How Angry Chickz is Revolutionizing the Fast-Casual Chicken Scene, with Mike LaRue

How can a franchise brand differentiate itself in the competitive fast-casual chicken industry while maintaining a personal touch? 

In this episode, Mike LaRue, VP of Franchise Development at Angry Chickz, shares his insights on building a successful franchise concept that stands out from the crowd. With a focus on high-quality food, unique flavors, and a strong connection to the community, Angry Chickz has developed a loyal following and impressive sales figures.

Mike discusses the importance of a well-planned supply chain strategy, which allows Angry Chickz to support franchisees nationwide and maintain consistent quality. He also emphasizes the value of selective franchise expansion, focusing on finding the right partners who align with the brand’s mission and values.

Drawing from his extensive experience in the franchise industry, Mike shares the challenges he faced in finding his place and overcoming self-doubt. He stresses the importance of staying true to one’s beliefs, having faith, and being open to learning from others. 

As Angry Chickz continues to grow, Mike remains committed to maintaining a personal approach to franchise development. He believes that by fostering strong partnerships with franchisees and prioritizing the guest experience, the brand can achieve long-term success without losing its unique identity.

Mentors that Inspired Mike:

  • Simon Sinek – Author and speaker whose ideas on purpose-driven leadership have greatly influenced Mike’s approach to franchising
  • Len Stinson – A fellow alumnus of Westmont College who has provided guidance and support throughout Mike’s career  
  • Gary Vaynerchuk and Andy Frisella – Podcasters and entrepreneurs who have inspired Mike to step out of his comfort zone and embrace personal growth

Tune in for valuable insights on franchise development, building a strong brand identity, and overcoming personal and professional challenges in the pursuit of success.

LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE HERE

Transcript

Intro  

Welcome to another edition of inspired stories where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes, how they’ve overcome adversity, and explore current challenges they’re facing.


Anthony Codispoti (15:28.548)
Welcome to another edition of the Inspired Stories Podcast, where leaders share their experiences so we can learn from their successes and be inspired by how they’ve overcome adversity. If you like today’s content, please hit the like, subscribe, or share button on your favorite podcast app. My name is Anthony Codispoti and today’s guest is Mike LaRue. Mike LaRue has had a long career across multiple companies, supporting both franchisors and franchisees.

He’s currently the VP of franchise development at Angry Chickz, a hot chicken concept based on the West Coast with 25 locations and growing. Now before we get into the good stuff, today’s episode is brought to you by my company, Add Back Benefits Agency, where we offer very specific and unique employee benefits that are both great for your team and fiscally optimized for your bottom line. One recent client was able to save over $900 per employee per year.

by implementing one of our proprietary programs. Another client is gonna save over $1,200 per employee per year by implementing a patented construct that we offer. Results vary for each company, and some organizations may not be eligible. To find out if your company qualifies, contact us today at addb Okay, now back to our guest today, the VP of Franchise Development at Angry Chickz. Mike LaRue, I appreciate you making the time to share your story today.

Mike LaRue (16:56.65)
Yeah, thank you, Anthony. I appreciate having me on. Happy to be here.

Anthony Codispoti (17:00.444)
So let’s start with the company you’re currently with, Angry Chickz. It’s a hot chicken, fast casual restaurant with 20 plus locations out west. I know you weren’t the one who started the company, but tell us, what is it about Angry Chickz that makes this a special take on the hot chicken concept?

Mike LaRue (17:03.566)
Mm-hmm.

Mike LaRue (17:08.524)
Mm-hmm.

Mike LaRue (17:21.886)
You know, it’s a great question because, you know, that, you know, Nashville hot chicken has been no pun intended hot over the last, you know, five to six years. And so when it comes down to, you know, what makes us different, which everybody asks, and the response is now turning into, well, have you been to an Angry Chickz yet? And if they haven’t, then it’s like.

Anthony Codispoti (17:48.44)
I haven’t. Yeah, I’m in the Midwest. There isn’t one near me. Yeah, so educate me. What would it be like?

Mike LaRue (17:52.976)
then it’s like, then you gotta go. Cause it really, cause when it comes down to, you know, Nashville hot chicken.

Mike LaRue (18:03.866)
I feel like…

Mike LaRue (18:08.07)
When it first started, there was a certain perception of what Nashville Hot Chicken was. In the South, starting obviously out of Nashville, you had Hattie B’s and Princesses and whatnot. Outside of those standalone concepts, it’s just an item on the menu. And so when it started to kind of pop up as a, hey, this is just our menu, if you don’t

Mike LaRue (18:38.486)
you know, how it’s done, you just can try and put together the is this national, this type of spice profile, and then you do your chicken. And so it’s the quality of the food and the quality of the taste. And and I feel that we it isn’t necessarily just an opinion, although super transparent. I am biased. But when you look at when you look at our guests and you look at our.

Anthony Codispoti (19:00.452)
Super transparent.

Mike LaRue (19:09.186)
just the reviews through social media. We are a fan favorite, which is cool. And so…

Anthony Codispoti (19:10.665)
Let’s go.

Anthony Codispoti (19:19.122)
I’m seeing some pictures here on your website. People literally lined up around the block in some of these places.

Mike LaRue (19:24.894)
Yeah, we definitely know how to do a grand opening. It’s actually pretty mind blowing when you can see the possibilities of how much volume you can do out of a 2,500 square foot space, it will blow your mind. But kind of to your point, what makes this different, it’s the first and foremost is the first.

Anthony Codispoti (19:31.117)
Alright.

Mike LaRue (19:54.706)
And that has some.

Anthony Codispoti (19:56.708)
And so what’s different about the food? Just the flavor profile? Is there something in the breading or the chicken itself?

Mike LaRue (20:01.574)
Yeah, the flavor profile, the tenderness of the chicken, how it combines, we have our number one item is called an Angry Mac, and it’s got our fries in the bottom with the tender, whatever spice you want in the middle, and then mac and cheese on top, and then you can do, we have these pickles and whatnot. It’s incredibly addictive, which.

Because it wouldn’t necessarily be my first go-to, but it’s really good. And what’s interesting about Nashville hot chicken specifically, and I started, I read this in my research when I was getting interviewed for the position, there’s certain spices in chili peppers.

Anthony Codispoti (20:29.104)
I see it here on your website.

Mike LaRue (20:58.198)
that when you eat them, it actually releases dopamine and endorphins and so I’m like, okay, well, this isn’t a fad, this is gonna stick around for a while. Yeah, I mean, yeah, yeah. And so, but really the quality, I mean, it really comes down to the chicken. It’s the quality of the tender, how it’s marinated, how we spice it.

Anthony Codispoti (21:06.192)
Okay.

Anthony Codispoti (21:10.38)
It’s like a drug. It’s pushing that pleasure center. Mm-hmm.

Mike LaRue (21:25.314)
and obviously how we cook it because it’s got to be tender. And then it’s kind of built around that. But outside the.

Anthony Codispoti (21:34.408)
And there’s different heat levels here I see, and one of them you’ve gotta sign a waiver for.

Mike LaRue (21:38.706)
Yeah, so, yeah, so our angry hot, you have to you have to sign a waiver. Just to kind of put it in perspective, ghost pepper is in the second highest heat level. The our hottest has ghost pepper and other spice elements that take it up a notch.

Anthony Codispoti (22:06.056)
So there’s something beyond the ghost pepper? I don’t know hot peppers a lot, but the ghost pepper is the one that I hear everybody talk about is sort of the… Okay.

Mike LaRue (22:09.47)
Yeah, yeah, so it’s that.

It’s I think it’s called the Carolina Reaper.

Mike LaRue (22:19.39)
Yeah, so from my understanding, because I don’t go above medium, I don’t my tolerance isn’t that high.

Anthony Codispoti (22:19.885)
Okay.

Mike LaRue (22:31.382)
So when it goes above.

Mike LaRue (22:36.526)
So from what I understand, so got the ghost pepper, it hits you right away. Caroline Reaper kind of marinades a little bit internally and then hits you pretty good. But yeah, we do require our guests to sign a waiver when they decide to.

Mike LaRue (23:01.079)
Um, there was actually.

Mike LaRue (23:08.006)
Our recent grand opening, there was a kid who got the angry Mac and got the, he wound up getting angry spice with his tenders. And

Mike LaRue (23:22.178)
Um, it took him, it took him a while and I don’t think he finished. Yeah. I think it’s kind of like this thing where it’s like, you know, Hey, I dare you. Um, but yeah, you won’t get, uh, yeah, it makes it fun, but not too many people are going that route.

Mike LaRue (23:44.754)
So it’s funny, our founder, when he first started, he has an incredible story. And that’s funny, this podcast, I feel there’s a lot of good stories out there, especially these days that need to be told. So he’s got an incredible story. And so when he started, the first name was Angry Birds. He got a cease and desist pretty quickly.

And so, yeah, yeah. And so, so he soon changed it to, you know, to Angry Chickz. And, you know, he, you know, with the Z, it’s funny, I’ve never actually talked to him about this, but it was different. It was different. And that’s how he kind of saw, you know, it’s like the, it’s not necessarily

angry as far as the persona being angry. It’s more of the angry being like, hey, these things got a kick type of, you know, type of angry. And so, yeah, throwing the zoo.

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly.

Mike LaRue (25:16.114)
Yeah, yeah, so it’s a counter service. So you basically order, you come pick up the counter. So we’re kind of a, I guess you call it hybrid, fast casual, QSR. We do have two locations that are drive-throughs. So it’s not necessarily the only.

you know, thing we’re moving forward with because we’ve proven that we can do a ridiculous amount of volume in an inline space. A drive through just happens to be another component. So from a customer experience standpoint, um, it’s funny, we’re actually going through that process now. And, and then what, what I mean by that is we have a persona, you know, with, within the brand and, uh, if you see some of.

the interior shots from some of our locations, you’ll see the character, you’ll see the chicken. Well, we have the most interesting chicken in the world. And that persona around that, you know, like the Dos Equis guy, the most interesting man in the world. Well, we have the most interesting chicken. And so, we’re creating this fun experience for the guests to, you know, kind of,

And again, I’m just kind of spitballing again, but you start building this relationship with this persona and And that could

Mike LaRue (26:51.954)
It’s well, so it’s not an actual. We’re working on that. But right now, it’s just murals. So like we’re murals all like so like if you go to each location is going to have a mural of the chicken doing different things, like he’s either an astronaut or he’s on a jet ski or he’s drinking a sip of a martini or smoking a cigar. So and so we you know, we want to make.

We want to make the customer feel a certain way. And that’s really what it comes down to when it comes down to that guest experience. We want people to feel something because I think these days, if you don’t make that type of connection with the guest, you just become a commodity and people go to you out of convenience versus.

being more intentional about, man, I want to go to Angry Chickz. And so we want guests to feel that they’re going to come in and they’re going to get incredible customer service and they’re going to have life-changing chicken and leave coming back and thinking, well, leave with the intent of, man, I want to come back. I just feel good being in here. And that’s what we’re actually…

You know, our founder, he’s got a lot of cool things, but a lot of feedback that we’ve gotten, there’s just no connection to the story. So like when a guest walks in to the door, like it’s hard to figure out what’s going on. So we’re actually working with the firm to develop that connection, which is, yeah, which is cool. Because he, you know,

out of the 25 locations that we have right now.

Mike LaRue (28:52.078)
I mean, it’s to put it in perspective, at one point, less than two years ago, our founder, there were 18 locations and 350 employees, and he was ops, HR, and finance. And he’s just very entrepreneurial, great, very good at opening restaurants, and had a passion when he just first started doing hot chicken. But when it came down, when it comes down to scaling and how do you…

You put those systems and processes together.

Mike LaRue (29:30.558)
You know, it’s a whole other ballgame.

Anthony (host):
But anyways, I think what we were last talking about, if memory serves, was you guys have hired a firm to come in and help you tell the story, and then you were talking about the founder who’s been HR, operations, sort of wearing all these different hats.

Mike LaRue (32:43.688)
Yeah.

Mike LaRue (32:57.762)
Yeah, yeah. So I’ll start with that and just kind of go where I was going. So yeah, so he at one point he had 18 locations, 350 plus employees, and he was HR, finance and ops. And, you know, most of my experience that’s going to implode.

Anthony Codispoti (33:01.869)
Okay.

Mike LaRue (33:23.766)
And I think he was probably on the route to where it was going to upload, but, you know, he, he decided to, um, figure out, Hey, like, I need help with this. Uh, I do want to start frame. I do want to franchise and was able to bring on the right people. And he had some really good advisory, um, to, um, really guide him in that right direction. Um, now I’m going to.

Mike LaRue (33:56.926)
Alright, hold on.

Mike LaRue (34:01.806)
Can you hear me right now or is this too much? Is it?

Anthony Codispoti (34:05.289)
Loud and clear. You sound good.

Mike LaRue (34:06.902)
Okay, I’ll just do this then. Okay, cool. So yeah, he originally wanted the franchise, but then it was advised to why would you want to get yourself in that mess? And so he just started growing on his own. But then he got the…

Anthony Codispoti (34:23.777)
So the first 18 locations are store owned. It was after that he made the decision. Or company, oh they’re all corporate owned, okay.

Mike LaRue (34:27.362)
So they’re all corporate right now. Well, our 25th one was a franchise, but there was a relationship there and it’s in California. So we kind of, we support them a lot. But we’re actually keeping California corporate, which is funny because when I interviewed with him, he was like, well, he’s like, are you cave?

we keep California corporate. I don’t want a franchise in California. I said, well, fine, because nobody wants to open in California anyway, so.

Anthony Codispoti (35:01.793)
just because of all the difficult business laws, tax law, the tax structure there, yeah.

Mike LaRue (35:05.986)
Yeah, it’s obviously tax from a tax perspective. It’s just difficult to operate a business and specifically with restaurants with now with labor or minimum. The criteria of minimum wage being $20 an hour was, hey, if you have 60, if you’re a part of a QSR and have 60 restaurants or more. But the problem with that is those who are writing the bill didn’t realize that.

Anybody else who works at a restaurant, if they have a friend who’s working in some place that’s getting paid 20 bucks an hour, they’re just going to leave and they’re going to go there. But the other thing too is then those operators who have to pay 20 bucks an hour, now they’re cutting hours. So it’s like there’s nobody winning in this process. But we are very fortunate that…

It hasn’t impacted us significantly. I mean, monetarily, it’s obviously, it goes up a bit, but when you look at all of our locations and what we do from a volume standpoint, it’s not having a significant impact to our bottom line. So from that perspective, it was like, well, if we can prove that we have a pretty solid financial model in California, then outside of California, it’ll become pretty.

Anthony Codispoti (36:30.877)
If it works here, it should work anywhere.

Mike LaRue (36:32.222)
Yeah, if it works there, it’s going to work anywhere. Exactly.

Anthony Codispoti (36:35.725)
Yeah. You mentioned before that your locations are capable of really doing some great volume. Are you able to give any numbers how it compares to like a typical quick service restaurant?

Mike LaRue (36:47.786)
Yes, so in our item 19, so our top, call it third, our AUV is about, which will create about six restaurants, but like 2.7, 2.8, we have restaurants that’ll do over three million.

Anthony Codispoti (37:10.029)
And how does that compare to, say, a typical quick serve as maybe another chicken concept or something similar?

Mike LaRue (37:14.496)
Um…

Mike LaRue (37:18.41)
You know, I feel like, and this is only going off of what I’ve seen through, like at the multi-unit franchise show and what other brands are kind of touting. They’ll say, you know, they’ll have AUVs of like 1.5, but that only is a small sample size. Like our system wide AUV is actually about 2 million. And you take out a few of those dogs, which are kind of some of the initial locations like from a dollar purse.

From a dollar per square foot standpoint, we’re pretty close to about a thousand bucks a square foot system-wide, but we blow out a grand opening.

Mike LaRue (38:04.288)
We do grand openings, Wally. We’ve…

Mike LaRue (38:09.186)
I don’t know, maybe someone will hit me up with this, but like just like our current record right now, we did almost, I think almost 800,000 in our first 30 days.

Anthony Codispoti (38:20.009)
Wow. How did you, what did you do to set yourself up for success there?

Mike LaRue (38:25.474)
So we have a very cult following, which is funny because not a lot of people know who we are, but when you look at those who do know who we are, it’s very, they love us. I mean, we have, we’ve kind of gone under the radar. We have over 300,000 followers on Instagram and it’s, we engage, we engage with, you know, with our followers.

Anthony Codispoti (38:36.461)
I love you.

Mike LaRue (38:54.766)
And so when it comes down to a grand opening, we have a pretty good way of getting people excited about what we’re doing there. So yeah, it’s pretty wild.

Anthony Codispoti (39:12.349)
Is this the kind of thing where you get like news coverage like helicopter flying overhead to show like the giant line that’s circling around the building? Okay.

Mike LaRue (39:19.494)
No, that’s just the drone. We do that internally. But it was quite so what we did with our last, our most recent opening up in Backville, California. Yeah, it was a conjoined effort between us internally and what we do with our social media and how we engage with people in that area. Our PR firm did a really good job with reaching out to the community.

schools, the PTA, the mayor was there. And so it’s really the intent is to really get the community involved. You know, because when it comes down to how we want people to feel within our restaurant, it’s all about creating that emotional connection. And the best way to do that is to get into your community and, you know, boots on the ground and just give, give.

There’s not a lot of that on a consistent basis these days. And so, you know, when, when cities, especially there’s, Vacaville is not a, you know, I think the population is like 130,000. Now they draw in people from other cities, but a lot of these smaller, a lot of these smaller cities, they love when new concepts come into town. And when you’re willing to, to say, hey, how can we help? Like, how can we serve? What can we do to help?

make a positive impact within the community, I mean, they become a marketing arm.

Anthony Codispoti (40:54.057)
That’s really smart. You get with the sort of grassroots movement, people who are sort of the, I don’t know, if you want to call them influencers, but just sort of the people who know people and who are going to say good things across the community and word spreads and that’s a great way to get started. And so, Mike, I know you come from kind of a, I mean your current position is the VP of

Mike LaRue (41:13.208)
Yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (41:22.485)
You’ve got a long and storied experience background in just sort of helping franchisees and franchisors on multiple different ventures. I’m curious if maybe we can kind of dig into this a little bit because I’m curious, you know, what you’ve seen across helping lots of different people, lots of different brands. What are some of the most common mistakes that new franchisees make?

Mike LaRue (41:31.709)
All right.

Mike LaRue (41:55.139)
I laugh because it’s just that be this man. Let’s say how much time do you have? You know, yeah, no, I’m kidding. So here’s, I guess I can feel I can speak to this. So in the first call it, you know, seven or eight years or so that I got into the business, it was.

Anthony Codispoti (41:59.551)
Let’s just pick one or two good ones.

Mike LaRue (42:18.774)
I worked for an organization and we did franchise sales. And when you’re compensated by bringing in franchisee partners, and again, I was young, didn’t know any better, and when your performance is based off of doing deals, you’re not necessarily concerned on is this franchisee gonna be around in 10 years?

Mike LaRue (42:49.398)
And so there’s an element to that. And sometimes franchisers are okay with that. And sometimes they’re not. Sometimes, but I think, you know, a lot of times brands will say they want it, but if they took the check, then, you know, that’s actually where they’re at. And so from that point though, I wound up starting an advisory and consulting firm, trying to figure out.

how do we do things differently? How can we bring some of, this is back in like 2011-ish, I caught the Simon Signing video, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, and just hit me like a ton of bricks. And that was like, okay, how can we turn this into a purpose-driven model? And so we started to work with franchisors and just kind of helping them guide in the right direction.

The franchise sales consultant model didn’t, I couldn’t figure out how to make that work. But that led us to, we were the Hallal guys, and this was early on. We built a business partner at the time was a GC. We built their second franchise location, which was a group, the group that were, we were buddies of the group that had the rights to Southern California. And from that point, we developed systems and processes to get

Anthony Codispoti (44:12.835)
Thank you.

Mike LaRue (44:13.734)
They went from two to when I left, they had about 90 locations. In that period of time, most of my communication was with franchisees. So I was a huge sounding board. I listened. A lot of times I felt like I was a counselor. Just hearing the concerns, their issues, their wins, their losses.

Anthony Codispoti (44:17.857)
Get down.

Anthony Codispoti (44:23.233)
I was a huge sounding board. I listened a lot of times.

Anthony Codispoti (44:35.533)
concerns, issues, and losses.

Mike LaRue (44:42.754)
built a really good understanding of what franchisees really want and what they need to see and what a franchisor has to have in place to be able to make that connection and deliver upon this business in the box that they’ve sold to this franchisee to develop in another market.

Mike LaRue (45:10.707)
So through that process, when it comes down to franchisees and the biggest things that…

Anthony Codispoti (45:10.966)
So through that process, it comes down to the frame changes.

Mike LaRue (45:19.55)
What should they look out for and what they don’t look at or maybe the questions they don’t ask? I would say probably the number one is supply chain. What’s the supply chain strategy? Because Cisco or US Foods is not a strategy. That just means that they’re going to be able to get one product, the product from one side of the country to the other. And I guess what I mean by that is I’ve seen…

Anthony Codispoti (45:32.036)
What’s the supply chain strike? Is this lower US

Mike LaRue (45:47.298)
You know, if you have a brand that is growing in a certain market and there’s a lot of press, there’s…

Mike LaRue (45:58.082)
a lot of hype and there’s a core section of investors and franchisees at

have no problem being that early adopter and then saying, hey, this is, I think we can make this work in a market just based off of how they feel about it. Well, what happens a lot of times is that brand will start franchising and then they do a deal 2000 miles away and that franchisee opens up and all of a sudden their food costs are 12 points higher and nobody knows what happened. And that’s because they didn’t figure out that, you know.

Anthony Codispoti (46:21.293)
and it’s almost at a frame. So it’s a good deal. 2,000 miles.

Mike LaRue (46:35.582)
you have to have the early conversations with your distributor and what those conversations have to look like, how do you strategically plan the development of that market and you add in freight and shipping to whatever you’re shipping out there that obviously increases your costs. So I feel like a lot of that is probably the number one question that differentiates the big multi-unit operators.

Anthony Codispoti (46:47.309)
should be too soon, whatever you’re shipping out there. And obviously, this is what it costs, so.

Anthony Codispoti (46:58.032)
That is probably the number.

Mike LaRue (47:05.154)
That’s what important to them, to the guys who are just kind of getting in the beginning and they think, yeah, this is cool. They don’t really understand how that supply chain mechanism works. And so I would say probably the number one question that someone should ask the franchisor is what’s their supply chain strategy? Or they most probably don’t even have one.

Anthony Codispoti (47:17.254)
I don’t understand how this might work.

Mike LaRue (47:33.354)
it’s figuring out what their plan is. Like, how do they plan on getting the product into from one market to another market? And because that other market, even to Cisco or US Foods, they’re going to require a certain amount of volume to get the shelf space to supply you in that local market, everything that you’re going to need to operate the brand in the manner that that’s expected. And so, yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (47:49.157)
certain amount of water to get the shelter babies to survive.

Anthony Codispoti (48:02.453)
We’ve interviewed several quick service restaurants that are in the earlier stages of franchising here and one of the things we can see is they’re focused on one geography right now. I talked to a Harlem Shake recently and they started in Harlem in New York and now the areas that they’re looking for are up there in the northeast part of the map and makes a lot of sense because like you said, you kind of need to build out that.

build out that supply chain and make sure that infrastructure and your suppliers are there locally because that freight, especially with gas prices being where they are, that freight can really add a lot in expenses. It really takes away from the bottom line.

Mike LaRue (48:48.398)
especially when you live in Southern California, we’re looking at like 560, six bucks a gallon for gas. You know, there’s so many other ones. I think the other thing that might be, so I mean, this is actually somewhat relevant now because I do bring this up pretty early in the conversation, but as a potential franchisee looking at a brand, especially one that’s starting out is.

What’s an exit strategy? What’s their exit strategy? And I’ll give a quick backstory on why I see that as important. So for me, in my position, when I’m talking to potential franchisees, that is a big topic that I want to make very clear in the fact that our founder, he has no intention of selling. And so…

So it’s funny when I was interviewing, I asked him the question, I go, what’s your extra strategy? And he kind of paused and I don’t know if he was surprised by the question, but he didn’t really know how to answer. And so I clarified, I go, well, would you be interested, like, would you sell this? Would you sell angry Chickz in six to seven, eight years? He goes, well, if my kids don’t ever want to take over the business, then I would probably sell.

three and six.

Anthony Codispoti (50:15.861)
But for him, he sees this as a legacy thing, if the family’s interested in taking it on.

Mike LaRue (50:18.658)
This is his legacy. He’s got family involved. I mean, he’s got a lot of family that are involved in the kind of the corporate restaurants as he goes out to all locations throughout California. He’s got operating partners who are family, who are running those. And when you have that mindset of, Simon Sinek, you know,

was it the infinite game? When you have called a hundred-year plan you make decisions differently versus how do I package this up or how do I build things in the manner that make this look attractive in six to eight years? So for example If you have more of a hundred-year plan you’re not necessarily interested in going out and seeing how fast you can get to 400 units in development. You’re more interested in bringing on the right people to develop the markets.

Now it doesn’t mean you’re slow, I call it patiently aggressive. But you’re building something to last. And I feel that, especially in franchising, when you grow too fast, you run into bottlenecks, whether it’s supply chain, whether it’s equipment, whether it’s just people.

You know, being able to support significantly rapid growth is very, very difficult. And when you do that, someone’s getting hurt. It’s either the quality of the food, it takes time to make sure that you have the right people who are delivering that culture, that mission and that vision from the top. Because you have obviously your franchise or your head in the, you know.

corporate office, but then you got the four walls, not just from a corporate restaurant standpoint, but even your franchisees, and it has to start from the top. But there’s a lot of times, if you can’t bridge that gap between whether it’s franchisor to franchisee, or even from corporate restaurant, or corporate headquarters to the four walls of each restaurant.

Mike LaRue (52:38.482)
it’s super difficult, it takes time. And so when you grow too fast, you lose an element. So that’s why I see a lot of times with brands that will grow too fast, you start seeing the quality go to crap.

Anthony Codispoti (52:51.395)
Yeah, so let me ask you this Mike, for somebody who’s looking for a franchise concept, they want to invest in something, they think that the Angry Chickz is interesting, what are some benefits to the Angry Chickz concept that maybe they wouldn’t see with other opportunities, what’s different or unique about it?

Mike LaRue (53:13.45)
question.

Mike LaRue (53:18.942)
I would say, it’s funny, kind of going back to the supply chain. So we actually, it’s funny, when I was interviewing for the concept, I found out that a good friend of mine, I call him the magician, he’s been in supply chain for 40 years. He was hired in to bring, come in and actually build the strategy. So right now when it comes to supply chain, we’re built as if we have 250 locations. So if we go into any market in the country, that discussion has already been had. So we know when we go into the market,

what’s the minimum threshold of what we have to develop in that market. And so when we do open in those markets, that’s, um, uh, that impact, uh, we have a pretty good forecast of what that’s going to look like. And so it’ll help us have a better discussion and more transparent discussion with, with that franchisee in the, in that market. Um, so I,

Anthony Codispoti (54:10.445)
Well, so that’s helpful to understand. So you guys aren’t just limited to supporting, I know California is just corporate owned, but initially I was thinking, oh, probably just Arizona, Nevada, Utah, some neighboring states, but you guys have already talked about, like, hey, if we get a franchisor in Atlanta that wants to open up X number of locations, that’s the magic number, that would make sense, and we can go ahead and start in that market.

Mike LaRue (54:25.334)
Nationwide.

Mike LaRue (54:37.79)
We have the ability to support that. Yeah, correct. Yeah. Um, it’s, I mean, it’s not necessarily a big number, um, depending on the volume. Usually it’s anywhere between three and five. So, so if you can, so if you’re a distributor, like, so we have Cisco. So if, if Cisco knows that, Hey, this is the plan to develop X money. That’s sort of the next, you know, three, four or five years.

Anthony Codispoti (54:40.109)
Okay, and what would that magic number be?

Mike LaRue (55:07.406)
then they understand that, okay, well, there’s an incentive here to keep pricing in a manner that’s going to help facilitate that growth. So yeah, we can…

Anthony Codispoti (55:24.525)
So you guys have had the supply chain conversation so that you know if you get interest from various parts of the country, here’s sort of the magic number to make it work in that area. What else? What else outside of the supply chain makes this a good opportunity?

Mike LaRue (55:36.074)
Yeah, so… So…

Mike LaRue (55:43.562)
You know, when it comes down to developing, so we’re only looking for area developers. And when it comes down to a development schedule, more often than not, they’re super aggressive, you know, open X amount of restaurants in this period of time. On top of that, it’s…

You might take one big market and I know some brands I’ve heard this in the past where it’s like, well, we don’t want to give this market to one franchisee. So they split it up between three or four or whatever that looks like. And I think IFA had a number that came out a few years ago. It was something along the lines of only 60 percent of all area development agreements ever get fulfilled. Well, why is that? It’s more often than not.

a franchisee just runs out of territory to actually find an open locations that are going to align with the current ones that are open. And so when it comes down to how we develop a market and how we develop a schedule, when it comes down to the schedule, I look at the schedule as being more of a guide as I feel that the availability of real estate will dictate the speed of growth. So I think a lot of

franchisees will get into systems and you know, they get their one open now, they got to start looking for two and three. But if there’s not the available real estate, now all of a sudden they’re, they’re under pressure to find something just to fulfill, fulfill their schedule. And we have more of a long-term approach. Granted, we don’t want people sitting on markets. I mean, people are submitting sites and just the market is extremely tight.

We look at this as a partnership, and we want to put them in the best position to be successful. And so that doesn’t mean making them hit a development schedule just because it’s on contractually, it’s in their agreement. And so we make it flexible from the standpoint of language and the agreements that if they’re looking and they’re not just sitting around going on vacation for three, four months at a time, and they’re actually…

Anthony Codispoti (57:39.285)
Thank you.

Mike LaRue (58:06.886)
um, working with us to dig up sites, then we, we work with them because again, we want, uh, we want to put them in the best position to be successful and we want to put the market in the best position, uh, to, to succeed with the brand. And so, um, we’re not.

you know we’re not super aggressive when it comes down to hey you have to x you have to open x amount of locations in a in a short period of time uh… it’s just

Anthony Codispoti (58:33.981)
And that’s probably a benefit of working with kind of a younger company that’s still very much founder driven, right? You do get more of that personal relationship and like you are describing, like you view it more as a partnership instead of, you know, maybe some big franchisor who’s got sort of these very rigid corporate agreements that, you know, have to be abided to, the big legal team to enforce them and whatnot.

Mike LaRue (58:58.326)
Yeah, yeah. You need a bunch of suits call it. Yeah, you know, it’s um.

Mike LaRue (59:06.466)
I think if it starts personal, it can always be personal, regardless of how big you get. But I think some of the big ones, kind of to your point, it’s they’ve done things the way they’ve done things, because that’s all they’ve ever done. And so pivoting from that is, it is super difficult. Like I get that. But we’re, and our strategy might be a little different. Like we’re not looking to have, you know.

hundreds of franchisees. As a franchisor, I was laughing when brands will, someone who’s interested in franchising, it’s like, well, why would you want to, it’s basically you become a glorified babysitter. And that’s a, maybe a naive way to look at it or explain it, but when you do have so many franchisees, it really is hard, because you’re dealing with different personalities, it is hard to manage. And so,

You know, like if we had less than 20 franchisees developing all of the United States or North America, I know our founder would be pretty happy.

Anthony Codispoti (01:00:17.737)
He wants to keep a tight circle. Yeah.

Mike LaRue (01:00:19.406)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. And he has the ability to do that because he doesn’t necessarily need to franchise. And I feel that franchisors that go down the route to where they are taking checks, because they’re almost in the position where they have to, versus they get to pick and choose and wait. Maybe I don’t want to bring on a franchisee this year. Maybe we are holding off.

But you look at some of the most successful brands that have been around for a long time, that didn’t just pop and then fizzle. It’s fine, I didn’t know this, but when you look at Jersey Mike’s, I think Jersey Mike’s, they didn’t start franchising for quite some time after they had so many locations. And so, when you do that, you can be very, very selective. And…

kind of burst the bubble with someone who’s only got a couple locations and they want to start franchising yet, but

Mike LaRue (01:01:26.853)
I mean, then that’s a question.

Anthony Codispoti (01:01:28.281)
Let’s just put you in a stronger position now that Angry Chickz has, you know, two dozen, close to two dozen locations of their own that are performing well. You’ve got a strong balance sheet, you’ve got some cash reserves. You’re in a position where you can afford to be choosy about what the next steps look like.

Mike LaRue (01:01:45.438)
Yeah, yeah, and not just that too. It’s, it’s, um, a lot of brands will start franchising and they have less than five or six locations. Well, when you get to five and you get to 10 and 15 and 20, it’s a different GNA structure. You know, now you got regional, you got regional managers and you got a district managers. Um, it’s a complete different GNA, um, required to support each individual restaurant. And if you have less than 10,

then you’re leaving on the onus of either the franchisee or you just kinda, it’s hey, well, we’re just gonna figure this out as we go. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s franchisees that they expect that and they’re all about it. They’re happy to be a part of it. But for us, it’s put us in a position to where we understand how that growth structure should look like.

Anthony Codispoti (01:02:44.841)
Mike LaRue, I’d like to shift gears a little bit now and ask you to open up and maybe share like a big challenge that you’ve gone through either professionally or personally. These tend to be harder questions for people to answer but I think they’re the most rewarding ones for other people to hear because you’ve shared a lot of great information. People hear you and they say, oh, this guy’s pretty well put together. He’s been in this industry a long time. He’s an expert.

what he does, things come easy to him. And I think it’s helpful to see that regardless of what the polished product looks like, we’ve all gone through dark times, really big challenges. And it’s helpful to see other people who’ve gone through them and then come out the other side. So what would be maybe just, exactly. And here’s their chance for them to know and be inspired by it too.

Mike LaRue (01:03:24.876)
Yeah.

Mike LaRue (01:03:30.47)
if they only knew.

Mike LaRue (01:03:39.446)
You know, it’s so interesting that you asked this because…

Mike LaRue (01:03:46.994)
one of these days I’ll really kind of tell the full story, but I guess I would say…

Anthony Codispoti (01:03:52.769)
Well, let that be today, if you’re comfortable.

Mike LaRue (01:04:00.078)
Franchisees or franchising is an interesting world and

Mike LaRue (01:04:07.374)
I, so, so when I, it’s more, it’s probably easier now to do than it was before, but like when I started in the industry, I was, you know, I was kind of held within the confines of the company that I worked for. And then when I started the consulting advisory company, you know, I,

I had relationships, but it’s funny because when it comes down to franchising, I feel like as a consultant or advisor, regardless of whatever brand you worked with or worked for, credibility is just gone. Again, this was me at the time. Granted, I hadn’t built a track record of, hey, this is what I’ve done, and here’s my portfolio of my work. I didn’t have that.

Anthony Codispoti (01:04:54.686)
This was me at the time.

Mike LaRue (01:05:08.166)
And so, when I worked, so when we brought on…

Mike LaRue (01:05:16.11)
when he started working with the Halal guys, we were always behind the scenes. And so when it comes down to, maybe if I was way more active on social media, it might’ve been a different story, but trying to kind of find my voice, trying to figure out, like where did I fit within just this industry? Because I had this,

Anthony Codispoti (01:05:25.877)
that was way more.

Mike LaRue (01:05:46.198)
I had this feeling of, I guess it was just more of a feeling that I couldn’t really pin it on what that looked like, but I know if I saw a brand or saw a message from a brand or just saw experience what someone was trying to do, I would feel, hey, these guys are on the right path. But again, how can I do that?

Anthony Codispoti (01:05:57.333)
I saw something, I saw a crane, I saw a message on a crane, I just saw it, it was crazy, it was like, it was like, it was like, it was like,

Mike LaRue (01:06:14.542)
for myself because I look back, I’ve never worked in a restaurant in my life. Just finding out that people know that. I can look at a P&L and know exactly what’s off and probably where you need to address this, but I’ve actually, I’ve never worked in a restaurant. And so, from that and not having a awesome resume that shows…

Anthony Codispoti (01:06:15.37)
So.

Anthony Codispoti (01:06:31.806)
So from that.

Mike LaRue (01:06:43.297)
and here’s who I’ve worked with.

it from a just from a confidence standpoint it was it was it was hard so you know going through going through the few years that I had you know the whole all guys knew they’re one of our main clients at one point at actually several points they were the only client so it’s like man it’s like I see

all these people crushing in the industry and here I am. Because a lot of times from an industry standpoint, you look at your peers and it’s hard to not compare of what someone else is doing or someone else is progressing with this company. I almost said they’re now the chief development officer or whatever. And so it was hard because nobody, it’s like, all right, nobody knows who I am.

Anthony Codispoti (01:07:27.817)
someone else is doing, someone else is progressing in this country, so it’s a good opportunity. So it was, it was a market.

Mike LaRue (01:07:40.674)
And from that point is, well, do I even, do I have any value? Like it’s, yeah, we’ve done this work, but it wasn’t necessarily me. Me and my business partner was at GC. And I was, in retrospect, I look back and I was learning. And I was learning, and kind of building up this knowledge set that now when I put it together with, you know.

everything that I’ve worked on in the past, now it’s like, this is who I am. I’m not just franchise sales, also real estate construction. And so for several years, it was, man, like…

Anthony Codispoti (01:08:27.597)
So, we got super long fuck for several years.

Mike LaRue (01:08:38.778)
Like, what’s my path within this industry? Because as a consultant, as an advisor, I always thought that the consultants were always the guys who, you know, they couldn’t get hired anywhere. And so they had a skillset that they could go out and just start work with others that would rather pay a retainer versus actually hiring someone.

And at least for me, when I figured out, that’s why I couldn’t figure out how to scale that business because I figured out no one wanted to pay me what, they probably would have paid somebody to do the same stuff in house. And so I went through several years just kind of questioning, you know, like, do I have value? Like, am I actually good enough to be doing what I’m doing? Am I just, or is this just all BS and I’m just, you know, kind of talking my way through it?

Anthony Codispoti (01:09:18.681)
So I want to send you some questions.

Anthony Codispoti (01:09:28.301)
I actually did have to do it. I just thought, this is just all in the past.

Mike LaRue (01:09:37.691)
And then COVID forced me to, my wife and I had a little girl in June of 2020, and it was kind of, okay, well, what do I wanna do when I grow up? You can’t just be a consultant and an advisor and get a good retainer from one client forever, cause that, you know.

Anthony Codispoti (01:09:59.485)
Salt. Rice.

Mike LaRue (01:10:05.326)
that’s eventually gonna drop. And so that really kind of forced me to kind of put myself out there. And one thing led to another, and that’s what, you know, what I’m getting hired at a junior ramen bar. And I would say the, you know, the rest is history. And so I guess my biggest takeaway throughout the whole process is, when I thought…

Anthony Codispoti (01:10:08.074)
So.

Anthony Codispoti (01:10:29.037)
So I guess my biggest takeaway from the classes is…

Mike LaRue (01:10:34.71)
When I thought that I just wasn’t, I guess, wasn’t doing good enough, I guess, or wasn’t succeeding in the manner that I had hoped for, I was building up a knowledge set that now I’m able to kind of carry with me and has enabled me to put me in the positions I am now to do what I’m doing, if that makes sense.

Anthony Codispoti (01:10:43.88)
Thank you.

Anthony Codispoti (01:10:59.485)
It makes a lot of sense. I think a lot of people would relate to this story. You know, you were in a place where you felt like you weren’t making the same kind of progress as, you know, your peers or the people you see around you, and that’s frustrating. They’re moving up in their career. Maybe you have a sense that they’re making more money than you. You’re like, what am I doing here? What am I doing wrong? Am I any good at this? Who am I? Where do I fit in? What value am I offering here? Like, should I just throw in the towel? Who am I kidding?

Mike LaRue (01:11:25.676)
Yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (01:11:29.297)
You know, there’s a lot of self-doubt, right? That’s something I think a lot of us, everybody deals with. Throw those negative voices in your head. And you know, what I’m hearing you say is, like you just, you kinda kept at it. It was like one foot in front of the other. And looking back, it’s a little bit easier now. You can say, oh, now I can see how the dots connect. But at the time, I didn’t realize I’m in sponge mode. I’m still learning. Like…

Mike LaRue (01:11:54.198)
Yeah, when you’re neck deep in it, it’s hard to see that. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Anthony Codispoti (01:11:58.177)
Yeah. And so I’m kind of curious, like some of those early days where you’re questioning that and you know, you bring a little daughter into the world and you know, if you’ve never had kids like that shifts your perspective in a big way because you know, no longer is it just, you know, I just got to take care of me. Now you got a whole new set of bills, you got a whole new set of priorities. You’re you know, this little creature is counting on you to provide for them for who knows how many more years.

And so like that, I think I’ve seen a lot of my friends go through this, you know, can sort of trigger like a midlife crisis and you’re like, okay, I got to do something. I got to get somewhere. And so what, what were some of the things that you did during those dark times when you were really questioning yourself to just one foot in front of the other? How did you encourage yourself to, to keep going?

Anthony Codispoti (01:12:51.981)
Because it’s easy to look back now, right, and say, okay, now I can see how the dots connected, but at that time, like, sometimes you just gotta kick yourself in the butt and say, you know, get up, get out of bed, I don’t know what, but I’m gonna do something.

Mike LaRue (01:12:53.506)
This is a question.

Mike LaRue (01:13:07.051)
You know?

I’m not sure.

I’m not sure how many people will be able to resonate with this, but when I bring it back to Simon Sinek, how great leaders inspire action, man, it hit me. And so when it comes down to my, at the time, even lack of knowledge, I just felt like things could be done differently.

And what kind of kept me going is I wasn’t afraid to share. Like, this is what I believe. This is what makes me feel good. This is what I believe that our industry could look like. But again, I didn’t necessarily know how to. Like, for me at the time, it was like, well, is it franchise sales? Is it development?

where does that mentality fit into the lifecycle of building a brand or building a career. But I was consistent with telling this story about Simon Sinek and his video and how I felt things could be done differently, whether it’s like even

Mike LaRue (01:14:41.09)
Like even the experience that I have with the Hallal guys is understanding those franchisees’ experiences. And it’s like, okay, well, how can things be done differently to where they do feel a certain way? And so I stayed true to that belief. And I guess what helped kept me going is the…

I’d have conversations and it would just kind of hit people like, man, like you’re onto something. I didn’t mean I didn’t know what that meant. Like I don’t I don’t I couldn’t put my finger on it. But it’s like, yeah, that it’s it sounds good. And you know, things should be done differently. And I think specifically in franchising, you know, I felt and honestly, even to this day, there is a huge opportunity.

for people to come in on the franchise, either the franchise or end, to have a different approach on how to actually build brands that are sustainable and that are more purpose driven because you’ll attract the people who believe in the same things. And so it was those conversations and that feedback of, hey, you got something there. I mean, I didn’t know what it was, but it was that kind of, that flicker light.

that light bulb that just, that kept, you know, there was electricity, it was still on but that kept me going. I just, I’m a, you know, I’m a huge, I’m a believer in faith, you believe in God and just how things works in different ways and how, you know, people come into your life for certain reasons that will connect you to…

to someone else that just kind of leads you on the path that you’re supposed to be on.

Anthony Codispoti (01:16:42.805)
That’s great. That’s great, Mike. I’m glad we dug a little bit deeper here because what you’re talking about is a common thread that I’ve heard. It’s, you know, I didn’t know what was next. But I reached out to people and I just started talking. And I just started sharing my ideas. And I started asking questions and I was curious to see where things might lead. And, you know, when you’re going through those hard times,

Reaching out and connecting with other people, like-minded people, supportive people, people who can challenge you, that can be the hardest thing to do in those moments. But I’ve heard it over and over again. It is the most powerful thing because it’s there that your ideas sort of start to sprout because somebody gives you a little piece of feedback. They give you a little bit of a different way to think about it. They give you encouragement that you’re on to something. And it’s like that stuff eventually starts to snowball.

Mike LaRue (01:17:37.862)
Well, I’ll add this, and I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this before, but I’m fine with it. So because I didn’t have any credibility, especially from the French, so when I put my resume out there, I started working with a recruiter. I actually wasn’t working with a recruiter. I had reached out to, I mentioned Joe Cruz so many times over the last several weeks, because I had reached out to him.

on

on LinkedIn, say, hey, what recruiters do you know? And he’d give me a list. And so I spoke to Juan and he loved, again, keep in mind, I was hiring for a VP of sales position. I hadn’t sold a franchise in almost 10 years because I had been more on the advisory, just helping on the development side of things. And so I didn’t, no.

didn’t have a lot going for me when it come down to franchise sales experience. But I had the experience of what not to do very early on. But again, but I knew the conversations that needed to be had. And I knew how to talk to franchisees and kind of resonate with what they were looking for. And so when I got into the interview process, I was by far the most cost effective candidate because I didn’t have that track record and everyone else they were hiring.

was, you know, they were requiring just these big salaries and yeah, they had the track record but I had something different to say. I had a different perspective on how things should be done and granted that my salary requirements at that time weren’t.

Anthony Codispoti (01:19:14.285)
That’s something different to something different. It’s that thing.

Mike LaRue (01:19:26.698)
you know, weren’t aligned with the position I was getting hired for. And so, yeah. But it gave me the opportunity to actually get in and now show, you know, it’s like, okay, now let’s see what you got. And so it was almost like, it’s like, just give me a shot. And they did. And it’s, you know, it’s got me to where I am right now, which is.

Anthony Codispoti (01:19:31.467)
You are offering very good value for their dollar.

Anthony Codispoti (01:19:56.041)
Mike LaRue, I’ve got a couple more questions I want to ask, but I want to be respectful of your time. We had some technical difficulties early on. Do you have a little bit of extra time? Okay, so you mentioned Simon Sinek is somebody who you’ve learned a great deal from. Any other mentors or books that you want to give mentioned to that have been particularly influential for you?

Mike LaRue (01:20:01.204)
Yeah.

Yeah, I got a few minutes. Yeah, I appreciate it.

Mike LaRue (01:20:17.515)
Um…

Mike LaRue (01:20:24.91)
Anthony, you asked good questions. I think these are all the stuff I haven’t heard before. Uh.

Anthony Codispoti (01:20:33.057)
podcast that you listened to, an audiobook that you picked up recently.

Mike LaRue (01:20:35.078)
Thank you.

Mike LaRue (01:20:39.214)
So I would say, first and foremost, I have a mentor of mine. I went to a Christian college and he’s a fellow alum. And that’s been a huge help of just kind of staying on, keeping things simple and just having the faith that as long as you keep doing the right things, the results are gonna show whether it’s now or whether it’s five years from now.

Anthony Codispoti (01:21:11.073)
What’s his name?

Mike LaRue (01:21:11.188)
So I would say for Lin Stinson.

Anthony Codispoti (01:21:14.593)
What’s the college that you went to?

Mike LaRue (01:21:17.174)
Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. And Len, we’ve become very close. He’s got into franchising. He’s more of a developer, development guy, but got into the food space and we just built a strong relationship. And he’s been a good guide on me doing things that, or avoiding things that he had to kind of deal with, whether it’s career or even personal.

with marriage and family. You mentioned podcast. I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk now, Andy Fercella, because that personality of just, for the lack of a better way to explain it, just not giving a shit, has never been me, but it always kind of pushes me. It’s like when I’m like, ah, and.

less now, maybe especially I mentioned with the videos, I started doing the videos and that is actually, it’s been a huge thing for me, but it’s like, you know, just do it. And Andy Frisella said something that stuck with me, but basically said the better version of yourself is on the other side of doing something that makes you uncomfortable. And it’s like, oh man, that’s good. And so yeah, I mean, that’s, those are the, those are the.

Anthony Codispoti (01:22:42.145)
So yeah.

Mike LaRue (01:22:45.674)
I think the top, at least the few that I can…

Anthony Codispoti (01:22:48.073)
That’s great. Just one more question for you, but before I ask it, I want to do two things. First of all, if you like today’s content, please hit the like, subscribe, or share button on your favorite podcast app. And then Mike, what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?

Mike LaRue (01:23:03.674)
Um, LinkedIn, honestly. Yeah. So connect with me, connect with me on LinkedIn. Um, you know, I, I accept everybody. The only times I really don’t accept people if it’s, um.

from somewhere in Southeast Asia, and they have like five contacts. And anyway, yeah, but I, yeah. Can I just?

Anthony Codispoti (01:23:29.293)
Fair enough. So Mike LaRue on LinkedIn will have your link in the show notes. So last question for you Mike. I’m curious, how do you see the franchise space that you’re currently in? How do you see that evolving in the next five years? What do you think some of the big changes that are coming?

Mike LaRue (01:23:47.234)
Wow.

Mike LaRue (01:23:52.022)
Well, specifically with restaurants, we’re kind of forced to be resilient. COVID forced restaurants to get creative on revenue streams coming out of those four walls. I think now with labor and the pressure from government is…

making restaurants become more leaner. Obviously tech is a huge thing right now, especially with AI. And so I think over the next five years, you’ll see that the industry evolve to where it’s very, very tech driven. But it is my hope, it is my hope that it doesn’t.

completely all go tech driven. Like I’m a big, big personal field guy. And I guess the best way to explain that when everything opened up after COVID, you could not find a reservation anywhere. And so I feel like regardless of how much tech or AI or anything that come up, and it’s gonna happen, because again, the industry, we’re kind of forced to

we’re kind of forced in the position to create strategies that will allow us to still maintain profitability, but also maintain that guest experience. But I know specifically for us, we’re probably going to be maybe the most less when it comes to a full tech stack, because we don’t want to lose that personal element. Like we really want guests to feel

Anthony Codispoti (01:25:30.733)
I know something’s gonna be for us.

Mike LaRue (01:25:45.754)
a certain way when they come into or just dine in one of our restaurants. And really just interact with anybody from Angry Chick. So yeah, I feel like tech is going to be very tech driven, but it is my hope, at least for us, that personal element remains kind of front and center.

Anthony Codispoti (01:26:10.727)
Mike. I want to be the first one to thank you for sharing your story today. I really appreciate your time.

Mike LaRue (01:26:15.782)
I appreciate you. Thank you for the great questions.

Anthony Codispoti (01:26:19.061)
Folks, that’s a wrap on another episode of the Inspired Stories Podcast. Thanks for learning with us today.