Annica’s first experience working in a restaurant kitchen was at a local pizza shop in college. Today, she is the Vice President of Brand Development at Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, responsible for marketing and creating a brand voice for the consumer.
What do your customers appreciate most about your company?
Our food. To be even more specific our pizza crust is what really differentiates us. It’s incredibly unique and craveable, unlike anything served anywhere else.
Share a story about your first job in foodservice.
Ironically, the first time I ever worked in a restaurant kitchen was to help out a college roommate who worked at a local pizza place. I pulled a pizza out of the oven and it slid right off the peel on to the floor and made a huge mess. I wasn’t much of a help….
In 2020, what do you think the foodservice industry will be like?
I think that technology will continue to streamline the guest experience and make it more customized to the way the consumer wants to interact with brands. However, I don’t think that technology can ever replace the human element of a foodservice experience. I think delivery will have less players but with more dollar penetration. I think we’re just seeing the tip of that business iceberg, but there will be a thinning of the herd of players.
How do you keep up with industry news and events?
I subscribe to all kinds of industry newsletters, publications and daily alerts. I also attend a few key conferences every year and eat out not just as a consumer but as someone who takes in every element of the experience. I am also of course a member of the women’s foodservice forum.
What is your motto?
“First do no harm.” In marketing it’s fun and exciting to come up with crazy ideas of things we’d like to see happen at the unit level. But at the end of the day we have to always be cognizant of the fact that we can never do anything that will throw a wrench in to the operation of the business.
Tell us about any industry/company awards you've received.
2015 American Marketing Association AMY (Atlanta Marketer of the Year) email marketing – for our gluten free segmentation track
2016 American Marketing Association AMY (Atlanta Marketer of the Year) web & interactive marketing – for our annual calendar which had an online component that year
2015 American Marketing Association AMY (Atlanta Marketer of the Year) web & interactive marketing – consumer engagement category – for our annual calendar which had an online component that year
2014 American Marketing Association AMY (Atlanta Marketer of the Year) web & interactive marketing – for our share happiness campaign with the coca-cola company
2016 COEX Culinary Innovation Award – for our burger launch
2014 Top Partnership – consumer insights – the Service Management Group
2013 Gold ADDY Award (the Ad Federation) for radio ads – one for copywriting and one for regional / national advertising
What is your advice to a person new to the industry?
Attend everything you are invited to. Ultimately foodservice is a small industry and networking is crucial.
What do you value most about industry events?
The ability to learn from my peers. Sometimes we breathe our own fumes so it’s good to understand what challenges and successes other brands are experiencing
How important is social media to the foodservice industry?
Critically important. Now every consumer has the ability to be a critic or an evangelist. It’s given the power to the people. Love it or hate it, it’s changed the way consumers engage with all businesses. And who doesn’t love all that food porn on Instagram?
Finally, give us a shameless plug. Don't hold back!
Mellow Mushroom is a 40+ year old restaurant concept, which is no small feat in our business. We are an extremely unique casual dining concept with over 190 units, currently experiencing double digit unit growth.
IFMA featured members are selected based on their accomplishments in the food industry. Recognized as leaders, they are the people moving the industry forward with big ideas and even bigger goals. Know someone who fits the bill? Tell us.