Restaurant C-Suite Magazine | Spring 2019

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TABLE OF CONTENTS | SPRING 2019 04 Editor’s note 06 Zero-waste initiatives are a top trend 10 Q&A with Paul Macaluso 11 Fast casual 3.0 16 Recipe for success 18 Trends that are buzzing in 2019 24 Diving deep into global breakfast 30 Q&A with Rob Gifford, NRAEF 33 Blockchain advancements 36 Rise of c-store foodservice business

BUSINESS Executive Editor Rick Zambrano Assistant Editor Roshan Thomas Editorial Designer Ashley McCarty Contributors Eric Nomis, Roshan Thomas, and Roberta Matuson Restaurant C-Suite Magazine is part of the Eatery Pulse Network and distributed by Eatery Pulse Media, a fastgrowing information services, consulting and creative, custom-media solutions firm based in the Washington, D.C. market. Our flagship, digital magazine was specifically created for multi-unit restaurant executives. It will deliver the most highly-meaningful news for the industry’s top leaders of today, and the visionaries of tomorrow. Today’s C-suite executives and their managers need information that is carefully selected, meaningful and delivered in a seamless, cohesive fashion. Stay updated with all our content at: Copyright 2019 Eatery Pulse Media.

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Powered by On the cover: Iconic Krystal brand gets a remodel. Photo by Krystal. Photo Left: Chiko Dupont Circle location, Washington, D.C. Photo by Eatery Pulse Media.


Editor’s Note Spring is a great time to be in the restaurant industry. Along with flowers blooming, general energy levels seem to rise with more daylight hours to enjoy. Customers emerge from hibernation, ready for great restaurant food. And they’ll find what they crave for at their pace and schedule. Some may want the experiential, others will take it to go or access a delivery app, like Uber Eats. More than ever, restaurants are pressed to deliver food the way customers want it. A lot of changes come our way and often, we can be flat-footed. Third-party delivery is one of them. Over time, offpremises restaurant sales, including takeout and delivery, will represent big chunks of chain restaurant business. If we agree that incremental sales are more profitable than baseline restaurant sales, we can assume margins of up to 40 percent for new restaurant delivery business. But when third-party delivery meals come at a cost of up to 30 percent to restaurants (with larger chains able to negotiate marginally lower fees), most restaurants are not able to keep a significant portion of third-party delivery business. Any technology company that offers a service that doesn’t align with economics of its clients is likely to go through an evolution or disruption. Third-party delivery as it stands right now is not sustainable, and that’s why we see alternatives emerge quickly, including virtualkitchen supplier Kitchen United and also ClusterTruck, a multi-cuisine commissary operation that partners with restaurants and also included in our fall issue. It appears the disruptors are about to face disruption. A report by Edison Trends, and first published in Fortune, indicated that DoorDash may have taken the lead in market share from Grubhub in March. DoorDash is a private company; however, it’s clear to see how this may have happened: DoorDash expanded

Spring is finally here, holding new opportunities for chain restaurants. Photo by Florin Alin Beudean.

to more markets and all 50 states, while Grubhub focused on technology-based acquisitions and incremental revenue to create the “perfect storm.” With the 2019 National Restaurant Association Show approaching, it’s a time to share new ideas and collaborate further. Why are we always the disrupted? It’s time to be disruptors, ourselves. To innovate. It hasn’t been business as usual for a while, now. The restaurant industry has an opportunity to be more than just proactive. particularly as technology advances so quickly and some of the technology is not necessarily our friend. In online searches, chain restaurant locations are constantly fighting off “clone” web listings by other technology companies and competing against virtual restaurants that exist only in online marketplaces and apps.

RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 4

Spring is a grand time to be innovative, and for the restaurant industry’s top leaders to absorb even more best practices and data-driven trends. Innovation isn’t defined as thinking past problems. Rather, it’s much more. Innovation is new thinking to move past problems to new opportunities. As Restaurant C-Suite Magazine is a trend-based news source, we continue to dive deeper into 2019 trends in this issue, including zero waste, global breakfast, plantbased foods, “sea foods,” and blockchain technology. Also, we take a look at leadership skills and the arrival of fast casual 3.0. Let’s get this season started! Sincerely,

Rick Zambrano, Executive Editor



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Zero-waste initiatives are a top trend: Restaurants see call to action, opportunity By Eric Nomis

More restaurants are looking to nearly eliminate waste. Photo by Tom Crew.

Zero-waste initiatives are a top trend, according to the What’s Hot 2019 Culinary Forecast. Restaurateurs and chefs seek to reduce their carbon footprint and the amount of trash they produce. Chefs in the fine-dining sector, in particular, have taken the lead on using as much food product in the kitchen so that total waste could be reduced to what fits in a bucket or jar. “Finding creative ways to use every part of an ingredient is a big part of sustainable practice,” suggests Erik Hopfinger, executive chef for Bamboo Asia, in San Francisco, and Top Chef alumnus. “At Bamboo Asia, we use ginger peels to spice up and add a unique flavor profile to our homemade hot sauce. We (also) use the stems from Thai Basil and Cilantro for marinating our sous vide chicken or add (them) to stocks.” RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 6

Waste can be a byproduct of cooking, certainly, but there are many more sources of added waste. Lack of preparation or good production planning can lead to greater waste due to food spoilage. Restaurant managers have typically been fond of visual inspections of produce and other perishable product to detect any lack of freshness. Not handling food properly can lead to food “kills.” Especially In the fine-dining and casual-dining segments, lack of accuracy in taking an order or poor cooking execution can lead to dishes that end up being returned to the kitchen— some cannot be salvaged. Among the many other sources of waste, spoilage can arise due to poor inventory management and during foodservice distribution.

Chef Douglas McMaster visited Brooklyn this year for an event called Fitzcarraldo. Hailing from England, this chef is known for being a zero-waste chef, seeking to maximize the utility of all food, as told by The New Yorker. “At his restaurant, Silo, in Brighton, England, he buys ingredients directly from farmers, to avoid grocery-store packaging, and returns peels and trimmings in the form of compost, creating what he calls a “closed loop.” His recipes strive to incorporate the whole vegetable. There’s a cadre of chefs that have refined zero waste. Hopfinger uses cauliflower stalks at Bamboo Asia to make cauliflower rice, which serves as a “low carb (menu) option” for his customers.

Inventory management Quick-service restaurants (QSR), including fast casual and fast food restaurants, are less able to control waste, whether it be plastic or food, due to the amount of food produced off-premise by suppliers. However, there have been efforts as of late to address packaging, and plastic, in particular. Starbucks and other chaIns have made the commitment to move away from all plastic straws over the next few years, and invested in finding paper cups that will universally compost. Inventory can also be a particular pain point for QSR chains. Poor inventory management, lack of controls and repetitive turnover of staff can be big impediments to controlling waste from inventory. Waste, whether as a byproduct of food cooking and preparation processes, or because of errors and mismanagement, is lost profit dollars after all. Using as much of a food product to create a menu item that sells is profit-enhancing. There is so much opportunity, and it’s a call to action, not just by chefs and industry leaders, but by consumers, as well. More consumers are looking to spend their dollar in sustainable and environmentally-friendly restaurants. Many food occasions can be influenced by purpose and mindfulness. Restaurants can be proactive in zero-waste efforts. “It comes down to having good inventory practices,” says Erik Cox, vice president of Product Strategy for CrunchTime. “When

appropriate, minimize the frequency of counts for low cost, low turnover products so that managers can focus time and efforts on the high impact (high value or high usage) items. Organized storerooms can be counted more quickly and easily.” He also suggests counting inventory during slower operating days so that they can be counted quickly and in an environment of fewer distractions. Of course, technology and digital tools are a big support in these efforts. Cox adds, “Mobile solutions will help save time by eliminating the need for recording counts with pen and paper. They also significantly reduce the risk of errors by eliminating the need to enter numbers into the system.” Integrating supplier data in inventory management solutions not only reduces potential for error, but helps catch mistakes that can lead to expired product or food spoilage. CrunchTime’s Cox also offers up three suggestions in his own words: “(1) Focus on the dollars. Track and share the highest cost variances first. Once these are improved, focus on the next group. (2) Share data between locations and up the chain. Often smaller issues are visible for a single location, but can become obvious when seen across many restaurants. (3) Communicate internally. In addition to sharing information between locations, ensure your staff understands what you are trying to achieve and what the problem items are. Often the best ideas for improvement come from those on the front line.

Reducing waste in food distribution or in transition from distributors Part of the challenge of getting to zero waste is just how many obstacles there can be along the food supply chain. Produce is a great example. Chain restaurants can suffer at the hands of practices that are beyond their control. Restaurant managers have typically been fond of visual inspections of produce and other perishable product to detect a lack of freshness. Visual inspections, suggests Kevin Payne, vice president of Marketing for Zest Labs, are insufficient to detect product that may have sat on a loading dock somewhere in transit for too RESTAURANT C-SUITE 7

Kitchen and inventory management are a focus of restaurant waste. Photo by Rohan G.

long. These types of breakdowns can reduce the shelf-life of produce by up to one week even before the restaurants receive it, he says.

can help detect sources of food contamination more rapidly, making it easier to conduct appropriate recalls.

Technology is helping track and monitor perishables from grower to distributor, and on to the restaurant. It is up to restaurant chains to ask suppliers and distributors to implement such technology. IoT sensors, in fact, can go a long way toward this goal, monitoring cooling, freshness and the time it takes for produce to go from field to fork. Zest Fresh is an example of a technology solution that’s being deployed to help monitor and ensure freshness going back to the source.

“Digitize your inventory management procedures,” says Cox. “The most effective way to minimize mistakes is to integrate your inventory management solution with each supplier electronically. Also, you can save a lot of time (and keep costs low) in placing orders and (conducting) invoice reconciliation.” Mistakes can happen easily in a busy chain restaurant, and that can result in waste or lost inventory. Employees should clearly label food product that is prepared in house, using “made on” and “use by” dates in accordance with restaurant policy.

Says Payne, “IoT sensors can add value to restaurant chains because they can autonomously collect data about a product’s condition and location as it travels from its origin to the restaurant. The data from the sensor can provide insights into product freshness, product origin and authenticity (such as whether it really is free-range chicken or grass-fed beef), as well as cold chain compliance to ensure food safety.” Foodservice executives can expect to see rapid growth of sensor technology to monitor foods, including produce, beef, dairy, wine, spirits and packaged goods. In addition to helping avoid food spoilage, sensor technology RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 8

At the corporate or support center level, cross-functional teams can add a lot of value to zero-waste initiatives by working with suppliers and management to develop policies to reduce waste. Marketing teams can use whatever initiatives are in place to successfully engage customers who care about these issues. Restaurant chains will benefit from creating a top-down and hands-on approach to reducing food waste, even creating incentives for employees to produce new ideas and suggestions. Reducing the food and packaging that doesn’t get used by the restaurant or consumed by the customer is a team effort, but one that will reap long-term dividends.

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Q&A with Paul Macaluso Krystal’s remodel hits the ground running Krystal Burger’s revitalization is under way with a remodel program that is set to revamp an iconic burger brand. Redesigned stores are showing sales lifts of 70 to 80 percent and driving increased staffing investments of 66 percent on average. Remodels have been completed in Jackson, Miss., Tifton, Ga., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Memphis and Chattanooga, Tenn. With a blend of modern and nostalgic, and a new, more abstract Krystal Burger emblem, the remodels’ impact on the test Krystal outlets has been significant. In this Q&A, Paul Macaluso, chief executive of the Krystal mini-burger chain, expands on the exciting Krystal remodel program and the new, “Iconic Series” prototype design. Restaurant C-Suite: The revitalization of the stores appears to have been a hit, according to the data. What aspects of marketing needed to be in place to ensure there was sufficient awareness and engagement post-remodel? Paul Macaluso: We worked hard to get the word out on multiple fronts -- it was a holistic approach that included POP (point-ofpurchase) and onsite signage Paul Macaluso. prior to the scrape and rebuild and throughout the construction process. We led up to the reopenings with targeted hyperlocal digital and paid social, and did a full-on PR blitz in each market, in advance of grand (re) opening events. Another critical factor to our success was making sure our employees were relocated to nearby restaurants and that no jobs were lost during the process. We staffed up with seasoned team members and new ones to handle the sustained increase in business that resulted from the revitalization. RCS: In what ways do you use data to successfully execute marketing campaigns? PM: For Krystal, it’s about marketing that drives RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 10

Iconic Series prototype design. Photo by Krystal.

business results. We deploy a comprehensive digital strategy that incorporates paid social and partnerships with third-party vendors to track every single digital tactic deployed and the resulting real-time walk-in business. We’re very focused on managing acquisition costs. That being said, it all starts with a great creative. Our “Live A Little” mantra informs all marketing campaigns and touch points. RCS: How have the remodels addressed speed of service at the Krystal stores that were revamped? PM: The new stores are built for speed. They’re smaller, faster—and square—like our iconic burgers. We’ve seen an across-the-board 10 percent improvement in processing time for drive-through orders, shaving off 20-30 seconds for customers. The kitchen layout has been reconfigured to create larger work zones as well as expanded windows to accommodate drivethrough traffic. The redesigned restaurants have two menu boards that funnel into a single lane and three POS devices, one for each menu board and one for processing payment at the window. RCS: Tell us how you engage franchisees for remodel projects at a time when other QSRs have garnered skepticism? PM: Our initial redesigns are company stores. Our strategy was to provide proof-of-concept for key franchisees, who are now signing up for owner-financed scrape and rebuilds, with some incentives.

Fast casual 3.0: Why D.C.’s Chiko restaurant concept is a trend. ‘Chinese-Korean Alliance’ wok-fry the future of restaurant food By Rick Zambrano

Shrimp and Grits. Photo by Chiko.

“Chef-inspired concept” is a phrase that many inside the restaurant industry may want to vanquish in 2019. How about chef-driven or chef-managed? That appears to have more purpose and significance. On that point, enter Chiko (Chai-Koh), a three-unit chain, born and bred in Washington, D.C, and expanding nationally (but quietly). Chiko is not just a restaurant, it’s also a trend at the same time. And it’s growing into a chain, with three locations now open (two in D.C. and another in Encinitas, Calif.). Chiko combines Chinese and Korean dishes and flavors, calling itself a Modern Chinese-Korean restaurant.

The building of trends, not restaurants Chiko was propped up as an example of a new type of eatery. Polished fast casuals may be what the industry is looking for to solve a myriad of economic problems. (For background, in this chronology, fast-casual 1.0 was Chipotle and Panera Bread, 1.2 were Cava and sweetgreen, and 2.0 was Eatsa (with its food-cubbie pick-up and kiosk ordering.)) A report by international food consultancy Baum + Whiteman called out Chiko as an example of an elevated, polished quick-service concept— one that has no (artificial) price barriers. RESTAURANT C-SUITE 11

to improve the economics of restaurants that are so costly to build and operate. Fast-casual 3.0 restaurants have a chance of making a greater profit as they rethink small spaces for more takeout/delivery, keep chef-driven menus, add a little booze for good measure, and offer limited hours, but package so much in those few hours. It’s not a slam dunk by all means, as these concepts can pay up to 30 percent off the top to have third-party delivery companies dispatch food to customers. Chiko’s formula is the basis of what can make these fast-casual 3.0 concepts successful: Crispy Spring Rolls. Photo by Chiko.

Additional fast-casual 3.0 concepts have been found in Manhattan and Oakland, Calif. For those of us who have grown up around food businesses, Chiko is different. And according to a trendologist, Chiko is the next step up in fast-casual evolution: a place where you can get chef-driven (not chef-inspired or contrived) food, with minimal wait times. Said the Baum + Whiteman report, “Expect generally to be jostled by delivery boys and carryout customers hurrying for the door … because 50 percent (or more) of these places’ food is consumed off the premises.” Baum + Whiteman suggests fast-casual 3.0 makes perfect sense. The economics of a fun, chefdriven fast-casual concept with minimal space because of digital takeout and delivery orders makes perfect sense. Millennials and Gen Z are taking their food to go. For those (younger) adults who have lived an entire lifetime with fast casuals like Panera Bread, Au Bon Pain and Chipotle, Chiko is a restaurant for their generation—the next evolution and iteration. Millennials and Gen Z consumers—as they are known—are quasi- or full-digital natives, respectively. For them, quick-service settings with access to chef-driven cuisine that is fine-dining caliber is the “next big thing” in restaurant food. Chef-driven and chef-operated concepts can rework space, but still offer delicious food. This is the evolution of the fast-casual restaurant: RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 12

• Offering booze: Why not? These concepts have a lot of off-premises business. Those who want the experiential may want to indulge beyond the great chef-driven food. • Reconfigured space: Fast casual 3.0 is breaking with the traditional notion of “polished.” And less space means cheaper. Half of customer may linger for a great, chef-driven meal and spirits. The other half will take food to go or opt for delivery. As prominent restaurant chains target 30 percent to 40 percent of sales coming from off-premises business, this forward-looking model makes a lot of sound business sense. Expect to see more space added for takeout and delivery business and for the experiential. At Chiko Dupont, there is a chef’s counter for chef-driven meals and experiences, while a dedicated window on a different floor is used for off-premises orders. • No (artificial) price barrier. Polished fastcasual concepts price their chef-driven menus at a price the market will bear. Customers expect freshly-prepared food with culinary dedication and skill. They’ll have a choice between ticketed dinners, tasting tables (and counters) and what’s on the weekly menu in quick fashion, and they’re willing to pay for it. In fast casual 3.0, the difference between $15 and $35 (or more) average tickets translates into more complex cuisine, access to “fine-dining-like” meals and having a variety of trendy food and drink selections. Polished fast-casual concepts that offer global

cuisine will need to be authentic and not overly adventurous, possibly scaring away customers. Chefs help ground the cuisine and keep the restaurants cozy and approachable.

Chiko’s background Chiko’s founding partners are Scott Drewno, Danny Lee and Drew Kim, of Matchbox fame. Last year, Kim was dispatched to open the West Coast restaurant. Drewno cut his culinary teeth at The Source by Wolfgang Puck and other top destinations, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Vong and Stephen Hansen’s Ruby Foo’s. From such an unassuming leader, the culinary resume is to die for. Together, the partners form the Fried Rice Collective. Lee needs no introduction: He was brought up in his family’s food businesses in Metro D.C., including restaurant Charlie Chiang Kwai, where he learned the management side of the food business. His mother opened the Mandu restaurants, and played a significant role in his restaurant training. Mandu has been a longrunning best Korean restaurant. Lee has also worked at Oceanaire. Danny Lee and the Fried Rice Collective will open a Korean pub, Anju, during winter 2019, according to Washingtonian Magazine. Kim was a partner at Matchbox Restaurant Group, which became a multi-unit concept with the opening of Ted’s Bulletin. Chiko

Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan (Compass Rose and Maydan, Washington, D.C.) headlined a Chiko After Dark event. Photo by Chiko.

is Kim’s renaissance after closing his own chapter with Matchbox Restaurant Group, and with his co-founding Matchbox restaurant partners there. Matchbox went on to be guided by restaurant management company Thompson Hospitality, after it invested a major stake in the company in July. Kim’s expertise in branding and entrepreneurship should serve Chiko well, as the chain looks to expand methodically outside of the D.C. region to strike a unique palette wherever it goes. By operating concurrently on the West and East Coasts, the restaurant partners are taking a page from chains that D.C. residents know all too well: Cava and sweetgreen. Urban enclaves on both coasts are ideal testing grounds, and provide plenty of finicky diners, today’s version of the “taste panel.”

A respect for provenance and sustainability. A nod to family and community. “The world is changing more and more and people care about how their animals are being treated—where their food is grown, and who the farmer is,” said Drewno at MetroCooking DC, a popular cooking and demonstration show series that comes to D.C. annually. “We’re kind of active with the James Beard Foundation… I’ve sat on some of their panels on traceability and sustainability.” Increasingly, restaurants are approaching ingredients with respect, and chefs can drive that forward. Chefs and entrepreneurs are responding to consumers’ desire to want more from their food. MetroCooking DC wasn’t just the stage for a cooking demonstration, but rather a representation of a much larger stage that Chiko’s partners are headed for. Chefs Lee and Drewno are very personable and family-oriented culinary visionaries. Part of these infectious personality traits are passed on to the crew and culture of Chiko, and will hopefully be maintained as the chain grows beyond its three restaurant units. There’s no shortage of talent in the nation’s capital and those who are recognized are the best of the best. The Restaurant Association RESTAURANT C-SUITE 13

of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) and Events DC, the sports and entertainment authority for the city, host the RAMMYS and pay tribute to the culinary and entrepreneurial professionals in the local industry. Chiko received a RAMMYS Best New Restaurant Award last year in D.C.“I’m dedicating this to all the women in my life,” said Scott Drewno, one of the three partners that are part of this growing enterprise during his acceptance speech. The RAMMYS are D.C.’s restaurant excellence awards and a great honor, since the city is now an established culinary and foodie destination. Sister media outlet, Swizzle Chill TV, had the opportunity to interview Chiko, as well as other winners, at the RAMMYS 2019. “It’s casual, fun and funky,” said Drewno of the then-one-year chef-driven concept. “We wanted to form a fun, kind of familyoriented company (Chiko’s parent, Fried Rice Collective). We decided to make the first step into it—the three of us—with Chiko.” Chiko was also a semi-finalist for the Best Restaurant Award in 2018 from the James Beard Foundation.

Are two cuisines better than one? By combining Korean and Chinese cuisine, Chiko is taking the best of comfort food, but drizzling it with adventure. Hip, upscale Korean concepts are a trend. Consumers in D.C. and beyond are eager to be grounded in their egg rolls, but also ready to try something new and exciting. In the socio-economic climate we’re in, they want both the familiar and adventure. That’s why regional American cooking is back in. That’s why we see plant-based proteins emulate the meat we grew up with, even as we try to shake loose of so many carnivorous meals. The restaurant industry is going through a constantly maturing consumer palette and diet regimens and diet choices that are much more complex, and are driven by several forces at once, including financial, political, socio-economic, and transparency and sustainability goals. Suzy Badaracco, president of Culinary Tides RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 14

and a top forensic trendologist in the country, maintains that consumers are not feeling particularly grounded or confident. This is why Chiko’s emergence is so timely, and its popularity and rise will be determined by a “perfect storm.” The concept strikes a delicate balance between food that is tasty, served quickly, feels comforting, and is priced reasonably. It’s challenging to deliver such a product in a diverse and eclectic city like D.C., but Chiko does it well. In culinary and industry circles, fusion was a bad word for a few years. Some chefs went too far with combinations that did not provide the authenticity that global cuisine deserves. With Chiko, the partners are balancing adventuresome Korean flavors, with the comforting, familiar dishes and textures of Chinese food. Chiko’s founders have found a formula that is years in the making and is a gateway to sophisticated dining markets. The timing appears right to take Chiko to the next level.

No (artificial) price barrier Dishes on the menu range from $8 to $18. One could easily spend $50 to $100, and that’s the point. Chiko is an example of a fast-casual concept that’s not really that fast casual. Here we use fast casual 3.0 and “polished fast casual” as a label for this new breed of fast-casual restaurants. Others may use different categorization. While it may seem this three-unit chain seem less fast casual, it’s probably the way we’ve categorized restaurant chains that has become outdated as restaurant concepts have evolved in the fast-casual segment and outside of it. As a nod to its culinary cloth, Chiko also offers counter service by hard-to-snag reservations, which gives guests access to a chef’s tasting menu. As part of its daily dining service, the modern Chinese-Korean concept also has a set menu that is tweaked seasonally. The Crispy Chicken Springrolls appear to be a hit. And they run $9 and are served with Chinese mustard dipping sauce. Rib Eye & Rice Cakes will run $18, but with bulgogi, baby carrots and

“Chiko After Dark.” It’s a fun evening, with access to food from guest chefs and cameos by the culinary visionaries of the city. Recent events have included local chefs,including Gerald Addison, Chris Morgan (Maydan and Compass Rose), Boston’s Jamie Bissonnette, and Adam Greenberg and Brandon Langley from the Coconut Club. In February, the restaurant paid a tribute to Mardi Gras with its own Nawlins’-themed celebration, featuring David Guas of Bayou Bakery and the everpopular Gina Chersevani of Buffalo & Bergen. Chiko’s Orange Chicken. Photo by Chiko.

some nice shitake mushrooms on the plate, who cares? Not likely that even the most restrained customers would be able to stop at just one Pork and Kimchi Potsticker. These are the types of dishes that can be had in quick fashion, and deliciously.

A focus on the experiental. For New Year’s Eve, while other restaurants in D.C. were spending big money on publicist and ad funds to lure customers into their restaurants and book reservations, Chiko’s partners recognized that many folks don’t even go out, so they combined takeout/ delivery into their ground game and offered a $55 to-go meal. With minimal space, the move by Chiko’s founders was a bit of brilliance. Chiko’s delivery extravaganza consisted of Double Fried Chicken Wings With Caviar, Rockfish With Ponzu Glazed Veggies, Cumin Lamb Noodles, Coconut Custard, Shredded Coconut, and Toasted Wild Rice. Chiko’s food will also be headed to Capital One Arena. Said the Washington City Paper, “The Fried Rice Collective is excited to announce that CHIKO will be landing at Capital One Arena starting January 18th. Serving our Korean fried chicken wings, crispy spring roll, and the bulgogi hoagie. We look forward to cooking and cheering alongside you.” Chiko hosts a near-monthly series, called

D.C. is a great breeding ground for restaurant chains, with some great ones having launched here. Chiko’s price points are much higher, but with its chef-driven food and inclusion of experiential, many markets would be open to this type of concept. Chiko opened its newest restaurant in Dupont Circle on Valentine’s Day. It will surely find a passionate and cult-like following, there, as well. The Dupont Circle neighborhood is also home to a plethora of hotels and tourist activity, ignited fully in the spring and summer. The new outlet on P Street, which has a dedicated takeout window, will have its own beat and also add to the chorus of evening activity that is already there. No restaurant chain is perfect or expansion ready from day one. Cava and sweetgreen, which were also products of the restaurant entrepreneurial scene in D.C., produced concepts, formats and cultures that were eventually successful, but not world-ready right away. It’s a process and the timing has to be right. It’s a recipe for the patient. With the help of investors, Cava finalized the acquisition of its competitor, Zoe’s Kitchen, for $300M in November. And sweetgreen tapped a cool $200M that same month to fuel its next chapter of growth. Brilliance in the restaurant world is not always apparent early on, but it pays to be a trend, rather than a flash in the pan. Let’s see where Chiko’s brilliance will take it. RESTAURANT C-SUITE 15

Recipe for success Magnetic leaders in the restaurant industry

By Roberta Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting

Photo by Andrew Neel.

Employees don’t work for companies. They work for people. The most successful leaders I know, are what I call magnetic leaders. These are leaders who appear to effortlessly attract talent that sticks around. In my book, “The Magnetic Leader,” I write about the seven traits commonly found among magnetic leaders. In the interest of time and space, here are three of these traits.

RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 16

Authenticity. Magnetic leaders don’t try to be someone else, nor do they change who they are based on office politics. They are true to themselves and are honest in their dealings with others. They are not afraid to share their mistakes or shortcomings. Their authenticity is refreshing. Selflessness. Leadership is a service business, and service comes with sacrifice.

Magnetic leaders serve their people first, before serving themselves. Strong communication. Magnetic leaders communicate frequently and clearly. They speak their minds, even if it makes them unpopular. When they are forthright with their opinions, such people often become even more magnetic. This is because people always know where they stand when in conversation with these kinds of leaders. Some of you may be thinking, “Who has time for this? This is the restaurant industry where we’re burning the candle 24/7!” My response is, you can’t afford not to pay attention to your leadership style. Here’s why: There are record levels of low unemployment in the U.S. The current rate is 3.9 percent and is even lower in some cities and towns. We are at full employment, which means there are fewer people to be had. Leaders must do everything in their power to keep their talent. Studies consistently show that people leave their leaders, not their companies. Here are some ways to ensure you and members of your leadership team are irresistible in every way. • Be visible. Say no to meetings and instead, spend this time interacting one-onone with your people. • Set a good example. Treat people the way you’d like to be treated and make sure others do the same. • Don’t ask people to do anything you aren’t willing to do yourself. If team members need to work crazy hours to get through a restaurant opening, work alongside them, and help out where needed. • Get to know team members on a personal level. Has one of your direct reports recently decided to further their education?

Have they recently gotten engaged? Did their child just enroll in college? When you see them next, ask them specifically how things are going. If you need to, keep a notebook and review your notes before doing a site visit. • Invest in your team’s development. Many managers in the restaurant business have worked their way up from front-line positions. They may not have been exposed to best practices, especially if they’ve worked for the same company throughout their career. Encourage your leaders to attend conferences and webinars. Considering matching them with a coach, who can help kick their management skills into warp speed. There’s a ton of change going on in the restaurant industry with consolidations and mergers occurring on a regular basis. However, one thing that will never change is the need for leaders to step up and create irresistible workplaces, where employees love to work, and guests love to bring their business. About Roberta Matuson, The Talent Maximizer® For more than 25 years, Roberta Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in high growth companies, such as The Boston Beer Company, General Motors, New Balance, and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. No one has written more on talent in the last four years than Matuson. She is the person that top employment site Monster and global retail giant Staples turns to for advice on talent. Matuson is the author of four books, including the recently released, “The Magnetic Leader.” Also, she is a author. Her monthly newsletter is available here: The Talent Maximizer® RESTAURANT C-SUITE 17


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Pictures for “Trends that are buzzing in 2019”: Trends cover page photo by Mariana Montes de Oca. Top trend egg power photo by Mind Body Stock. CBD and Cannabis photo by Matthew Brodeur. Interest in the Sea photo by Cayla. Plant-based nutrition photo by Hermes Rivera.


Egg redefined in context of culinary and nutritional power After years of being maligned and tied to health risks, the egg is back as a focus of attention in menu development, culinary and packaged-goods circles. Consumers are drawn to the protein power of egg. As a source of inspiration, the egg is piquing the interest of chefs for its versatility and how well it fits into bowl-centric dishes. In retail, eggs are the star ingredient of snacks, like in the popular Bantam Bagel Egg Bites.

Attributes & precursors • Egg dishes and snacks that are high in protein and low on carbs (CCD Helmsman) • Adding eggs to dishes that were traditionally consumed in the evening (Packaged Facts)

• Egg transforms the traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi into a flavorful, morning-time sandwich (Culinary Trend Tracking Series) • Bowl-based Egg and Grain combinations (Culinary Trend Tracking Series)

• Shakshuka reimagining poached egg creativity (National Restaurant Association) • Eggs adding color to designer, bowlcentric dishes (Packaged Facts)

Examples & application • Egg bowls at Corner Bakery Cafe: scrambled-egg combinations that include hearty ham and bacon, and nutritious ingredients, including avocado, red peppers and diced tomato

• Paella Egg Bowl recipe by Chef Paul Sletten at Abreo, Rockford, Ill. (Food Navigator) • Egg squares and skinny frittatas

• Protein-Stuffed Egg Bites from Bantam Bagels (CCD Helmsman) • Egg bao and egg banh mi


CBD AND CANNABIS Infused food and drinks In 2017, CCD Helmsman reported that Cannabis-infused cuisine would be a big trend going into 2018. One year later, the What’s Hot 2019 Culinary Forecast pointed to CBD and Cannabis food and drinks as big opportunities for the industry, and together, the number one trend going into 2019. Even though CBD has no psychoactive effects like THC, its origin from cannabis keeps it tied to overall shifting cannabis attitudes.

Attributes & precursors • Several states, including California, Denver, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well have decriminalized the use of marijuana to some extent • 36 million Americans are cannabis users and 10 percent of those who use consume CBD products (MRI-Simmons) • 42 percent of CBD users consume for

both medical and recreational purposes (MRI-Simmons) • New products are rapidly hitting the market, many with high-end, beautiful packaging and savvy marketing (Specialty Foods Association) • Main driver is shifting attitudes and celebrity power behind products

beyond hemp hearts, seeds and oils; innovating and joining the discussion at food shows (Whole Foods) • Foodservice will continue to adopt cannabis cuisine menus and cocktails •Food entrepreneurs continue to extol the virtues and reported health benefits of CBD products

• Next-hemp: Manufacturers are going

Examples & application • Protein Bar and Kitchen adds CBD oil as a boost option to its shakes or coffee starting in April (QSR Magazine)

• Astro Doughnuts in Washington, D.C. offered a limited-time doughnut with CBD-oil-infused icing in March

of CBD in them (The Atlantic)

• Cannabis shots at coffeehouses; CBDinfused beer, like with Coalition Brewing

• “Beverages, like coffee and seltzers, and even chocolates” are now nearly mainstream (The Atlantic)

• Recent health-department crackdowns on CBD could curtail use and prep at the retail level

• Appearance of more CBD-infused cooking oils, coffees, teas, chocolates, baked goods, snacks, and even beer and pasta to hit the market in the coming year

• “Feelz by Chloe, a line of CBD desserts from the vegan fast-casual chain By Chloe” sells products with 2.5 milligrams

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• Be aware of CBD prohibitions at the federal level (Whole Foods)


Fish snacking, fish protein, eye on sea plants There’s renewed interest in seafood, including fish, and botanicals, positioning them as exciting and powerful sources of nutrition. Seaweed has introduced a host of other sea plants in the cpg category and on the menu, while fish is being repositioned as a protein source. Fish-skin snacks are also having their moment. Seafood mentions have slipped on the menu by four percent (Datassential, NRN), but consumers are looking for a variety of non-meat sources that will fuel them for the next generation. They are also looking to enjoy sustainable fish options at restaurants.

Attributes & precursors • Consumers going beyond the seaweed, eating sea plants, enjoying fish snacking (Whole Foods)

• Sustainable seafood is a top trend and a high-impact protein trend (What’s Hot 2019 Culinary Forecast)

• Repositioning fish as high protein, highnutrition center of the plate, appetizer and snack. (CCD Helmsman)

• Europeans already eating sea plants in more quantities

• Sea plants coming into popularity and growing 7 percent per year in the U.S. according to James Griffin, Johnson & Wales University associate professor. (NRN)

Examples & application • Fish skins, algae crisps • Seaweed butter and kelp noodles • Unique varieties of algae and kelp are showing up

• Fish-skin snacks made inhouse can create meal excitement

• Featuring fish prominently in salads

• Considering soups that feature fish, like the cioppino fish stew

• Sustainable fish varieties, like pollock

• Offering fried fish dishes

Learn more about additional seafood trend recommendations and application in our winter issue at:


PLANT-BASED NUTRITION Plant-based proteins, nutrition sources riding high Plant-based sources of nutrition are riding high, particularly plant-based meat alternatives. Beyond and Impossible Foods are two companies that are generating a lot of interest as they release their latest iterations of plant-based patties that emulate the real thing. Flexitarianism is on the rise and consumers are looking beyond animal-based proteins for their next meal. Vegan cheeses are getting some attention and a new generation of chefs are interested in the plant-based sourcing of more dishes for their menus.

Attributes & precursors • Consumers seek out more protein (60 percent), while they view plant-based proteins as more healthy than animalbased protein

• 44 percent of plant-based alternatives that shipped to independent and microchain restaurants were meat alternatives (NPD)

• Growth of plant-based living

• Plant-based sausages and burgers are a top protein trend (What’s Hot 2019 Culinary Forecast)

• 14 percent of consumers regularly use plant-based alternatives (NPD) • According to Packaged Facts, 37 percent of consumers ages 25 to 39 are likely to seek out plant proteins, the highest of any age group, followed by 22 percent of adults under age 25.

• Vegetables have taken a more prominent role in meals, and now fruit is rising up. Fruit as meat is a new trend • Research firm Packaged Facts expects global production increases of protein-rich crops including soy, peas, rice, flax, canola and lupin as a result of this trend

• Major chains, including Carl’s Jr., Qdoba, and Muscle Maker Grill testing or offering plant-based meat alternatives (Eatery Pulse Streem)

Examples & application • A growing number of restaurant chains will embrace plant-based proteins and meat alternatives, working with innovative manufacturers to increase the number of plant-based menu options • Beyond Famous Star Sandwich at Carl’s. Jr. utilizing the Beyond 2.0 “burger” patty • Impossible Burger testing at Qdoba and released at Muscle Maker Grill

• Roasting and smoking fruits as part of restaurant menu application • Making fruit the star of the plate; jackfruit is a star in this effort • Blending vegetables, roots and fungi with meat to reduce animal-protein content in traditionally meat-heavy dishes, spotlighted in a James Beard Foundation competition, the Blended Burger Project

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• Plant-based protein beverages: Rise of smoothie and Acai-focused chains, making plant-based beverages a way of life and delicious nutrition on the go • Vegan cheeses, including cashew cheese and cream-cheese style spread, are gaining traction




Diving deep into global breakfast A thoughtful, strategic approach will ensure successful creativity and rollout By Rick Zambrano

Customized Indian Lite Bowl with Tandoori Chicken. Photo by Bamboo Asia.

The National Restaurant Association put global breakfast in the spotlight, naming it the fourth top trend in its What’s Hot 2019 Culinary Forecast. Chefs from the American Culinary Federation are surveyed annually to develop a barometer of what’s hot and what’s not in food and culinary trends. Shakshuka for breakfast, banh mi for lunch, bao for a late-afternoon snack, and congee for dinner. That might be a foodie’s ideal menu for a day, but what if all those dishes were easily accessible for breakfast? Well, that’s today’s reality based on what’s trending and what consumers are demanding. RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 24

Why the emphasis on breakfast now, and how have consumers so quickly turned to experimenting with non-familiar flavors from across the globe? We posed that question to Suzy Badaracco, a top forensic trendologist and president of Culinary Tides, a menu development and innovation firm. She explains that the United States is in an emotional stall right now, and consumers are looking to experiment, but with some safety in mind. That’s a reason many of the popular global breakfast items appearing on restaurant menus resemble comfort food

that we’ve grown up with, and also why these foods also have regional characteristics, whether global or American. “Consumers are not grounded or confident,” says Badaracco. “They revert back to comfort food—partially. So, we see retreat to historical and region-specific cuisines.” Take, for example, the rise of chilaquiles, a Mexican dish made with fried eggs and softened tortilla strips that are bathed in red or green salsa or sauce, and shakshuka, a Mediterranean dish comprising poached eggs simmered in a tomato broth with cumin and chili pepper. As restaurant chains continue to explore the adoption of global flavors and dishes, they also need to strike a balance between experimentation and comfort. “Right now, consumers are pulling back to the familiar, not all the way back to comfort, but they are not in an all-out experimental mood right now,” adds Badaracco. “They are looking for safe experimentation, trusted sources, authentic recipes, ingredients they recognize, and ease with pleasing entire family, and transparency.”

What is driving interest in breakfast now? Breakfast occasions have been on the rise, and breakfast is transforming the foodservice landscape. Quick-service restaurants have been responding to consumers’ increased desire for breakfast, which has transitioned away from the home. Through the end of this year, breakfast occasions are forecasted to grow by five percent, according to research firm NPD. Additionally, a report from the National Restaurant Association indicates 52 percent of consumers would like restaurant operators to offer breakfast throughout the day. Restaurant chains like McDonald’s have made it possible to get breakfast items at any time, responding to this opportunity, but

there’s still a long way to go before we see this become common practice. For restaurants, there is a strong economic driver to offer breakfast and build incremental sales in the morning hours, and additionally across afternoon and evening hours, when it is offered throughout the day. Over the past five years, fast-casual chains have toiled to expand their breakfast menus, as well as improve coffee and other morning beverages. When Taco Rock, a new, fast-casual concept from Chef Mike Cordero, opens up in Arlington, VA., a suburb of Washington, D.C., its owners plan to serve breakfast tacos. This will be a strong morning sales driver, as the restaurant is located near major transit points in a busy workplace district known as Rosslyn. Corner Bakery is an example of a fast-casual chain that is giving customers a reason to stop in during the breakfast rush. It now offers a full complement of breakfast platters, paninis and the skinny “Power Flats,” served on thin, multigrain flatbreads, in addition to its hearty scrambler dishes as well. The Power Flats are a menu option that represents healthier breakfast fare. During the winter season, the Dallas-based chain also adds more proteinfocused offerings, such as its Carved Ham & Swiss and Bacon Avocado Egg Bowls. Media has picked up on the importance of breakfast, sharing clinical studies connecting breakfast with healthier living and augmenting its importance, notes Badaracco. The data driving home this message is fairly robust, so breakfast has a new place on the table, so to speak. “The University of Missouri found skipping breakfast could lead to an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” she says, “and Columbia University found that skipping breakfast leads to elevated cholesterol compared with RESTAURANT C-SUITE 25

consuming daily breakfasts of oat porridge or frosted corn flakes.” Badaracco notes that these studies have helped drive interest in breakfast, particularly as they trickle throughout various newscasts and published media and journals. At the same time, consumers are enjoying a greater number of breakfast occasions away from home. This is part of the economic recovery. Badaracco says, “Breakfast traffic research is also an indicator of economic conditions. The playground is shifting as traditional breakfast fair is joined by global dishes, which are newer to Americans.” Moreover, the strength of the economy will also spur interest in breakfast, meaning that as more consumers are working (or working longer hours), breakfast will continue to transition from the home to foodservice.

Adventurous takes on Asian cuisine Chef Erik Hopfinger of Bamboo Asia in San Francisco believes we’re just at the beginning of the global breakfast trend, so it’s definitely ripe for the picking. Hopfinger is a Top Chef alumnus who has worked at Backflip, Butterfly, Spoon, Circa, and the Cooperage, so he’s seen many trends throughout his culinary career. He says, “Customers are increasingly becoming more interested in Asian flavors because these cuisines offer so much diversity in dishes... Using traditional flavors and cooking techniques that are specific to different regions allows us to get more creative in the dishes we make [at Bamboo Asia].” Bamboo Asia offers a full menu of Pan Asian cuisine, including Indian food. As with traditional Indian restaurants, Hopfinger uses an authentic tandoor oven, which originated in the Punjab region. He’s also keen on the growth and adoption of cuisines from the RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 26

Philippines and the Korean Peninsula. “I think something we don’t see too much of in America is breakfast rice bowls like bibimbap with eggs.” Hopfinger also points to spamsilog, a Filipino dish of fried garlic rice with eggs and Spam, as an opportunity to introduce new palettes to this type of cuisine. He expects that interest in these types of dishes, which satisfy a craving for comforting breakfast foods, will continue to grow. Khao tom, a rice soup, and its thicker, more porridge-like variation, johk, are on Badaracco’s radar. Given the need for portability and convenience in the QSR segment, certain dishes and adaptations will be more appropriate for the fine-dining scene, polished fast-casual concepts or the casual dining segment. However, there are ingredients and flavor profiles that can be adopted more universally. This is to say, all popular global foods have a profile that can inspire more adventurous and worldly breakfast dishes. “Gen Z consumers are more on the forefront of trends and may be thinking more of those adventurous foods than the standard staples,” said Jenny Zegler, associate director of Mintel Food & Drink to Food Business News last year. Being on the front lines of the trend will result in a big win with Gen Z and Millennials.

Mediterranean influence Julia Stamberger, CEO of Spinning Wheel Brands, a menu innovation incubator and producer, observes that American breakfast is quite constrained currently. Consumers in the U.S. can adopt breakfast items that are quite common around the world, and move away from breakfast that is traditionally high in fat and carbohydrates. “Japanese consume rice, miso soup and fish at breakfast,” she says. In the Middle East, beans and cooked grains like couscous or pita bread, glazed with

help of the Ron Shaich, founder of another future-forward chain, Panera Bread. With the rise of chains like Cava, it’s clearly evident that interest in Mediterranean cuisine will grow. Demand for Mediterranean cuisine can only strengthen as more consumers are exposed to such foods in quick, convenient formats.

An eye on innovation

Indian Rangila bowl. Photo by Bamboo Asia.

olive oil, and za’atar spice are not uncommon at the breakfast table.” Stamberger notes that Mediterranean breakfast features wholesome ingredients, including whole grains, seeds, healthy fats like olives/olive oil, and even legumes, like chickpeas and fava beans. Mediterranean influence at breakfast time is evolving and rising, and provides inspiration to increase intake in more health-centric meals. Elements of the Mediterranean diet have become popular, and consumers can enjoy these foods on the go and at restaurants. At Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen in Chicago, customers enjoy the sabich, a sandwich made of roasted eggplant, hummus, fried egg and house salad in a fresh pita and served with garlic sauce. At Olea in Brooklyn, the Breakfast Scramble platter is a hearty offering of local, organic eggs, served with fresh cilantro, tomato, red onion, eggplant salad, feta, kalamata olives, herbed yogurt, whole wheat pita, and tahini-honey. Fast-casual chain Cava, which serves fresh, customizable, Greek-inspired fare in bowls and pitas, has gone national and attracted millions of dollars in investments. Last fall, it acquired its closest competitor, Zoe’s Mediterranean Kitchen, in great part with the

A large swath of Mediterranean cuisine is focused on plant-based foods—another appealing attribute to current health trends. With a focus on lean proteins, including fish, and ingredients like beans and seeds, it’s easy to see why restaurant menu development can extract so much from these foods for adoption in the kitchen. “As U.S. consumers have gained more interest in a plant-based diet, seeds and beans have grown in popularity as great vegetarian and vegan sources of protein and nutrients,” says Stamberger. “Interest in plant-based diets comes from many fronts: some people select more plant-based foods for nutrition, some for sustainability concerns, some for ethical concerns regarding animals, others for allergens, and impacting (combating) health issues through diet.” According to research firm Mintel, 46 percent of consumers agree that plant-based proteins are healthier than animal proteins and 52 percent say taste is a top driving factor of consumption. Part of the Spinning Wheel Brands portfolio, Hope & Sesame, produces the first and only sesame seed milk. It has developed a nutrient-dense beverage with 20,000 sesame seeds per liter of sesame milk. By using a proprietary “natural bitter-blocker ingredient technology,” Hope & Sesame removed the potent taste of sesame seeds and created a creamy beverage that can be an ideal part of a fast-paced breakfast or snack at any hour. It’s easy to see a path for such RESTAURANT C-SUITE 27

innovation making its way to quick-service restaurants, especially as plant-based protein nutrition continues to gain popularity. An article originally published in our winter issue features additional foods that are emerging alongside plant-based foods as ideal choices for breakfast, drawing inspiration from the Mediterranean. CCD Helmsman, a food innovation firm, spotlighted colorful veggie spreads as a trend to follow and adopt in 2019. Veggie spreads are getting more creative with the use of various vegetables and vegetable roots and they are ideal for use by quick-service shops at breakfast time. The increased interest in such spreads has mirrored the rise of Mediterranean food’s popularity. Hummus, tahini, beetroot tahini and tzatziki spreads are examples that are cut from this lineage.

Ongoing, creative menu development takes global cues Boutique research firm Packaged Facts recently highlighted global porridge as a creative way to innovate with grains, apply flavors and ingredients from the international stage. “Carolina Gold Rice Congee,” which includes chicken, tomato, sate and egg from the Animal Restaurant in Los Angeles, is an example. Porridge, like oatmeal, is a great way to experiment, while offering a hearty and recognizable dish to American diners. The American grits has cousins all over the world. The Packaged Facts 2018 Grain and Bakery Innovation report states “Take it Far East with rice congee or Deep South with corn grits, but put it on your table: this what’s-old-isnew-again dish suits these cheffy, free-range, plant-forward, mix-and-match times, with plenty of room for innovation at moderate price points for casual cuisine appeal.” For additional creativity, Packaged Facts recommends drawing inspiration from RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 28

Indian Sari Salad. Photo by Bamboo Asia.

Asian street foods. Many of the rising stars from the East are rooted in such culinary origins. The Vietnamese banh mi and the Chinese congee, fried rice, bao and crepelike jianbing are great places to start. R&D and menu development professionals have a lot to work with here as these foods are transported from evening consumption to morning intake and nutrition. A Vietnamesestyle baguette is one of Packaged Facts’ food sightings. This brunch dish, with aromatic chicken sausage, pickled carrot & daikon, spicy mayo, cilantro and two fried eggs, is served at E.P. & L.P. restaurant in Los Angeles. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of recommendations that were offered up in the Packaged Facts Breakfast Culinary Trend Tracking report last May. Packaged Facts also notes that breakfast bowls are a great way to add Asian and Hispanic ingredients and amp up the excitement factor. A chilaquiles bowl with fried eggs, salsa verde and soaked tortilla strips is an example of taking Mexican ingredients and serving them in format that is comforting yet energetic and appealing at the same time. A congee bowl with savory ingredients, like the congee with chicken, tomato and poached egg, is another way to

use the breakfast bowl format and offer an exciting taste profile that takes breakfast to a new level. Badaracco offers up additional inspiration with countries whose foods can form the basis of emerging breakfast dishes: • Lebanon—manakish, a flatbread “pizza” seasoned with the Mediterranean spice blend za’atar. • Britain— a heaping plate of bacon, Lincolnshire sausage, black pudding, eggs, baked beans, tomato, mushrooms and toast, known as the “full English breakfast.” • Israel—smoked white fish, lox, bagels, shakshuka, hummus, halloumi, labneh, rugelach, bourekas and gvina levana. • Cuba—casamiento (rice and eggs), huevos habaneros (ham and eggs), picadillo cuacua (Havana ham and eggs), torrejas con frutas (Cuban French toast) and the tostada (Cuban toast).

‘Party dresses’ While menu development teams can emulate or replicate dishes from afar, there is also an easier way to integrate their influence. Badaracco suggests incorporating preparations, seasonings or toppings/addins from international breakfast dishes while keeping the base familiar. “This is a territory that would be easy to make a mistake in right now—keep your base familiar and approachable, and use the add-in or prep as the party dress,” she says. “Consumers will pass you by if there is anything off-putting— they are not in a risk-taking mood.” Eggs would be a good base to start with, particularly prepared as an omelette--fried or poached--creating a familiar platform. Guests could then choose from two or

three toppings that reflect a popular global dish. Taking inspiration from Mexico, salsa and tortillas could be one option.. Another option could be simmered tomato with Mediterranean spices. Yet another could be a savory porridge or rice add-in. While the base is familiar and comforting, the topping options would change, but still adhere to authentic preparation and roots. A good example of too much risk-taking would be, for example, to fuse toppings from different world regions together into one dish. Flavor trends that are sweeping many categories include smoke, floral, liquor and tea, says Badaracco. Bolder flavors should be expected at breakfast time, particularly as the “party dress,” even though the historical and traditional will be an underlying theme. As an approach to culinary development at chains, Badaracco suggests, “Fusion has retreated and been replaced by hybrids. These are being sassed with flirty toppings and bolder flavors.” While menu development professionals have an open canvas when it comes to global breakfast, it’s evident that innovation in this day and age requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. The opportunities outweigh the risks, however, and keeping an eye on consumer sentiments and trends will serve restaurant chains well. Taking cues from global flavors and dishes, there are more ways than ever before to attract consumers to restaurants for their breakfast occasions. At the same time, diners will be exposed to new flavors and dishes that will continue to drive home the benefit of breakfast at restaurants. It’s a competitive advantage that chain restaurants have to fend off pesky food retailers. RESTAURANT C-SUITE 29

Q&A with Rob Gifford, NRAEF ProStart connects classroom with industry-led education and skills ProStart, one of the leading educational programs for high school students in restaurant management and the culinary arts, is preparing for one of its signature events in Washington, D.C. May 8-10. The annual National ProStart Invitational Rob Gifford, NRAEF. (NPSI), managed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), spotlights the best of the best across more than 1,900 schools, across all 50 states, the Territory of Guam and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe, the Pacific and the District of Columbia. ProStart develops skills that are essential for success in the restaurant industry and combines classroom and on-the-job training. If there’s a program that comes together seamlessly and represents the future of the restaurant industry, it’s definitely ProStart. Students at the state level compete for the opportunity to be invited to NPSI. There are two distinct teams: culinary and restaurant management. In the culinary competition, students prepare a three-course meal and then are judged on the final product. It’s rigorous as they’re judged on outcomes from the time the product is checked-in, to the mise en place, to the hour of station clean-up. Management students develop a new restaurant concept in a “simulated business exposition.” RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 30

Each team is scored by a panel of judges that are stars within their own local industries. These judges are selected based on specific skill sets and expertise, and are a critical part of the competition. Teachers are also recognized through the ProStart Educators of Excellence Awards. In this interview with Rob Gifford, NRAEF executive vice president, Restaurant C-Suite dives deeper into the ProStart program. RCS: What’s new this year? And what can the students and sponsors expect as highlights? RG: After several years of being hosted in cities around the country, NPSI is establishing Washington, D.C. as its new home. The students have the opportunity to show off their skills and compete for scholarships in front of D.C.-based business leaders, government officials, national industry influencers and the national media. The event will showcase the importance of career and technical education programs like ProStart

2018 ProStart winners with Ted Allen, Food Network celebrity. Photo by NRAEF.

Kith and Kin; Andrew Dana, CEO, Timber Pizza; Ayesha Abuelhiga, CEO, Mason Dixie Biscuit Co.; and Chef Jerome Grant, Executive Chef at the National Museum of African American History and Sous Chef at the National Museum of the American Indian will be our featured Share-aCoke panelists. These exclusive opportunities provide students insights into what it takes to launch a successful career, run a restaurant or start your own business. ProStart develops high school students, focusing on culinary and management skills to prepare them for future restaurant industry careers. Photo by NRAEF.

that offer opportunities to pursue a college degree and additional education in restaurants, culinary arts and hospitality or immediately enter the workforce after graduating from high school. For the first time, we are also bringing our ProStart Educators of Excellence Awards to NPSI to combine the celebration of our top ProStart competitors with the recognition of our ProStart educators from across the country who have done an outstanding job preparing their students for a successful future in our industry. RCS: Please review how these state and national competitions provide opportunities for future entrepreneurs and culinary artists. RG: ProStart unites the classroom and the industry to develop the next generation of restaurant and foodservice leaders. In addition to bragging rights, the winning state and national teams are awarded scholarships to pursue postsecondary education. At last year’s NPSI, we awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships. Students attending NPSI also have the chance to interact with industry leaders at our annual business and education expo and during our “Share-a-Coke” sessions where they can ask questions and learn from top industry professionals. This year, Kwame Onwuachi, a local D.C. Chef, Top Chef Alum and Owner of

RCS: How can industry veterans get involved in volunteering or sponsorship (in the program on an ongoing basis)? RG: We have tremendous support across the industry for NPSI and the ProStart program and continue to see both large and small businesses and organizations seek out new and innovative ways to get involved. Each year, we see more and more of the restaurant and foodservice community look for ways to support NPSI - they volunteer as judges, participate in the career expo, create special experiences for the students, become ProStart mentors and come simply to cheer on these exceptional students. We welcome the involvement and interest from any organization that aligns with our mission to attract, empower and advance the future of the restaurant industry. NPSI is three days of high-energy and emotion and we love making each and every team, student and teacher feel special. It is the NRAEF’s best event of the year. Click here to learn more about the 2019 National ProStart Invitational: Rob Gifford is Executive Vice President of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career opportunity and community engagement efforts. To learn more about the work of the Foundation, visit RESTAURANT C-SUITE 31

MAY 8-10, 2019

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Blockchain advancements: Technology of choice in foodservice traceability rises

By Eric Nomis

Fresh strawberries. Photo by Johnny Martinez.

The foodservice industry continues to adopt key technologies to help improve the safety, traceability and profitability of food products. Blockchain has surfaced a solution that fares prominently among these technologies. Originally created as a secure, peer-to-peer ledger system for the purpose of tracking bitcoins, blockchain now fares prominently as a distributed method of tracking food products for various purposes. Can you imagine the ability to track food products from their source all the way to restaurants? This is a main benefit of blockchain technology for foodservice and restaurants—traceability.

Within the food industry, blockchain ledgers can be combined with tracking sensors and other technologies to create a permanent record of a food product’s journey. Thus in the harvesting, processing and distribution journey, blockchain surfaces an ideal solution. “This (blockchain technology) makes it helpful for supply chain applications where you want to securely share information among multiple entities from producer to the restaurant or retailer, for example,” says Kevin Payne, VP of Marketing at Zest Labs, a provider of technologies that help keep product fresh throughout distribution. “And, with blockchain, you can control who sees particular sets of data.” RESTAURANT C-SUITE 33

Consumers are interested Profits can also be safeguarded in the history and source of by preventing food fraud, which the food and beverages they typically occurs when products purchase. Also, 53 percent of of a perceived higher value consumers seek out locallyare swapped out with cheaper produced or grown food goods. In the food industry, products. Over time, consumers news headlines have covered will expect the ability to trace fraud in beef, wine and spirits sourcing of specific foods to in the recent past, emphasizing their origin. Restaurants and the importance of tracing the distributors that can ensure origin and provenance of food food traceability will have an products. Blockchain helps advantage in this area. “First create that ledger system Produce, like radicchio, benefits from proper and foremost, blockchain can that tracks products from cooling during transit in the supply chain. Photo by Gabriel Gurrola. be used to ensure transparency farm to table to help prevent and trust within the food supply fraud.. As consumers demand chain; creating insights from farm to plate so tracing food back to the source and ensuring that consumers know exactly where their food the provenance of products, this technology comes from,” says Mark van Rijmenam, author becomes more valuable. of “Blockchain: Transforming Your Business Safeguarding sourcing, food safety and Our World.” Van Rijmenam says blockchain technology helps make foodservice supply Restaurant chains invest significantly in chain more efficient. the procurement of product with specific Generating additional profit, preventing fraud ingredients as specifications. As chains invest in organic, clean-label ingredients and even Foodservice suppliers also benefit from products from specific farms or regions, improved traceability. With the right technologies supporting traceability become blockchain technology and IoT sensors, a more critical. In addition to product provenance, case of strawberries can be tracked through blockchain helps identify the source of product, the distribution system. It may be that making foods more safe. “This is an area where strawberries only have 12 days from the time blockchain can add value as a data repository,” they are cooled after being picked at harvest, says Zest Labs’ Payne. “Time and temperature and then make their way to to the end user. data for each pallet of produce can be collected But if a pallet of strawberries sits in the field and, along with data about its origin and too long, it could drastically reduce the life of ownership, shared at every step along the fresh those strawberries, says Zest Labs’ Payne. food supply chain.” Blockchain not only helps In fact, delays in the field alone can reduce identify the source food products, but also product shelf-life by as much as one day per tracks their condition. If less food is wasted, hour that product is kept from being cooled. as a result, then it is also a significant benefit Technology helps create Improvements at the because many consumers are seeking less food source to improve food freshness, This is a waste by producers and foodservice operations. win-win for producers, suppliers, distributors and restaurants (or grocers), all having a Whenever there is an issue of food safety, lengthier product life and increasing profits. blockchain technology helps trace back each RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 34

link in the chain. This speeds the ability to identify root of problems with food safety and create accurate recall lists. Says Payne, “Blockchain offers additional value because of its nature as a secure and immutable ledger. Food safety and authenticity can be ensured by providing a trusted and faster method for tracing the source of products.” Tracing backward is not an issue, but tracing forward is, in case of problems identifying with the set of distribution links. That’s why Zest Labs combines blockchain with cloud-based technologies in a product known as Zest Fresh. Developed by technology consultant, RSM US, LLP, CLEARthru is a traceability solution that uses blockchain technology in an enterprise resource-planning environment to track information about a product all the way to the consumer. At different links in the supply chain, key participants—growers, suppliers, and even consumers—can trace back information about a product and any recall information using a code they can scan. This helps consumers (or end users), which also includes foodservice and restaurant chains, feel better and safer about the food they are using. “And from a public health and safety perspective, making sure we’re not offering any foods that could potentially be contaminated is paramount,” says Chris Jones, principal of RSM. “We’ve seen outbreaks in the past with large chains. The challenge is that it can be difficult to determine if the issues is sanitary conditions at a specific site or if it’s a larger problem in the supply chain… Tracking foods using blockchain technologies will help identify details quicker. This can have an impact on brand, loyalty and exposure.”

Blockchain’s value-add Blockchain has a growing set of additional

uses and applications. Author Van Rijmenam notes that some companies are using blockchain technology to create loyalty systems to build more authentic restaurant reviews. A company called SynchroLife awards reviewers points they can use to redeem bitcoins. RSM’s Jones says his company can help manufacturers and retailers create incentives and coupons for consumers when they opt-in to the CLEARthru platform. The portal or application that manufacturers and retailers use to display information about the platform or scanned products can be customized, so clients control messaging, and can deploy their own loyalty programs. It’s clear to see that blockchain uses will increase and evolve over time. More consumers will continue to look for specific attributes in the foods and beverages they purchase, from organic to specific provenance, and even where they are produced to ensure they are locally-produced or grown. This has created a vast and more dispersed supply chain. If suppliers aren’t interacting directly with restaurant chains, they are being added to a large portfolio of suppliers that distributors need to manage. This creates more of a need for technology to help trace the lifecycle and journey of ingredients, produce, and packaged foods and beverages. Blockchain is rising rapidly as an essential part of such a technology solution, mainly because of how it creates a dispersed, but secure and immutable ledger of records along the supply chain. This helps create traceability to satisfy various needs, increase food safety and profits, reduce food waste and build greater trust with consumers. CLEARthru information packet: Zest Fresh: “Blockchain: Transforming Your Business and Our World” by Mark van Rijmenam: RESTAURANT C-SUITE 35

Rise of c-store foodservice business

Where they’re headed and how to fend them off By Roshan Thomas

Wawa is a top c-store chain that uses foodservice to attract all-day business. Photo by Wawa.

Competition in the restaurant industry between sit-down and fast-casual establishments has become evident in the past few years. Less evident is the competition that is cropping up between fast-casual eateries and convenience stores (“c-stores”), unless you’re inside the restaurant industry and fending convenience stores off. C-stores offer a wide variety of quick foods that can have customers in and out in no time. The food options at these stores are not typically gourmet by any means, but still are attractive and adequate when it comes to fast dining as many can be prepared in the microwave or assembled in very little time without many extra ingredients. RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 36

Rise of c-store foodservice A December 2018 report prepared by AlixPartners, a management consulting firm, notes that 41 percent of consumers they surveyed said their rationale for purchasing food from c-stores was because they were out shopping already and the food was easier to pick up. This points to an interesting finding in that consumers are increasingly valuing convenience more than price when making food purchasing decisions. With this in mind, the data in Innovating to Compete: The Next Step for North American Convenience Stores suggests restaurateurs need to be prepared to secure their market share.

The rise of c-store foodservice business has caused restaurant executives to rethink their strategy as they approach 2020. Convenience is king, and an increasing number of restaurant chains will devote more resources to making the customer experience easy and convenient.

Innovating for speed Grab & go is prized by consumers in this day and age. Foods that are pre-prepared and can be literally snatched up, paid for, and taken out are the most sought-after items at c-stores. The data points to grab & go beverages, bakery items, hotdogs, and prepackaged sandwiches and salads as the those that purchasers look for most at c-stores. Wawa built an empire on hoagies and breakfast sandwiches. Quick, convenient foodservice offerings have formed a strong foundation for some of the top c-store chains, and helped Wawa get to $10B in revenue as a private company, according to Inc. Additionally, c-stores are jumping in on the healthy foods trend that has been sweeping the nation for the last few years. The AlixPartners report states that, between 2017 and 2018, there was a 10 percent increase in the number of respondents who said healthy food choices were “extremely important” for them at c-stores. To avoid loss of customer base, fast-casual restaurants, especially, need to follow c-stores and offer healthy grab & go options that are healthy. and up the convenience factor.

Fostering customer loyalty C-stores have also been taking advantage of their demand and unique environments to drive more sales. One way they do this is through loyalty programs that use technology to incentivize purchasing, such as mobile applications on smartphones where users can simply scan their device to log points that can then be redeemed for free items. AlixPartners reports that millennials are a huge target audience for this marketing since they have both high brand loyalty and technology use. Last year, only nine percent of respondents said they have used mobile technology

Photo by Wawa.

(ordering, payment, etc.) at c-stores, showing that there is still a long way to go before Starbucks-type rewards systems become standard in the industry.

Looking toward the future As the world becomes more and more connected, c-stores face a disadvantage in that they are “old school” when it comes to technology. Eateries like McDonald’s have introduced kiosks that take customers’ orders, eliminating long lines and wait times. By continuing to implement technology like this that gets people in and out quickly, fast-casual restaurants can compete with the convenience of c-stores. Mobile checkout options, and even machine learning capabilities that memorize customers’ preferences to offer customized purchase options when needed, are areas where growth is possible at eateries. Although growth is currently small now, the future for c-stores is bright and filled with a myriad opportunities to innovate and expand. Restaurants still have the upper hand and will be able to provide more foodservice selection and higher quality than their c-store counterparts, but they must also innovate and look ahead to maintain dominance in the food industry in the years ahead. As the rise of c-store foodservice business continues, stocking healthy grab & go food options and implementing mobile checkout technology will be two clear, key ways that restaurants can stay one step ahead. RESTAURANT C-SUITE 37