Food & Beverage Magazine - May Issue 2021

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86 The Labor

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GRUBBRR’s Contactless Ordering Solutions Helping Restaurants Adapt by Dana Setting From the outside, success often appears to be a matter of being in the right place at the right time. The truth is usually a much different story. A story of research and development, years of trial and error, and then finally, a breakthrough moment. According to Jeremy Brooks, the Chief Marketing Officer for GRUBBRR, that breakthrough moment came in the Spring of 2020. This is, of course, when the restaurant industry began to face unprecedented challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The GRUBBRR Platform consists of a range of both hardware and software, all working together to create a contactless ordering ecosystem. By the Spring of 2020, GRUBBRR had already invested more than three years building their contactless ordering software, and they already had hundreds of systems in place in pilot stores. When the Covid-19 pandemic upended normal restaurant operations, owners and operators needed a way to continue running their businesses. For an industry that is notoriously slow to adopt new technology, this was a difficult challenge. Suddenly in-person dining was largely prohibited. Where in-person dining was still allowed, many customers viewed eating out as too risky and stayed home. Many restaurants lacked the infrastructure to become entirely

carryout and delivery-only, and found themselves in crisis. According to Brooks, “These die hard, passionate entrepreneurs, for years had no reason to make a change. Then suddenly they did.” They had to move fast and find a solution that would ease customer fears, protect staff, and maintain efficiency. GRUBBRR was ready and stepped up in a big way. Their client base multiplied rapidly. Brooks said, “The upcoming generations have been raised online. They expect a fully integrated online menu and ordering option.” Looking toward the post-pandemic future, Brooks said that these core changes to the industry are permanent, and places that haven’t shifted will struggle and may eventually find themselves obsolete. “If you don’t do it, your competitor will, and they’ll survive”, he said. GRUBBRR evens the playing field. Starting at $1 an hour, small and independent restaurants now have the same capabilities as large chains. “We put people back in the fight,” he notes that many clients have reported impressive results since onboarding with GRUBBRR, including reports of a doubling in business from some who hadn’t offered contactless ordering before.

ers fully complete their own orders eliminates waste by minimizing mistakes. The kiosks provide a decrease in labor and training costs, and enable an increase in revenue, with clients reporting a higher per-order average than their pre-GRUBBRR numbers. Their digital menus are easy to navigate, they’re intuitive and they include real images of each menu item. GRUBBRR believes that customers buy with their eyes so each menu item pairs with a smart upsell. Brooks said, “You just ordered a burrito, instantly the option to add a side of sour cream pops up.” It’s about anticipating customer needs and wants. Brooks adds that with contactless ordering, customers can order without feeling pressure or judgement, and can do so quickly. You can currently find GRUBBRR’s self-ordering kiosks in countless restaurants, casinos, stadiums and arenas. They’ve also developed food and beverage lockers for venues such as stadiums and arenas, and they plan to continue innovating in the contactless industry.

Some reasons for this growth include integration. No matter how the orders are placed— via phone, online, or in-person, the software is optimized for efficiency and accuracy. Brooks said that having custom-

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Chef Nicole Brisson to Open Two Restaurants at Resorts World Las Vegas The James Beard Award Best Chef: Southwest semifinalist returns to the Strip and partners with hospitality veteran. James Beard Best Award Chef: Southwest semifinalist Nicole Brisson will open two restaurants, Brezza and Bar Zazu, at Resorts World Las Vegas, in partnership with industry veteran Jason Rocheleau leading business operations and hospitality for the culinary ventures. Opening this summer for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, Brezza will serve upscale and modern coastal Italian fare that embraces the traditions of Italy, offering handmade pastas, premier seafood and other premium beef cuts. Derived from the Italian word for “breeze,” Brezza is inspired by the inviting and uplifting Italian way of life, serving deliberately sustainable product with ceremony and meant to be enjoyed at a lingering, leisurely pace. The beverage program will pay homage to Italy’s vast produce selections and unique creations with Negroni variations, classic amari and strong focus on Italy’s historic wine region. The multidimensional 300-seat space will feature a bar/lounge, speakeasy private dining room and spacious patio overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. With 140 seats, Bar Zazu will bring alive the spirit and flavors of Europe by showcasing its regional diversity through hot and cold tapas, cheese and charcuterie and sweet and savory pastries. Wines from around the world served by the glass, bottle and flights, along with beer and cocktails from different regions of Europe, encourage exploration. With a lively social dining experience at the forefront, Bar Zazu will also have health and wellness in mind.

culinary knowledge and her commitment to quality sets her apart. When it comes to Vegas, oftentimes more is more, so Brezza is meant to serve as a retreat. It’s designed for tourists and locals alike, so you can slow down and savor our curated offerings. Bar Zazu’s fun, eclectic vibe is the perfect space to experience a new take on tapas and to be immersed in the deco forward design.”

"Returning to the Las Vegas Strip feels like I am returning to my home. I really feel this is an environment that fuels my creativity and where I thrive,” said Brisson. “The menu at Brezza will feature items that I simply love to cook, dishes I learned during my travels in Italy and other signatures through the years. These include handmade pastas and sustainable seafood in the form of crudos and whole fish. A key feature of our kitchen will be our wood-fired grill. The utilization of white oak will impart a beautiful flavor to our selections of meats and the unique fish varieties we’ll source. Bar Zazu will be more of a social, shared experience with cutting-edge cuisine. I’m excited to step out of my box and work with our Chef de Cuisine to push the limits.”

No stranger to the Las Vegas culinary scene, Chef Brisson opened Wynn Las Vegas before moving across the street, first as chef di cucina at OTTO Enoteca at The Venetian, then executive chef at Carnevino at The Palazzo, managing the 5,000-square-foot dry-aging facility. In 2016, she took the helm as culinary director of Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group’s Las Vegas operations. She was named the first female executive chef of an Eataly in the U.S., when she opened their first Vegas location at Park MGM. In 2019, she opened Locale Italian Kitchen, winning multiple “best of” awards, being named one of Vegas Inc’s 40 under 40 and a semifinalist for James Beard Best Chef: Southwest. Most recently, she collaborated with Chef Giovanni Mauro at Monzu Italian Oven + Bar during their expansion, as well as developed multiple concepts with Chefs Martin Heierling and Dario Cecchini for sbe’s subsidiary C3 (Creating Culinary Communities). She has served on Three Square’s Culinary Board since March 2020 and is a founding board member of the Vegas chapter of Slow Food USA, whose mission is to create dramatic and lasting change in the food system and reconnect Americans with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our food.

“Chef Nicole is the perfect partner for these projects,” said Rocheleau, managing partner and vice president. “Her experience with Italian cuisine is one of the best in the industry. Chef is a wealth of

For more information on Brezza, visit and follow on Facebook and Instagram. For more information on Bar Zazu, follow on Facebook and Instagram.

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What is it that drove you to become the Chef / Businessperson that you are today? My drive for making people happy and my connection with how food can break down borders and bring people together. I found happiness and love in the act of cooking from a very early age and it has never left me. I am the business person I am today because of my belief that the hospitality industry can and should evolve into an empowering and healthy environment for anyone who decides to join it. If you had to describe yourself to someone loutside the industry, what would you say? I work with people every day in providing a genuine and authentic food and beverage experience. I strive to instill a vision and plan for my team to feel they are involved in something that is important and a has deep meaning. My main responsibility is to protect the culture that we have created, and ensure satisfied diners as well as employees. If you weren’t cooking, what would you do for a living? Maybe a movie director or an architect. What are you most excited about right now with the industry, moving into the future with modern and classic cuisines? I am excited about people telling their unique and individual stories through their cooking and their craft. I love that food and beverage menus in all types of cities and towns through this country have continued to increase their reflection of people’s personalities and have broken through cultural barriers to doing so. Tell us about Miss River’s experiential direction is and how you plan on changing the dining experience for the foodies of tomorrow?

We want miss river to be a modern-day New Orleans classic restaurant. It will be a love letter to Louisiana and celebrate the grand dining experience that New Orleans has become famous for. We will do so from a very specific lens that captures our personal experiences here in food, culture, joy, and drink. Share your favorite cooking technique with us and tell us how you utilize it in your daily work. I love cooking in a way that is simple and fresh. Bright balanced flavors that complement each other and food that tells a story. In New Orleans we have such wonderful seafood, so at Miss River we’ll be serving it in many different ways to celebrate our local resources.

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A New Frontier Smoke Lab Vodka infuses flavors from India

By Debbie Hall Vodka—a smooth spirit, whether pure or infused with flavor—continues to find favor with consumers with over $29.6 billion dollars in retail sales of vodka according to Smoke Lab, based in India, has entered the spirits market with its introduction of Smoke Lab Vodka, India’s New Age Vodka, bringing its Classic and Aniseed spirits to the world. This smooth, fiery spirit is perfect for cocktails, mixed drinks, and sipping. Smoke Lab Vodka is produced one batch at a time in a state-of-the-art distillery utilizing locally sourced, superior-quality basmati rice and pure Himalayan spring water. A traditional five-step distillation process is used, followed by an ultra-modern two-step Sparkle Filtration system with charcoal to create a soft, clean, and smooth finish. Every bottle of Smoke Lab Vodka is 100 percent free of contaminants and presents the purest vodka drinking experience achievable. Smoke Lab Vodka Classic is an ultra-pure spirit immersed in intrigue. It opens with fresh nutty aromas and hints of citrus fruits and unfolds into intensity and complexity on the palate. The finish is subtle citrus fruits with hints of nutty characters. Smoke Lab Aniseed Vodka is a playful exploration of a much-loved Indian herb with refreshing notes of fennel and licorice, finishing with a creamy, sweetness, and delicate fennel blossom note on the palate. Aniseed Vodka is the first of many unique flavors to be produced with new flavors being developed, especially to produce flavor profiles that embody India. Both Classic and Aniseed are extraordinarily smooth and creamy, making them the perfect complement in classic and complex cocktails. Professional and at-home bartenders can have fun mixing up cocktails with a range of ingredients that highlight the vodka’s unique flavor profiles, from premium mixers and juices to fresh herbs, spices, seasonal fruits, vegeta-


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bles, and creative garnishes. Smoke Lab is part of NV Group, one of India’s premier spirits companies. “My family has been involved in the distilled spirits business for over 45 years. It started when my father set up a retail shop that evolved to become the NV Group, one of the largest distilled spirits companies in India,” explains Varun Jain, Founder and CEO of Smoke Lab. When he graduated from college, Jain saw an opportunity to explore new ideas that would take the company to greater heights—to evolve with the changing marketplace and to introduce their products beyond India to the world. Jain joined the company and developed the concept of Smoke Lab.

“Spirits production is in our DNA. Vodka was a natural first step for our company and Smoke Lab Vodka’s inception has been over a decade long,” explains Jain. “I always knew we had the production know how and capacity to deliver world-class vodka but finding a unique recipe took time. As a certified ENA taster myself, I took on the task of creating a blend that will delight our consumers.” A recipe was finally found that everyone knew was special. Then began a year long process of trying and testing until Smoke Lab succeeded in creating a smooth blend embracing Indian vodka. As for the name, Jain thought the name “Smoke” was cool and then added “Lab” to express that Smoke Lab is more than just a product or a brand. “It is an incubation laboratory where unconventional and innovative minds come together every day to deliberate and develop new concepts, products, flavors and designs. Every aspect of Smoke Lab incubation is driven by the idea of conscious consumption and a deep sense of responsibility for how our products are made,” he says. NV Group and Smoke Lab spirits are well established and very successful in India and is now distributing its premium product portfolio in the U.S. market and the world. Smoke Lab Vodka showcases

India’s finest quality ingredients and skilled craftsmanship on the global stage. As for giving back and sustainability, Smoke Lab was recently involved with World Water Day. “The dream of living a conscious lifestyle that serves to protect and sustain our world’s fragile ecosystem drives the guiding spirit of Smoke Lab’s mission. We are continuously experimenting with resources to actively pursue an aggressive, environmental and civic-minded approach to producing our vodkas and other life-style endeavors.” The company produces its own energy with renewable resources, achieving a zero/neutral carbon footprint at its Rajpura plant. Steam generated from the plants are used to produce energy for production work, converting steam to water and back again to the energy plant for creating steam. This cycle ensures the water is always reused and never wasted. Smoke Lab also utilizes ultra-modern sparkle filtration resulting in a responsibly produced, ultra-pure spirit. Another commitment is Smoke Lab’s dedicated advocacy of supporting the local community and a champion of uplifting its neighbors. They source all ingredients from within India and supports sustainable farming in the local villages. Through collaborations with local artists, celebrities, and entrepreneurs, Smoke Lab has become a force of goodwill supporting talent and creativity. They also help upstart businesses sustain through incubation and financial management. The future is bright for NV Group as it develops and introduces a full portfolio of premium quality spirits (run, gin, and whiskey), each produced with the finest ingredients in the company’s state-of-the-art zero carbon distilleries. NV Group and Smoke Lab, through spirits, will share its story of quality, mastery, responsibility, and compassion from India to the world. For more information and to purchase Smoke Lab Vodka, visit

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by Eric Brown “Every human being deserves access to clean water. That’s the goal. That’s what I’ve set out to accomplish,” he said. “I’ll help 365,000 people get access to clean water in one year for free, without any donations.” This is how we opened our conversation as we reconnected over Zoom. I sat with rapt attention listening to how Tom Barnes intends to change the world through #CoffeeForWater. As I listened, it was clear that impossible goals become possible when a person like Tom Barnes leads. Seven and a half years ago, I walked out of my new office in downtown Boston, eyes still stinging from a late night project and little sleep. I needed coffee. My source was not far, although I was not prepared for the man with the bugle offering free hugs and ushering people into his coffee shop on Bromfield Street. A big public hug. That’s how we met. Getting to know Barnes has changed how I viewed the responsibility a business has with its community and the importance of purpose. His soul is just as vibrant today. “I was in special ed from first grade to tenth grade. I was told to drop out of school by my tenth grade math teacher in front of all my classmates. I was so embarrassed, I never went back and didn’t graduate. I was afraid to even apply for a job at McDonald's and experienced homelessness at the age of 19. At the age of 24, I saw a person selling things on the street in Boston. That inspired me to do the same. My first day, I made more than I made in one week at my previous job. I experienced a lot of successes over the next 10 years, including creating a business that grossed $1.3 million in 8 months. I developed my true passion of finding solutions to fix problems using my mouth.” I thought to myself, “not bad for a kid with no prospects!” I spoke with Barnes for over an hour while he walked me through how he was introduced to Olawale Rotimi Opeyemi of JR Farms Africa, his project partner, and how the movement started. I listened to his vision intently, each detail carefully thought through and in service of achieving the final goal. Barnes went on, “if you look at the top places all over the world where people don’t have access to clean water, while

looking at maps for the top coffee producing regions, you see overlap. We’re starting in Rwanda, which happens to be the heart of Africa, to tell the world Black Lives Matter. Boston’s the smartest place in the world. We have 114 colleges in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There's no other place like this. With all of these educational institutions, moms and dads are sending their children here from all over the world. That makes us the world's youngest United nations. That also makes us here in Boston the legal guardian to the world's next decision-makers. With the educational institutions and the students coming here, we are the representation of what America really is. Many of these kids have never been to America. They’ve heard about it but the first time they touch American soil is at Logan airport. We are America. What we do will ring loud to the world and how we handle things. By winning half of the coffee consumption in Boston alone, we achieve our initial goal and make serious change. I'm not selling a coffee. I'm selling the opportunity to be a part of something that is going to end a problem in the world. I won’t tell you what kind of coffee to drink but if you'd like to have a damn good cup of coffee that's giving somebody access to clean water, I’ve got your back. Boston can drink coffee that will fix a problem and bring people together.” Barnes’s ambitions go beyond water wells. As he sees success, he plans to create Boston Brewin’ coffee shops that train the homeless, first as employees then as owners of gifted stores so they too may run a purpose driven business. Barnes embodies what’s possible if we all work together. A hug from Barnes in Boston is a giant hug for the world. Find out more at Eric Brown is a contributing writer. Eric works with food and beverage entrepreneurs to build and scale successful purpose-driven businesses through coaching marketing, systems, automation and team building. He is a graduate of both Babson College & The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and can be reached at

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!"#"$%&'(")*&(+'*",-"(.*"/,0*-12"3,45(&67"3,77*4(68* 9&'(":;""<=>"?@A12B" by Effie Panagopoulos The notion that “everything is cyclical” is something glaringly obvious especially for seasoned hospitality veterans, and food and beverage buyers. One could easily argue that the Whiteclaw and Truly’s of today are mere reincarnations of Bartle’s and James wine coolers, and the ZIMA of yesteryear. (This writer would be quite excited to see ZIMA make a permanent comeback). On the contrary female founders in the spirits business were never quite a trend…but along with what’s being called the fourth wave of feminism, we are seeing a huge surge in female owned brands, large spirits companies trying to jump on the bandwagon, and, what some may deem cringe-worthy attempts to “make it pink.” These women profiled here were in the trenches, planting their proverbial pioneer flags on American soil long before “female + founder” were buzz words. The cool kids call them OG’s, or original gangsters, and all have earned their stripes, eschewing stereotypes of what one would envision to be a “woman-owned” spirit, having created brands that should be staples on any serious backbar.

!"#$%#&%'()*' Born in the Bronx and raised in Maine, Karen Hoskin graduated Williams College with a degree in Comparative Religion and pursued a Masters of Science with a focus on epidemiology at the University of Colorado in 1996. Karen’s story is one of many lives, not without parallels to activist and feminist Gloria Steinem. From spending time in India to working for Planned Parenthood when she had to wear bullet proof vests to shield doctors from the angry mobs, to currently spearheading the Melanin Mountain Project, Karen leads by example. She continues prioritizing opportunities for women and BIPOC in her hiring practices in her current home town of Crested Butte, Colorado. If one thing is for sure, it’s that this woman walks-the-walk and her work shines through her distillery and her brand, Montanya Rum. Her “AHA!” moment was in 1988 in India upon her first sip of Old Munk aged rum. Years later, desperate to scratch the itch, she was making her first batch of rum on a stovetop, Maine-style in a lobster pot. She got her start with $50k out of her savings account and opened doors to a distillery and tasting room within 8-months in 2008 in Silverton, CO. Karen buys Louisiana-grown non-GMO sugarcane from a co-op of family farmers and makes her rum using the first press of cane, separating the unrefined molasses, leaving 88% raw cane, and adding a touch of Colorado honey. There are 5 different aged expressions with varied barrel treatments that are award-winning, and where Montanya really raises the bar is on environmental and social responsibility. They are certified plastic neutral, carbon neutral and a certified B corp which means that all claims are 3rd party

verified. Having just completed a distillery expansion to increase production, you’ll soon be able to find Montanya at your nearest Whole Foods.

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!"#$%&'()**+,-"./("0%()**+,(1$"0%#,' It might have been America’s oldest distilled spirit (founded in 1780) but it didn’t enter the modern mixologist’s vernacular until COO and Global Ambassador Lisa Laird joined the company over 3 decades ago as a tireless champion of this iconic liquid. Waffling between aspirations of a career as an equine vet, or President of Lairds, Lisa felt her ancestors calling and started at the bottom in 1986, rotating through jobs to learn the ins and outs of the family business. This was a time when Laird’s was a blue-collar “beer and a shot” drink and their customers were, to put in bluntly, starting to die off. It wasn’t until 2000, at the brink of the classic cocktail revival, that she got to work with bar legend Audrey Saunders of NY institution the Pegu Club. They began a renegade effort to rally bartenders seeking out the most authentic pre-prohibition spirits and then took that initiative global. The metamorphosis from working class brand to one coveted by cocktail nerds was completed when Lisa secretly changed the packaging which hadn’t been touched since 1975. She was spared her family’s wrath when sales started to massively increase into what is a 50,000 9L case business today. Although there are a slew of American apple brandies today, “Laird’s” the name has become synonymous with the category and Lisa’s efforts have earned her the moniker of the !"#$%&'()*&+,& -../01(23. The Laird family continues to decline offers for acquisition despite the current jaw-dropping valuations. After 10 generations, they are not ready to let their baby go. Lisa has been grooming both her daughter and son to take over. How do you like ‘dem apples?

2"..34(5#'.6 Born in Peru and raised in DC in the 80’s, Melanie Asher is not only the first Latinx woman to found a spirits brand but *almost* certainly the first American female founder of a modern global spirits brand. After finishing business school, Melanie spent 3 years learning how to distill in a government incubator program and graduated ready to elevate the Pisco category-- Challenging the notion that pisco was only a “Peruvian macho man’s” drink. Her first investor was her father with money from his 401k. With this, Melanie got her start selling across the pond in 2003 in London, arguably the global epicenter for cocktail culture. Melanie’s sister, Lizzie, is a lawyer and Harvard grad. Lizzie left Wall Street to invest in Macchu Pisco and became President of the company, standing in solidarity to keep the dream alive. The duo took on the task of convincing American bartenders that this wasn’t just a “Latino Immigrant drink” and that the spirit’s versatility goes well beyond a pisco sour. Paramount to everything Macchu Pisco does is integrity and sustainability. The sisters remain adamant that they will never exploit cheap or fertilized grapes or cheap labor. They pay top-dollar for their raw materials and pay their farmers almost double the standard day-rate. What was considered an avant garde and risky ethos in 2003 has now resulted in Macchu Pisco becoming the gold-standard for excellence in the pisco category.


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!"#$%&'()&'(%*$)+,'-./0$ A Virginia native, Allison paid her dues in the spirits biz working for Jose Cuervo to market their premium brands during the first mega tequila boom in the late 90’s. After another head marketing role with Domaine Chandon in Northern California, and a year off for motherhood, San Francisco served as the inspiration for Square One Organic Vodka. A progressive sister city to NY, bartenders here were carving out their own culinary cocktail style, which was in the vein of chefs like Alice Waters, and driven by a focus on fresh, local, and organic produce. Allison, thought, if a bartender was going to take such care with their ingredients, shouldn’t the spirits they use have the same degree of transparency and commitment to the environment? The vodka category at the time was dominated either by cheap brands full of additives, or flashy super premium brands built on marketing hype, and Allison set out to create the first farm to glass, USDA organic certified spirits company in the US in 2006. That means she uses 100% organic rye farmed in Montana without pesticides and herbicides, only organic ingredients in the fermentation process, and distills it in Idaho with the nation’s first certified organic distillery. She also was light years ahead of the “botanical flavor” craze, having launched Square One Organic Cucumber and Botanical flavors in 2008 and 2009. Allison says, “If you start at Square One, you do things right the first time.”

123'!4+%+56 Kiki Braverman came to the States from a place she calls the birthplace of modern distillation, Bavaria, Germany. Called “the land of 1000 Distilleries”, Kiki continues a tradition started by German farm-women who were known for making medicinal liqueurs with botanicals that grow in the wild, particularly elderflower which grows in abundance there. In 2007, Kiki landed in another burgeoning west coast cocktail city, Seattle, WA. She launched PUR in a control state where bartenders are typically deprived of more esoteric spirits and liqueurs. Starting with a $3,000 investment, PUR Elderflower was her first flavor and you can find her expanded line of liqueurs with their distinctive long-neck in California, Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts. But Kiki is not done yet. She is placing her bets on what she’s calling the next big thing: German whiskey. “German distilleries produce unbelievable single malts using ancient, bio-dynamically grown grains”, she stated. Given the American affinity for both German cars and whiskey, a category that’s vying for top place with vodka, it’s safe to say German whiskey is a strong bet and we will be eagerly waiting.

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In Defense of Both Ghost Kitchens… and In-Venue Dining Ghost kitchens won’t replace in-venue dining, though they’ll leave their footprint on the hospitality industry nevertheless. Sensationalism is the age old frenemy of change. A single innovation can simultaneously be the greatest thing since sliced bread or the end of the world as we know it.

and more like a marauding army than a business shift, keep in mind that the restaurant industry net worth is not a static number. In 2021, there’s expected to be an impressive increase in global industry net worth. This correlation is not an accident.

Exaggeration creates misconceived notions around the topic in question, more often than not to get those coveted clicks. The truth is more likely to earn a yawn than destroy mankind. In the culinary world, ghost kitchens have found themselves at the apex of this duality; they’ve been heralded as the savior of modern dining and its destroyer. The truth is neither, yet both at once. These cloud kitchens are the result of change going back years from now, and exist as a partnership with established in-dining rather than an enemy.

The global market for ghost kitchens and virtual brands was $43.1 billion in 2019, already on track to take its own share of the market before the pandemic hit. However they’re now on track to be a $1 trillion business globally by 2030. Although this swell seems alarming


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Source: Forecast market share of ghost kitchens in foodservice market worldwide in 2030, by sector, (3/5/2021)

Ghost kitchens fill a specific niche that in-venue dining only partially inhabits. These low-cost kitchen rentals are able to deliver specific meals with more frequency and focus than a traditional in-venue restaurant. But this isn’t because they’re intrinsically better- it just means their focus is on a different portion of the industry. In 2018, over 200 million Americans visited a sit down restaurant. In-venue dining is a part of not only our culture, but a global one at that. Delivery has its place and, although we’re hyper-focused on it during the global pandemic, cannot compete in the same way as the sit-down experience. In fact, the statistics agree that overwhelmingly when given the option, guests would rather order at the table rather than from their own homes. There’s no need to fear market cannibalisation; this is not an either-or argument. Rather, this is a new terrain stemming from a clear consumer need. In-venue stands


on the atmosphere and community setting of at-table seating, while cloud kitchens hang above in their own space with cutting-edge delivery and digital optimization. One doesn’t overshadow the other, they sit in compliment. In fact, the two would do well to learn from one another as the field continues to grow. And we understand, news on the ghost kitchen front can be daunting with big budget investment headlines. In fact, with uber founder Travis Kalinack making a huge bet on the industry through his venture ‘CloudKitchens’, it can feel like the ride-share war is moving to a different locale. But in reality, this venture is in competition with other ghost kitchens, not in-venue. We can see from how Uber Eats has been functioning with delivery that this is an easy leap to sit-down doom and gloom. But CloudKitchens still won’t have in-venue, and the premise of the concept is to take advantage of the pre-established delivery options. It’s a bet on the expansion of the Uber delivery premise, not against more traditional seated restaurants.

Dine-in isn’t going extinct. While it’s faced pressure from pandemic lockdowns and the rise of delivery platforms, dine-in consists of a set of experiences that themselves cannot be replicated by off-premise ordering. In fact, in-venue has its own set of tricks to delight and wow guests that ghost kitchens can only dream of replicating. We at Bbot are excited by the matching evolutions of both ghost kitchens and in-venue dining as the global market revenue continues to grow. And who knows: maybe there’s a third dark horse just waiting for its moment to introduce itself. After all, innovation never sleeps. But it does eat.

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CHERRY LIMEADE 1 ½ oz cherry-infused Tito’s Handmade Vodka 4 oz limeade 1 lime slice, garnish 1 cherry, garnish

Just add infused Tito’s Handmade Vodka and limeade to a glass over ice. Garnish with a lime slice and cherry. No time for an infusion? No problem. Just muddle a few cherries in your glass and sip away the stress.

1½ oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka ½ oz orange liqueur 1½ oz fresh lemon juice 1½ oz fresh lime juice ½ oz simple syrup

Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a glass over ice or into a martini glass. For a spicy kick, add three jalapeño slices to the shaker. Garnish with a lime slice. Pro-Tip: If you like it salty, use a glass with a salted rim.

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Croatian Fine & Rare Wine

exclusive collectors and traders

LMB 1759 Export are exclusive collectors and traders of fine and rare Croatian wine. Guided by the idea that it's always a good time to bring something new and different to the table; they were the first to introduce Croatian fine & rare wine to the auction market, and remain the only ones. What makes this wine so special is its uniquely limited availability. These vintages have mostly been exchanged amongst friends - there's been very little retail, and all of it was done locally in Croatia. What is left to be sold internationally, is in the hands of each respective winery, stored in their cellars. The Croatian wineries LMB 1759 Export works with all have intriguing stories, and are extremely limited in number (Croatia is 1/10 of the size of France). Some vineyards date back as far as the 13th century. The annual production of some of the wine listed below can be as low as a few hundred bottles per year, which is in stark contrast to 90,000-100,000 bottles, being the average yearly amounts made by the Grand Cru estates from other countries, The auction house they've worked with in Europe is Winefield's Auctioneers, with HQs in Amsterdam and Singapore. , who pride themselves with all the regular Grand Cru auction heavy-hitters (Petrus, DRC, Château d'Yquem, Brunello di Montalcino, etc.), and are the most well-known auction house in Europe. LMB 1759 Export are in the process of presenting their selection to the UK auction market. Since they are keeping an eye on entering the US market soon, you’re hearing about them here first!

LMB 1759 Export Editor’s Selection >>>

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Vina Cattunar This winery lies on 4 different terroirs in Istria, resulting in different variations of the same wine, Their specialty is Istrian Malvazija. Vintages of 2013 and 2015 were mostly presented grey soil (a dusty soil with 25% active lime, black soil (a predominantly black soil on marl), red soil (typical Istrian terra rossa) and white soil (mostly active lime) - altogether called the 4 Terre. The Black soil is by far the most warm, elegant and structured, maintaining the Terre Black Soil 2015). The Red soil, on the other hand accentuates mineralism and sapidity in Malvazija 4 Terre Red Soil. Annual production is between 3000 - 4000 bottles.

Vinarija Bodren er, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and some Chardonnay) packs in 0,25 l bottles. It is an exceptional-

Vinarija Kiridzija sula and is made from the local Plavac Mali grape. This wine carries a 'protected geographic (which is a defining factor in the luxuriousness and prestige behind French Grand Cru 300m up from sea level. Strong, concentrated, ripe aromas of mature fruit with a high 15% ABV (alcohol content). Only a few hundred bottles are made annually. This particular

Vina Antunovic Female founded and owned winery; in the northeastern region of Slavonia. This notable


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Vinarija Krajancic Small, family winery on the island of Korcula (Kolkyra), wine made out of 'Pošip' grapes brought in by the ancient Greeks before 400 B.C. (sort indigenous to the island, and not available anywhere else - 800 bottles/year made annually) Posip is a sweet white wine, generally light bodied, with around 12-13% alcohol content. Posip vintage of 2016 was sold at auctions.

Vinarija Kabola Winery in the Istrian region distinguished for its traditional fermentation method. Amfora Malvazija and Teran are local Istrian white and red wine, respectively (Teran is an exclusively Croatian, rich, robust red variety; was recently protected as an exclusively Croatian varietal); made in an ancient and traditional way. The crushed grapes (skin on) are fermented in large 2,000 litre amphora vessels buried in the ground near the winery. After a 7-month maceration process, the wine is aged in large local oak barrels (4,000 litre) for several years before bottling and further aging for around 6-12 months. This is the legacy of the ancient Romans and Greeks who had made wine in Croatia thousands of years ago, and used the same technique. 2016 vintages were presented.

Vinarija Stina Located in the Peljesac Peninsula, this winery is set on a steep hilltop overlooking the sea; but only accessible by foot or with the help of a donkey :) It's existed for hundreds of years and focuses on the Plavac varietal, which is an exclusively red Croatian varietal and the name of the grape itself that is used to make the Dingac mentioned above (ref. 3. Vinarija Kiridzija). The Stina 'Masterpiece' Magnum, a 2011 vintage was offered - with only 90 bottles still left.

Vinarija Križ A grandson and grandfather run winery passed on through generations, on the Peljesac peninsula off the Dalmatian coast, close to Stina's. Also focuses on the Plavac varietal (which is why the Winefield's Auctioneers booked Stina and Križ together), using a biodynamic technique. Plavac 2017 vintage was presented.

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Vinarija Fakin Winery Fakin (Istria) received 96 points, gold medal, from the 'Decanter World Wine Awards', for its Malvazija La Prima 2017 (which is what was presented at one of the auctions) - one of the "largest" producers on this list with around 5000 bottles annually.

Vinarija Skaramuča One of the first registered winemakers of "Dingac" in Croatia, in the Peljesac peninsula. This "Dingac" sort is a 'protected geographic origin' wine-growing region from the Peljesac Peninsula on the Croatian coast. The grapes grow on limestone terrain, absorb 2800 hours of sunshine annually and are positioned at 45 degrees at 300m up from sea level. Strong, concentrated, ripe aromas of mature fruit with a high 15% ABV (alcohol content). Only a few hundred bottles are made annually. This particular winery has it in its blood, and has an impressive collection of mature vintages from generations ago (which they don't want to sell). Vintages of 2015 and 2016 were sold.

Misna Vina (Translated to "mass wine' in english) this is a winery located on the premises of the Catholic Diocese in Djakovo, Slavonia (north-eastern Croatia, close to the Danube river), and boasts itself with the tradition of priests making wine for mass. This winery has been with us since the 13th century, for church mass and private use. They then turned it into a winery called “Misna Vina” (Church Mass Wine). They’ve also been a captivating presence at several international competitions. Additionally, have an exceptional cellar that is kept very hush-hush (dated from centuries ago), which they are not very keen on publicizing. It's survived 2 World Wars, and 1 Independence War. Traminer Ice Wine 2008 was presented in an auction.

LMB 1759 Export also works with about 30 more boutique Croatian wineries, though they haven't yet presented that respective wine at an auction or a pre-auction tasting event.


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Vegan Recipe of the Month

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O'dang Zucchini Chickpea Veggie Burger

Ingredients: O'dang Vegan Lemon Garlic Mayo 4 tablespoons tahini, divided 1 tablespoon lemon juice 3 teaspoons white miso, divided 1 ¼ teaspoons onion powder, divided 1 ¼ teaspoons garlic powder, divided 1 ¼ teaspoon ground pepper, divided 2 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives plus 2 tablespoons, divided 1 can no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed 1 teaspoon ground cumin ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves ½ cup shredded zucchini cup old-fashioned rolled oats Instructions: Combine 2 tablespoons tahini, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon miso, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in water until the mixture is smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon chives. Set aside. Place chickpeas, cumin, salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons tahini, 2 teaspoons miso, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon pepper and 3/4 teaspoon onion powder in a food processor. Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse mixture forms that holds together when pressed. Add parsley and the remaining 2 tablespoons chives; pulse until the herbs are finely chopped and incorporated into the mixture. Transfer to a bowl. Squeeze zucchini in a clean kitchen towel to remove extra moisture. Add the zucchini and oats to the chickpea mixture; use your hands to combine, pressing to mash together. Form into 4 patties. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more. Serve the burgers on buns with O'dang Lemon Garlic Mayo, arugula, and tomato slices.

The Chickpea Trend: Whole Foods predicted that chickpeas were going to have a major moment in 2021 and this has proven to be true. The surge in popularity had not gone unnoticed when walking the isles of thet grocery stores (in person or virtually). Chickpeas have taken the place of flour in many products gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free cake. The special legume even has its own national day: National Chickpea day was celebrated on April 21st. Chickpeas are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, containing the highest content of any legume, which is a major factor in its popularity, and an inexpensive party staple. O’dang Foods offers a new-to-category innovation with its line of premium chickpea-based condiments. Made with real chickpeas, O’dang dressings offer full-flavor, plant-based dressings with lower sodium, lower fat and fewer calories, in eight tasty flavor profiles and O’dang’s newest addition of egg-free, vegan mayonnaise, available in three flavor profiles at Publix Super Markets, among other retailers. O’dang Foods, makers of the original hummus dressings, recently introduced this new egg-free, dairy-free spreadable and dippable mayo, available in 3 Mediterranean inspired flavors: Lemon Garlic, Cucumber Dill and Roasted Red Pepper! O’dang plant-based mayos are Vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, Kosher OUD, and are low in sodium with just 90 calories per serving. The line of vegan mayos have the same rich, creamy texture as traditional mayos but also offer bold taste with tons of versatility- they are the perfect spread for sandwiches, and excellent for use in pasta and potato salad! Available now at Publix Supermarkets. For more information and to buy online visit and follow @OdangFoods on Instagram.

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The Spirit of Belize A rum born of the passion for travel and pride of a country. While scuba diving throughout the Caribbean we began our search for the perfect rum and found it in an amazing place – Belize! Small batches of handcrafted rum and the warm breeze combined to create our Tiburon Rum. Our passions don’t stop at rum and diving, we also value the oceans and wildlife that originally brought us to Belize. Know that you’re preserving that natural beauty while you sip Tiburon Rum – we support Oceana who are committed to protecting the world’s oceans. As avid divers and travelers, we hope you enjoy your stay and while you’re here, try a taste of the spirit of Belize.

Basil DeStefano Owner | | Drink Responsibly


STOP THE MADNESS: You Need To Build A Brand, Not Open A Restaurant by Phyllis Williams-Strawder Most restaurants come on the scene with a recipe and a dream. They have a burning desire to feed the masses. It doesn’t matter if they operate from a brick and mortar, food truck or pop up. All they want is for everyone to experience the love they plate and serve. I know this second-hand. See, my husband is that FOOD DIVA who wants everyone to swoon with every bite. It gives him bragging rights and a sense of value. Turning something like that from a restaurant to a brand is what I did and it’s what all restaurant owners need to do. Our second restaurant, Bigmista’s Morning Wood, is still talked about even though we closed in July 2018. The name alone on the backdrop of our bright red building stopped traffic. When customers actually visited they experienced a family vibe, got to listen to R&B music and chow down on creations they couldn’t get anywhere else. When they returned they always thought it was worth the wait and the price. Potential customers will pass up a great food place because they don’t know it’s a great food place. They will instead go to a mediocre fast, cheap, and easy fast food joint next door because they recognize the brand. It is literally a no brainer. Building a brand is more than a notion. It takes time, patience and work. When customers pass up a fast, cheap and easy spot for a place that actually prepares their food and cost more, that is branding. To brand is to be at the forefront of someone’s mind when they have a fist full of cash.

BRAND IDENTITY How a restaurant wants a potential customer to perceive them is brand identity. Most of them miss the mark because they begin and end with brand identity. This is an external factor that shows up the menu, the building and maybe some merch. It includes things like aesthetics, tag lines and logos. That’s not a brand, that’s brand lite. At this level, the brand is nothing more than a facade. When potential customers encounter brand identity only, they may not acknowledge the brand existence. It’s missing that element that connects to them to potential customers. Think about it. How often will someone take a sample without missing a step? Free nosh anyone, yes please!

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BRAND IMAGE Potential customer on the other hand have a perception of the restaurant. This is the brand image. It’s that magical place reserved in the mind of the masses and it’s not open to everyone. At this level a potential customer relies on their impression, beliefs, and emotional connection to the restaurant. This perception happens with barely a glance. There’s an old saying that you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Consider a restaurant in a food court. The right brand would be impressive as impressive as hell. Instead they ALL blend into the backdrop of mall life. If they want to be the bell of the mall, their brand image has to be fire. Customers can’t make an emotional connection from a picture of a plate of food. BRAND POSITION Where brand image and brand identity overlap is the sweet spot. This is where the money resides. Brand positioning is an internal matter that has an outward affect. It nurtures the brand image and supports the brand identity. Developing your internal brand gives life to everything else about your brand. It’s where the values, purpose, vision and mission take root to grow a brand. Knowing your roots keeps you focused on how you want to show up as a brand, not a restaurant. It creates the personality customers fall in love with. It gives them something to believe in. Yes, a small restaurant can have BIG brand. And yes, showing up as a culinary bad ass in the industry is every chef’s goal. They don’t open a restaurant with the dream of being the hole in the wall. If they do then they should name the place “Hole In The Wall” then work that brand like a boss.

Phyllis is committed to changing the restaurant industry by building authentic brands. Learn more about her branding success strategies at

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!""#$%&'( CANDY POP AND COOKIE POP TO OFFICIALLY LAUNCH AT KROGER GROCERY RETAIL STORES NATIONWIDE SNAX-Sational Brands’ premiere popcorn brand Cookie Pop and Candy Pop officially rolls into Kroger Co. grocery retailers nationwide as of April 15, 2021. Kroger Co. doors inclusive of Kroger, QFC, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Dillons, King Soopers, Smiths, Ralphs, Roundy's/Mariano's division and Food4Less will now carry all Cookie Pop and Candy Pop flavor offerings in their standard 5.25oz size bags. Flavor varieties to include Candy Pop made with M&M’s® Minis candy pieces, Cookie Pop made with OREO® cookie pieces, Candy Pop made with SNICKERS®, Candy Pop made with TWIX® candy pieces, Candy Pop made with Butterfinger® candy pieces and Cookie Pop made with CHIPS AHOY!® cookie pieces. “Rolling out into Kroger Co. banners is an exciting step in the journey of our brand, with a continued focus on bringing this delicious creation to every household in America. Our goal continues to offer ‘better for you’ snacking innovations to the category, while delivering to consumers exciting options within our portfolio, as we continue to introduce notable new licensed flavor combinations featuring America’s favorite candy and cookie brands. We proudly offer an innovative and fun snacking alternative in the market that continues to present a “wow” factor to the consumer, bringing candy and cookie flavors into the popcorn isle.” - Jerry Bello, SNAX-Sational Brands CEO and Co-Founder. Snack Pop, inclusive of Candy Pop and Cookie Pop, continues to be the innovative popcorn snacking leader combining everyone’s favorite things - popcorn with candy and cookie favorites, yielding the perfect, must-have snack creation. The better-for-you-snack is made 100% in the U.S. with non-GMO corn, is low in sodium and only 150 calories per serving. The popular, low-calorie, candy or cookie-coated line was named a “Top 20 Snack of 2020” by Buzzfeed and continues to garner attention amongst consumers, celebrities and the media. To find your nearest retailer, visit As part of the brands ongoing “Snackgiving” initiative, a portion of proceeds from all sales of Snack Pop varieties benefit The Ryan Seacrest Foundation and their efforts as of December 2020. Most notably, their new Seacrest Studio at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. The new Seacrest Studio makes it possible for children and teens to get behind the camera and mic to develop, star and interact in original TV and radio programming during their hospital stays. Patients will also have the ability to call down to the studio via their hospital room phone to engage in events they are watching on their screen. A portion of proceeds from all popcorn bag sales are donated to the foundation.

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