4Food: A Lesson in a Fast Casual Reboot
Of all the things that can derail a successful business, one is particularly frustrating: scaffolding. And 4Food, a fast casual concept that opened three years ago in Midtown, was quickly covered with the stuff shortly after its opening, impeding its visibility. The restaurant immediately suffered from a lack of brand recognition, and, making matters worse, the feedback surrounding the restaurant's opening wasn't overly positive for those who did make it inside.
Courtesy 4Food 4Food aims to rebound from tough opening reviews and unsightly scaffolding
If you remember the concept at all, it might be as the place with the donut hole burger. Or that place with way too many choices and too many service issues. People didn't embrace the iPad ordering system or the restaurant's healthy alternative to fast food, and they took to social media to vent frustrations. Sometimes, these results were displayed in store via 4food's big screen, which displayed its Twitter feed.
Still, the business has been open for three years, and it is firmly entrenched in its beliefs. And as more and more individuals and businesses accept technology as a method of communicating and completing transactions, it's possible that 4Food's goal to combine healthy food and technology to improve the customer experience will be achieved after all.
"We consider ourselves the first socially responsible and first socially networked restaurant," notes co-founder Michael Shuman. Obviously, being the first of anything is a tough racket, though those that plant the first roots typically last a lot longer than the imitators that follow if they can make it.