Three restaurants launched by Denver restaurant developers opened in January 2014 in the Los Angeles entertainment complex L.A. Live. Smashburger, Live Basil Pizza, and Tom’s Urban occupy most of the 24,000-square-foot space. ESPN Zone formerly operated in the location. Tom Ryan and Rick Schaden of Consumer Capital Partners, which created the three restaurants, told the Los Angeles Times that they wanted to introduce the three restaurant concepts to downtown Los Angeles and the tourists known for visiting L.A. Live for the sports and entertainment venues. The L.A. Live complex is across the street from the Staples Center and near several luxury hotels.
“We are big supporters of the resurgence of downtown Los Angeles,” Ryan told the newspaper. “We look for vital trade areas to open our restaurants, where people live, work, and play, and downtown L.A. is clearly moving in that direction.”
Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza offer customized menu items, and the L.A. restaurants will be some of the chains’ first in California. Tom’s Urban offers modern comfort food, and the L.A. location will be its second site in the United States.
Cities around the state of Colorado expressed interest in becoming a host city for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, an annual cycling event that takes racers through the Rocky Mountains. The 2014 race will include a number of new additions to the event, including the first mountaintop finish, which will take place on Monarch Mountain at the end of Stage 3. So far, the host cities for the first six stages have been finalized. For the seventh and last stage, organizers have turned to fans for feedback about four potential options for starts and finishes in Golden, Denver, and Boulder. In addition, fans may vote for a Denver circuit race similar to the 2013 final stage.
The first stage of the 2014 event will consist of an Aspen circuit race, followed by a trek from Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte during the second stage. Stage 3 takes racers from Gunnison to Monarch Mountain, and Stage 4 involves another circuit race, this time around Colorado Springs. Stage 5 takes riders from Woodland Park to Breckenridge, and Stage 6 presents competitors with an individual time trial in Vail.
Customer loyalty programs are an effective way for restaurants to build a regular customer base. For a long time, businesses have offered cards and other means of tracking purchases for later rewards. Restaurants can take advantage of new technologies to more closely track customer activity and preferences.
While some may question the efficacy of loyalty programs, studies have shown that they effectively convert first-time diners into return customers and even encourage them to visit more frequently than they otherwise would. In addition, a rewards program often encourages individuals to spend more money than they typically would without the promise of rewards.
In addition, restaurants can request customers’ e-mail addresses and other contact information to publicize upcoming promotions through e-mail lists and social media. An instant boost in rewards points at the point of sale in return for providing contact information encourages customers to provide such information. It also creates a wide network for sharing information about new products and events.
A successful Denver businessman, Rick Schaden serves as the chief executive officer of Consumer Capital Partners, a firm that he co-founded. Through CCP, Richard E. Schaden has been actively involved with the operation of several businesses. Among these, Rick Schaden serves Smashburger as the chairman of its board of managers.
A popular better burger restaurant, Smashburger has expanded to 29 states since its inception in 2007. In total, more than 243 Smashburger locations exist around the United States, with new locations slated to open in Boston, Bethesda, and Los Angeles by the end of 2013.
Key to Smashburger’s success is the company’s ability to customize a menu for every market. The restaurant uses only fresh, never frozen, certified angus beef and local ingredients such as fresh cilantro, truffle mushrooms, applewood-smoked bacon, and artisan buns. Smashburger’s commitment to high-quality, fresh, locally sourced ingredients truly sets this fast, casual restaurant apart from the competition. In the spirit of Smashburger’s local offerings, each restaurant features a local craft beer. For dessert, customers can choose from a variety of hand-spun milkshakes made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
The co-founder and chief executive officer of Consumer Capital Partners in Denver, Rick Schaden focuses on helping small businesses grow efficiently and sustainably. Outside of work, Richard E. Schaden remains dedicated to giving back to the community. One of the organizations that Rick Schaden supports is America’s Road Home. This nonprofit organization distributes funding to local government programs and charitable organizations that provide services aimed at getting families struggling with homelessness into stable housing situations.
America’s Road Home provides for other organizations around the country. In Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado, Urban Peak draws funding from the organization to connect youths without a home to vital programming. In Dallas, Nexus C.A.R.E.S. uses funding to assist women dealing with substance abuse and their children through a unique treatment program. In Minneapolis, St. Stephen’s Human Services draws on the organization to connect individuals with housing opportunities, emergency services, and employment options. America’s Road Home also funds the Aromor Apartments, a 66-unit building for adults who were formerly homeless and their families.
Co-founder and chief executive officer of Consumer Capital Partners, Rick Schaden, has successfully invested in and grown a number of highly successful Denver-area enterprises, including Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza. As an advocate of entrepreneurship and community engagement, Rick Schaden strongly supports Millennium Promise, an organization dedicated to tackling the root causes of poverty around the world.
Millennium Promise seeks to empower people in regions of extreme poverty by helping local populations develop sustainable communities through the Millennium Villages Project (MVP). In addition to receiving direct aid, these project communities are incubated by a holistic approach that includes improving local access to education, health care, and technology, as well as encouraging entrepreneurship.
In western Tanzania, Mbola Millennium Village provides an example of blossoming small business planning among the area’s honey farmers. The rich, dark, locally-produced honey is highly sought after in markets in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. However, traditional honey cultivation and harvesting methods in Tanzania have generally resulted in very low outputs.
With the introduction of modern techniques, MVP is helping Mbola’s farmers increase honey outputs tenfold, as well as produce a higher quality product. Perhaps more importantly, the organization has advised these farmers on best business practices, thereby helping them to more effectively commercialize their honey. As a result, nearly 200 area farmers formed the Luwola Honey Producers Cooperative Society in 2012. This effort has allowed the farmers to eliminate expensive middlemen, more effectively advertise their product, and market it at a fair price.
In March 2013, the Cooperative acquired full legal registration. Today, the group has established access to 3000 beehives and has created a five-year business plan. As a result, Mbola Millennium Village is now looking forward to a stable income - a first step toward food security and eventual economic success.
As the CEO and co-founder of Consumer Capital Partners (CCP), Rick Schaden has made a name for himself pioneering new restaurants, including Smashburger and Live Basil Pizza. But Rick Schaden has invested in more than just eateries. He is also heavily involved with the USA Pro Challenge, a Colorado cycling stage race.
In 2011, Richard E. Schaden helped found the event, which made history in Colorado by attracting over a million spectators in all three years of its existence. In 2013, the USA Pro Challenge continued to expand, in part by introducing two events for amateurs.
The first, the Pro Challenge Experience presented by UnitedHealthcare, started in Fort Collins, Colorado, and gave fans a chance to ride some of the hardest terrain on the planet. The ride began at New Belgium brewery and featured a 30-mile, 52-mile, and 108-mile route. The longest route sported the most difficult terrain and a prize: its fastest finisher won hospitality tent passes and an amateur chance to ride a time trial before pro competitors.
The second event, the 9K Sprint Challenge presented by DaVita, was a running race that took place on the same 9.4-mile course the pro cyclists rode. The run awarded prizes for fastest man and fastest woman, as well as best costume.