On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," Philipp Sitter, president of King's Group, joins CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss both his company's restaurants — King's BierHaus, King's Biergarten, and EggHaus Gourmet — and VIPinsiders, a company he founded that administers loyalty rewards programs for restaurants.
The conversation begins with a discussion of why Sitter created VIPinsiders and the advantages it offers restaurant owners. The program, which evolved out of the stein club loyalty program at King's Biergarten, now has over 80 clients in Texas, Florida, and elsewhere. Essentially, it provides independent restaurants with all the benefits of a Starbucks-style rewards program without the massive startup costs.
From there, the conversation turns to a survey VIPinsiders conducted to assess how customers feel about restaurants reopening. Using responses collected from both app users and people on social media, the results reveal that people expect certain things when they go out to eat such as disposable utensils, staff wearing PPE, and reasonable prices. Sandler notes that over 65-percent of responses are in favor of continuing curbside delivery even after restaurants reopen.
"I thought once we reopen, curbside will be forgotten, but I was really wrong about that," Sitter says. "Curbside is here to stay. Customers enjoy it."
Sitter also discusses what it's been like to reopen King's BierHaus for dine-in service, the renovations going on at the original King's Biergarten in Pearland, and EggHaus' limited time collaboration with Blood Bros. BBQ. The breakfast concept is currently serving three dishes that feature either pulled pork or brisket from the popular barbecue joint.
Prior to the interview, local beverage consultant Linda Salinas joins Sandler to discuss the news of the week. Their conversation focuses on restaurants that have reopened for dine-in service, specifically whether they feel comfortable returning to restaurants and what expectations they have for restaurants in terms of the steps necessary to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. They also discuss restaurants selling alcohol to-go, which has become popular since Gov. Greg Abbott issued a waiver that expanded those offerings.
In the restaurants of the week segment, they discuss some of their favorite recent meals. Salinas mentions The Phoenix, Revelry on Richmond, and Picos, and Sandler discusses his favorite bites from Shun Japanese Kitchen and Love Buzz Pizza Pub.