My guest today is Zach Fuss, an investor at Continental Grain, a 200-year-old family owned business that is focused on investing and operating businesses throughout the food and agriculture ecosystem with assets across the US, Latin America, and Asia. Prior to his work at Continental, Zack was an analyst at Tiger and Citadel. This is a must listen for those interested in any aspect of the food ecosystem but also understanding value chains more generally. In our conversation we cover where profits tend to sit in a specific value chain, how legacy food businesses are creating their 2nd acts as digital businesses and explore what makes Domino's Pizza so interesting and special. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Zach Fuss.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content check out https://www.joincolossus.com/episodes/93129089/fuss-breaking-down-the-food-ecosystem
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[00:03:42] – [First question] – Key components of the food management business
[00:05:12] – The most defensible businesses in the food chain
[00:07:51] – Law of conservation of attractive profits in the food business and food delivery
[00:11:05] – Legacy food businesses and ones that have adapted well to changes today
[00:15:42] – Dark stores and cloud kitchens
[00:17:11] – Breaking down the Domino's Pizza business
[00:19:45] – Being a Domino's Pizza franchise owner
[00:21:03] – Why they offer such high returns to franchise owners
[00:23:22] – The tech company aspect of Domino's Pizza
[00:25:25] – Same store economics for an owner
[00:28:15] – When Domino's Pizza realized their food was not great
[00:29:45] – Why Domino's Pizza owns the delivery and won’t go on other platforms
[00:32:47] – Most portable pieces of Domino's Pizza business
[00:34:03] – Parts of Domino's Pizza history that are intriguing
[00:35:51] – Build once, sell many times
[00:40:09] – Lessons from the best retail businesses
[00:43:26] – Has it become harder for smaller companies to win with larger ones being more nimble
[00:46:39] – Watching the alternative meat companies flourish
[00:49:49] – Interesting trends in the food space
[00:51:22] – Global trends in food that we can learn from
[00:54:04] – Impact of Covid on the food industry
[00:57:44] – Businesses outside of stores that he finds fascinating
[01:00:08] – Why he’s impressed by Chipotle
[01:01:48] – Approaching buying a franchise
[01:05:30] – Creating a new QSR business and differentiating from the pack
[01:07:58] – Frontiers that he’s interested in today
[01:10:17] – What he is saying in the competitiveness in public equities
[01:13:48] – Kindest thing anyone has done for him