to thank one of our sponsors, retail openings and In today’s dynamic retail landscape, tracking openings and closings before they take place has never been more important. Having this intelligence is an undeniable competitive advantage, retail openings and also known as Rock Tracks, future openings and future closings, comprehensive, accurate and reliable the rock is your crystal ball and the key to making well informed decisions with confidence in today’s evolving retail climate. Welcome to retail retold everyone. Today we have with us Danny Klein. Danny is the director of digital content for food news media, which is QSR magazine and FSR. Magazine. Is that right? Danny?

That’s right.

Awesome. Danny, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about you and who you are and what you do?

Danny Klein 1:20
Yeah, so first of all, thanks for having me. So it FSR and QSR. We cover the restaurant space FSRs full service side, like services, obviously QSR. So fast casual and fast food. And then we’re b2b publications. So our audience are restaurant owners, franchisees, operators, chefs, you know, kind of running the gamut there. And personally, I’m just in charge of all our digital properties. So both of our websites, flowing the content and writing a lot of the social media, things like that. Got it?

Ressa 1:58
Well, we’ve talked before, and you are pretty plugged into the restaurant world, from the local mom and pop to the big public restaurants. Why don’t you give me a little flavor and give the audience a little flavor, from your perspective? What’s going on in the restaurant world today and start their high level?

Klein 2:17
Yeah, complicated question. But no doubt, there’s a lot of things to consider. And you know, where we stand today is very different than where we were just two, three weeks ago, you know, we were kind of at this recovery inflection, you know, especially sort of toward the back end of June, where you were starting to see a lot of diamond service coming back. And, you know, especially for first full service restaurants, there was sort of this glimmer of hope that we were, you know, seen because we were having dine in service come back, you know, 50% 75% in Texas yet, a lot of that digital sales and off premise business that they built throughout the pandemic was sticking, so you were almost kind of getting close to pre COVID levels, you know, some brands like Outback, you know, we’re almost all the way there Chili’s too. You know, but now what’s happened, of course, you know, the headlines is that you’ve got now sort of this scaling back as cases surge. So, you know, California just yesterday announced, they’re gonna re close all dining rooms, you know, you’ve got Texas rolling back to 50%. And, and sort of the question, now you have is, who else is going to close dining rooms again, you know, likely California was not, you know, the only domino to fall here, but maybe kind of the start, you know, and it reminds us a lot of ways, the early days of COVID closures, where you would have one market go down, then they just all kind of started happening until it’s basically a coast to coast national mandate. So, you know, that’s a very scary proposition, you know, it’s kind of a crossroads for a lot of restaurants, because this idea of, of basically, you know, closing, then reopening, and then closing, again, is not feasible from a lot of different angles, and it will likely erase a lot of restaurants that maybe could have made it if we weren’t at this point. So, you know, you hear this a lot, you know, from, you know, professional sports, this idea, you know, we’re, you know, if you want us to play college football, where mass kind of messaging, you know, whether or not you stand on that answer or not, you know, that’s where restaurants kind of are right now. Whereas if we don’t, you know, lower the cases, as a country, however you get there. You’re gonna lose a lot of restaurants here in the next few weeks.

Ressa 4:37
Yeah, I hope that’s not the case. But I do understand. You know, one of the one of the things you mentioned to me last week was that and I think one of the things we don’t talk about enough is the cost of reopening to some of these restaurants. And one of the things that you have Uh, you know, really enlightened me on is, it is different than opening up for the first time. And the reopening is a real big challenge. And so can you walk us through why that is, especially for the small, you know, the independent restaurants which I know you’re very plugged in with? why that’s such a costly endeavor the dangers of reopening up from a cost perspective,

Klein 5:24
right? Yes, I was talking to the CEO of the National Restaurant Association last week, and we probably focused 80% of the conversation on this topic. Because the thing is, you know, a lot of there’s so much uncertainty with reopening in terms of you don’t really understand how many guests you’re going to have or what volume is going to be like. So now you’re asking yourself, basically, if you’ve been dark for two, three months, or even shorter, you’ve got to reorder food, you’ve got, you know, some of those fixed costs, it backed up, you know, whether was rent, you know, and then typically, you know, restaurants basically face three major fixed costs, you know, rent staffing or labor, and then, you know, food costs. So, you know, what we’re sort of looking at now is, you know, how do you figure out how the staffing is going to be the rehire people? Are you bringing back people from furloughs? You know, at what level? Do you need staffing to meet whatever this new demand is in your restaurant? You know, because you have 50%, capacity tables, you know, is that all worth kind of the overhead, you know, that you’re going to pay for whatever business you’re suddenly going to do? So that’s kind of the first thing is just forecasting that and then, you know, if you order a bunch of food again, and you’re forced to reclose, you know, do you take steps to make sure it doesn’t go bad? Do you end up giving it away? Do you do grocery style programs, like we saw, kind of early on, you know, there’s just so many different costs, you know, a lot of ways, it’s almost like starting from day one, as a restaurant, except maybe now you’ve got two months of back rent, you know, on top of it, and you also aren’t expecting to have a massive, you know, grand opening, like, if you’re a new concept. So, there’s just so many factors, you know, and then the probably the, you know, the main one, too, is just, you know, all these safety measures that come with reopening in a COVID world are really expensive, you know, even something like masks cost a ton of money across a multi unit, restaurant chain, you know, especially if you’re replacing them every day, you know, then you’re trying to build Flexi less, you know, partitions, you know, those things are not free. You know, you’ve just got all these different little things that are part of you know, and also there’s training involved with the safety precautions, you know, if you have to go out and rehire new employees, I mean, there’s really kind of an extraordinary list of challenges ahead. Out of them are looking at stabilization fund aid for the government to actually do something specific for restaurants to kind of reboot the industry, you know, not really a handout, but something is designed to help them survive

Ressa 8:14
on the positive front. And some might not think from a consumer perspective is positive. But from a business perspective, you see, and we talked about this last week, you see a lot of these national chains taking advantage of the market share left behind by some of the local independence, because they’ve got more cash to be able to do that, deploy it, right.

Klein 8:39
Yeah, for sure. You’re already seeing a tool to a pretty sizable degree, you know, as far as who’s winning, you know, there were a lot of there was a pretty big divergence in the full service and quick service world, pre pandemic, and a lot of it was fueled by convenience, and, you know, digital ordering, and some of these kinds of things that have really taken off here in the last few months. So I think you’re gonna see some trends only accelerate. And one of those trends is the fact that counter service brands, you know, like a Domino’s, you know, they’re going to be in much better position to take advantage of this new world in the early going. And maybe, you know, the biggest reason for that is that they’ve got the capital. You know, I read something that you’ve seen a lot of these publicly traded restaurant companies do things to shore sort of shore up their liquidity, and one of them is drawn down on revolvers, things like that. And they really position that, you know, like, Okay, we’ve got a million dollar, or it’s probably, you know, more like a billion dollars that cash on hand to survive the pandemic. But what you have to think about that is that they don’t need that much money to do that. So a lot of these teams are actually positioning themselves to grow in a post COVID world because the real estate Beyond there being just simply, you know closure locations, there are also going to be landlords who are more willing to work with them. Chipotle has talked a lot about this where they wanted to open these drive thru locations, or Chipotle lanes, as they call them. But in the past, they faced some resistance from real estate developers, because they didn’t want to mess up the traffic or the flow through, you know, the cars, but now they’re getting, you know, green lights, because, you know, these real estate are looking for developers are really looking for anyone who, you know, can consistently pay rents. So it’s going to be a totally different dynamic. And it’s going to be one really position for these giant, quick service restaurant chains to develop in. But one thing I will say about that, you know, from a consumer perspective, you know, a case that sounds scary, he was, you know, back in the great recession period, there was something similar like that happening. And what it ended up doing eventually is creating a lot of consumer demand for a differentiated sort of better quality product. And that gave rise to the fast casual boom, that you see, you know, with the sort of those more high end like the covers of the world. So I think that’s what’s going to happen here, again, where you’re going to have this sort of Russian of big chains getting bigger. And then over time, as things start to slide back to some sense of normal, you’ll have consumers really looking for those other chains and restaurants and independents to return. And then you might see a kind of an acceleration of growth in those sectors. But for sure, in the near term, I think you’re going to see a really large slice of the independent sector get cut off from this. And it’s going to take a while for it to rebound and fast casuals to or are facing more pressure than their larger counter service quick, you know, peers just because the drive thru. So I think that’s what’s basically going to happen, especially the pizza chains, they just seem to be really kind of positioned to enter this sort of golden errors. So I think in the next two, three years, you’re going to see the quick service industry really take a leg up on the full service side. And then, like I mentioned, I do think it will eventually start to slide back. But the full service restaurants that return will be different, they’ll be more hybrid esque, you know, fine dining might be more like a club experience, you know, prices might be higher. There are a lot of things that could still happen. That’s one of the things about COVID is that we we try to predict stuff, but you know, trends are so quickly moving that it’s really difficult to really look down the road with any true accuracy.

Ressa 13:00
Yeah, I think that’s, you know, you said a lot there. It’s interesting to unpack this potential golden era you talk about of growth for the chains. I assume you mean like Put simply, are a little bit more simplistic is

Domino’s well positioned a lot of local pizzeria is or could be challenged, Domino’s is going to come in and take that market share that, you know, they’ve been trying to for years. But here’s the here’s the Domino’s obviously has been growing and done a great job over the last two decades. But you know, a company like that is positioned well to take advantage of the market share that goes from those local changes that is that fair?

Klein 13:41
Yeah. Well, pizza is actually the only segment that has a higher market share for independents than chain restaurants. So there has always been this idea that there’s a ton of whitespace for Domino’s Pizza Hut is you know, they’re kind of scaling back a little bit because they had this large red roof footprint that they needed to shrink a little bit. So Domino’s is kind of the one that has the sort of its foot on the accelerator here. You know, and they’ve got this idea I think of, I can’t remember the number maybe it’s like 9000 domestic locations they can get to. And there’s really no reason to think they can’t do that. Because the other thing you also have to consider too with the way that they operate and the way that this contactless world operates is that they really don’t need a lot of square footage to open. So I mean, if you’ve got a, you know, a tiny 150 square foot kind of, well, it’s probably going to be bigger than 1000 Tiny looks like 1000 square feet. Yeah, yeah. Well, I think I mean, I think they can probably open in half of that now. You know, they really just need a kitchen. You know, it’s kind of like, you know, a lot of restaurants look at this sort of ghost kitchen virtual kitchen model of expansion where you really just need a space to make food and then serve it out. I mean, that’s where they can Right now, too, you know, and they’ve been doing this fortress thing strategy for a few years where they cluster a market so they could cut that radius down, you know, with delivery and carry out. And, you know, like I said, there’s really no reason that that, that this isn’t an environment that actually speaks to them being able to do that more effectively. Yeah. And

Ressa 15:21
they already for years, have had the digital digital platform down pat,

Klein 15:28
right there, they’re already steps ahead of any independent testing thing. That’s the thing. That’s tough. So I think one of our staff members visited their HQ last year, and they’ve got something like 60% of their corporate employees are actually on the IT side. Which when you think about the it’s really insane

Ressa 15:48
pizza company, but 60% on the IT side, wow. Right? Well, they’re,

Klein 15:53
they’re almost more an IT company, when the pizza company and there’s nothing wrong with that, because that’s, that’s who they are. And they’re the best at it and have been for a very long time. So like, your common independent, you know, the, like, I was talking to someone a few months ago about some loan stuff. And it’s like, we don’t have a CFO on staff. Like, I’m sitting here trying to figure out whether or not to apply for a loan, you know, PPP program, and all these things. And I’m trying to work my way through this maze of legal terms, I don’t have a lawyer at it, you know, all this stuff. So it’s hard to compete, you know, in this time and age with all the regulations and things that you have in front of you with some of these giants who have, you know, access to public capital to and that’s, that’s really kind of what’s going to feel what I believe will be this quick service boom, is just the resources alone.

Ressa 16:49
So in this quick service, boom, what are the you know, you mentioned pizza, which has more independence than nationals. And clearly, Domino’s and maybe some of the other guys like Blaze and whomever might take some share, and put the accelerator on what other sectors of the restaurant in the quick serve segments do you see? ripe for growth?

Klein 17:14
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s an interesting question. You know, I think we’ve seen this already shift in the last couple months, you know, there was kind of this one reason I think pizza was doing so well, early on was the fact that it’s a comfort food, and people were kind of gravitating toward things they understood. And also, you could do a cost effectively and make it last, you know, you could order two pies, and maybe it’s two nights of food and stuff like that, because value is going to play a really big part in the coming months. Because obviously, with so many people unemployed, you know, we don’t really know what the discretionary income conversation is going to look like, are we going to be in a recession, etc? You know, that’s, that’s all another question that leans in, you know, quick services favor, but, you know, one thing I think is worth keeping an eye on is sort of these these health forward concepts, you know, like smoothie chains and, you know, Mediterranean brands, because I do think people are going to want to get back to some of the dietary things that they sort of tossed out the window these last few months, you know, I think a lot of us, you know, have quarantined Wait, you know, we’ve kind of, we kind of got off our typical routines, you know, like maybe go to work, you know, stop off at the gym on the way home and things you know, obviously, you can’t most people want to go into gyms anymore. And also, when you cook at home, you know, that’s a different process than maybe, you know, picking up a smoothie and stuff like that. So I think there is going to be a lot of growth opportunity for these type of brands. I think, you know, Tropical Smoothie is one that was already growing really rapidly out of this, you know, and they’re one that has access to capital with a accelerator fund. And so I think, I think that there will be a lot of demand for that, you know, as people start to emerge, you know, and they want contactless food and all these different things that have been going on delivery etc but yet they they kind of want to move away from the the lasagna and fried chicken things you know, although they’re always obviously be a demand for that. I think that health forward concepts are going to have a pretty a pretty big role here, you know, in the next few months, especially over the summer, where they just typically kind of, you know, over index with younger consumers who are you know, trying to go to the beach and stuff so, you know, again, we don’t really know exactly what’s going to happen with consumer demand is really elastic. But I that’s just a personal thing. I have kind of seen a little bit of you know, there isn’t a ton of data behind uh, yet, but that would be what I would keep my eye on?

Ressa 20:06
Got it? Let’s move over to the full service what what are the positives, you know, coming out of this for the full service and the sit down and I, you know, we can start with the national chains and you know, what are the positives for them coming out of this is their growth opportunities is there? Is there better technology? What are the positives?

Klein 20:29
You know, I think the technology piece is a real one, you know, I just on the chain level, I think it will usher in some things that were slower to adapt, and we’re kind of dragging the concept or the category down. This is mostly talking about things like casual dining. But, you know, I always find casual dining to be a really complicated category, because especially when it comes to technology, I was talking to a CEO in the sector recently, and, and, you know, one thing he mentioned is that, you know, we’re all doing things like, you know, contactless payment and stuff, like being able to look at the menu with a QR code on your phone, and or even ordering from your table, cutting down on pretty much, you know, as much contact as possible with servers, you know, they have a nice kind of call buttons on the table, so that they’re not doing table checks, and that you’re really seeing your server as little as possible. But one of the things I think is dangerous about that, is if we think long term, you know, hopefully, there is a time when this goes away, right? So, you know, chains are unfolding the full service space have to have a value proposition that goes beyond convenience, otherwise, the consumer is going to always struggle, understanding why should I pay more money, you know, if there’s a kiosk on my table, when I sit down, you know, at the restaurant, if I could just go to Chipotle, you know, and it’s cheaper, it’s quicker, I’m not there for an hour, you know, and I paid half as much money. So I think full service operators in that space needs to be a little bit wary of understanding what can I pull back on a few months from now, you know, when the consumer starts to demand that experience again, so that I do stand out from fast food chains, you know, but at the same time, the off premise side, things like takeout and curbside, especially, those were things that consumers wanted, that weren’t really well equipped at a lot of restaurants. You know, one brand is a breakfast chain, you know, they were still where if you wanted to do take out, the only way you could do it was by calling the restaurant. So they’ve implemented digital ordering. And that’s stuff that I think will stick. That was that first watch. It was Yeah, yeah, I’m completely fine. So it’s not like it was hurting them. But that’s an only benefit them, you know, down the road. I don’t think anyone’s gonna ever have an issue with that. Right? You know, yeah. But yeah, so they were making it. So really, the only version of takeout was if you showed up and you wanted to bring the rest of your food home, you know, they didn’t really have a program beyond that. So I think that’s going to help a lot of full service chains, you know, that they’ve seen a lot of consumers, you know, maybe they’ve tried curbside at the, at Chili’s during this, you know, and then they said, Okay, well, I’ll continue to do that maybe once a month, one this is over. So I think that element shows promise for the chains, it’s just that I think they need to balance some of the technology with the human element, you know, not get too loaded up because someone like Domino’s, there is no end to the amount of technology they can implement and be effective with. But at the end of the day, and casual dining, it’s still about sitting at the table, you know, with your friends and family and having a server and upselling you extra drinks or appetizers or desserts, and that’s still going to be you know, hospitality is still going to be the business when this is over. So it has to be technology to sort of help that along, not replace it, and work. That’s just something I think is an interesting sort of side elements of what’s happening today. It’s just trying to balance these things. So you know, we’ll see and in terms of growth, you know, that’s a hard conversation. It’s probably not all that different from the one with quick service where you might have some of the bigger chains get bigger. You know, Darden the olive gardens owner talked a little bit about that a couple of months ago, you know, where they will see you know, possibly some growth opportunities and conversions and, you know, restaurants spaces that were left behind by you know, They’re changed that didn’t make it. You know? So we’ll see, you know, I don’t know how that’s gonna unfold. I don’t really know how it’s gonna play out. But it’s definitely a bigger challenge right now for sure. Sure.

Ressa 25:15
And then lastly, what about fine dining?

Klein 25:19
Chatting with one of the more famous find any restaurants? Yeah, this was probably in March, you know, they were really talking about what this would look like later on. And and they had mentioned to me something I brought up a little bit earlier about it kind of reverting back to what it was a long time ago, which was like a almost like a special country clubs sort of experience like you would go there, you would expect to spend more money, the service would be really elevated, I mean, the category was becoming a little bit more diluted in that it was opening up to more consumers. And that wasn’t a bad thing by any means. It was actually great. But it might revert back to where it’s really only for a select kind of audience, fewer customers, but they pay more they expect better food and better service, you know, it elevates the whole category to another level. But, you know, the, the issue is just that a lot of these lifelines that have helped, you know, casual dining and, you know, operators and that sort of mid scale level, like, take out cocktails and, you know, different sort of to go kits and off premise opportunities. It just never made sense to find dining. Because if you get pick up food from a fine dining restaurant, you know, you oftentimes will end up asking yourself, you know, why did this cost so much money? Because it’s a totally different experience than you going into this really cool looking restaurant getting exceptional service, seeing the Somali ate your table, you know, all these kinds of things that made fine dining what it was and why you sat at your table for two hours. And it was like you were paying for an experience almost like going to the theater. But you know, so it just doesn’t translate to go. And that’s one of the reasons why so many of these fine dining concepts, just just chose the kind of clothes and wait it out. Because if you’re not getting that circular sort of 360 experience of fine dining, the value proposition just doesn’t work out. So

Ressa 27:29
did you see what Alinea did in Chicago? There?

Klein 27:36
I think it’s aren’t they the ones who changed the concept kind of and they’ve turned into three different restaurants or is that somebody?

Ressa 27:42
No, they’re the ones that Tim Ferriss had the CEO on their, on their on his podcast, and it was they did this unbelievable transition to delivery that actually worked and their, their average was like 350 a person before the before the pandemic and they pivoted to a comfort food, elevated comfort food delivery and they had in one weekend like one of a record sales for them. And I think it’s an interesting story to follow. Obviously, hard to replicate for most brands, but but I think you should check it out. It’s pretty awesome what they were able to accomplish and be successful.

Klein 28:29
Yeah, I mean, I think one of the great things about restaurants in general is it’s it’s always been fueled by like a entrepreneurial sort of spirits been really cool innovation throughout. And you know, but it’s just one of those things that it’s something that creative and well done is really worth applauding, but it’s not a widespread reality, unfortunately. And so I just really build that capacity. You know, conversation evolves, you know, and so we’re sitting here two months from now we have a better understanding of where we’re headed. I think that’s the hardest part there’s just so much Miss messaging and uncertainty right now that restaurants are sitting there going should I reopen? You know, will I be asked to you know, reduce capacity or am I reopening to build back up to higher capacity? And if we you know, and it’s obviously no one’s fault that we don’t know the answers to that but that’s what’s crippling a lot of people is just that that sort of gray area of

Ressa 29:33
of where are we headed? Understood makes sense. Make sense? said a lot there. What is what is one thing we haven’t talked about?

Klein 29:47
Are we covered at all? Yeah, I mean, there’s there’s always stuff that pops up I mean, we’re, you know, we’re constantly covering you know, every day that’s just feels like there’s new art, you know, things coming into lay here, you know, I want to really stress, you know, that I think, I think the government conversation is something really worth the public understanding, because a lot of people don’t really, you know, quite grasp the franchisees are also small independents, you know, just because you run, you know, a Chicken Salad Chick or something does not mean that you’re a large corporate entity. You know, so you’re, these are all still small businesses that need, you know, specialized help, right now to get through, you know, because we haven’t really seen a lot of the government regulations and different mandates that have come down the pipe, you know, they really go right at the heart of, of how restaurants make money, and yet there has not too deep in any specific aid for restaurants. So, you know, I think that’s something that needs to continue to be fought, you know, for, and I know that the Restaurant Association and other operators, the independent coalition, you know, they continue to push for this 100 $20 billion stabilization funds. And I think it’s something that really needs to happen. You know, and I just encourage people, if they’re not in the industry, to even just see if, you know, that’s something that they can, you know, really get the word out there, you know, talk to constituents, I think we all want to see restaurants survive. I think that’s my main takeaway. So I just think that we need to do everything we can to help operators understand what they need to do social distancing in their own restaurants. And also, as consumers, you know, we need to follow rules that they set out, you know, whether whether or not you want to wear a mask or not, you know, wear one when you go into the restaurant, if they require you to, you know, and I know that a lot of restaurants asked as you wear it, you know, at the door, and when you walk in, but you can take it off when you’re eating, you know, just follow the rules. You know, because it might result in in that local spot that you’ve been going to for 10 years, just making it so I think we as consumers, and you know, restaurant, industry, folks just need to both do everything we can to keep, you know, some of these brands alive.

Ressa 32:25
As my father would tell me, Christopher, just do what you’re told.

Klein 32:31
It’s somewhere else that be defiant.

Ressa 32:35
So you mentioned the and I’ve seen this in headline news 100 150,000 Restaurant closures. Do you have any visibility to how many restaurants have permanently closed to date since the pandemic started?

Klein 32:47
Yeah, I mean, there’s been things that have come out there. I think the only one that I really seen, as you know, Yelp had something recently trying to find the number here. Exactly. I think it was, it was over 20,000 Maybe. But yeah, it’s it’s kind of hard to judge right now. I don’t think that anyone’s going to know for a while. So yeah, they so Yelp said that this was maybe two weeks ago, three weeks ago, that 23,981 were marked temporarily or permanently closed. And of those 53% said permanently. But you know, the thing about that number, is that, you know, you have to actually if you’re a restaurant owner, go into your Yelp page and Mark, you know, permanently closed. And so the number is probably much higher than that, because probably not your priority to do, right, right. They’re just like, well, you know, crap, I. So I’m thinking like, I want to go in here and flip this switch. A lot of those temporary restaurants probably, you know, might be also permanently closed, but just haven’t taken that extra step to go there and mark that. And also, you know, Yelp, while it’s a massive network is not telling you the entire story, but that just gives you a little bit of a slice of, so I guess that’s, you know, that’s something like 12,000 or so or, yeah, I guess it’s about 12,000 permanently closed at this point in time. Corneal and that’s the only number we’ve seen to date. You know, as far as a semi concrete one

Ressa 34:28
last thing, Danny, what is and this is going to be a challenge given you’re inundated by the news every day and talking to in the weeds and some people what is the what are you most excited about coming out of this for the restaurant industry?

Klein 34:47
On the positive side is, you know, I do think that this will usher in a lot of features and consumer possibilities that are really be beneficial to people. You know, I think the contactless ordering, you know, the delivery side of this, I think that that has the opportunity to improve, you know, through first party services, and, you know, maybe get a little bit away from the third party domination that we saw, you know, before this, and I think that’s better for the consumer, because it’s far more cost effective. And, you know, maybe the quality control is better. And, you know, I think curbside is a really great opportunity. You know, I know personally, that’s pretty much the only way I’ve been dining for the last four months is, you know, pulling up and someone dropping the food in my car. But I think that’s great for consumers. And I think there will be some restaurant chains, they’re really have a chance to take off from this, one of them is, you know, that we hear a lot about is Papa John’s and, and they were really kind of struggling a little bit, you know, over the last couple of years, because they were dealing with some consumer sentiment problems stemming from, you know, their founder call bell and, and so they’ve been really able to rebound. You know, they were kind of already on the way back with a new CEO ahead of this, but they broke, you know, company records for for sales in three straight months, or I think it was two straight. And then the third would have been a record, if not for the previous two. And so for someone like that, you know, this is probably going to end up being beneficial to them, because it’ll bring back consumers that they lost, because during the pandemic, people turn to them because there were fewer options, and they were looking for things they were familiar with. And also restaurants that they could digitally order from and use an app and pick up and all that kind of stuff. So I think that some of those restaurant chains that were maybe fighting through some of the noise, you know, in the oversaturated, you know, competitive landscape of wave service, I think they have the opportunity here to have really won over a lot of guests for a long time, you know, consumer loyalty was kind of blurring. You know, millennials are not all that brand loyal, generally speaking. And I think COVID offered the opportunity to change that, because people will remember the restaurant chains that they turn to during the pandemic. And also, they will remember the type of things that that restaurant did to help employees in the community. And there’s been a lot of examples of that, you know, come out in the last few months, and I, you know, like Texas Roadhouse is CO has really sort of blazed the trail a little bit with giving his money back to employees, he hasn’t been taking a salary, you know, he’s been using his salary to basically keep hourly employees on the front lines. And, and I think stuff like that will have a lingering effect, because there are going to be fewer restaurants to choose from. So that’s going to create a world where restaurants can thrive, you know, a little bit maybe more than they were before, when we were dealing with a lot of declining traffic, just because there were so many choices. So there are going to be winners that come out of this, and then there are going to be losers. That’s just how this works. And so for the winners, I think this will end up being something that solidified their brand positioning, you know, they really leaned into who they were and that equity and the history they had with core guests. And now they’re going to have a chance to simply speak to new guests they didn’t have before who were going to places that no longer exists. So so that’s that’s something that I think is exciting for a lot of brands.

Ressa 38:58
Yeah, that’s that’s a really interesting perspective. And I agree. We’ll end it there and and we’ll pivot to the retail wisdom. Really, really simple questions. Tell me when you’re ready, Danny, I think I’m ready. All right. First question. Extinct retailer or restaurant extinct restaurant you wish would come back from the dead.

Klein 39:37
There was an Italian place that we used those go to for kind of like special occasions called La Traviata. And I don’t even remember if it was good, I just remember that it was like our birthday spot. And so I kind of miss those sort of places, you know, but he I can only think of a chain Is this gone away?

Ressa 40:01
Ha, give me the what’s it called La La Traviata.

Klein 40:05
Maybe butchering the name

Ressa 40:09
of Traviata in Brooklyn, New York. There we go. Last question we were talking about a lot today. What is a large

14 inch cheese plain pizza hand tossed cost at Domino’s

Klein 40:29
Well, I don’t know about a 14 inch but I just know that they’re they’re famous carry it out deals that 799 deal but

Ressa 40:36
that is the 799 deal is the 12 inch and I will I’ll give you credit your winner that is accurate on the 12 inch.

Klein 40:45
That’s that’s been their, their calling card for a long time and no one. I mean, it’s tough to compete with that. Yeah,

Ressa 40:54
it’s a great deal. All right, Danny. Well, listen. Thanks for coming on. This was great. I hope you enjoyed man.

Klein 41:01
Yeah, no Thanks for Thanks for having me.

Ressa 41:08
Thank you for listening to retail retold. If you want to share a story about a retail real estate deal that you are a part of on our show. Please reach out to us at retail retold at DLC This show highlights the stories behind the deals from all perspectives. So it doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, broker, entrepreneur, architect or an attorney. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to retail retold so you don’t miss out on next Thursday’s episode

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