Top 10 restaurant podcasts to guide you through the COVID-19 times
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive transformations in the restaurant industry in a very short period of time—off-premise dining has toppled dining rooms, the vegan trend has shot up, contactless everything has become a necessity and drones and droids are making a swift entry. These are only a handful of mentions and the sector has been witnessing much more unprecedented changes.
While it can be hard to keep track of things, a restaurant that wants to succeed during the COVID-19 and beyond will make no excuses. To help you beat the current disruption, we’ve curated a list of the 10 best podcasts out there. Tips from industry experts, news about trends, creative ideas, and personal stories from fellow restaurateurs will not only be informative but also inspirational in many ways.
Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast
Hosted by Jeremy Julian and Ryan Williams, the Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast has a whooping 75,000 episode downloads. That impressive number speaks for itself. One of the reasons why the podcast has become so popular is because of the range of topics Julian and Williams cover—ghost kitchens, POS systems, E-Learning for restauranteurs, digital marketing and analytics, mobile payment, new apps, digital gaming in bars and restaurant. This makes it a go-to resource for any restaurant operators and managers. During the COVID-19 outbreak, the Restaurant Technology Guys have been putting out a few episodes with useful information on operating a restaurant during a crisis.
Why we recommend it: When it comes to restaurants, the topic of technology information often takes a backseat in restaurateurs' minds. But this has become one of the key elements to success in today’s world redefined by the COVID-19 and no restaurant can survive without integrating technology in their core business model. The Restaurant Technology Guys Podcast is one of the few out there devoted solely to this field.
Ever since it was launched back in 1997, QSRweb has gone on to become one of the most trusted publications for the QSR sector. Their website offers comprehensive news reports, features, and insights from experts within the industry.
The QSRweb Podcast is no different and offers incisive analysis on a wide variety of relevant topics such as technology, sales, and marketing, brand strategies, labor management, franchising, food-safety, customer relations, etc. The podcasts often feature top names from the restaurant industry who discuss these topics in-depth and provide actionable insights to listeners.
The QSRweb Podcast has been extremely resourceful during the COVID-19 crisis and restaurant operators and managers looking to rebuild their business in these tough times must give them a listen.
Why we recommend it: Learning from some of the top brass, who’ve enjoyed success in the tough restaurant business is an opportunity worth grabbing. But besides that, QSRweb Podcast serves as an effective resource helping restaurants stay up-to-date with all the ins and outs of the fast-changing quick-service restaurant industry.
Episode we love: Tackling COVID-19 training on QSRs' front lines, plus menu must-haves for a 'to-go' world
A Deeper Dive by Restaurant Business Magazine
Restaurant Business Magazine’s chief focus has always been on entrepreneurship and innovation, defining their audience as a “growth-minded restaurateur”. The same vibe is to be found in their podcast titled A Deeper Dive hosted by the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Jonathan Maze.
Each episode of the podcast consists of an engaging interview with founders and CEOs of both small and large restaurant chains including business leaders from Chipotle, Firehouse Subs and McDonald’s. The objective is to discuss the most topical opportunities and challenges in the restaurant world. The podcast usually delves deep into topics of delivery, marketing, technology, branding, menu, etc while also discussing hot trends like ghost kitchen and plant-based food. A Deeper Dive releases every week on Wednesdays.
Why we recommend it: Owners and managers of all kinds of restaurants will find A Deeper Dive interesting and informative. But we recommend the podcast, especially for chain restaurants as most of the interviewees are thought leaders from this sector. There are some key stratagems to help chains course through the pandemic.
Episode we love: 10 Big Challenges Restaurants Face Post-Covid
The Table Underground
This one is a unique platform because unlike most restaurant podcasts, whose emphasis is on business, profitability, and growth, the Table Underground highlights what they call ‘creative social justice’. Their objective is to have meaningful conversations centered around food and community.
The Table Underground is also committed to foregrounding voices from the fringes as they host guests from marginalized sections of the society on their podcasts. This makes for a highly engaging and refreshing listen as people working in food bring to light their own lived experiences, making the podcast extremely relatable. Each episode not only inspires the listeners to aim for monetary success but also to evoke empathy for everyone, something that is often lacking in a cut-throat business like the restaurant industry.
Why we recommend it: The Table Underground makes us rethink the business through a very different lens, one that is more considering and empathetic of others, especially those whose voices are hardly ever heard. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, developing such qualities are more important than ever for every business owner.
Episode we love: Our Food in the Time of Quarantine: 3 Perspectives
JLL is a real estate services and theirs is not a completely restaurant-focused podcast and has content from other industries as well. But it does deserve a mention here because the few restaurants and hospitality-related podcasts that they have are top-notch.
The ideas presented in these podcasts are all out-of-the-box and force restauranteurs to think more creatively. Their series on how the industry can take more innovative steps to tackle the COVID-19 crisis are excellent.
The podcast titled ‘Refurbishments and restaurants-to-a room: how hotels are testing new ideas during the crisis’, for instance provides examples from around the globe on how hotels are reimagining their offerings including dinner ‘out’ in a hotel room and contactless technology.
Why we recommend it: While JLL’s content on food and hospitality sectors are worth mulling over, we also recommend their podcast for other general topics such as work-life balance after COVID-19, workplace of the future, business and environmental sustainability. These episodes offer critical insights that restaurant owners will benefit from.
Episode we love: How COVID-19 is inspiring new ideas in food retail
From the Cold Corner by Refrigeration & Frozen Foods
An exclusive podcast dedicated to the chilled and frozen foods segment, one of the biggest areas in the food and beverage manufacturing market in the USA. The aptly titled Cold Corner podcast invites the industry's leading experts to discuss the latest innovations, challenges and possibilities within the segment.
Some of the important subjects covered include food processing, packaging solutions, supply chain logistic, food safety, and energy management. The interviews are always solid offering astute insights and intelligent opinions not only on current issues but also on future impacts. Some of the topics covered with regards to COVID-19 are warehouse automation, changes in packaging, impact on the cold food supply chain and reconfiguring food facilities during the pandemic.
Why we recommend it: Cold Corner by Refrigeration & Frozen Foods is a one-of-a-kind podcast dealing specially with concerns relevant to the chilled and frozen foods market. You will be hard-pressed to find any other podcast which does the same. This sector is of great relevance to restaurants that rely on frozen foods for their kitchens every single day.
Episode we love: How the RFA is Helping Members Navigate Cold Food Spikes and Shortages While Monitoring Employee Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Fast Casual Podcast
FastCasual.com is QSRweb’s sister platform with a singular focus on the $23.5 billion fast-casual restaurant industry. The podcast is meant for those who want to stay on top of the current trends within this sector, be in the knowhow about the latest news and concepts, and explore ideas on growth and profitability.
The podcast features some top names in the fast-casual business and the topics covered are wide-ranging across different areas from operations to marketing. This makes sure that the listeners receive well-rounded information that can effectively be implemented in their own businesses. Their COVID-19 episodes are useful resources for restauranteurs looking for practical guidelines on successfully riding the current storm.
Why we recommend it: Contrary to what many believe, the US fast-casual restaurant market is still one of the fastest-growing and most profitable sectors. It’s also interesting to note that delivery sales is consistently high for all fast-casual restaurants. But there is also a glaring need to make some immediate changes to adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. The Fast Casual Podcast is one of the top resources to get all the news and intelligence for those in this business.
Episode we love: Pivoting to meet immediate demands in the QSR, fast casual industry while planning for the future
Everyone knows how the book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything caused a sensation when it first came out in 2005. Fast forward to 15 years and Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s book still elicits as much awe as it did back then.
The extreme popularity of the book has led to several spin-offs including a weekly podcast series called Freakonomics Radio, which was started in 2010. The podcast is hosted by Dubner and is one of the most sought after shows on iTunes and other platforms. Lately, they’ve been hosting engrossing discussions on the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak such as how to reopen a country’s economy, the side-effects of social distancing, what the pandemic means for cities, etc.
Why we recommend it: Freakonomics is now a brand in itself. Its claim to fame has been the original and quirky ideas on modern culture backed by statistics and economics and Dubner brings the same zaniness to the podcast. As a business owner, it is not only important but imperative to have an all-round perspective on the socioeconomics that govern our world, now more than ever. There’s no better podcast than Freakonomics Radio to help you do that.
Episode we love: What Happens When Everyone Stays Home to Eat?
Secret Sauce by Marketing4Restaurants
Restaurant marketing is an ever-evolving field and to really master the art, you have to be on your toes about the latest trends. Thanks to Secret Sauce by Marketing4Restaurants, you have this covered and how. The podcast includes everything from social media to email content marketing and SEO helping restaurants develop strategic plans for a winning campaign. While marketing is an arduous task that takes hours of research, planning, execution, and measuring the impact after the campaign has gone live, the folks at Secret Sauce make this job much simpler and lots of fun.
Why we recommend it: Marketing4Restaurants believes in what they call ‘smart marketing’, which basically makes informed decisions based on big data. This concept is carried forward to their podcast as well where interactive discussions on tech-led solutions are held. The COVID-19 pandemic has further advanced the significance of digital marketing and Secret Sauce helps restaurants make sense of all there is to know in this field.
Episode we love: Building a Restaurant Take Out business to survive the Coronageddon
The restaurant industry is said to be one of the most challenging, where survival is based on absolutely razor-thin margins. But it is also the thrill of making it big in such a competitive arena that pushes so many people to enter this world. For aspiring restaurateurs, it can be confusing and daunting at times, when they set about doing initial research on how to open and run a successful restaurant. There’s, of course, a lot of information circulating online, but not all of them are reliable. Enter, Opening Soon—a podcast designed to help people in their rollercoaster of a journey of opening a restaurant. There are tips from a great mix of experts, including chefs, restaurateurs, and vendors, on raising funds, mentorship, license and permits, branding and design, and much more.
Why we recommend it: The COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of people reconsider their plans for opening a restaurant. Well, you don’t have to give up on your dreams so soon and Opening Soon is the perfect guide to help you stay on track during these unprecedented times. You can rework your business model according to the new transformations in the market and the podcast offers deep insights on this.
Episode we love: P is for Pivot