In the latest episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael "Schatzy" Schatzberg “The Restaurant Guy” and Jimmy Frischling “ The Finance Guy” chat with Jeff Chandler, chief executive officer and President at Hopdoddy Burger Bar & HiBar Hospitality Group.Listen Here
Chandler grew up in the business. He has been in the industry for more than thirty years.
He shared, “My dad was a tavern owner and growing up, if I wanted to spend time with my dad that meant kind of sometimes early mornings and weekends hanging out at the tavern picking quarters out of booth seats and cleaning the grill and cleaning beer lines and emptying pool tables.” Handler joined Hopdoddy Burger Bar in 2016 as CEO and in 2021 he was also named CEO of HiBar Hospitality, a growth-focused umbrella company owned by L Catterton that in 2022 completed its first acquisition, Grub Burger Bar.
The guys ask Chandler about Hopdoddy and he says, “I don’t care what you call us as long as you call us the best burger place you’ve ever been to.” He adds, “That’s what we aspire to do. Hopdoddy plays in the better burger space. We look to be disruptive and really rethinking, reshaping kind of what a better burger joint looks like and acts like.” Hopdoddy is based out of Austin, Texas and currently has 50 locations really from coast to coast.
Chandler talks about what differentiates Hopdoddy and says, “So what makes Hopdoddy different I think is that we really are open minded to what a burger is. Most people just think it’s a bun and meat and some toppings and we look at it as a vessel for flavors. Anything that we can grind, grill, we’re going to make a burger out of it and so we’ve done some pretty cool creative things with different proteins.”
Off-premise is a focus topic on this show and Chandler shares his tips and some recommendations for operators that may still be struggling since the pandemic. Chandler said, what they learned quickly was they could be profitable, they could take care of the guests and they could take care of the team members by getting them back to work. Hopdoddy’s off-premise business was about 12% and post-pandemic is now at 40%.
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