Back in 1995, fast casual was more of a novelty than an industry. The term itself — “fast casual” — was barely known outside of industry insiders.
One of those industry insiders was Louis Basile. Basile opened Wildflower Bread Company in 1995 in Scottsdale, Ariz., after spending 13 years as a vice president with Au Bon Pain. He’s since grown Wildflower — “Bread Company” was dropped in a rebrand a few years back — to 16 locations, all in Arizona, and has witnessed three decades’ worth of innovation come and go for the fast-casual category.
Basile recently sat down with Nation’s Restaurant News’ editor-in-chief at the Prosper Forum in Amelia Island, Fla., for the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to take stock of how far the fast-casual industry has come — and to offer a glimpse at which industry issues still weigh on his mind.
In this conversation you’ll learn more about why:
- Even small innovations can grow into game-changing revolutions
- Fast casual is like fine dining but giving the guest their time back
- Fast casual is a cross section of American consumers who still expect hospitality
- Restaurant operators should be more worried about the future of supply
- Everyday affordability is the first thing you should worry about when growing your brand
- Your building costs have to be in line with your value proposition
- By teaching your people to communicate and receive feedback, you can unlock their potential
Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].