Friends of Branded!
Happy Saturday and I hope everyone had a great week.
The title of this week’s edition and the photo needs to be addressed right out of the gate.
Over the past (almost) 3 years of writing the Hospitality Headline, I’ve been fortunate to receive a wealth and array of feedback and comments. Please know, I welcome, appreciate, and value any and all feedback and comments. The connection this weekend-read has created between Branded, and our growing community, is one of the joys and absolute favorite things about my work at Branded.
So what’s with the title “The Dude Abides” and a photo of Jeff Bridges as The Dude in the 1998 crime drama film, The Big Lebowski?
Quite simply, in last week’s edition of the H^2, I included, for the very first time in the history of the H^2, a reference to the film The Big Lebowski (and readers of the H^2 know that I’ve made MANY movie references).
No single photo has ever generated as much feedback, responses, and genuine joy. My favorite comment, a nod to one of the greatest Saturday Night Live skits of all time, More Cowbell, featuring Will Ferrel and Christopher Walken engaging in a dialogue, that will live-on forever (or at least for as long as I’m alive and bantering with my friends and family) a reader wrote to me with a simple demand for “We need more Dude!”
The obvious response therefore had to be the all-time legendry reference to this film - The Dude Abides. Also, for those that have ever been on a video call with Schatzy, you might have noticed at least one similarity between the title photo above and Schatzy's backdrop (IYKYK). 😊
After bringing the Dude into the title and photo for this week’s edition, it wasn’t possible for me NOT to make it part of the Top of the Fold section, so please indulge me.
What is the meaning of the Dude Abides? "The Dude Abides" means that the Dude always lives in a state of “dudeness.” He doesn't worry about anything, and he just accepts life for what it is.
That’s NOT a philosophy I’ve been known to embrace or live by for so many reasons. Mainly b/c I’m a competitive person, but one that’s also always been obsessed with fairness.
When I started looking deeper and thinking about the meaning of The Dude Abides, it’s actually not incongruent with my competitive spirit and obsession with fairness, b/c The Dude Abides suggests that if we always insist on fairness, we may well lose our minds. For the Dude, this is HIS mantra to live by and what he needs to find inner peace (and shouldn’t we all have a mantra and strive for inner peace)?
As I went even deeper down a rabbit hole in an effort to learn more “The Dude Abides,” I discovered that it’s a reference to Ecclesiastes 1:4 in the Bible: “One generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth abides forever.” (Yes, I had to Google this)
We’ve all heard many times (b/c it’s absolutely true) that life isn’t fair. The Dude understands that and while he may have an existence without worrying about anything, maybe a more real and balanced meaning of “The Dude Abides” is the well understood expression of “not sweating the small stuff” (which is often followed with adage, “and it’s all small stuff”).
The other side of “don’t sweat the small stuff” is to focus on what’s most important! That’s a message two dear friends of mine have made sure to remind me of, especially when things can be less than easy (or maybe even difficult) and they see that I need reminding. Focus on what matters. Focus on what’s most important. Maybe that’s what “The Dude Abides” really means, a combination of don’t sweat the small stuff and focus on what’s most important.” I like that.
We all have stresses, challenges, and it's true that no one knows what each of us are going through at any given time. Be kind to yourself and be kind to others. Take joy where you can find it, celebrate milestones (both big and small) and be empathetic. I believe this combination will allow you to embrace your best state of dudeness!
In the immortal words of Steve Buscemi, as Theodore Donald “Donny” Kerabatsos, “Thanks Dude.”
This week’s shoutout goes to our friends, hosts and all the amazing industry folks attending the Prosper Forum down at Amelia Island, Florida, starting tomorrow (Sunday, August 28th).
Branded is not shy about its belief in the value of in-person gatherings and I dare say we’ve been prolific participants in an array of conferences & events (and the conference season is fully loaded between now and year-end).
One of the things I find unique about the Prosper Forum is the intentionality in which they’ve gone about bringing a community of diverse foodservice and hospitality leaders & influencers together.
What you won’t see at this Forum is an Exhibition Hall or an attendee list dominated by vendors. Please know, Branded loves meeting vendors at conferences and I would put forward that the word “vendor” synonymous with the very emerging technology & innovation companies that we invest in and comprise our portfolio. Industry conferences are important events for Branded as it affords us the opportunity to efficiently meet new companies and creates a most ideal opportunity for us to boast and show-off our existing portfolio companies to other conference attendees.
Similar to our enthusiasm for managing funds comprised of diversified tech & innovation companies, we also embrace diversification in the conferences we attend, and the Prosper Forum is a truly unique and differentiated event.
At the Prosper Forum, foodservice and hospitality executives & operators dominate the attendee list and I so appreciate that the Prosper leadership team went out of its way to be inclusive of companies both large and small. Beyond sheer size, as an alum of the same university as one of my daughter’s favorite actors, songwriters, filmmakers, and playwrights, Lin-Manuel Miranda, I also value and appreciate the intentionality in which Prosper is embracing diversity, equity and inclusion. The attendees and specifically the agenda & speakers make it clear that such is an important part of Prosper’s mission and therefore has a meaningful place and role at this event (and our industry needs to raise our game here).
There are too many industry leaders, influencers, companies, and brands to mention here, so in the spirit of a picture saying a thousand words (and I know that absolutely no one wants me to increase this section by another thousand words), here is Branded’s shoutout to all the companies & people that have embraced the Prosper Forum and are heading down to Amelia, Florida.
Readers of the H^2 know what and where the words, "it takes a village" come from and why these words mean so much to me.
If you want to see the power of a community, I think the below image says an awful lot about this industry that the Branded Team loves so much.
For those attending the Prosper Forum (or for those that are curious about Branded’s presence at the event), here’s a link to the short one-pager we’re bringing with us (we travel light 😊).
Answer also revealed at the end of the newsletter
By: Julia Suchocki, Partner at Branded Hospitality Ventures
In an era marked by groundbreaking transformations, marketing has seamlessly intertwined itself with sales teams, evolving into a key player in revenue generation across various industries. Projections indicate that global digital ad spending is poised to exceed $600 billion this very year. Food and beverage companies in particular spend around $14 billion per year on advertising just in the US! Read More
MAXIMIZE VALUE, IMPROVE PERFORMANCE
Learn how the Hospitality Industry advisors from CohnReznick can put you at the forefront of advanced financial, operational, and risk management strategies.
By: Julia Suchocki, Partner at Branded Hospitality Ventures
In the midst of this digital revolution Branded partner MarginEdge, a Virginia-based restaurant management and bill payment platform, is making significant strides with its innovative solutions. The company recently unveiled its mobile bill payment platform, MarginEdge Bill Pay, as a part of its broader initiative to offer complete operational fluidity to its clients. Read More
Robert Irvine Foundation
Supports and strengthens the physical and mental well-being of our service members, veterans, first responders, and their families.
FINANCE & DEALS
By: Noah Stern, Associate at Branded Hospitality Ventures
This past Thursday, one of the largest restaurant acquisition announcements of recent memory took place. Roark Capital and Subway agreed to a deal for a reported $9.6 billion in which the private equity group will take ownership over the behemoth sandwich company. Subway has gone through a true transition over the past few years, ultimately resulting in this acquisition. Read More
Restaurant Industry Movers in the Market
—Data as of 8/25/2023
By: Rev Ciancio, Head of Revenue Marketing at Branded Hospitality Ventures
If you knew you would make $300-$500 at each of your restaurant locations every time you sent an email to your guests, how many emails would you send? Read More
Hospitality Hangout with Samir Zabaneh, CEO and Chairman of TouchBistro
IN THE NEWS
Hospitality Tech and F&B Innovation IN THE NEWS:
We love to highlight Food Service & Hospitality news, especially when it’s Partners & Friends making it!
- Incentivio: Mastering Menu Design for Enhanced Revenue in Your Restaurant
- Leasecake: White Castle Unwrapped: How Technology Helps Manage 300+ Locations
- Ovation: Increasing Orders on Autopilot With Gary Chaglasyan
- Brizo: 3 Things to Consider While Selling Your Technology to Restaurants
And in other News…please see some of the stories that caught our attention and that we’re paying attention to. This week was loaded with headlines and news!!
- FSR Magazine: Red Robin Knows Exactly How It Will Build Back Traffic
- Restaurant Business: Roark Capital has a deal to buy Subway
- Nation's Restaurant News: Taco Bell adds another Cantina to its portfolio
- Business Wire: TouchBistro Launches Suite of Back-of-House Solutions to Help Restaurants Control Costs and Increase Profit Margins
- Reuters: Indian food delivery firm Swiggy restarts IPO plans, aims for 2024 listing, sources say
- MarketWatch: Sandwich maker Subway near $10 billion deal to be sold to private-equity firm: report
"Animal Style" isn't actually on the menu — it's a well-known hack from the secret menu. It's basically regular In-N-Out fries but topped with cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and grilled onions.
ASK THE HEADLINE
🔍 Got Questions? We've Got Answers! 🌟
Satisfy your thirst for knowledge? Look no further! It's time to dive into our brand-new segment: "Ask The Headline"! 🎉
📅 We'll be answering YOUR questions every week. And here's the best part: you can choose to stay anonymous or receive a fabulous shout-out when we feature your question!
That’s it for today!
See you next week, (about the) same bat-time, same bat-channel.