How Nathan’s Famous Gave Its Old Dogs Some New Tricks for the Younger Generation

May 25, 2021
Barbara Castiglia

Food is serious business. Now, on The Main Course, host Barbara Castiglia will invite insiders on the front lines of food to share their expertise, strategies, and forecasts for navigating the ever-changing restaurant industry.

 

On this episode of The Main Course, Host Barbara Castiglia talked with James Walker, Senior Vice President, Restaurants for Nathan’s Famous. The duo dug into one of the most well-known brands, worldwide expansion, and innovation, especially during COVID.

“Food is the only art form you experience with all your senses, and you must experience to live.” -James Walker

Walker is a top restaurant industry expert specializing in rebranding and repositioning iconic American comfort food brands. He is an industry-leading authority in restaurant technology and delivery channels, specializing in mergers and acquisitions, domestic and international operations, franchising, and new product development. His career launched in the early 1990s on the culinary side, working in fine dining restaurants.

“What initially attracted me to the hospitality industry is a passion for food,” Walker said. “One of the things I’ve said, if there was a James Walker quote, ‘Food is the only art form you experience with all your senses, and you must experience to live.’”

His time spent in the back of the house and kitchens transitioned over the years to the service side of the business. This is something that he brings a passion for at Nathan’s. When he got the call to work for them, the thing he was most excited about was the brand itself. He loves the food, the locations, and the way the company works. But that’s not all.

“Yes, the possibility of discounted hotdogs was probably one of those things that got me excited,” Walker said cheekily. “But, it was a brand I could see myself really being a passionate brand evangelist.”

The company continues to grow worldwide, and he shares more on this episode.

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