Cava Creates Innovation Kitchen To Enhance Customer Experience

Daniela Kelly September 01, 2019
 Cava Creates Innovation Kitchen To Enhance Customer Experience

Cava, a Mediterranean-style restaurant based in Washington, D.C., has opened its first-ever Innovation Kitchen. The company will use its Innovation Kitchen to test out ingredients, technology and menu items to improve customer experience.

According to Brett Shulman, Cava CEO, successes will be offered to the restaurant’s 85 locations. Schulman said the company is all about giving customers a great experience. He said Cava is all about using customer feedback and information to improve itself and implement what is being asked.

There will be three Innovation Kitchen listed on the Cava menu – honey harissa chicken, crispy chickpeas, vegan garlic sauce. Digital menu board will show customers their orders being made by Dimitri Moshovitis, the restaurant’s executive chef and co-founder.

Cava was launched by childhood friends Moshovitis, Ike Grigoropoulos and Ted Xenohristos in Rockville, Maryland in 2006. The group saw the chance to offer the kind of Greek cuisine they had when they were growing up. They’re also offering a line of homemade spreads and dips.

In the hopes of getting their versions of various Greek recipes out to the public, the trio knew they needed someone who understood the market to help them. This is where Shulman stepped in. At the time, he was the Snikiddy Snack COO, where he helped his wife’s company get her salty treats in 5,000 stores around the nation. Schulman came to Cava in 2010, working part-time to help the trio do the same thing.

He became CEO later in the year and helped Cava become much more than a single sit-down restaurant. In 2018, there were 350 locations and worth $500+ million. While Xenophristos and Grigoropoulus have roles in the company, making concept and culinary decisions, they are not in any official executive roles.

Shulman said none of them expected Cava to reach its current level.

And, since going full-time, Schulman worked to acquire Mediterranean restaurant Zoes Kitchen, which had 260 locations in 20 states. It was bought with cash with a valued approximate of $300 million.

Cava has its branded spreads and dips on the shelves of the 479 U.S. Whole Foods Market stores. Before Schulman took over, there were only eight stores carrying the products.

Schulman believes the company’s success is the result of knowing its customers and working to improve their experience. Cava hired data scientists and using the lessons learned from its Innovation Kitchen.

Schulman said the goal is to use the information from Innovation Kitchen and put it to use in every aspect of the business. He said the company is excited to see how customers react.


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