Doug Brooks on making tough choices in foodservice

Posted by IFMA January 06, 2014

Tagged in Channel Partners COEX Connect Discover Foodservice Leaders Foodservice Operators

A 48-year industry veteran, who spent the last nine at the helm of Brinker International as former Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President, Doug Brooks knows a thing or two about finding focus in foodservice and will share his experiences at Chain Operators EXchange (COEX) 2014.

In his 36-year tenure at Brinker he took the company from three restaurants in one state to 1,585 restaurants generating $2.8 billion in annual revenue.

"The industry saw some hard times during this past recession," said Brooks. "Making tough choices are imperative; you have to get out in front of it. You have to stand out and stand for something, and the difficult part of deciding is deciding what you're not going to do."

Brooks knew that the right thing to do was not to grow bricks and mortar, but to build traffic by making those tough choices. And when all the new initiatives were completed (new kitchens, new imaged restaurants, new technology platforms), he knew they had gotten better and it was the time to get bigger.

But he also knows things are continually evolving. "Like never before, operators are faced with a myriad of options driven by a blurring of day parts and segments, which is being driven by a new consumer," said Brooks. 

He knows consumers want any food, anytime, anywhere - and the total value of the experience increasingly important. What is their specific need state and occasion? Understanding the occasions and consumer need states is key. Carefully selecting your portfolio to pursue is critical. This is the new starting point.

You can learn more of Doug's insights as he shares his experiences on making sense out of the complexity of foodservice at COEX 2014. 

Do you have questions for Doug? Login to comment and your questions may be asked at COEX.

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