André Vener Maintains a Consistent Mission and Brand DNA with The Absolute Brands

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Interview between Gregg Majewsk and André Vener about keeping the brand DNA intact through growth, giving up control to scale, and prioritizing people.

Key Takeaways

Maintaining a Brand DNA Culture

When Andre Vener decided to create virtual brands, he wanted to maintain the foundation of who they were as a company. He has successfully done so by staying true to the company's DNA.

Trading Control for Growth

It is difficult to give up control, but Andre Verner says it is necessary to scale. 

Two Words: People Matter

Employee retention is extremely important in today’s climate. For Andre Vener, they have managed to have a low employee turnover rate due to them placing an importance on their longstanding mission statement: People Matter.


André Vener, managing partner at DogHaus and founder of The Absolute Brands, has demonstrated a unique approach to business that combines staying true to the company’s DNA, strategic growth, and a strong emphasis on keeping the people first. His philosophy has helped Absolute Brands thrive in a competitive market, particularly through the challenging dynamics of the virtual brand space.

Preserving Core Values in Virtual Brands

When Vener embarked on the journey to create virtual brands, his primary goal was to ensure that the essence of his company was preserved. He understood that maintaining the core values and culture of the company was crucial for the success of any new venture.

“We just really leaned into creating virtual brands but with our same DNA culture,” says Vener to Room For Seconds host Gregg Majewski. “Same DNA, same ops, same team, and creating different marketing tools, different cuisines to fit what the audience is asking for.”

Strategic Growth Through Delegation

Scaling a business often involves difficult decisions, particularly when it comes to relinquishing some control, and being patient to achieve sustainable growth. Vener acknowledges this challenge but emphasizes its necessity for expansion. By accepting that others could help scale the business more effectively, Vener positioned Absolute Brand restaurants for sustainable growth. 

“I think the tough thing is when you're having 50 or 100 units and you're struggling or trying to survive and you hand it over to somebody,” Vener explains. “And so for us, it was to hand over the keys to a castle that was successful.”

Prioritizing Employees: A People-Centric Approach

At the heart of Vener’s success is a simple yet profound mission statement: People Matter. 

This focus on prioritizing humans has resulted in remarkable employee retention rates, which is a significant achievement in today’s competitive job market. This dedication is reflected in the company’s performance and growth, underscoring the importance of a people-centric approach.

“We haven't changed it for like, ten years. And it's two words and it says, people matter,” Vener shares. “It's not only the franchisees, it's our staff as well. And proud to say that most of our staff, been there over ten years. We don't really have turnover.”

By maintaining a firm grasp on the company’s core values, strategically navigating growth, and prioritizing people, Vener has set a strong foundation for continued success.

Episode Links:



André Vener co-founded Dog Haus in April 2010 with his two business partners, aiming to transform stadium food classics into gourmet delights. Over the past decade, Dog Haus has grown from its roots in Pasadena, California, to nearly 50 locations nationwide. Vener and his partners have driven the brand's expansion through strategic alliances with top ghost kitchen networks, a partnership with Live Nation, and the creation of The Absolute Brands—a collection of virtual restaurant concepts featuring popular Dog Haus menu items like the Bad Mutha Clucka.

Before Dog Haus, Vener was the executive producer at Pasadena Entertainment, organizing events at notable venues such as The Rose Bowl and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. He also founded redwhite+bluezz, an acclaimed restaurant and jazz club, and served as CEO and president of the California Philharmonic for a decade, leading performances at venues like the Walt Disney Concert Hall. As a recognized restaurant industry expert, Vener has been featured on CNN, FOX News Channel, and MSNBC, and his work with Dog Haus has been highlighted in Entrepreneur magazine and Food & Wine.

About Gregg Majewski

Gregg Majewski has a vast amount of experience as a corporate executive in the restaurant industry. As the former CEO of Jimmy John’s, he played a major role in expanding the franchise from 33 to 300+ stores in just 5 years by surrounding the company’s marketing strategy around the innovative approach of delivering sandwiches and being “freaky fast”. Majewski has worked to develop restaurant concepts over the last two plus decades, before starting Craveworthy Brands in 2023, which currently includes a growing portfolio of restaurant brands.


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Produced by Cali BBQ Media | Engage with Cali BBQ Media
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