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Dog Haus, Wow Bao, Big Chicken leaders share how restaurants stay innovative

Andre Vener, Geoff Alexander, and Josh Halpern discuss how they’re balancing fast growth with innovation.


Dog Haus, Wow Bao, and Big Chicken have each made an impression on the fast-casual industry in recent years through innovative business models.

Each has also scaled quickly. Dog Haus has around 60 locations with hopes to open 50 more in the next two years; Wow Bao scaled its “dark kitchen” virtual model to around 700 locations in three years; and the Shaquille O’Neal-founded Big Chicken has 26 units open with 300 in the pipeline.

Three of their leaders — Andre Vener, cofounder of Dog Haus; Geoff Alexander, president and CEO of Wow Bao; and Josh Halpern, CEO of Big Chicken — sat down individually with NRN’s editor-in-chief for the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to discuss their ongoing efforts to both innovate and grow. Their conversations provide a fascinating look at how exciting young brands can scale while protecting the authenticity of the ideas that made them exciting in the first place.

In these conversations, you’ll learn more about:

  • Tech innovation requires smart tech minds in your leadership positions
  • Carryout innovation is key to alleviating fee fatigue
  • You can’t grow without innovation
  • Innovation isn’t without bumps in the road; how you navigate those bumps ultimately decides your fate
  • Culture is hard to develop once you’re at scale, so start early
  • Your workforce is probably Gen Z, so train them as such
  • If you authentically try to meet your teams where they are, they’ll give you the benefit of the doubt

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

TAGS: Fast Casual
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