With fast casual being the fastest growing segment in the foodservice industry, there are sure to be a lot of newcomers to the game. From the decline of industry giants like Chipotle and the growth of unknown chains like VERTS making their big debuts on the East Coast, he fast casual segment is growing and it is growing fast. Unfortunately, with fast growth things can fall through the cracks. It’s refreshing to see a fast casual spot remain small, stay true to its core, and stay local to where it originated. Between The Bread is that brand.
Over the past 38 years, Between The Bread has been providing NYC with consistent quality, locally sourced food. Total Food Service sat down with Jon Eisen, Partner & Director of Strategic Growth to learn more about the brand and what plans they have for the future. With nearly four decades in the industry, Between The Bread has made its way around the block.
Between The Bread is a staple of the New York City restaurant scene from when Ricky Eisen opened her first eatery on 56th and Lexington back in 1979. Between The Bread now has three midtown locations and continues to represent the same thing since back in 1979. Now in 2017, Between The Bread is in a pivotal point of where they want to go next. “We are consistent and stable enough for continued growth. I think it will take us another three to nine months to really hone in on all those areas we want to perfect. Then it will be a decision that we have to make whether to expand fast or slow. With my millennial blood I have to try and expand as fast as possible. I’m not sure if I have the patience for the slow model,” Jon concluded.
When every fast casual spot is spreading like a weed through a nicely kept lawn it is hard to sit back and go slow when a chain can pass you by. Between The Bread takes it slow, not because they have to but, because the food is their most important feature. With a 38-year track record and a constant demand for their product, it’s hard to rationalize jeopardizing that. While fast casual is on the rise, Between The Bread has coined their own term to describe their eateries, “fresh casual”. “It’s just about the way the world is trending, things need to be faster, quicker, better and that’s what fresh casual market supports,” Jon concluded.
As the segment continues to grow, fresh casual eateries like Between The Bread are diversifying in the ways that they serve their guests. Whether you are implementing a grab and go element into the core of the business or exploring delivery there are certain elements that need to be adopted in such a competitive fresh casual market. “I believe that the next step on fresh casual is delivering food directly to someone’s desk, or couch. It will potentially become a very important element of our expansion,” Jon stated. It may not be a permanently sustainable option for Between The Bread but Jon and his team recognize the importance of being able to adapt to trends and that’s what has made them such a staple of the Manhattan food scene.
Between The Bread is as small as a chain can be, but it’s their level of commitment to unjeopardized quality that helps them standout in an island full of food options. Jon continues to help BTB grow with the same level of love and commitment that his family has put into it for the past 38 years. I for one am excited to see where a quality brand like this can go and hope to see one in my town soon.
To learn more about Between the Bread, visit their website.