Each week, Modern Restaurant Management magazine compiles restaurant industry headlines in MRM News Bites. This week, we have news about a wine education program, restaurant technology partnerships and a "serendipitously delicious" election promotion. Send items of interest to Content Director Barbara Castiglia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mangia, a New York City-based gourmet eat in/take out/corporate catering and special events company launched a new, revamped website at www.mangia.nyc
Mangia worked with Mucca Design to create a refreshed logo mark and brand architecture that is clean, uncluttered and modern, with up-to-date functionality and rich content. "We are thrilled to evolve our website into the 21st Century without diminishing Mangia's original mission, namely to provide New Yorkers and tourists alike with delicious and fresh Italian farm-to-table fare, artfully presented," stated Sasha Muniak, Founder of Mangia.
Food shots by photographers Evan Sung and Cody Rasmussen, such as the one posted at the top of this article, and bright, rustic graphics are seen throughout the site in an effort to heighten the crave-ability quotient for both Mangia's retail and catering/special events businesses, as well as to showcase the high-quality food the venerable brand has been crafting for the past 35 years. Moreover, the new website will be updated on a daily basis with new content such as daily specials, upcoming events and promotions, blogs, recipe posts and videos in an effort to make the site "sticky" and maximize engagements and return visits.
"Our new website -- featuring heightened transparency, easy navigation and, importantly, a new e-commerce portal -- will enable the brand to grow exponentially in new directions and engage audiences who currently might not have considered Mangia," said Edward Slezak, Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of Mangia.
Slice Launches New App
Slice, the platform that connects people with authentic local pizzerias, launched a new ordering experience and iOS app.
Ilir Sela, the founder and CEO of Slice, launched the company, originally called MyPizza, in 2010 in Staten Island to help local pizza shop owners publish their menus online. He eventually signed up more than 3,000 independent pizzerias to tackle their biggest challenge: competing with big pizza chains that were moving faster with mobile ordering technology. After bootstrapping the company and establishing a business model focused on loyalty and fair pricing, Ilir sought venture funding to accelerate Slice's growth and build the first nationwide mobile ordering platform specifically for pizzerias.
"Growing up I was surrounded by proud pizzeria owners, which gave me an inside look at the industry from day one. I wanted to leverage my experience to create a bridge between pizza shop owners and their loyal customers using mobile technology," said Sela, CEO of Slice. "We've attracted top talent like investors and executives from Seamless, Plated and SinglePlatform, including Slice's President Pete Chen, former GM of SinglePlatform. Together we're focused fulfilling our mission of enabling any pizza lover in the country to get authentic neighborhood pie through a free app. We already have more locations than Domino's and we're just getting started."
Customers can find pizza near them, place an order, and check out with a stored payment method or Apple Pay, making the process as quick as possible. Never again call in a pizza order, re-enter credit card info, or run to the ATM to get cash — Slice takes the best mobile ordering technology and applies it to the galaxy's best food: pizza. Slice is designed to empower independent pizzerias to grow their business and increase average order volume by expanding their customer reach online. Slice offers fair pricing and eliminates the high fees and demanding contracts that other food delivery services require, while providing pizzeria owners with 24/7 support to ensure all orders are successfully processed.
"I was astonished to learn that $26 billion of the $40 billion domestic pizza industry is owned by local pizzerias, and yet the vast majority of them still operate the same way they did 50 years ago, untouched by technology," said Ben Sun, Co-Founder and General Partner at Primary Venture Partners, investors in Slice. "Slice is going to have a major impact on the industry, shifting consumption back towards the independents, by extending their network and increasing average order volume all by moving ordering to a mobile app."
Elior Partners with Never Eat Alone
To make it easier to get to know people in the workplace, Elior Group has entered into a new partnership with the start-up Never Eat Alonewhose application helps organize lunches between colleagues. Launched just a year ago, Never Eat Alone has enjoyed considerable success and is now looking to step up growth both in France and abroad. Its application connects office employees and company neighbors at lunch time. The aim is not only to foster meetings and bring people of similar tastes and interests together but also to encourage intra-company collaboration.
This partnership comes with an equity stake in the start-up and is in line with the Life4 innovation program laid out in the Elior Group 2016-2020 strategic plan. Within the context of this program, the Group seeks out, supports and promotes FoodTech talent. With the backing of mentoring and equity investment, start-ups can try out their innovations in Elior Group client restaurants and gauge their feasibility in the real world. For Elior, accompanying these fledgling enterprises is a way of contributing to the development of an ecosystem which will benefit the whole of the catering sector.
Pingup and Kik Team
Pingup, a local services transaction platform launched the OrderNowfood ordering bot in the Bot Shop of Kik Interactive. Through this partnership Kik users can order food for delivery or pickup from over 100,000 local restaurants.
The OrderNow bot will allow users to choose their food category (such as pizza, sushi, thai, etc.), select a local restaurant, and order their food for delivery or pickup. The bot is available nationally.
"Pingup is focused on automating local commerce through buttons and bots," said Mark Slater, CEO, Pingup. "We are the leader in aggregating over 180,000 local merchants for native, real-time transactions on online publishers and social platforms. Kik's messaging platform and bots are the natural evolution for this digital utility. The OrderNow bot has the potential to become the teenage generation's go-to method for food ordering."
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits established the industry’s first national wine team dedicated to providing top quality wine education and certification for their employees across the country. The team, which includes one of only 23 female Master Sommeliers® in the world, is made up of eight of the industry’s most highly-trained experts who hold certifications including Master Sommelier® (MS), Master of Wine (MW), or Certified Wine Educator (CWE). They are being led by Eric Hemer, MS, MW, CWE and Senior Vice President and Corporate Director of Wine Education for Southern Glazer’s.
“Exceptional education is a point of differentiation at Southern Glazer’s and what makes us the best at what we do in the industry,” said Hemer. “Our new wine education team will help ensure that we have the most knowledgeable sales organization in the marketplace, with the expertise necessary to provide insights into the trends that impact our customers’ businesses.”
In addition to overseeing wine education at Southern Glazer’s, Hemer teaches at The Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University in Miami, and is involved in lecturing and examining nationally with the Court of Master Sommeliers® (CMS), the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW), the Society of Wine Educators (SWE), and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET.) He was the fourth person in the world to ever to be awarded both the MW and MS qualifications.
“Having the most knowledgeable staff has been a priority since we began our wine division more than four decades ago and is what enabled us to maintain our reputation as a leader in wine ever since,” said Mel Dick, Senior Vice President of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and President of the Company’s Wine Division. “I’m proud that the Company continues to invest in this area and am excited about where we are headed as we continue to build our world-class wine business.”
There are only 147 Master Sommeliers® in North America and 14 of them work for Southern Glazer’s.
Steve Slater, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Wine Division added, “No other distributor can offer this kind of expertise, which is not only an incredible value-add for our customers, but also will enable us to continue our focus on enhancing the fine wine capabilities of the Company.”
Southern Glazer’s has more certified wine experts than any other North American wine and spirits distributor. Its employees have successfully completed more than 3,500 wine, sake and spirits education programs, from introductory to master-level achievements. These include:
- Over 1,100 Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) wine & spirits certifications;
- 19 WSET Level 3 Awards in Sake;
- 1,500 Level 1 Court of Master Sommeliers®;
- 117 CMS Certified Sommeliers;
- 20 CMS Advanced Sommeliers;
- 14 Master Sommeliers®;
- Over 600 Certified Specialists of Wine (CSW);
- 16 Certified Wine Educators (CWE); and
- 117 Certified Specialists of Spirits (CSS).
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has operations in 44 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Canada, and the Caribbean, and employs more than 20,000 team members.
Dinova Adds P.F. Chang's
Dinova, which focuses on connecting expense account diners to quality restaurants nationwide, added P.F. Chang's to the marketplace.
"P.F. Chang's is a great addition to our restaurant network, and it's a thrill to have such a fine dining establishment available to our business diners," saidVic Macchio, CEO and Founder at Dinova. "Our restaurant partners understand the value of targeting the business diner, and are able to reap the benefits of taking part in our exclusive marketplace."
"Farm to Wok™ has been our food philosophy since the day we opened. Many guests don't know that every one of our restaurants has a scratch kitchen. This means our chefs are preparing food fresh every day – chopping vegetables, hand rolling sushi and crafting handmade cocktails from fresh squeezed fruits. Farm to Wok™ is allowing us to share the stories of the people who make it possible and we are excited to share this experience with guests in the Dinova dining network," said Dwayne Chambers, Chief Marketing Officer for P.F. Chang's.
With the recent growth of its marketplace to $5 billion in dining spend influence, Dinova continues to add increasingly diverse restaurant concepts to its more than 14,000 restaurants nationwide.
Lockehouse Adds Restaurant Group
Alto Bajo To Debut
Alto Bajo is Portland’s newest modern Mexican restaurant, opening early 2017. Situated at 300 SW Stark St., inside the historic Oregon Pioneer Building and adjacent to the highly anticipated Hi-Lo Hotel, Alto Bajo offers its guests an opportunity to experience traditional Mexican flavors in a modern way. The kitchen will be helmed by Michelin starred Moto alum Chef Chip Barnes and features a menu developed in collaboration with famed Oaxacan Chef Iliana de la Vega.
Located in the heart of downtown Portland, just steps away from the future site of the new James Beard Public Market, Alto Bajo will help shape the future of Portland dining. With the vision of Executive Chef Barnes, Alto Bajo will live up to its mantra: embrace tradition and expect atypical.
The menu delivers a balance of classic Mexican cuisine with the accents of contemporary style and Oaxacan influences. The beverage program will showcase and highlight both tequila and mezcal, offering pairings that are a fresh take on traditional Mexican cocktails. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, as well as weekend brunch.
Chef Barnes developed the menu drawing on his love for authentic Mexican cuisine while integrating the bounty of fresh local products available in the Pacific Northwest. During menu development Chef Barnes travelled to Austin, Texas to collaborate with celebrated Chef, Iliana de la Vega (Restaurante El Naranjo – Oaxaca, Mexico and Austin, Texas).
“My approach to food is heavily influenced by my time in Chicago and Charleston. I focus on quality ingredients, and enjoy highlighting lesser known or overlooked ingredients in order to open people up to the vast range of things that are edible and delicious. I am excited to be in Portland because there is a wide variety of these off-the-wall ingredients to play with,” said Chef Barnes.
Chef Barnes career highlights include Moto Restaurant where he served as Executive Sous Chef under the tutelage of Chef Homaro Cantu. While at Moto, Chef Barnes added wine knowledge to his culinary palette, acquiring his Court of Masters Sommelier Level One certification. After leaving Moto, Barnes further developed his skills at several of Chicago's best restaurants including Next, Acadia, and Graham Elliott, receiving recognition for helping all three win Michelin Stars. He has spent the last two years working with James Beard Chef Jose Garces at Rural Society, learning wood-fire cooking techniques and Latin flavors.
Chef de la Vega, who is an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America, has been featured on the cover of Bon Appetit and is frequently asked to make national appearances to chime in on various aspects of Latin American cooking and to help people understand Mexican food beyond tacos and Tex-Mex.
Breakfast Table Opens in Vancouver
Breakfast, lunch, brunch? Breakfast Table ensures your morning and mid-day meals are no longer a second thought to dinner. A local alternative to chain restaurants in the Granville and Broadway area, Breakfast Table is now open, located at 1481 West Broadway, Vancouver.
"Food shouldn't come from a factory, but from the heart — the way mom and grandma used to make it," says George Koay, former Executive Chef at LIFT Bar and Grill turned President and Chef at Breakfast Table. "South Granville has always been an upscale shopping district so we've taken our comfort food menu and presented it with sophisticated flair."
The West Coast fusion menu combined with a casual diner environment is set to attract locals and travelers alike. With many culinary influences, George's main focus is on quality, with some Southern, West Coast and Asian influences. Presenting food in a thoughtful and tasty way, George finds inspiration in all cultures and will add some unexpected creations to the menu along the way. Aiming to surprise patrons with unexpected combinations is what this little diner is all about. Breakfast Table brings a little fine dining flair to the menu and all ingredients are free range, without hormones and provincially local. With the menu focused on sustainable foods, local vendors for juices, teas, coffee and other ingredients have been selected. Using free range, bacon and sausages from Haggard Farm in Cache Creek, the menu also calls for free range chicken without GMO, cage-free eggs and all seafood on the menu is selected based on sustainability.
"Working with local farmers and producers helps us integrate into the small business community in Vancouver. We want to work with companies that care about their impact on the environment," says Michael Lee, Vice-President and General Manager at Breakfast Table. "The more we all understand about and support small producers, the stronger they become which in turn is positive for our supply chain. It's the little things we do that make us different and we have a story to tell about where the food we serve comes from."
RATIONAL Enhances Combi Line
- The unit’s control panel is placed on the left side next to the door for ergonomic and technical reasons. This reduces the risk of injury from escaping steam during operation. At the same time, the electronics are protected from long-term damage caused by escaping steam.
- Efficient CareControl, the automatic cleaning and descaling system.
- The completely new LED lighting provides optimal illumination of the cooking cabinet and of every single tray, from top to bottom and back to front.
- Thanks to the energy consumption display, users will always know how much energy an individual cooking process requires and how much energy per day has been consumed. The data is visible on the display and can also be downloaded.
A blinking light signals which tray needs to be loaded or unloaded and when. This further simplifies the use of the SelfCookingCenter and provides even more support for kitchen staff to safely and quickly unload finished food.
Sodexo's Committed to Sustainability
Sodexo is making major reductions in both waste and carbon emissions at the facilities, cafés, sport and leisure venues and other food service sites where it operates. The integrated facilities management and food service operations organization manages more the 32,000 client sites worldwide, which means its commitments can have a major impact. By 2025, Sodexo estimates it will have reduced carbon emissions at food service and facilities management sites by 34 percent through simple changes, such as using energy efficient HVAC systems at worksites or repurposing used cooking oil as biodiesel.
"Because Sodexo serves 9,000 sites in North America alone, the impact of its sustainability commitments is more than considerable," says Ted Monk, vice president sustainability and corporate responsibility. "Using just one example, more than 7,300 Sodexo locations in North America recover used cooking oil to turn it into biodiesel fuel. That alone saves 1.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, which is the equivalent of not driving a car 1.1 million miles."
Throughout North America, Sodexo sites have embraced the culture of sustainability, with more than 7,200 sites recycling aluminum and paper and 8,640 recycle cardboard. The company's efforts to encourage sustainability have added benefits to health. One hundred percent of its cafés offer plant-based choices and 49 percent of menu options are vegetarian or vegan. Not only nutritionally sound, these meal choices can reduce a person's carbon footprint by nearly half that of a meat-based diet.
Elior Announces CSR Strategy
Serving more than 4 million guests every day, Elior Group pays particular attention to the impact of its business on the environment and society. In a context of global mobilization around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations, Elior Group has launched its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, the Elior Group Positive Foodprint PlanTM .In a bid to leave a positive footprint on the planet, the Group has made a commitment to achieve the 4 sustainable development objectives where it will have the most effect by 2025, namely: public health issues with poor diet as a contributing factor, environmental problems caused by agriculture, the increase in food waste, and employment-related issues (unemployment, inequality in the workplace and the need for decent jobs).
The objective of the strategy is to achieve the ambitious goal of leaving a positive nutritional impact (Positive Foodprint) from farm to fork, with the support of all Group stakeholders. As such, Elior Group has undertaken to achieve four sustainable development objectives by 2025:
- For 100 percent of the Group's guests to be able to choose healthy and delicious food by 2025,
- For 10 of the Group's major ingredients to meet sustainable and local sourcing criteria,
- Zero food waste to landfill,
- For 70 percent of Group's managers to come from internal promotions, contributing to personal advancement and diversity.
Philippe Salle, Chairman and CEO of Elior Group, explained that, "as a leader in our sector, we must undertake dynamic, pro-active actions to help to resolvethe environmental and societal issues associated to our business. With thePositive Foodprint Plan, Elior Group has made a commitment to leave a positive nutritional footprint by 2025, by ensuring sustainable procurement of our ingredients, healthy and innovative choices for our guests, food waste reduction along our value chain, and the professional fulfillment of ouremployees."
The Sundae Vote
Serendipity 3 takes a bipartisan stand on the election by creating an ice cream concoction for each candidate. The restaurant known for creating Frrrozen Hot Chocolate and the Guinness World Record, Golden Opulence Sundae, is bringing both parties together for a battle of the ice cream sundaes.
Presenting the Donald Trump "Make America Great Again" Sundae. An unprecedented slice of nostalgic Big Apple Pie with a not so conservative scoop of vanilla ice cream, covered in a windfall of caramel sauce, topped with a mountain of whipped cream flying an American flag and surrounded by a "wall" of chocolate. The GOP adds a sprinkling of patriotic red, white and blue star candies and a "Make America Great Again" sticker!
Presenting the Hillary Clinton "I'm With HER" Sundae. A jubilant slice of New York style Crème de la Crème Cheesecake coupled with a polarizing scoop of vanilla ice cream ignited by a sea of hot fudge, with a liberal sprinkling of crumbled Aunt Buba's Sand Tarts, and ovation of whipped cream topped with red, white and blue candy stars flying a miniature "Old Glory" and a "I'm With HER" sticker.
Each sundae is available until Election Day at $17.50 each and will come with a ballot to vote for your favorite sundae.
Taking it Personnelly
The Carolina Inn welcomed Brandon Sharp, as its new Executive Chef of their signature restaurant, Crossroads Chapel Hill. Sharp, a North Carolina native and Tar Heel Alum, returns to his southern roots to command the kitchen operations for the restaurant, banquet and in-room dining programs.
Chef Sharp returns to N.C. bringing more than 15 years of fine dining experience to The Carolina Inn, after a recent decision to leave Solage Calistoga Resort and Spa in Calistoga, CA. It was at Solage Calistoga where Chef received his first Michelin Star for the locally inspired Solbar, and under his guidance and creative leadership, Solbar went on to receive seven consecutive Michelin Stars throughout his tenure. Before his decorated career at Solbar, Chef honed his skills working with some of the nation’s most innovative and talented culinary minds, including Thomas Keller, John Besh and Gary Danko. At the outset of his training, Sharp worked in kitchens of the Michelin-rated Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, CA, the highly revered Restaurant August in New Orleans and at the iconic, three Michelin star French Laundry in Yountville, CA.
“We could not have found a chef better suited for this role than Brandon Sharp as he is the full package and offers outstanding talent, fresh and innovative ideas and has a deep connection with The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the state of North Carolina,” said Mark Sherburne, General Manager, The Carolina Inn.
Under his new role, the proud UNC Chapel Hill and Culinary Institute of America alum is committed to establishing Crossroads Chapel Hill as the preferred culinary destination both in the Triangle and in the Great State of North Carolina. “The opportunity to make my mark in a kitchen that I have a personal connection to is surreal,” said Sharp. “I can’t stop thinking about all of the new things I’d like to incorporate into our menus that will feel familiar to guests, but will offer unexpected textures, flavors and presentations.”
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants said Kathleen Reidenbach will assume the newly created role of Chief Commercial Officer. Most recently, Kathleen was Kimpton's senior vice president of marketing.
In her new role, Kathleen will oversee both the Sales & Catering and Marketing departments, which together make up Kimpton's commercial division. As the brand continues to evolve and scale globally, this role helps fortify Kimpton's competitive edge by aligning key commercial functions, including digital, guest marketing, brand, communications, revenue and distribution, and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
"Kathleen's unwavering commitment to Kimpton and remarkable leadership qualities make her the perfect fit for our new Chief Commercial Officer position," said Mike DeFrino, Kimpton's CEO. "For nearly 15 years her contributions have helped expand our portfolio and pave the way to the company's historically high RevPAR Index without losing sight of the signature Kimpton flair our hotels and brand are known for."
Since joining the company in 2002 as a business analyst, Kathleen has held a series of increasingly prominent roles. In 2013 as Kimpton's senior vice president of marketing, Kathleen's vision led the brand's evolution from a collection of individual properties to that of a leading boutique operator with more than 60 hotels and 70-plus restaurants nationwide and several global openings on the horizon. Under her leadership, Kimpton has sharpened its digital presence, elevated its social media efforts, refined the company's charitable giving initiatives, and launched its unique loyalty program, Kimpton Karma Rewards – accomplishments that have helped drive both performance and category growth.