with Tyler Carlson

Tyler Carlson dives into stories with industry experts to discuss the intersection between retail and technology.

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Episode 024, October 30, 2019


Jim Mizes, SiteZeus / Blaze Pizza

Talk Highlights

  • Lessons learned in opening almost a 1000 restaurants
  • The importance of discovering your “zone of genius” and how it can lead to internal joy
  • Building a team that is service oriented rather than task oriented

Speaker Bio

Jim Mizes started his career in the retail industry as a young man working at his father’s pharmacy. He then went to school and received a degree in accounting and began working typical finance jobs. After realizing that accounting wasn’t what brought him joy, Jim joined Taco Bell as a general manager and quickly worked his way up to their VP of operations. In 1989, Jim repositioned the brand’s 59, 79, 99 campaign and saw a 60% growth in same store sales. After building up several restaurant brands, Jim finally joined Blaze Pizza where he grew the brand from 2 stores to over 340 in only 6 and a half years.

Jim is now retired and recently joined SiteZeus’ board of directors to continue to help retail and restaurant brands grow into new markets.

Show Notes

  • 1:22 – Jim’s career story: How he went from working at his father’s pharmacy, to getting an accounting degree, to becoming a fast-casual restaurant pioneer.
  • 5:41 – What is the key to reaching ambitious location growth goals?
  • 6:25 – The analogy of how progressively raising a child compares to growing a restaurant business from 4 locations to 400 locations.
  • 7:04 – How Jim landed a promotion at Taco Bell after optimizing one of the industry’s first value menu strategies that lead to a 60% growth in sales.
  • 8:23 – When Jim realized he belonged in the operational side of business.
  • 10:07 – Jim’s advice to anyone searching for their talent by uncovering their “zone of genius.”
  • 11:41 – The secret to building a team that supports restaurant success and growth.
  • 13:29 – Jim relates the level of employee-customer engagement to dogs and cats. How can your store become a “dog store”?
  • 15:04 – The ratio of art and science when scouting new locations then vs. now.
  • 17:10 – What is the key to a third-party delivery company “winning” in the industry?
  • 18:43 – Which parts of scaling a business concerned Jim the most?
  • 20:42 – What separates the good from the great franchisees and operators?
  • 21:28 – Jim mentions the key factor that will helps brands of all sizes grow smoothly.
  • 22:38 – You should be able to update your resume every 6 months – if you cannot add new skills at least once a year, there may be a problem.
  • 23:40 – Quick fire questions

Episode 023, August 19, 2019


Mariel Ebrahimi, CEO at DisruptCRE

Talk Highlights

  • Types of innovation commercial real estate is experiencing
  • What emerging trends Mariel is excited to see
  • What to expect at a DisruptCRE conference

Speaker Bio

Mariel Ebrahimi co-founded DisruptCRE in 2014 with the goal of connecting industry professionals with emerging technologies and trends. Recently, Mariel has spoken for groups within CoreNet New England, Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, NGKF, and at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. In 2015, she was selected as a finalist for the SmartCEO "Skyline Awards" for innovation in commercial real estate and in 2018, a Bisnow NYC Woman of Influence award. With a background in international logistics, tech and supply chain management, Mariel has found a passion at the nexus of commercial real estate and technology.

Show Notes

  • 1:19 – How DisruptCRE came to existence.
  • 4:23 – The types of innovation that Mariel realized commercial real estate was missing.
  • 6:48 – The level of disruption Mariel sees in real estate.
  • 9:10 – How to build a structure that is capable of evolving with technology.
  • 12:20 – How a fresh perspective can provide profound insights to the industry.
  • 15:10 – Mariel explains the new learning experience at Camp toy store.
  • 16:58 – The difference between and good and great panel according to Mariel.
  • 18:47 – How differing opinions can provide value to discussions.
  • 20:00 – Ways to make the most as a first time attendee to a conference.
  • 22:36 – Mariel describes an emerging trend she is exciting to see develop.
  • 25:20 – Rapid Fire Questions

Episode 022, August 7, 2019


Garrick Brown, Cushman & Wakefield

Talk Highlights

  • How untraditional education and experience can be the most valuable
  • When and how brick and mortar retail met their pitfall
  • How to have the most beneficial relationship between a franchisor and franchisees

Speaker Bio

Garrick Brown started his career by working in various retail stores while going to school for a creative writing degree. He then pursued freelance writing where he created a connection with a broker and began writing real estate reports.

Today, Garrick is one of the leading Retail Real Estate Analysts in the US and serves as the Vice President of Retail Intelligence for the Americas at Cushman and Wakefield. In this position, Garrick manages the retail research team and runs analyses and forecast for the US, Canada, and Latin America.

Garrick is also a talented public speaker. He frequently speaks on behalf of Cushman and Wakefield and serves as a keynote speaker during various conferences. He is also regularly quoted regarding retail by dozens of business journals, including Wall Street Journal and CNBC.

Show Notes

  • 1:37 – Garrick’s career path from working in retail stores all the way to real estate research.
  • 7:10 – Lessons learned from mentors – is education or experience more important?
  • 8:36 – What should employers look for beyond higher education?
  • 10:09 – Key points that contributed to the pitfall of retail
  • 17:28 – Relation between retail and restaurants regarding over expansion
  • 22:11 – Pros and cons to bringing a brand public
  • 26:03 – Garrick shares his views on franchises and how to have an optimal franchisee/franchisor relationship
  • 29:07 – Rapid fire questions

Episode 021, June 26, 2019


Tyler Carlson, SiteZeus

Talk Highlights

  • What can listeners gain from the Tech and Mortar podcast?
  • Why retail isn’t dead – just evolving
  • The importance of having young perspectives in business

Speaker Bio

Tyler Carlson is a serial entrepreneur who was involved in an acquisition of a company during college. As Freshman in college, Tyler began selling study guides for his classes. He went on to sell more guides than any individual in the country, averaging around $10,000 each semester. Eventually he went on to join a website that facilitated the sale of guides and was involved in the acquisition.

In 2015, Tyler joined the sales team at SiteZeus, a technology company assisting in the growth and optimization of brands like Subway, Checkers, Vitamin Shoppe, Burger King, and more. After leading the sales efforts as the VP of Sales, he transitioned to the VP of Customer.

Tyler enjoys playing golf, spontaneous traveling, and learning from people. He loves reviewing customer experience/service and considers himself the ultimate secret shopper. His goal is to touch a million lives.

Show Notes

  • 1:04 – The beginning of Tech and Mortar
  • 2:03 – The Tech and Mortar mission
  • 2:41 – Who should be listening to this podcast?
  • 3:10 – What can you expect to gain from Tech and Mortar?
  • 5:03 – Key stories Tyler has heard from guests that shape the idea of Tech and Mortar
  • 8:26 – Technological advancements that are going to impact the future of CRE
  • 10:26 – Tyler on interviewing Danny Meyer
  • 11:31 – Is the idea of “retail apocalypse” real?
  • 13:18 – In-store experiences Tyler has witnessed that are leveraging technology
  • 15:08 – Tyler on clicks-to-bricks
  • 17:00 – The advantage of having young individuals in all organizations
  • 18:55 – Speed of change in the retail/real estate industry
  • 20:30 – Tyler’s tips for emerging brands
  • 23:50 – Future of Tech and Mortar
  • 24:35 – Rapid Fire

Episode 020, June 12, 2019


Bobby Shaw, Bobby Shaw Consulting

Talk Highlights

  • What went wrong when introducing Chipotle in Jacksonville that led to Bobby’s biggest insight?
  • How $8 and 10 minutes can facilitate creating culture at a Whataburger
  • Know the difference between good and great performers - if you can’t define it you can’t find it

Speaker Bio

Recognized in 2016 by Fast Casual in their annual Top 100 report as a Top 25 Executive, Bobby Shaw has held senior leadership roles with several restaurant companies including Freebirds World Burrito, Chipotle, and McDonald’s.

Bobby got his start in the restaurant business at McDonald’s where he spent 17 years, starting his career in the kitchen and working his way up to a successful multi-unit leader. He joined Chipotle as an Area Manager in 2002, where he was one of the chief architects to the strong culture supporting the high growth Chipotle experienced during that time. Bobby grew the South Region to over 200 restaurants during his tenure. His focus on developing people gave him the opportunity to guide numerous individuals into senior leadership roles throughout the organization.

An avid writer, Bobby writes and about leadership development extensively on LinkedIn, various industry publications, and on his ​blog. His first book, "Cutting Onions: Leadership Lessons Learned from the Restaurant Industry" releases in March 2020 from Morgan James Publishing. Pre-order it now!

Show Notes

  • 1:23 – How Bobby got into the restaurant industry
  • 3:04 – Transition to Chipotle
  • 3:55 – What Bobby gained from the original training he received from McDonalds
  • 5:43 – Why is experience overrated?
  • 7:25 – Creating a culture that recognizes internal talent
  • 8:18 – Bobby describes the mistakes made when Chipotle opened in Jacksonville
  • 11:50 – What would customer’s have noticed being off about this location compared to others?
  • 13:10 – What methodology was used to select the Nashville site?
  • 15:45 – What he pays attention to that the average person may not look at?
  • 19:57 – What strategies help find the best employees during interviews
  • 22:00 – How can a company create the ideal culture for their team?
  • 24:54 – Finding the difference between good and mediocre performance
  • 29:30 – Technology’s biggest impact on the future of the industry
  • 31:15 – Rapid fire questions