Top Business Leaders Show-logo

Top Business Leaders Show

Business & Economics Podcasts

This is the Top Business Leaders Show powered by Rise25 Media. We feature top founders, executives, and leaders from all over the world.


United States


This is the Top Business Leaders Show powered by Rise25 Media. We feature top founders, executives, and leaders from all over the world.




[SpotOn Series] Serving Up Innovation With Markus Pineyro, Co-Founder of oomi Digital Kitchen

Markus Pineyro is oomi Digital Kitchen's Co-founder, a dedicated entrepreneur and visionary leader with 18 years of experience in the restaurant industry. His journey began with the founding of Dallas-based Urban Taco in 2007, showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit. In 2020, Markus ventured into the world of digital innovation by co-founding oomi Digital Kitchen, a delivery-only kitchen that leverages technology to provide efficient and contactless dining experiences. In this episode… Restaurants are always looking for ways to improve their process and keep their menu fresh. What often-unappreciated data can be used to both improve day-to-day performance and lead to new menu ideas or even new restaurant brands? According to oomi Co-founder Markus Pineyro, customer feedback is of paramount importance to his brand's success. From personal interactions during food pickups to leveraging transaction data for targeted follow-ups, the strategy addresses positive and negative feedback alike. Markus emphasizes a hands-on troubleshooting process to identify and resolve issues, and he highlights the significance of turning dissatisfied customers into loyal patrons. Moreover, oomi actively listens to its customer base, whose feedback helps shape the brand’s offerings and innovations, exemplified by the creation of popular concepts like Love Bowls, Clucky's, and Hot Lips through customer polls and order analysis. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Markus Pineyro, Co-founder of oomi Digital Kitchen, joins Rise25’s Chad Franzen to discuss his restaurant journey, oomi’s unique approach as a delivery-only kitchen, its diverse menu crafted from customer feedback, and how to address negative reviews.


[SpotOn Series] Coastal Vibes and Authenticity With Jonathan Weathington, CEO of Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar

Jonathan Weathington is the CEO of Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar, a fresh seafood and cold beer concept with locations spanning the Carolinas, Georgia, Maryland, Florida, and Illinois. Featured on the cover of FSR magazine and making appearances on Good Morning America, Jonathan has garnered recognition in esteemed publications like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Nation’s Restaurant News. His no-nonsense approach to hospitality and business is reflected in the authentic coastal experience Shuckin' Shack offers, where customers are welcomed with a casual atmosphere reminiscent of a coastal dive bar. Jonathan's unconventional journey, from earning a master's in international relations to his diverse background in retail and customer service, uniquely positioned him to lead Shuckin' Shack to success. In this episode… Some restaurants are known as staples within their communities. Even as a franchise, it’s possible to be known as a unique place to be. How can someone in an executive role shape the vibe in a franchise with multiple locations? According to Jonathan Weathington, his executive leadership style at Shuckin' Shack is characterized by authenticity and hands-on engagement. With a no-nonsense attitude, he prioritizes clear messaging and a focus on exceptional customer service, shaping a culture that resonates with the concept's authentic coastal experience. His commitment to actively participating in new store openings, working in the kitchen, and maintaining a direct connection with frontline employees reflects a leadership approach that goes beyond the traditional CEO role. Moreover, Jonathan's dedication to values and charitable causes reinforces the culture of authenticity and community support that defines Shuckin' Shack. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Rise25's Chad Franzen welcomes Jonathan Weathington, CEO of Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar, for insights into his straightforward attitude towards hospitality. Jonathan details his unconventional journey, from a master's in international relations to restaurant CEO. He discusses the authentic experience at Shuckin' Shack, highlights the brand’s unique market positioning as the largest oyster bar chain, and delves into its commitment to community support.


[SpotOn Series] A Family Feel in Barbecue With Jeff Kennedy, Founding Partner at Moe's Original BBQ

Jeff Kennedy is Founding Partner at Moe's Original BBQ, a venture that began in 2001 as an effort to bring Southern flavors to the mountains of Colorado. Armed with a marketing degree from the University of Alabama, Jeff's journey has been a fusion of culinary passion and a commitment to creating spaces that exude comfort and inclusion. His focus on hospitality aligns with his belief in the importance of crafting not just meals, but experiences. When he’s not shaping the barbecue scene, Jeff enjoys outdoor adventures with his wife Meredith and two daughters, savoring good food and creating lasting memories together. In this episode… Within the competitive landscape of the restaurant industry, brands are always on the lookout for ways they can set themselves apart from the competitors within their niche. Of course great food is a must, but what else can keep a customer coming back? According to Moe’s Original BBQ Founding Partner Jeff Kennedy, the unique family-centric approach that defines his brand is just as valuable as the food. The emphasis on treating both employees and customers as an extension of the Moe's family creates a distinctive and close-knit connection within the franchise. The atmosphere that permeates each restaurant makes Moe's more than just a franchise, Jeff says; it's a collective of friends and family. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Rise25’s Chad Franzen welcomes Jeff Kennedy, Founding Partner at Moe’s Original BBQ, to discuss the reasons behind Moe’s two-decade run of success. Jeff shares how he and his partners introduced Southern-style barbecue to the Rocky Mountain region after moving west from Alabama. He also reveals how the brand has built on its food foundation by evolving with technology and maintaining a familial atmosphere which appeals to employees and customers alike.


[SpotOn Series] Retaining Employees in a High Turnover Industry With James Choi, Owner of Cafe Dulce

James Choi is the Owner of Cafe Dulce and a seasoned entrepreneur with a unique journey. Initially aspiring for a career in the PGA Tour, James found himself on a different path, obtaining his CPA license and working at Ernst & Young. Drawing upon his entrepreneurial spirit, he assisted his mother in launching various small businesses, including a chocolate boutique in Zurich, Switzerland. Today, as the visionary behind Cafe Dulce, James has expanded the brand to five locations, and he's not stopping there — his other entrepreneurial endeavors include a new superette concept and a jiu jitsu fight club. Employee turnover has been an issue for restaurant owners to contend with for years. Through a combination of a supportive culture, fair compensation, and dedicated leadership, some restaurateurs have been fortunate to retain a loyal and skilled team. At Cafe Dulce, the commitment to building a strong team is evident in the longevity of key staff members. For instance, the manager of their second location has been with the brand for a decade. Owner James Choi attributes this remarkable employee retention to a focus on fostering a positive workplace culture. He emphasizes his personal dedication, working alongside his team and sharing the challenges with them. Financial well-being is also a priority, and James acknowledges the importance of fair compensation. He shares an example of an hourly employee without a college degree earning a six-figure income due to their indispensable role in the business. Additionally, Cafe Dulce's commitment to employee development and support echoes Tony Hsieh's philosophy, aiming to retain and coach staff rather than resorting to terminations. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, James Choi, Owner of Cafe Dulce, joins Rise25’s Chad Franzen for a conversation about the unique origin and evolution of his restaurant brand. James discusses the key factors in Cafe Dulce’s long-term staff retention and the lessons learned from the challenging early days after the restaurant first opened. He also provides insight into his other entrepreneurial ventures: a superette and a jiu jitsu fight club.


[SpotOn Series] Growing and Evolving a Deli Brand With Peter Boniface of Yampa Sandwich Company

Peter Boniface is the Owner and Co-founder of Yampa Sandwich Company. He grew up in Sandwich, Massachusetts, where he learned how to cook and blend flavors from his mother. He started in the restaurant business in 1983 and moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in 1991 with the intention of being a ski bum. Seeing the need for a local quality delicatessen, Peter and David Pepin opened the first Yampa Sandwich Company in 1999. In this episode… While customers frequent their favorite restaurants for the food and atmosphere, they are usually unaware of how the brand evolved to its current state. Many restaurants have unique origin stories, starting out as mere fractions of what they are now. With six Colorado locations and one in Wyoming — Yampa Sandwich Company is one brand with a tremendous origin story. According to Peter Boniface, one of the restaurant’s founders, the brand’s original purpose was to provide sandwiches for rafting guides in Steamboat, Colorado while operating under the name Backcountry Provisions. There was such a demand and appreciation for the food and service that they ended up opening a sandwich shop and then expanding to Jackson, WY, and Fort Collins, CO. The store in Fort Collins struggled, Peter says, because customers primarily thought the brand rented out snowshoes. As a result, the restaurant’s name changed to Yampa Sandwich Company. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Peter Boniface, Owner and Founder of Yampa Sandwich Company, joins Rise25’s Chad Franzen to discuss the fascinating evolution of Yampa Sandwich Company. He talks about why he opened a restaurant after moving to Colorado to be a ski bum, the original purpose for the brand and why its name changed, and why customers keep coming back to Yampa Sandwich Company.


[SpotOn Series] Using Tech to Enhance Your Brand With Mehdi Zarhloul of Crazy Pita Restaurant Group

Mehdi Zarhloul is the CEO of Crazy Pita Restaurant Group, a beloved fresh-casual Mediterranean cuisine establishment he founded in Las Vegas in 2006. Recognized for its delectable signature dishes and warm service, Crazy Pita Rotisserie and Grill has been a top choice in the city for over 17 years. Driven by the brand’s consistent success, in 2022 Mehdi embarked on expanding his culinary vision, launching a national franchise program that currently boasts three corporate locations in Las Vegas and ten upcoming outlets in Houston. In this episode… In many industries, an appreciation of technology is embraced as progressive and forward-thinking. Is that also true of the restaurant business, where human connection is valued? According to Mehdi Zarhloul, who operates multiple Crazy Pita locations, technology has played a transformative role in the industry, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. He highlights the significant shift from traditional methods to a technology-driven ecosystem at Crazy Pita, where he has dedicated substantial time over the past few years to build an AI-powered system. Mehdi's approach includes leveraging diverse tools such as text messages, email blasts, QR codes, and social media to connect directly with customers, fostering a sense of community and transparency. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Mehdi Zarhloul, CEO of Crazy Pita Restaurant Group, joins Rise25’s Chad Franzen for a conversation about the value of embracing technology to enhance the customer experience in the restaurant industry. Mehdi shares Crazy Pita’s origin story and explains how the brand’s name came about. He also discusses the multiple ways he has embraced the use of technology for both marketing and efficiency in operations.


[SpotOn Series] From Corporate to Mom-and-Pop Restaurateuring With Ric Ochoa, Founder of SoCal Pizza

Ric Ochoa is the Owner of SoCal Pizza in Norwalk, California. With 17 years of experience in sales operations, Ric's love for cooking led him to open SoCal Pizza in 2010, where he introduced a pasta bar and proudly sources fresh ingredients from local small businesses. Actively engaged in the community, his commitment to excellence earned SoCal Pizza the 2018 Small Business of the Year Award, a testament to Ric’s dedication and culinary expertise. In this episode… As every independent restaurant owner knows, resilience and adaptation are regular requirements in a fiercely competitive industry, including the ability to navigate the twists and turns of market shifts and coming up with the strategic maneuvers essential for survival and success in a constantly changing landscape. Ric Ochoa's journey in opening SoCal Pizza stemmed from a burning desire to break free from corporate America. The transition to running a mom-and-pop shop brought unexpected challenges, as his responsibilities expanded to cover everything from rent to taxes and price adjustments. After being in business for a decade, the impact of COVID prompted a significant shift in the SoCal Pizza business model, pushing Ric to diversify beyond the traditional dine-in approach and embrace delivery services, outdoor seating, and curbside pickup. Faced with the ever-changing landscape of the food industry, Ric is strategically evolving SoCal Pizza, navigating the dynamic industry trends centered around personality and advertisements. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Ric Ochoa, the Founder of SoCal Pizza, joins Rise25’s Chad Franzen to talk about his journey from corporate America to running his own independent pizza restaurant for more than a decade. He discusses the way his restaurant has had to evolve as a result of market conditions, and the ways in which it will continue to evolve.


[SpotOn Series] Leading With Passion and Respect With Mario Valencia, a Multi-Store Robeks Franchisee

Mario Valencia is a multi-store Robeks franchisee and seasoned entrepreneur who has leveraged over two decades of food industry experience into a transformative business venture that mirrors his profound personal health journey. As an Air Force veteran who has battled to overcome PTSD, anxiety, and obesity, Mario's commitment extends beyond business success to the well-being of his community, championing the symbiosis between prosperous businesses and a flourishing society. His advocacy for local organic farms and the environment reflects his belief in businesses as community cornerstones, aiming to create a positive ripple effect from local to global scales. Living with intention and purpose, Mario, a father of twins, embodies a philosophy where service and gratitude go hand-in-hand with entrepreneurial success and community engagement. In this episode… Many small business owners in the restaurant industry have to contend with the challenges of staff retention and motivation. What can one do to overcome this obstacle while living within the constraints of the marketplace? As a multi-store Robeks franchisee, Mario Valencia's approach to staff retention reflects a combination of investment in his employees and a commitment to fostering their personal and professional growth. Despite not being able to offer traditional benefits due to the nature of his small business, Mario takes a proactive approach. Instead of succumbing to stereotypes about the younger generation's work ethic, he actively engages with his employees, inviting them to learn all aspects of the small store. He goes the extra mile by writing resumes and reference letters for his staff, encouraging them to seek continuous improvement. This approach simultaneously contributes to the success of Mario’s business and the satisfaction of his employees, evident in the long-term retention of staff in an industry notorious for high turnover rates. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Rise25’s Bela Musits chats with Mario Valencia, a multi-store Robeks franchisee, about the challenges associated with running a small restaurant business. Mario shares what led him to invest in the brand and its significance within his life journey. He discusses his approach to work-life balance, leadership, working with a younger generation of employees, and how he decided upon the location of his stores.


[SpotOn Series] Establishing a High Standard With Patrick Terry, Owner and Co-founder of P.Terry’s Burger Stand

Patrick Terry, Owner and Co-founder of P.Terry's Burger Stand, launched the brand's first location on July 5th, 2005 in Austin, Texas. Inspired by classic burger stands like Mack Eplen's in Abilene, P.Terry's emphasizes fresh, all-natural ingredients — from its beef and chicken to fresh-cut fries devoid of trans fats. Beyond its signature burgers, the menu includes fresh-squeezed beverages, house-made veggie burgers, and baked goods. While P.Terry's delivers modern quality standards, it retains the charm and hospitality reminiscent of '50s and '60s burger joints. In this episode… Most restaurants have high expectations for their food and service, but as they get busy with a multitude of customers, those standards can be easily forgotten. Is it possible to meet those standards and then replicate them across multiple busy locations? What are the expectations for food and service at P.Terry’s Burger Stand? It starts with customers getting their healthy-yet-tasty food prepared correctly in a reasonable amount of time. It continues with each customer feeling seen and recognized, which co-founder Patrick Terry acknowledges is not easy for an employee at a busy restaurant. Regardless, he says that’s the goal — for the customer to drive away thinking, “I got personal service, I got a smile, and that really helped me through this day.” This is the standard at all 30 locations. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Rise25’s Chad Franzen talks to Patrick Terry, Owner and Co-founder of P.Terry’s Burger Stand, about the joy and difficulty of executing his vision of a classic burger stand. Patrick discusses the pain associated with meeting his standards upon opening his first location, how he and his wife implemented a family-like culture, and the keys to replicating those high standards at multiple restaurants.


How To Build a Thriving Franchise Business With Leigh Feldman

Leigh Feldman is the CEO of Bishops Cuts/Color, a unisex hair shop concept with franchise locations in 21 states. Founded in 2001, Bishops provides customers with haircare services fueled by art, music, culture, acceptance, and community. Leigh was the CMO of Bishops and has been with the company for six years. Before that, he spent six years working for Rebel Industries as their Vice President and Group Account Director, and he was also Director of Media for Moonshine Events, a production company focused on large-scale experiential events such as What?! the Festival. He is also a Radio Talk Show Host at Entrepreneur Media. Leigh has been nominated for the 2024 OnCon Icon Top 100 awards. In this episode… In today's competitive business environment, leaders who want to grow and scale their companies need to be innovative. With a customer-focused mindset, businesses can outperform other players in the industry. Is your business environment and processes designed to create a delightful experience that carves out a competitive reputation in the marketplace? For the leaders at Bishops Cuts/Color, building an inclusive community is key to their business. The franchise trains a team of stylists to provide quality, unbiased services to all clients at an affordable price. Inspired by art, creativity, and the need for inclusivity, Bishops has built a hair shop business that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also process and systems-driven. Recent marketing trends indicate franchises that focus on their clients' unique needs build massive leverage and increase their customer's lifetime value. Combined with effective marketing, enterprises can focus on providing quality services at competitive rates and building an engaged, loyal community to help drive future sales and build a strong brand. In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Chad Franzen sits down with Leigh Feldman, the CEO of Bishops Cuts/Color, to talk about building a thriving franchise business. They also discuss the benefits of investing in a franchise, the role art plays at Bishops Cuts/Color, and the company's employee training strategies.


[SpotOn Series] Attracting Franchisees and Ensuring Their Success With Bennett Maxwell, Founder of Dirty Dough

Bennett Maxwell is the Founder of Dirty Dough. Beginning his entrepreneurial journey in elementary school by selling candy bars, Bennett now leads a pioneering cookie-selling franchise. Dirty Dough's innovative centralized production introduces the first-ever three-layer cookie, streamlining franchise operations by addressing challenges like waste, quality control, and supply chain at the corporate level. This unique model allows franchises to operate with reduced costs and labor. With Dirty Dough, Bennett is looking to raise mental health awareness by encouraging authenticity and self-acceptance. In this episode… Many restaurateurs open a single location with the hope of expanding to more than one. In some cases, brands end up with many locations — some singularly-owned and others owned and operated by franchisees. Which of the two business models is best for restaurateurs who’d like to grow their brand? According to Dirty Dough’s Bennett Maxwell, whose brand features a unique three-layer cookie, his best option was to franchise. Bennett says he was advised to do so by a group that owns hundreds of restaurants in Utah when they learned he was operating in a new market: gourmet cookies. Bennett didn’t have a lot of built-in capital and wanted to grow quickly, so franchising became the clear option. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Bela Musits welcomes Bennett Maxwell, Founder of Dirty Dough, for a conversation about franchising: the reasons to do it, the drawbacks, and the keys to franchisee success. Bennett details what he looks for in a franchisee, the reasons Dirty Dough is a good franchise opportunity, and everything the brand does to ensure that franchisees gain a positive return on their investment.


[SpotOn Series] Utilizing Machine Learning and AI to Benefit Restaurants With David Dittenber, Founder of BYOD

David Dittenber is Co-founder of BYOD — Bring Your Own Data. The company creates easy-to-use digital tools to improve operations and enhance customer experience. David is a longtime restaurant operator whose mission has been to leverage technology to address common problems with everyday operations in the restaurant industry. With BYOD, he has come up with an answer to restaurant systems that don’t work together effectively and haven’t yet utilized rapidly-increasing advances in technology. In this episode… Entrepreneurs are considered an important facet of the economy because of the role they play in stimulating growth by taking risks on innovative ideas. Often, they see a problem and find a way to solve it through innovation. That’s exactly what David Dittenber did when he founded BYOD — Bring Your Own Data — to help restaurateurs process and use information. BYOD has a virtual assistant called Mabel which takes data from an individual restaurant’s operations software, reservation software and point of sale, and delivers it to managers in real time. It uses machine learning and artificial intelligence in a practical way to help restaurants save money by ensuring that things don't fall through the cracks. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Bela Musits chats with David Dittenber, Co-founder of BYOD, who tells people he is an entrepreneur when they ask what he does. He shares how his years of experience in restaurant operations led him to his latest entrepreneurial endeavor — a virtual assistant for restaurant managers. David talks about how BYOD works, the problems it solves, the challenges associated with launching it, and how he came to appreciate entrepreneurship growing up in a small town.


[SpotOn Series] Growing as a Business and as a Person With Josh Molina, CEO of Makers & Finders

Josh Molina is the CEO of Makers & Finders, a specialty coffee brand and Latin café with locations in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. Josh is a first-generation Colombian-American entrepreneur who opened his first brunch restaurant at age 25. A graduate of University of Nevada-Las Vegas, he toured the coffee countries of South America in 2013. In this episode… Talk to anyone who successfully launched their first business and they’ll tell you they figured it out as they went. For Josh Molina, who founded Makers & Finders at age 25, not only was he learning how to make his restaurant brand bigger and better, but he says it took about nine years to realize what he should be doing day-to-day. Through experience, Josh learned the value of empowering a team and giving its members space to grow and thrive, as well as how to manage his own tasks and allow himself adequate time to be a father. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Makers & Finders CEO Josh Molina joins Rise25’s Chad Franzen for a candid conversation about all things related to launching and growing a restaurant brand. Josh shares how he came up with his vision for the brand, launched his first location, developed and evolved the menu, and grew from one to four locations. He talks about the ups and downs he experienced as an entrepreneur and how he has grown as a manager and leader.


[SpotOn Series] Leaving the Corporate World Behind With Brent Schwoerer of Engrained Brewing Company

Brent Schwoerer is the Owner and Founder of Engrained Brewing Company. Raised on a family dairy and grain farm, Brent earned his bachelor's in mechanical engineering and a master's in human resources from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. After a decade in the corporate world — including two years in Brazil focusing on new product development — Brent established Engrained Brewing Co., which has been in operation for over ten years. In this episode… Are you pursuing your passion? People are motivated by many different things and sometimes passion and motivation can lead them to working in the corporate world. Other times, the corporate world can make people realize they’re lacking something. For Brent Shwoerer, who founded Engrained Brewing Company in 2012, working as a corporate employee for ten years led him to realize he needed to chase his passion — outside of corporate America — and he persevered through great difficulties to make it happen. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in HR, he left his job at Caterpillar Inc. to launch a locally-owned micro-brewery and farm-to-table restaurant. After initially struggling for three years to get a bank to loan him money, Brent’s brewery has since celebrated being in business for a decade and he has gone from homebrewing to winning awards for his craft beer. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Rise25’s Chad Franzen welcomes Brent Schwoerer, Founder and Owner of Engrained Brewing Co., for a conversation about doing whatever it takes to chase your passion. Brent shares how he realized he was missing out on his passions while grinding away as a corporate employee, so he decided to start his own local brewery. He discusses the difficulties he endured in getting a loan to get started, his award-winning craft beer, and the values his brand is built upon.


From Professional Athletics To Entrepreneurship With Steve Rowbotham

Steve Rowbotham is the Managing Director at Navigator Technology, an innovative solution that connects brands to the travel industry with first-party data. He is a former Olympic medalist whose current passion is building a global marketing technology business. Steve is also the Chief Commercial Officer at Ink, a travel media company. In this episode… Learning how to overcome setbacks is a key skill every entrepreneur needs to develop. Every business faces challenges, and it is only by being innovative and staying agile that brands can adapt and become successful. After being dropped from professional athletics, Steve Rowbotham struggled to find his identity. Transitioning to another career was a challenge, but he was able to overcome that and decided to use his skills to help leaders build more efficient businesses. In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Bela Musits sits down with Steve Rowbotham, the Managing Director at Navigator Technology, to talk about Steve's trajectory from the sports world to entrepreneurship. They also discuss the effects of the pandemic on the media industry, target marketing strategies, and how to hire culturally fit employees.


[SpotOn Series] A Restaurant That Triggers All Five Senses With Matthew Rosenberg, Founder and CEO of M-Rad Architecture and President of Fabel

Matthew Rosenberg is the Founder and CEO of M-Rad Architecture and President of Fabel, a Miami-based restaurant. Matthew has been acknowledged by publications such as Forbes, where he was featured on their “Small Giants” list and INC. Magazine, which highlighted him as one of the top designers to watch. Over his career, Matthew has made significant contributions to various projects throughout North America and his international footprint extends to countries like Italy, Scotland, China, Taipei, and Mexico. His extensive experience in real estate, combined with a vast network in the hospitality sector, positions him uniquely within the industry. In this episode… A memorable restaurant experience is more than simply enjoying the food. While the taste is the most important, it’s essential that all five senses are stimulated positively. Matthew Rosenberg, who is both a restaurateur and an architect, is dialed into all the nuances that trigger the senses — from the knife, to the plateware, to the fragrance that permeates the space. The challenge, Matthew says, is to take every component of design, architecture, and operation and put it under one umbrella. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Bela Musits welcomes Matthew Rosenberg, Founder and CEO of M-Rad Architecture and President of Fabel, a Miami-based restaurant that aims to tap into all five senses. Matthew talks about his approach to marketing and how his architectural ideas come about. He discusses the importance of quality food and ambience when creating a restaurant and the challenges of starting his own architectural firm from scratch.


[SpotOn Series] From Stay-at-Home Mom To Franchise Founder With Nicole Tanner, Founder of Swig

Nicole Tanner is the Founder of Swig, which sells customized drinks, cookies, and treats. She started Swig in 2010 due to her love of Diet Coke and because she noticed a lack of connectedness in other drive-thru concepts. She is a mom of five children and grandma of four grandbabies who enjoys hiking in the outdoors and spending time with her family. In this episode… How much experience do you need in your industry to be successful as an entrepreneur? For Nicole Tanner, one of the experiences she found most beneficial before launching Swig in 2010 was being a parent. She says tending to her childrens’ needs and balancing their activities taught her plenty. It’s clearly paid off, because what started as a single Swig location has multiplied to 50, with people convening from all over the US to visit the original location. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Rise25’s Chad Franzen welcomes Nicole Tanner, Founder of Swig, to discuss the evolution of a drive thru location that serves flavorful drinks and sweet treats. Nicole talks about founding Swig out of enjoyment of Diet Coke and dissatisfaction with the drive-thru experience. She shares keys to her success, the process of concocting drinks including The Founder, Dew Gooder, and Just Peachy, and the benefits of becoming a franchisee with Swig.


[SpotOn Series] Changing Course Post-Pandemic With Matthew Guelke, CEO and Co-founder of The Plant Cafe Organic

Matthew Guelke is CEO and Co-founder of The Plant Cafe Organic, a San Francisco Bay Area restaurant group. In 2023, The Nature Conservancy selected The Plant as the most sustainable restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. In January 2023, The Plant was recognized among the top 30 global food & beverage brands by the Real Leader's Sustainable Impact Award. Its goal is to bring 100% organic food and healthy alternatives to the mainstream. In this episode… Imagine this — you own a group of eight restaurants popular with a niche audience based in the most expensive part of the US, and the pandemic happens. Your local government implements severe precautionary measures and six of your restaurants have to permanently close. How do you keep the brand alive and leverage its good name? According to Matthew Guelke, CEO and Co-founder of The Plant Cafe Organic, the answer has been franchising. His San Francisco-based group of eight restaurants was rocked by the pandemic and reduced to two locations. Nevertheless, Matthew knew the brand — known for its honest approach to clean food and sustainability — still had great value. Rather than try to rebuild by opening new locations on their own, Matthew says he and his co-founder are offering the opportunity to franchisees. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Matthew Guekle, CEO and Co-founder of The Plant Cafe Organic, join’s Rise25’s Chad Franzen for a conversation about building and sustaining a restaurant brand based on belief and passion. Matthew shares The Plant’s origin story, what the early days were like, the pandemic’s disastrous effect on the business and their strategy for rebuilding. He also explains why his brand is a good opportunity for franchisees and who would be best suited for the role.


[SpotOn Series] Continuously Improving the Restaurant Experience With Anthony Valletta, President of bartaco

Anthony Valletta is the President at bartaco, which currently has 26 locations across 12 states. As an executive, Anthony is an analytical and hands-on leader with a wealth of knowledge regarding all aspects of the business from quick-service restaurants and fine dining startups to corporate operations. His people development and leadership skills have enabled him to build high-performing industry-leading teams. In this episode… Guest experience is so important in the restaurant industry and it goes well beyond food quality. Restaurants can take many steps to drive customer experience — from making sure the servers are treated well to setting a desired vibe in the dining room or bar area — but what else can be done to ensure satisfaction? According to Anthony Valletta, President of bartaco, his concept has recently adopted two new ways to enhance guest enjoyment. First, it has leaned into the use of QR codes which allow customers to not only see the menu but also order food and drinks and pay at their convenience. Second, Anthony says bartaco has kept its personal touch by creating a new position called a service leader, which is a hybrid of a server and a manager. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Chad Franzen talks to Anthony Valletta, President of bartaco, about the restaurant experience for both customers and employees. Anthony discusses the importance of generating loyalty from guests and staff — as restaurant owners know, happy servers usually mean happy customers, so he shares what bartaco has done to maximize team members’ enjoyment of working at bartaco and keep them there for the long term.


[SpotOn Series] Successfully Expanding a Restaurant Brand With Chris Medhurst, President and COO of District Taco

Chris Medhurst is President and Chief Operating Officer at District Taco, with multiple locations in and around Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Chris started working at District Taco as a General Manager in 2010 before becoming Director of Operations, then VP of Finance and Operations, then Chief Financial Officer, and now President and COO. In this episode… When a restaurant looks to add locations, what is essential to have in place in order to maintain the integrity of the brand? According to Chris Medhurst, President and COO of District Taco, it’s all about training. District Taco, which has grown to 14 brick-and-mortar locations after starting as a single food truck in 2009, has its own proprietary system used for training. Chris says it takes about three months of training and operational support before a new store can operate and become self-sufficient. On this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Rise25’s Chad Franzen welcomes Chris Medhurst, President and COO of District Taco, to discuss keys to rapid growth of a small restaurant brand. Chris shares District Taco’s founding story and talks about the concept’s uniqueness which has allowed it to add a new location each year since it launched over a decade ago. He talks about the painful impact the pandemic had on District Taco and keys to the brand’s recovery.