Post Creator: Rosie Bartley

A Disruptive and Innovative Recipe for Success in Hospitality

By ICR | Podcast

As today’s guest will tell us, breakfasts have recently overtaken Friday dinners as the number one dining out experience of choice. So in the always-competitive hospitality industry, restaurants that do those meals particularly well are in a fantastic position. 

Chris Tomasso definitely understands how to excel in this space. Chris is the CEO of First Watch Restaurants, which trades under the symbol FWRG.  Prior to taking the helm in 2018, Chris served as President for three years and as Chief Marketing Officer from 2006 to 2015.  Before joining First Watch, Chris led strategic branding and marketing for renowned national and international brands such as Cracker Barrel and Hard Rock Cafe International.

In 2021, Chris was named one of the restaurant industry’s most admired C-suite leaders by FSR Magazine. Later that year, he led First Watch into Wall Street with their IPO. 

Chris earned a BA from the University of Central Florida and is an active alum who currently serves on the University of Central Florida Foundation Board of Directors. He was inducted into the University’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media Hall of Fame in 2016. 


  • Chris describes First Watch’s background and market concept (2:43)
  • Market competition and First Watch’s position in the market (4:08)
  • Chris describes First Watch’s business model (6:19)
  • First Watch’s unique shift schedule, and why it attracts employees (8:47)
  • Chris’ approach to business operations (10:42)
  • Chris describes the importance of remaining in the restaurant atmosphere as a CEO (12:26)
  • How First Watch incorporates developing technology into their business (14:03)
  • How Chris applies his marketing background in his role at First Watch (15:38)
  • Chris’ capital allocation strategies (17:37)
  • More on First Watch’s disruptive business model, and their strategic market placement (19:12)
  • Chris’ view on inflation and its ongoing impact on the hospitality industry (20:46)
  • Chris describes the impact of First Watch to becoming a public company (22:30)
  • How Chris was introduced to the hospitality industry (25:02)


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First Watch Restaurants Website


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