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Wade envisions a future where every channel for accessing food is not only more convenient, but still preserves the fundamental desire for human connection around a table.

Welcome to Elevating Brick and Mortar.
The podcast about how operations and facilities drive brand performance.

On today’s episode, we talk with Wade Allen, EVP of Strategic Growth at Costa Vida. Costa Vida is a Mexican coast-inspired restaurant franchise. Today Costa Vida has restaurants in a growing number of US States and in Canada, and is positioned to be one of the fastest growing restaurant franchises in North America.

About the Guest

With over 22 years of dynamic experience in the restaurant and retail industry, Wade is a seasoned executive with a passion for leading teams to drive transformative business strategy and digital innovation.

He’s currently serving as the EVP of Strategic Growth for Costa Vida Fresh Mexican Grill, where he spearheaded initiatives in Marketing, IT, Off-Premise, Analytics, and Guest Insights contributing to the brand’s ongoing success. During his nearly decade-long tenure at Brinker International, he held diverse executive roles, including Chief Digital Officer (CDO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Head of Innovation, and VP of Marketing. Hisstrategic leadership played a pivotal role in shaping the company’s trajectory and fostering innovation across various domains.

Wade is recognized for his commitment to building innovative digital and mobile customer experiences, leveraging integrated marketing principles, data insights, emerging technologies, and consistently delivering solutions that resonate with today’s tech-savvy consumers.

His expertise lies in restaurant and retail innovation and operations, marketing, information technology, data security, customer loyalty, digital transformation, mobility, digital strategy, and advanced analytics. He specializes  in navigating the complex landscape of our industry, consistently pushing the boundaries to stay at the forefront of innovation.

Wade is passionate about creating a lasting impact. He’s  known for taking on roles that demand a strategic mindset and innovative thinking. His mission is to contribute to the growth and success of organizations by driving forward-thinking strategies and solutions.

“I love the tech opportunity in this space. I think for years it was underserved. It draws me in every day to innovate, create new things, meet guests’ needs: at a point in time where our guests are constantly on their phones, constantly pressed for time, constantly looking for  innovative food that they can take with them. And that’s where my passion lies.”

— Wade Allen 


** 00:41 – About Costa Vida

** 01:47 – About Wade’s role

** 06:35 – Expectations in dining

** 12:15 – Macro trends

** 15:18 – Keeping up with consumer needs

** 28:23 – Addressing the labor shortage

** 26:52 – Tech in the space

** 37:09 – Sid’s final thoughts


ServiceChannel brings you peace of mind through peak facilities performance.

Rest easy knowing your locations are:

  • Offering the best possible guest experience
  • Living up to brand standards
  • Operating with minimal downtime

ServiceChannel partners with more than 500 leading brands globally to provide visibility across operations, the flexibility to grow and adapt to consumer expectations, and accelerated performance from their asset fleet and service providers.

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