Dig In is a podcast about hospitality – restaurants, bars, companies that shape our experiences around food and service. In the words of host Zack Woods, Dig In “tells the stories of owners, operators, curators of America’s hottest hospitality concepts.”
After his first season of Dig In, Zack launched a membership called The Curator’s Plate. We caught up with Zack about his passion for all things hospitality, his podcast, and how he developed the concept for his membership.
Zack grew up in a small town called Gaffney, South Carolina, surrounded by restaurants and hospitality chains – an upbringing that would inspire an appreciation for exceptional service, the entrepreneurial spirit, and ultimately a podcast.
“My mom was actually a hospitality entrepreneur herself,” said Zack. “We didn’t use the word entrepreneur at the time to define someone who opened a business. I think the word entrepreneur has become more and more of our zeitgeist. That term wasn’t as cool in 1995. My mom owned a couple of restaurants and a couple of chain hospitality institutions. None of them were incredibly successful, but I think what was successful, and what left a big impression on me, was that you could really change the way someone felt in their day.
“I think that that cultural upbringing stayed with me. I worked in the hospitality industry all through my adolescence. When I went to school at the University of South Carolina I worked at fine dining restaurants in Columbia. I did it all, you know? I was a bartender at a high end sushi restaurant in Columbia. The theme that ran throughout all of that was that I personally enjoy treating people hospitably, making people feel welcome, warm and making people feel like whatever it was that was on their shoulders walking in those doors could be lifted or at least alleviated for a period of time.”
Translating passion into podcast: What is Dig In?
Listen to Zack interview a hospitality professional on Dig In and you’ll hear years of countless double-shifts come through.
Some of his guests include the owner and head chef of a Red Hook restaurant juggling jobs from server to janitor, the founder of a start-up delivering fresh food from the farm, and a mixologist working at four bars describing what makes someone fast behind the bar. You’ll hear the nitty-gritty details of what makes restaurants, and hospitality experiences in general, tick.
Offering something extra in premium content
With the start of Dig In’s second season, Zack launched a membership called The Curator’s Plate, powered by Glow. For $4 per month, listeners get access to exclusive recommendations for restaurants and other hospitality experiences from hospitality professionals themselves.
For The Curator’s Plate, Zack considered what exactly drew his listeners to Dig In in the first place, and how could he draw them in deeper.
“I began to think, what about Dig In could actually be something that’s a shorter, heavier dose of actionable insights that people could take with them, especially for hospitality insiders, as well as people that love to travel, dine, go out to eat.”
Zack also considered how to make more content out of the work he’s already doing.
"So I said, hey, what if I took the opportunity that I have to meet with these industry-leading taste-makers in hospitality, restaurants, tourism, or business-building with an angle on hospitality, to really get a window into their preferences, life, and interests?”
This interview has been edited and condensed.