Veteran corporate chef Mike Gieseman has spent the past year as director of culinary innovation for the REGO Restaurant Group, parent company of Quiznos and Taco Del Mar.
His job has changed a bit since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the restaurants have rolled out whole new categories of offerings. Quiznos, which currently has 393 of its 406 North American restaurants open, has started selling its deli meats and cheeses by the pound, along with loaves of bread, plus bulk quantities of sauce, soup and condiments.
Taco Del Mar, meanwhile, has rolled out meal kits so guests can assemble their own tacos, nachos and burritos at home — an idea that franchisees hadn’t really taken to in the past, but that makes perfect sense now as guests are sheltering in place.
Currently 82 of Taco Del Mar’s 86 restaurants are open.
In this podcast, Gieseman discusses these new offerings as well as the challenges of menu development during an economic and public health crisis — including the fact that franchisees are already busy trying to keep their finances in order and retrofitting their restaurants according to new guidelines and don’t have time to train their staff on new items.
Sourcing has also become more problematic, and Gieseman is candid about some near-misses that the chains have faced.
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