Veteran restaurateur David Grossman has created his serial success by working at notable franchises like Subway and DMK Burger Bar. His experience in the hospitality industry sparked an entrepreneurial passion to start his very own company. David’s latest endeavor is being the President and CEO of Epic Burger, a specialty burger restaurant with a mindful approach to cuisine that has seven locations in Chicago.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- David Grossman discusses the importance mindful food has in his life and business
- The idea behind the Epic AF Challenge
- David shares the key factors to turning around a struggling franchise
- Find solutions to the pandemic’s long-term impact that suit your business
- David’s insights on making his business enthusiasm resonate across multiple locations
In this episode…
In this episode of the SpotOn Series, Chad Franzen is joined by David Grossman, President and CEO of Epic Burger. They discuss the powerful impact of personal values in creating a long-lasting brand, establishing exciting traditions for customers, and overcoming the persisting effects of the pandemic. David goes on to share his expert tips on turning a struggling restaurant around and how to spread team enthusiasm in a multi-unit business.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Sponsor for this episode
Today’s episode is brought to you by SpotOn. SpotOn has transformed the merchant service industry by providing the tools and support your business deserves at a price that puts money back into your pocket!
SpotOn’s team wants to empower all of their merchants by merging payment processing with simple customer engagement tools, all in one easy-to-use platform. As a business owner, you are focused on managing your daily operations and engaging your customers. You don’t have the time, energy, or excess funds to devote to multiple complicated platforms! That’s why SpotOn is focused on helping you build long-lasting customer loyalty while saving you time and money through our all in one system.
Whether you are a merchant or a consumer, SpotOn wants to be more than an average payment processor. SpotOn aims to exceed your expectations by valuing simplicity, maintaining flexibility, and celebrating innovative collaboration. Let SpotOn help you do business the right way.
Partner with SpotOn today! Visit spoton.com today to schedule your free demo or to view SpotOn’s products. You can also call SpotOn at 877.814.4102 at any time. Let SpotOn help you make the difference with your business!
At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.
We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.
When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.
The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.
We make distribution easy.
We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.
Co-founders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Co-founders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show, powered by Rise25 Media. We featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.
Chad Franzen 0:20
Chad Franzen here, co-host for the show where we feature top restaurant tours, investors and business leaders. This is part of our SpotOn Series. SpotOn has the best-in-class payment platform for retail and they have a flagship solution called SpotOn Restaurant, where they combined marketing software and payments all in one. They’ve served everyone from larger chains like Dairy Queen and Subway to small mom-and-pop restaurants. To learn more, go to spoton.com This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help b2b businesses to get ROI clients referrals and strategic partnerships through Dunphy podcasts. If you have a b2b business and one of those great relationships from clients referrals, referral for referral partners thought leaders in your space, there’s no better way to do it than through podcasts and content marketing to learn more, go to rise25.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. David Grossman is a Chicago native and a lifelong player in the restaurant industry. From his first job in high school working at a local pizza shop. He knew the restaurant industry would be his future. He spent seven years working at Subway opening up over 150 restaurants in the Chicagoland area, and then another 13 years at General Growth Properties where he ran a restaurant leasing team. These experiences gave him the entrepreneurial desire to form his own company and acquire the rights to Freshii where he opened 39 locations around Chicagoland before selling in 2018. In 2020, he bought an existing burger chain called Epic Burger and is focusing on growing that chain, which currently has seven units. I’ve spoken to him once before, and I’m pleased to welcome them back to the podcast. Hey, David, how are you doing?
David Grossman 1:51
Hey, great, Chad. How are you? Good. Thanks.
Chad Franzen 1:53
Hey, it’s nice to talk to you again. So just kind of tell me a little bit about Epic Burger. And when a customer might expect when going there.
David Grossman 2:02
Well Epic Burger founded in Chicago in 2008, our tagline, which maybe a lot of people don’t know what it really means our tagline is a more mindful burger. And it really goes back to how our food is sourced. Now where we get our meat or chicken or turkey. It’s all premium, no antibiotics or beef. And our chicken is halal certified, which I’m not sure if you know what halal is, we can get into it if you want. But it’s a process in how animals are raised, fed, processed and delivered. It’s a more humane way of treating and processing an animal. And we care about not only how our food is processed and delivered to us, we try to buy local, but we care about how our stores are designed. We care about our people, we care about how we hire promote from within. We care about energy, we care about our packaging. So more mindful burger is something that I want everyone to know about. And know what it means because it really means a lot to us. It’s why we’re in this business. And it’s what makes Epic Burger really so unique and special.
Chad Franzen 3:11
Yeah, it sounds like it. You know, there are a lot of restaurants who don’t kind of pride themselves on on a more more mindful food, I guess, why is that important to you?
David Grossman 3:21
Okay, I like I care about what I eat. I care about what my families I care about what my customers eat. You know, so you know, when Epic was founded, and they only served halau beef, and only, you know, source vegetables and various products from local farmers. It really resonated with people. So again, a hamburger isn’t something that you should eat every day. Don’t get me wrong again, an Epic Burger, we’ve got a veggie burger, burger and grilled chicken sandwich. But if you’re going to eat a burger, it might as well be quality beef, premium ingredients. And it might as well be an Epic Burger.
Chad Franzen 4:04
So I was looking at your website, and this is probably not something you’d want to do every day. But tell me about this epic, Epic AF Challenge that you have going and how you came up with that idea.
David Grossman 4:14
Yeah, so we again, I wanted to bring some fun back into the restaurant business. So we created the Epic AF Challenge and as as you know, stands for about food. Or you think about food, okay, in case any kids are listening. So basically we we launched that in January. And basically it’s to double bacon cheeseburgers, two orders of fries and order of chicken tenders. In order sweet potato fries, and a milkshake. I believe that the cost is $39.99 which is really an incredible value. It’s not a moneymaker. And if you finish that amount of food and 20 minutes and eight seconds, which is the year we were founded 2008 you become a member of our Epic AF Hall of Fame, you get this really cool Epic AF t-shirt. And you know, so your friends come in, they cheer you on. And it’s really designed to bring some fun back into our restaurants and and just kind of get get get on board with the whole food Challenge. Can you put your conversation? You’ve had several we’ve had several winners all different ages, men and women. Yeah, there’s been people that people have finished it like 10 minutes. It’s been a really, wow. See, people come in, they stretch out, they wear a headband, they get all focused, and they they get after it. They take this very seriously. So we’ve had a few professionals come in and try it. We’d love to get Joey Chestnut to come in and try it. But I have not tried it. You
Chad Franzen 6:00
have not tried it. I feel like I feel like the milkshake would be a big stumbling block for me. You know,
David Grossman 6:05
it’s funny originally when we designed it, we did we tested it without the milkshake. And we had these four young you know, 20 something year old kids come in and eat it. In three of the four all four finished it three of the four actually asked for a milkshake afterwards to wash it down. And I’m like you really like Yeah. And they drink it. So we added that to the mix, which we’re happy about because it really represents our entire menu you get some burgers and fries and potato fries and chicken tenders and milkshake. Come and really try everything and epic for you know, $39.99 price point. You do it you get this really cool t-shirt. And you’ll have some fun at the same time.
Chad Franzen 6:48
Yeah, sounds good. Hey, you so you purchased Epic Burger in 2020. As I mentioned in your intro, I spoke with you about a year ago. How will things kind of changed for you since then? Or how was Epic Burger changed? What issues have arisen things like that?
David Grossman 7:02
Yeah, well, I mean, it’s been two years during a pretty difficult time. But for the most part, we really fix our menu. Our menu was really broken previous management company, previous ownership, kind of tried to cut some corners and they shrunk the patty. They shrunk the bong and cut some corners with adding pickles and tomatoes on burgers and no whipped cream on milkshakes. And I certainly don’t want to bash you know, the previous owners, but we fixed the menu, completely fixed it. And we’ve remodeled a handful of stores. You know, four of the seven stores are completely remodeled, and they look great. I really the brand was somewhat neglected. The employee morale wasn’t there. So, so two things last year, we entered into this hamburger half competition. I’m not sure if we talked about that last year. We actually won last year. And the hamburger Hoppel event is this Friday, and we are no one’s ever want to back to back. We were invited back. There’s only 14 restaurants who were invited. Now we’re the only fast-casual chain. All of the other chefs are white tablecloth, serious chefs it’s all part of the Chicago gourmet event that’s taking place in Chicago this weekend. Hamburger hop is sold out. So we want to win it again this Friday. So we’re excited about that. And then the other thing is, you know again, last year was my one year anniversary with epic so we did the anniversary event. The first epic really opened in May 2008. But my anniversary September so we celebrated 13 years last year we did these $1 burgers, who picked one day we did a $1 burger and it was just awesome. It was madness for one day. Wow. So this year to celebrate our 14th anniversary, the entire month of September. Every Thursday we’re doing a $5 Burger, which is basically $5 off. So we’ve done the cowboy. We’ve done the honey hot chicken, we’ve done the garden veggie ranch. Tomorrow is the cercado which is Turkey, avocado, grilled onions, cheddar cheese on a wheat bun. And then next Thursday is our epic classic burger. We’re going to finish the month. So every Thursday in September $5 burgers and $2 fries. So it’s $1 off an order of fries. So we’re having some fun with Epic. We’re engaging our staff and we’re engaging our storefronts. We added outdoor seating and flowers and plants and trash cans to a number of our locations which just didn’t exist for the last two years. So again, like the Epic AF we’re trying to bring fun back into the business. Bring our food quality back to where it was in 2008. And really, it’s just all about creating a great experience for our guests to come in and have a great meal and get a good value, hopefully smile on their way out and have some fun.
Chad Franzen 10:09
What is kind of the key I guess to, you know, taking over a brand that maybe is thought of by employees as a not the greatest place to work, maybe by customers, as as, as, you know, being a little bit disappointing, as you kind of talked about, what’s the key to kind of turning things around in the minds of everybody?