First Watch Seasonal Photo Shoot

First Watch After Hours – Seasonal Menu Photoshoots!

April 24, 2017

Hi everyone!

I hope springtime is treating you well. It’s definitely keeping us busy here at First Watch with lots of travels, some fun menu creation, a new Spring menu in all our restaurants that’s getting some fantastic feedback, and lots more. I wanted to write this post to take you behind the scenes of our seasonal food photoshoots!

I know you’ve seen those mouthwatering photos that we share on our website, table cards, window posters and Sun eClub emails. Well, those beautiful materials are the product of the hard work of our crew of about 8 – our culinary and marketing teams, our partners at ACME Brand Studio, Mary who makes sure our fresh food is looking photogenic, and our talented photographer friend, John Deeb. Here’s a look behind the scenes!

The thought process, recipe creation and planning for our seasonal menu items are usually done far in advance – It’s not uncommon for us to have each one planned out up to a year in advance! Two or three months before each seasonal menu launches, I get to visit our brothers and sisters in Tampa at the First Watch on Henderson Blvd., where we host these fun photoshoots five times a year. Tom, Brandi, Sekou and the rest of Team Henderson are always so helpful when we come in and take over the restaurant for about 6 hours – You all rock!


4After months of testing and tweaking recipes and working with our purchasing and distribution team to iron out sourcing logistics, I get to make some of our latest and greatest, not-yet-introduced dishes for the camera! There’s a lot that goes into each dish at the photoshoot that you may not think of – everything from which plates to use, which way each item on the dish should face and which of our fresh juices or coffee will complement the dish better, to things like trying to make sure a ball of fresh mozzarella doesn’t look like a hard-boiled egg in the photo!

I usually arrive at First Watch Henderson around noon on photoshoot day, so I can work with the team in the kitchen to prep all the goodness that we’ll be using for the photoshoot after the restaurant closes at 2:30. We spend some time chopping, slicing, juicing (and taste-testing!) before having a quick lunch while the staff closes up shop for the day. Since Tampa Bay is our test market, our 12 restaurants there are always serving different menu items from the rest of our restaurants. So it’s always fun to have lunch in Tampa – but that’s a story for another blog post!

Once the restaurant is closed, the staff is finished with their work, and our crew has loaded all their gear in, then it’s time to get the party started. We spend about an hour on each dish – preparing it with the freshest ingredients, arranging them on our plateware, and shooting from lots of different angles, from various distances and using different backdrops to figure out what works best. It’s a fun and fascinating team effort that I look forward to with each new menu.


After we’ve finished shooting the three or four new seasonal dishes, then we usually move on to the Fresh Juice Bar! We introduce at least one new juice with every seasonal menu. These are fun to shoot, but can be difficult with obstacles like melting ice and condensation. Here are some pictures we took while John was shooting our Morning Meditation and Kale Tonic a couple weeks ago!



It’s really cool to see these new menus through the whole process – from inspiration and experimentation all the way through to testing in our Tampa Bay restaurants and eventually full execution at First Watch locations nationwide. Without lots of dedication and expertise from our marketing team and creative experts, we wouldn’t have the beautiful photography you see us use on our window posters, our website and those cards on our tabletops! It’s really a combination of happy, passionate, talented people and a love for food that make this whole “work” thing lots of fun!!



Blaze Pizza Brentwood TN

Brentwood TN – Open Daily 11 am

Menu Items and Specials

Add Your Restaurant to What’s Cookin’ Franklin
Franklin Tennessee

Brentwood – Franklin Rd.
7011 Executive Center Dr.
Brentwood, TN 37027


More Information about Blaze Pizza Brentwood TN

It’s a well-known fact of life that everyone loves pizza. But here in Chicago, we love pizza. We have deep-felt opinions on crust, and we even have tours dedicated to and designed around one of the city’s most defining foods. With staples like Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s, and Giordano’s, as well as local gems like Homeslice and Pequod’s, Chicago knows its pies.

Sometimes, however, we may not want to wait a long time for gourmet pizza, so we resort to one of our go-to pizza chains like Domino’s DPZ or Pizza Hut YUM, foregoing style and substance for convenience. A burgeoning fast-casual pizza chain is looking to change that.

Founded in 2012 by Elise and Rick Wetzel, Blaze Pizza is one of the fastest-growing restaurants in the industry. Like a Chipotle CMG pizza dream, it prepares and bakes personal pizzas fresh-to-order in an assembly line fashion. Customers can either choose an artisanal pizza from the Blaze menu or create their own, choosing toppings from a wide selection in front of them. There’s seven cheeses, eight proteins, 17 veggies, and 10 sauces.

Fresh, Healthy Ingredients

Image via: Business Insider, Blaze Pizza

Recently, Blaze launched an initiative to rid its food selection of any artificial ingredients. Aptly named “Keepin’ It Real,” the company is committed to serving additive-free food in 2017. Blaze is working with its suppliers to remove artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup.

Specifically, it’s also “nixing the nitrates” in its cured meats like sausage and pepperoni, removing preservatives in its garlic and salad dressings, switching to “true hue” black olives and banana peppers without artificial colors, and moving to barbeque sauce with no high fructose corn syrup.

“To deliver against our commitment, several of our sources upgraded their recipes just for us. In some cases, we had to seek out new partners,” said Blaze Pizza’s Executive Chef Bradford Kent in a news release. “It took months of review before we finally found a banana pepper that met our standards for both color and taste, without artificial colors or preservatives, but it was worth the time invested. You really can taste the difference.”

Even its pizza dough is considered “clean.” Made from scratch on a daily basis, Blaze’s dough uses just a few simple ingredients: unbleached flour, extra-virgin olive oil, filtered water, salt, and a dash of sugar. The company’s restaurants also use sustainable packaging, including cups, lids, and straws made from plant-based materials.

Unbelievable Growth

On pace to become the country’s biggest pizza chain by 2020, Blaze Pizza has exploded since its debut only five years ago. Last year, the company opened 68 new restaurants, reaching 173 total locations in the U.S. According to Business Insider, Blaze reported year-over-year sales growth of 84% in 2016 to $186 million from $101 million in 2015.

A huge contributing factor to Blaze’s fast growth is one of its high-profile investors: LeBron James.

James was an original investor in the company back in 2012, holding franchise rights in Miami and Chicago. Since leaving behind a lucrative endorsement deal with iconic burger chain McDonald’s MCD, the NBA star has played a huge role in Blaze’s marketing strategy. Blaze hopes that with Lebron James, the pizza chain will soon become the biggest name in the fast-casual business.