Skip navigation

For California based Farmer Boys, it’s OK if restaurant technology is invisible

A sense of “philoxenia” — or making friends with strangers — is far more important


Any customer who walked into a restaurant today is likely to see all the bells and whistles of the tech revolution on full display — tablets, kiosks, digital menuboards and the like.  

But while the vast majority of restaurant companies have made investments into those new technologies, not every company believes they need to be front and center to the guest experience.

California-based Farmer Boys is one such company. The fast-casual chain, which was founded in 1981 and has grown to more than 100 locations in three states, has employed new tools to make its drive-thru and dine-in experiences faster and more efficient, but president Dave Wetzel said he doesn’t mind those tools essentially being invisible.

Instead, Wetzel said, the company prioritizes a sense of “philoxenia.” The brand was founded by five brothers from the island nation of Cyprus, and they embedded that Greek term — which refers to making friends with strangers — into the DNA of Farmer Boys, practiced in the deep commitment to hospitality. 

Wetzel joined Nation’s Restaurant News’ editor in chief Sam Oches on the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to discuss that strategy and how the 40-year-old brand keeps up with modern innovations.

In this episode, you’ll find out why:

  • It pays to remember that we’re all in this together
  • It’s important to hold onto your core as you scale and evolve
  • Your tech adaptation does not have to be front and center to your guests
  • Your innovation should be determined by relevancy to your guest
  • Grow how you need to grow, not how you’re expected to grow

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

TAGS: Fast Casual
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.