One of the driving forces behind The Habit’s proven model, franchise growth strategy and leading sales performance is CEO Russ Bendel. Bendel first joined The Habit Burger Grill in 2008 and has since helped grow the brand from 16 restaurants to more than 300 locations, while also integrating major brand transformations like our modernized technology platforms and operational tools.
Learn more about Bendel’s triumphant journey with The Habit, his restaurant industry know-how and how he continues to keep the brand’s growth at the forefront in this exclusive Q&A below:
What is one thing that makes you most proud of your time at The Habit?
RB: What’s made me most proud is the opportunities and growth that we’ve created for our team. People who have joined us mid-stage or early in their restaurant industry journeys have the opportunity to grow through playing many different roles. Oftentimes, they take with them skills that they maybe didn’t have before they joined us. The Habit has always been about personal and professional growth, doing good work, and being able to allow our team members to navigate their careers. I’m also incredibly proud to be a part of a team that has seen pronounced success through our development efforts with an increased number of stores and surpassing $700 million in sales.
What differentiates The Habit from other franchise concepts?
RB: The Habit is a concept that falls under the burger category, which is domestically the largest limited-service category of restaurants and has historically been dominated by QSR brands. But, the “better burger” category is much smaller and faster-growing. Consumers today are looking for cooked-to-order meals made with fresh ingredients, which are practices The Habit was built on. It helps that the breadth of our menu is major, with 60% of our offerings being burgers and 40% being other unique menu items. All of these aspects really fit into today’s consumer as they look for inclusive dining options.
Where do you look for inspiration or motivation, and how do you keep your team motivated?
RB: You have to work for an organization and people who share a common passion or belief. Something that resonates with restaurant sector consumers and people is a compelling consumer proposition – working with good people who want to grow and provide opportunities for other individuals. The restaurant industry allows people to enter with various degrees of experience, and can help them grow both personally and professionally. If you are hard-working, passionate and have good sense, growing with a concept like The Habit is encouraged and welcomed.
Bendel’s passion for the hospitality business and longstanding history with our brand has helped create an even more attractive franchise opportunity for prospective investors. Learn more about The Habit’s franchise model on our website and fill out our inquiry form if our powerfully-led brand sounds like the right venture for you!