This edition of MRM’s Daily Bite includes news from Ninkasi Technologies, SevenRooms, Ingenico Group, Lincoln Property Company, The Brewer’s Table, Schweid & Sons and Vegan Fine Foods.
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Brewing Up an Online Craft Platform
A new online platform, AmericanCraftBrands.com, is a first-of-its-kind secure marketplace for commerce between craft makers (brewers, distillers and vintners), retailers and independent distributors. The regulatory-compliant business-to-business marketplace changes the historic three-tiered distribution model by reducing barriers while creating new and better growth paths for craft makers. It provides a dynamic, trusted, and level playing field not just for these artisan makers, but for all parties.
AmericanCraftBrands.com is the first offering from Ninkasi Technologies, a software platforms, services, and support company dedicated to beverage industry makers and the independent distributors and retailers who work with them.
“AmericanCraftBrands.com is Ninkasi Technologies’ first implementation of a roadmap for a permissioned, end-to-end platform to manage the complexities of the U.S. alcohol industry to improve sales and execution and help smaller players survive and thrive,” said Jeff Slater, CEO and president of Ninkasi Technologies. “Yes, this will be disruptive for some, but it will certainly be a boon for craft makers, not to mention those forward-looking distributors and retailers who understand the looming disruption and the tremendous opportunity this offers them.”
Electronic selling, invoicing, compliance record-keeping, inventory tracking, keg deposit management, multi-layered delivery approaches, and the ability to manage complex multi-state territory arrangements are just some of the features of AmericanCraftBrands.com. The technology allows craft makers the freedom to focus on what they do best: making great product. Likewise, retailers and distributors can do what they do best: provide customers with a variety of the country’s best beers, wine and spirits without having to build excess inventory or overstock their shelves.
“With AmericanCraftBrands.com, Ninkasi Technologies is streamlining a notoriously complex system and opening the marketplace in ways that benefit makers, retailers and consumers who want choice,” said Dean Palmer, president of the Global Brewer’s Guild. “I was blown away when I saw the platform. It delivers on its promises and I believe every craft producer could benefit from using it.”
AmericanCraftBrands.com will be launching shortly in selected states with full national expansion throughout 2018 and 2019.
SevenRooms’ Instagram Integration
SevenRooms, a reservation, seating and guest management platform, integrated with Instagram to offer a ‘Reserve’ button on SevenRooms’ clients profiles, giving operators a new way to engage directly with their guests on social media. Using SevenRooms’ white-label reservation widget, operators will now be able to accept direct bookings from Instagram, increasing reservations, and capturing valuable guest data to help them own their guest relationships.
With 75 percent of Instagram’s users taking action after viewing a post, including visiting a website or searching for more information, SevenRooms will empower operators to capitalize on these interactions at the moment they happen, reaching their guests when and where they are likely to convert into a reservation.
“At the end of 2017, we doubled down on creating partnerships that would bring strategic value to our clients, reiterating our commitment to open up as many direct booking channels as possible for our operators,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO of SevenRooms. “Our integration with Instagram, the latest of several we have announced this year, will enable a ‘Reserve’ button on our clients’ profile pages, giving them a seamless way to build direct relationships with their guests, and opening up new channels for engagement that will help them personalize their guest experience and, ultimately, boost revenue.”
“Instagram is one of the hottest social media platforms out there today and Groot Hospitality is constantly using the platform to connect with our guests at LIV, Story, Komodo, OTL and Planta. Our @KomodoMiami Instagram account continues to be a huge success and keeps our fan base informed. We are excited that SevenRooms can now offer our followers a way to book reservations directly from the Instagram app,” said David Grutman, Komodo, one of many clients launching this week. “We love engaging with the customer on Instagram, so this is a great next step.”
Ingenico Group Forms Strategic Partnerships
Ingenico Group launched five new strategic partnerships with retail and hospitality software vendors aimed at providing the market with complete, flexible payment acceptance solutions. The company also further diversified its line of open business platforms for business applications with the introduction of the Moby/M100, Moby/M120 and Moby/C150.
“By providing our partners with a wide array of secure and innovative mobility options, simple SDKs that allow for accelerated integration and pre-certified EMV, we’re able to get these partners to market faster with a broad set of tools to service their clients and grow their business,” said Jennifer Miles, executive vice president, North America for Ingenico Group.
In order to provide merchants, ISVs and ISOs with a complete range of business platforms that support business applications, Ingenico Group has been working with a variety of partners that serve different industries, including food & beverage, retail and hotel & lodging, among others. With these partners, the company is able to ensure that any business can find the perfect mobility solution for their needs while still being able to accept magstripe, EMV and NFC/contactless payments. Among Ingenico Group’s most recent partnerships:
- NCR Silver: Empowers SMB merchants with advanced tablet-based POS systems that allow them to manage their business wherever they meet customers, including its NCR Silver Quantum commerce station, which leverages Ingenico Group’s RP457, along with integrations with the Moby/M-series tablets
- PayMyTab: Enables restaurants to use their existing POS and merchant account to accept EMV transactions for Pay-at-the-Table using the Moby/M70
- SecureTablePay: An EMV capable Pay-at-the-Table solution, for both chip & sign and chip & pin cards with integrations for over 25 leading POS systems leveraging Ingenico Group’s iWL series, Moby/M70 and Move/5000
- eTouchMenu: A comprehensive suite of digital menu solutions delivers the guest experience, service speed and EMV Pay-at-the-Table compliance that restaurant operators and concessionaires require, leveraging the Moby/M70
- iMobile3: Provides acquirers and ISOs with tablet-based POS solutions that are white-labeled for their business with full POS capabilities including staff administration, transaction reporting and inventory management, leveraging the Moby/M70 and Moby/C150
“When we were looking for a payment technology provider for NCR Silver Quantum, one of our key requirements was that it needed to be easy for us to quickly get to market so we could better serve our customers’ needs,” said Chris Poelma, president and general manager of NCR Silver. “By leveraging Ingenico Group’s mPOS EMV SDK, we’re able to simply integrate our software without the need to certify the solution ourselves, which makes it easy to get to market quickly. Ingenico Group’s Gateway also helps to simplify the process and makes it easy to connect our customers to their preferred processor.”
“The fast-paced restaurant and hospitality industry needs payment solutions that simplify interactions and engage guests,” says Tom Holmes, founder and CEO of PayMyTab. “By leveraging mobile devices at every step from ordering to payment, from marketing to loyalty, our clients’ guests enjoy smooth, swift, and mistake-free engagement through their dining experience. With our proprietary software and Ingenico Group’s mobility solutions for our back-end payments technology, we deliver our customers top-notch quality, security and convenience whenever and wherever needed.”
In addition to the breadth of mobile solutions that Ingenico Group provides to suit a wide range of business needs, partners also get access to Ingenico Group’s mPOS EMV SDK, an all-in-one toolkit that allows ISVs and developers to easily integrate EMV payment acceptance into mobile applications and solutions. Not only does this help partners meet PCI requirements, removing certification bottlenecks for seamless and hassle-free solution deployment, but it also means ISVs and developers have the freedom to innovate and build software aimed at improving the customer experience at the point of sale.
Mess Hall Market: Destination Dining in Tustin
Lincoln Property Company, the owner and curator of Mess Hall Market, Orange County’s newest food hall, named nine chef-driven food and beverage concepts in a destination spanning 12,000 square feet. The food hall will feature a diverse selection of offerings, including Greek street food, lobster rolls, home-style Vietnamese, Mexican-French fusion, and hand-crafted cocktails. The lineup includes acclaimed chefs such as Andrew Gruel of Slapfish, Danny Godinez of Anepalco, and Aaron J. Perez of Vaka Burger.
The curated market will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and will include an organic coffee, tea & juice shop curated by Bodie Rasmussen of The Lost Bean as well as a full-service bar. Mess Hall Market is adjacent to the expansive Tustin Legacy Park, creating an indoor-outdoor experience for patrons, with 26 acres of trails and open space as the market’s backyard.
“With such a high-caliber group of chefs, there is nothing like Mess Hall Market,” said Parke Miller, Executive Vice President of LPC West, Lincoln’s west coast arm. “We are so excited to present an innovative, modern food hall that will bring incredible and diverse cuisine to the region.”
Seafood expert Andrew Gruel turned his popular food truck into a beloved seafood restaurant – Slapfish – which he will bring to Mess Hall Market. Gruel will also open a second to-be-named concept.
“It is so inspiring to join such a devoted and gifted chef community,” said Gruel. “Mess Hall Market will be a truly authentic and unique food hall experience, and we can’t wait to start serving our food alongside the best in the business.”
Danny Godinez is the chef behind Anepalco, a Mexican restaurant that combines traditional Mexican ingredients with French cooking techniques. Godinez will also design and operate the full-service bar that will provide wine, beer and hand-crafted cocktails.
“It is a dream to combine my two passions – food and drink – and to serve as a chef and drink merchant in such a well-curated, food-centric space,” said Danny Godinez. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to join this incredible community and look forward to serving and pouring at Mess Hall Market.”
Chef Aaron J. Perez will open Vaka Burger, a famed establishment best known for its grass-fed burgers and duck-confit grilled cheese. Vaka Burger rose to prominence after their popular food truck turned into a foodie haven on the eastside of Los Angeles. This will be Vaka’s first Orange County location.
Rasmussen will open a third location of The Lost Bean, a local gem serving organic coffee, tea, and hand-pressed juices. The Lost Bean is committed to a sustainable model of consumption and donates 30 percent of the company’s profits to non-political charity foundations that support the company’s mission to promote education, health, and the environment. Rasmussen will also open The Little Greek, a new concept for Rasmussen, featuring authentic Greek street food.
Mess Hall Market all will also include The Sandwich Society, well known as a foodie-sandwich destination, offering unique sandwiches, fresh salads, and soups. The shop was founded by Mi Ho, a self-proclaimed sandwich aficionado who has built a loyal following among sandwich-lovers.
Laguna Beach-based eatery Another Kind Cafe will also open shop at Mess Hall Market, serving Vietnamese-inspired crossed-cultural cuisine, or “Vietnamese home cooking.”
Mess Hall Market will feature a couple of other to-be-named food and dessert concepts that Miller says will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Our goal is to make this a truly one-of-a-kind destination: super high-quality food from critically acclaimed chefs served in an absolutely unique setting,” said Miller.
Mess Hall Market is on the campus of FLIGHT at Tustin Legacy, a 38-acre creative office campus encompassing nearly one million square feet within the 1,600-acre master-planned community of Tustin Legacy.
The Brewer’s Table Opens
After a series of pop-up events and culinary collaborations across the country and in its hometown, The Brewer’s Table officially opens its doors to the community on April 19. The Austin concept will welcome guests for lunch, dinner, happy hour, or just beers, seven days a week. The Brewer’s Table aims to foster a sense of community through the family-friendly space, shareable menu, and the beer itself. Through their successful crowdfunding and community involvement campaign in 2016, the team’s connection to the neighborhood as well as the culinary and brewing communities are evident by the support and enthusiasm for the concept.
Named an Imbibe 75 pick as a place that will change the way you drink, the menus are highlighted by a crossover of both ideas and ingredients between chef and brewer, from inspiration to sourcing and presentation. The menu pays tribute to seasonality and locality while embracing wood and its influence on food and drink. While the creative collaboration offers a unique approach, the team’s focus is to minimize waste through the process.
Led by founder Jake Maddux, Head Brewer Drew Durish, and Executive Chef Zach Hunter, the staff is rounded out by key team members including General Manager Zach Sawyer; and Beverage Director Brandy Compton, a Certified Cicerone and Sommelier.
Chef Hunter’s penchant for collaboration and commitment to thoughtful cuisine is something informed by his work early in his career at Michelin starred Mugaritz and Atera, and most recently at lauded Austin restaurant Fixe. Utilizing locally-sourced ingredients that can also be found throughout the beer and cocktail menus, Hunter’s menu is inspired by time and place.
The idea that beer is food is evident throughout both the ideas and processes of Hunter’s menu, as well as his collaboration with Durish. A far cry from simply building dishes with beer pairings in mind or cooking with beer, Hunter and his team are inspired by the history of beer, with nods to distinctive “beer regions” and takes on the fare you’d find there. Beyond the creative opportunities offered by cross utilization of ingredients from the brewing process, incorporating elements of beer into cooking also presents an opportunity to eliminate waste. Utilizing the core ingredients from the brewing process, Executive Chef Zach Hunter repurposes spent grain from the brewery into falafel and breads, incorporates hops in a curing salt, and ushers malt into the dessert menu.
Instead of a stove in the expansive open kitchen, the team works with live fire on a 7’ custom wood-fired grill featuring interchangeable racks for cooking vegetables, meat, and more. The set up allows for smoke to subtly infuse each ingredient while also permitting juices from the meat to drip down and saturate flavor throughout.
“When I think back to the best meals I’ve had, they have always revolved around experience – the space, the people, the conversation,” said Chef Hunter. He continued, “Our menu was designed to create moments like that. Whether you are joining for snacks at the bar or our outdoor games area, ordering small plates for happy hour or sitting for a full meal at the chef’s counter, we hope to facilitate a good time amongst friends, and with a few beers.”
Through the myriad of pop-ups leading to opening, Durish has worked in tandem with Hunter to expand the relationship between food and beer, intertwining many of the ingredients, flavors, and processes in both brewing and cooking. At The Brewer’s Table, Durish is fermenting in American oak foeders, made by Foeder crafters in St. Louis. The foeders, visible from the dining room, have been customized with coolships for open fermentation which results in both a unique fermentation profile and stunning sightline for guest.
While these types of foeders are used to brew sour beers Durish intends to do clean lager beer and put it into oak, which is both exciting and also not terribly common. Available after opening in late May, Durish’s lineup of six signature beers brewed on the seven-barrel system is anchored by the flagship, Common Lager, a steam beer which is a nod to craft beer magnate Anchor Brewing and one of the originators of the open fermentation process.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to work under so many influential leaders in the craft beer industry from Anchor Brewing to New Belgium,” says Maddux. “It was these experiences that inspired the idea to focus on a wood-forward brewing program utilizing open fermentation and pushing the boundaries of beer.”
Of the six lager beers Durish intends to lead with, three will focus on the culinary crossover and the additional three will be a bit more traditional. One of the first beers on the menu is “Beets by Drew” which is a malt-forward lager with six varieties of mint sourced locally from Hausbar Farm and finishes off with a blast of roasted beets. In addition to the flagship Common Lager and Beets by Drew, the other beers include: rotating corn lager similar to a Helles, the Vor Ort; sweet tea inspired dark lager, Idee Fixe; Seasonal Baltic Porter; and the super floral, hop forward lager,Transatlantic Flourish.
“I’m immensely thrilled to work with these American Oak foeders,” said Durish referring to the Foeder Crafters. “in creating beers that aim to present new flavors and avenues or even new takes on classic styles for beer newcomers and veterans alike.”
While Durish leads the charge on brewing the beers and working closely with chef, Beverage Director Brandy Compton heads up the beverage program to put forth a menu of wine, spirits and creatively crafted cocktails inspired by the kitchen and brewing process. The opening beverage menu features a 30-tap system with 26 guest beers and four wines on draft, as well as the “Core Four” permanent menu fixtures including Brooklyn Lager, Anchor Steam, New Belgium Fat Tire, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. A sampling of signature cocktails includes Around the Binzer (Kooper Family Rye, mesquite pod maple syrup, lemon, egg white); Saison D’Etra (Aviation gin, saison chamomile syrup, hop honey, lemon); and Hop and Bothered (Ben Milam Single Barrel Bourbon, Mandarin Napoleon and Hop Honey).
Known for their work on notable projects including Dai Due, Emmer & Rye, L’Oca D’Oro, and more, led by architect Kevin Stewart, Austin-based Design Hound transformed the abandoned 5,000 square foot Quonset hut, a leftover military building from 1952, to house the restaurant and brewery.
The team took advantage of the multi-dimensional complex concept, incorporating contrasting design elements of wood (crafted by neighboring business, Delta Millworks) and exposed steel throughout the building. In the dining room lofty skylights bathe the space in natural light while visible wood foeders take center stage, offering a counterpoint to the activity of the open kitchen across the restaurant. A nod to beer halls, simple festoon lights are strung overhead, and large scale black wicker pendants create ethereal shadows on the white barrel-vaulted structure. The space is highlighted by the namesake ‘Brewer’s Table’ on the mezzanine level, overlooking the main dining room and is accessed by a sculptural steel staircase which speaks to the craft associated with the brewery and food. The artwork on both the mezzanine and main floor is esteemed Austin based visual artist, Court Lurie.
Providing a comfortable beer garden atmosphere with shaded seating by summer, the outdoor space designed by local landscape designers Big Red Sun will feature an outdoor live fire cooking area, yard games like Bocce ball and corn hole, as well as raised gardens that will grow ingredients for the kitchen, brewery and bar.
Kevin Stewart remarked, “now complete, it is amazing to see how the space itself has taken on a real part of the story. Each unique space at The Brewer’s Table, both inside and out, provide an opportunity for a different guest experience. Whether joining for beers on the dog friendly patio and outdoor space or pulling up a chair to watch the fire and the rest of the action at the chef’s counter, each visit can truly be unlike another. The through line, though, is the warmth and approachability of the space that we think will resonate with both beer crowds and families.”=
The Very Best Burger Club
Schweid & Sons is partnering with SocialToaster to bring The Very Best Burger to consumers via a digital brand ambassador program.
In anticipation for the Summer Grilling Season,the family owned and operated ground beef purveyor headquartered in Carlstadt, New Jersey, is launching The Very Best Burger Club for its most loyal followers. Not only will the program promote and increase brand awareness, it will allow fans to share content like recipes, burger photos and more—and generate more buzz for events, sweepstakes and other promotions.
After being prompted to sign up for The Very Best Burger Club through their choice of social network, fans will earn points by inviting friends to join, engaging with Schweid & Sons on multiple social platforms and taking online quizzes to test their Burger knowledge. Participants will earn the opportunity to win Schweid & Sons branded merchandise, Burgers and tickets to highly sought-after Burger-related events.
“I am incredibly excited about this latest partnership,” Jamie Schweid, President and CEO of Schweid & Sons, said. “One of our main focuses at Schweid & Sons is innovation. Joining forces with SocialToaster to create a robust brand ambassador program is the kind of initiative that sets Schweid & Sons apart in our industry and provides us a unique way to continue our conversation with customers even after they leave the store.”
To learn more about and sign up for The Very Best Burger Club, visit schweidandsons.com/burgerclub.
Fort Lauderdale’s All-Vegan Market
Vegan Fine Foods, America’s All-Vegan Market™ will have aa carrot ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 pm on Friday, April 20 at 330 SW 2nd Street in downtown Ft Lauderdale, Florida.
Vegan Fine Foods is the brainchild of Florida Atlantic University professor Dr. Steven Smith.
“I saw an opportunity for an all-vegan market because I knew that shopping was a lot of work and very time-consuming for those wanting to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle,” Smith said. “I went to supermarkets, green markets, local health food stores, all kinds of places just to get the foods I needed. Then, I had to read all the labels because meat and dairy products get slipped into a lot of foods, even wine! Preservatives too! I knew the ones that would do no harm versus the ones you should not ingest, but what about people who don’t know? My rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better, especially the ones that are hard to pronounce. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a place where someone else did all the work, where you knew it was 100 percent plant-based and care was taken to select a broad array of super healthy products with some vegan indulgences mixed in?’ So I wrote my business plan. It took several years of planning to get to this point.”
Vegan Fine Foods is designed to appeal to a wide range of vegans and non-vegans alike, from raw vegan super healthy foods to kid-friendly Pinkberry vegan frozen yogurt.
“I still enjoy eating vegan meat and cheese alternatives occasionally and we are going to specialize in these types of vegan products, which are great for people transitioning to a more plant-based lifestyle, ” said Smith. “People just learning about a vegan diet think vegans eat mainly salads, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
Vegan Fine Foods will highlight local vendors as well as national and international purveyors. The Inika Café, based right in the store, will also serve some great comfort foods that anyone would enjoy, along with a broad selection from Acai bowls to wraps to juices to deserts. With 31 percent of Americans now practicing meat-free days, Inika Café is a great place to go for a plant-based meal.
“We like to say we are ‘strictly vegan — but not just for vegans,’” added Smith. “Vegetarians, flexitarians, paleos, carnivores, anyone looking to enjoy some plant-based foods are welcome and will find foods that they will really enjoy from more than a thousand items we have in stock.”
“I chose our 4,000-square-foot location in Fort Lauderdale because it’s a wonderful community that is cosmopolitan, very vegan-friendly, with favorable demographics and proximity to tourist and visitor attractions. We intend to be a destination that people will visit when they come to South Florida. We are going to make Vegan Fine Foods and fun place to eat, shop, have coffee, a glass of wine, beer, or to just hang out. We have a great staff that is devoted to first-class customer service.”