After launching twenty-one successful properties spanning the United States over the past thirteen years, the David Burke Group is aiming for even greater heights with a rebrand and name change. Spearheaded by President & CEO Stephen Goglia, Craveable Hospitality Group will seek to “inspire awe” with their commitment to “fearless, strategic growth” said Goglia. With Craveable planning two new restaurants in 2017 as well as a collection of other projects, we had to chat with Stephen about the rebranding and what it will take for Craveable to make their mark on the industry.
Could you give us the background on how you got into the industry and how you reached your current position?
I began working at various restaurants at a young age while growing up on the Jersey Shore. At the age of 15, I started parking cars at a local restaurant (yes, without a license!) and realized the need for help in the kitchen. I was then promoted to making sandwiches and eventually became a sous chef. This was the start of my career in culinary arts. I attended and graduated the Culinary Institute of America and shortly thereafter traveled around the country as a chef.
I found myself in Florida and enrolled at Florida International University to study hospitality management. Upon graduating I looked for the best and most tremendous companies to work for and ventured to gain experience with Marriott, PF Changs, Strike Holdings and made my way about 5 years ago to Craveable Hospitality Group.
Why did you choose to rebrand and change your name to Craveable Hospitality Group?
Our company has arrived to a very exciting time for itself, with a long horizon of new restaurant openings, and it was time to evolve. We wanted to highlight ourselves as a premier hospitality group and to represent and celebrate each of our individual concepts with a creative restaurant brand name.
Strategically what is the biggest change from the David Burke Group to Craveable Hospitality Group?
We’ve transitioned from a single focused name-sake brand to an all-inclusive, collaborative process of decision-making. We have done so by changing from a top down approach to offering a seat at the table for each of our passionate professionals. It is truly our team members who guide our company through our core values while embracing and driving feedback. I am so happy with what we have created – it is a dynamic platform for the best ideas to come to fruition.
What are you most excited about looking forward?
I am most excited about our future development and expansion of our brands to new markets. My team has developed some really exciting concepts and bringing those to life. Through these we will service more guests, continue to see the growth of our young organization and allow our dedicated team to aspire to greater heights. That is the most exciting part of it all for me.
What will be the biggest challenge for Craveable?
The biggest challenge continues to be among ourselves each and every day. As we achieve new levels of delivering a premium guest experience we strive to attract, hire and retain excellent industry professionals to complete our mission as a company.
What makes for a successful hospitality group in an extremely competitive environment?
Everything starts with your people. The entire experience from start to finish is impacted by everyone in our organization and we recognize that we are the critical component to creating a successful guest experience.
Are you bringing on a new team? If so, could you highlight what they bring to the table?
We’ve recently hired Gary Heller, our CFO who joins us with a wealth of experience to our robust executive team. We are also currently in discussions with several high-profile chefs that we will be revealing in the very near future. These partners will drive concept development on current and newly incubated concepts through their guidance and expertise in the culinary space.
Do you have plans to go international?
We currently have a tremendous amount of opportunities and letters of intent in negotiations. The majority of them are domestic, in the continental US but we do have our eye on international expansion.
What makes Craveable stand out from other hospitality groups?
Craveable Hospitality Group prides ourselves on inspiring awe to all of our guests in everything that we do. We allow a platform for our team to create a sense of surprise and discovery through our F&B experience which creates A Craveable Experience leaving our guests with a craving to return.
What advice could you give someone aspiring to open a restaurant, given your group has opened and operated so many successful ones?
Recognize that we operate in an ever-changing industry and that your product must differentiate from the rest. It is crucial to have the ability to attract and retain the best people, be fully capitalized in each and every endeavor but really understand that you will work harder than you may have ever thought. Above all else, be sure to enjoy the opportunity we get to offer through servicing both your employees and your guests.