How one employee’s journey helps tell the remarkable story of Bango Bowls


After a decade in full service restaurants, Lauren Neiderfer took the helm as general manager of an operation in Bay Shore called Bango Bowls.

And she realized quickly that fast-casual food service was a completely different animal than any sit-down restaurant.

“In restaurants, you have an hour, sometimes more to build a rapport with a customer, or group of customers,” she said. “If something goes wrong, you have time to make things right.”

But not in the world of quick serve or delivery.

“Here everything is condensed into a 2- to 7-minute interaction,” she said. “It’s a limited time to make that really, really great impression. And with delivery, if the order isn’t right, now they’re at home and they are disappointed. 

“And guess what? They will do something worse than complain…..they just won’t come back.”

So Neiderfer immediately began putting systems in place to ensure the utmost accuracy for every order.

She trained the staff on those systems. And in five years — and six locations later for the rapidly expanding Bango Bowls — she has helped improve operations and guest satisfaction at all Bango Bowls locations. 

She now proudly holds the position of regional manager, overseeing operations and training across all seven corporate locations of Bango Bowls, from Long Island to Queens to Westchester.

This is her story. 

But it’s also the story of a remarkable transformation of Bango Bowls.

How it happened

Bango Bowls has demonstrated remarkable resilience and growth during the pandemic-era, a testament to the foresight and leadership of Lauren Neiderfer.

Her expertise in systems and training, coupled with strategic investments in technology, has been a cornerstone of the company’s success.

Unlike many small businesses that faced challenges during the pandemic, Bango Bowls not only survived but thrived, showcasing its robust business model and adaptability, even in challenging times.

The journey of Bango Bowls since its inception in 2017 is a story of evolution and innovation. Initially operating with simple tools, the company, with Lauren’s help, has transformed its operations.

This comprehensive infrastructure now includes digital systems with on-boarding, product training, guest services, and advanced business training.

The progress reflects the vision of Bango Bowls’ founder and CEO, Ryan Thorman, and the pivotal role played by Lauren in steering the company toward a bright future.

And that is what propelled Bango Bowls to expand to seven stores and launch a huge franchise initiative this year, with plans to see 100 new locations open within the next few years. Bango Bowls is on pace to secure over 10 franchise deals in development in their first few months of offering franchise opportunities.  

And Neiderfer is a crucial component of those plans.

Top: Lauren Neiderfer pours some cold brew coffee at Bango Bowls in Bay Shore. (Michael White)

What is Bango Bowls?

Bango Bowls was founded in 2017 by Long Island-based Upstream Hospitality Group, which also operates five Tap Room locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Both brands are actively building teams and scaling their concepts across the Northeast. 

Today, each of the seven Bango Bowls locations in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens and Westchester serves salads, warm grain bowls, poke bowls, acai bowls, flaninis and avocado toasts.

“We have become that ‘better-for-you option’ for the entire family,” Thorman says. “We have a lot of menu diversity and are happy to offer something better for you, for everyone.” 

Sustaining a healthy lifestyle is hard. A big part of that lifestyle involves enjoying what you put in your body to fuel your day, he often stresses.

So Bango Bowls puts an equal amount of value on health benefits as it does flavor. The leadership team is adamant that if people like what they eat, they will continue to make better choices.

The future

For Neiderfer, the foundation for successful franchisees — which means the brand’s growth as a whole — lies in training.

“Premium products are an investment and a commitment,” she said. “But training is huge, and it’s so important, and I don’t think anyone is a better trainer than I am.”

But she plans to stay on the corporate side of the business.

On an emotional level, she also wants a prime, front-row seat to see Bango Bowls become a household name in the region, and hopefully well beyond.

“How many people get to say they started with a company from the ground up, and stayed with the company long enough to see it all?” she said. “I’ve poured my heart and soul into this company and have been supported and developed with the leadership group every step of the way. 

“I’m beyond excited to play a key role in developing our franchisees and growing this organization the right way.  I can’t wait to see what the next few years look like at Bango Bowls.” 

For those interested in Bango Bowls franchise opportunities, fill out the form below.

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