President, Ed Doyle, has worked 27 years in the food service industry and his culinary passion led him to form RealFood Consulting. A day at RealFood is not just another typical day at the office for Ed and his team. Instead, it is an opportunity to combine passion and skill with the food and beverage industry.
RealFood is a full-service consulting firm attending to the needs of the food and beverage industry since 1996. They provide custom solutions for overall concept development, front of house, kitchen and back office, ensuring their clients achieve their goals and vision. They work with entrepreneurs and chefs alike, for planning and implementation of your restaurant concepts, and craft customized solutions to meet each client’s needs. The process for their advisory services can range from a simple menu evaluation and staff training, to a complete turnaround or reposition to an existing operation.
BusinessInterviews.com: What key changes have taken place in the food and beverage industry since you first launched back in 1996?
Ed: Clearly the customer expectations have increased as they have become more food “aware” and food has grown to an even more prominent spot in our culture and our lives. This has forced every operator to up his or her game, get creative and differentiate. This, on top of the ever-increasing operating costs and cost pressures, has really created an environment with little room for error for any operator.
BusinessInterviews.com: You received degree from the Culinary Institute of America, and have gone on to work in some of Boston’s finest kitchens. When did you realize that you wanted to use your expertise to help others?
Ed: My passion for the industry has always been a driving force for being part of it. I have always been driven to be involved in food and beverage at many levels. In my current role, I get to experience more diversity, challenges and opportunities as I work with our clients. On top of that, we open more restaurants in a quarter than most operators do in a lifetime and that is pretty cool!
BusinessInterviews.com: A big challenge that you encounter is working with clients in their own incredibly stressful situations. Can you share some examples of how you’ve help clients navigate through some tough spots?
Ed: Hospitality is about passion and most people in the industry are very passionate about what the do – no matter what aspect of the process we are helping with. That passion creates some incredibly intense situations – whether it is a opening deadline, trying to make a turnaround work or identifying the next opportunities for growth. What RealFood Consulting brings is vast experience, a diverse team and an ability to say “we have seen this before”. Sharing our past experiences with a client that may be facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge for the first time can provide a high level of confidence that this is not as bad as it may seem. We will get through it together.
BusinessInterviews.com: How important is social media to your overall marketing strategy?
Ed: Social media is a piece of the marketing puzzle. There is so much conversation around it these days, it seems to overshadow the importance of an overall strategy. The social media is but one more channel. Knowing what you are trying, who you are saying it to and what action you are trying to drive is a marketing truth that holds true for all mediums – new world and old.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in the food and beverage industry that you’re excited about?
Ed: Greater global influences driving new creativity. The access to information and the sharing of knowledge that makes the world smaller. Technology making its way into the back of the house to address staffing challenges and move beyond “dumb” equipment. Consumers that are always looking for more. All these are great things that will drive the industry to new levels
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you talk about your plans to really expand beyond the New England area this coming year and what that will mean for the vision and direction of the company?
Ed: As we have been working around the country, and recently, internationally, it has just made us more aware of the opportunities to support more operators everywhere. Ensuring we can undertake this ongoing expansion while still delivering the highest quality results and services to our clients is my greatest concern. Building our team, and our strategy, intelligently will not be by chance. We know we are only as good as our last project and that is a function of our people. As we look to more than double our team in the next 3 months, making sure the culture, commitment and passion for our industry only grows is my greatest challenge. Seeing the RealFood Consulting team grow, succeed and help more operators achieve their goals and dreams is my greatest satisfaction.