Former Darden executive named president of Union Square Hospitality Group

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“Former Darden Restaurants Inc. executive Chip Wade has been named president of Union Square Hospitality Group, the company said Thursday.

Wade, who moves into the role officially in mid-May, fills a position that has been empty since 2015, when it was held by Jeff Flug, who stepped down after the public offering by Shake Shack, which was once a part of the New York-based multiconcept group.

In his new role, Wade (left) will work directly with CEO and founder Danny Meyer, the board and the restaurant group’s leadership team to enhance and evolve the company’s culture, drive guest experience and bolster profitability, the company said.

“USHG is growing in some pretty exciting ways right now,” said Meyer, whose group operates about 18 restaurants under various brands, from the acclaimed Union Square Café and Gramercy Tavern to the more casual neighborhood café Daily Provisions, the barbecue concept Blue Smoke and taco joint Tacocina.”

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Halal Guys, Wetzel’s Pretzel partner with Kitchen United

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Kitchen United, which offers off-premise kitchen centers for brands and franchises, now has two new partners as well as a new restaurant concept. Halal Guys and Wetzel’s Pretzels are now partners with Kitchen United, which also launched Fresgo, a fast Italian offering serving out of the Pasadena, California kitchen center.

The Halal Guys and Fresgo are now available for pickup, delivery and catering from the off-premise kitchen space, with Wetzel’s Pretzels officially opening April 1, according to a press release. Kitchen United’s Pasadena kitchen center opened last year and is home to Canter’s Deli, AmazeBowls, Cheat Day, Grilled Cheese Heaven, Mama Musubi and The Pizza Plant.

“One of Kitchen United’s goals from the beginning has been to leverage our collective restaurant experience to help our restaurant partners take a leadership position in delivery, a fast emerging growth opportunity in the industry,” said Jim Collins, Kitchen United CEO, in the release. “As a team of restauranteurs, we are thrilled to launch Fresgo in order to provide valuable insight and learnings to our partners. We are very pleased to add The Halal Guys and Wetzel’s Pretzels to our family of restaurant partners in order to help them expand their reach into the Pasadena market.”

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Starbucks to test recyclable, compostable cups

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“The company announced on Wednesday that it is testing out a compostable cup in five locations — New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and London. Starbucks showed one of the cups being tested during its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.”

“The new cup looks just like Starbucks’ current paper cup. The difference is inside, where instead of a plastic liner, a biodegradable liner serves as a barrier to make sure liquid doesn’t leak out. That liner, developed by a Thailand-based company, makes the cup compostable in commercial composting facilities, which are rare.
Though the innovation may appear small to consumers, it’s a big moment for Starbucks, which has been struggling to find a greener alternative to its cup for three decades.
Most recently, in 2018, Starbucks committed to the NextGen Cup Challenge. Along with other food companies, Starbucks and Closed Loop Partners, a recycling-focused investor group, crowdsourced solutions for greener cups from the public. In February, the company announced 12 winners, including greener cup liners, barriers and cups themselves.”
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McDonald’s Spent $48 Million to Push Bacon in February

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“McDonald’s led all companies in advertising dollars spent at $48 million, less than what the chain allocated in January. Taco Bell (second on the list) cut its TV advertising funding by nearly half, likely due to Grubhub picking up most of the tab for its joint commercial with the chain touting limited time free delivery. Grubhub reportedly spent just under $7 million in ad dollars in February.

The biggest surprise of the month was Arby’s, which catapulted up 26 spots from January to crack the top 10 in advertising dollars spent. The quick service restaurant has completed a large sales turnaround in recent years by relying more on promotions and new deli meats to entice customers, according to Forbes. The chain’s success also led its parent company to acquire both Buffalo Wild Wings and Sonic in 2018.

Overall, quick service restaurants and pizza chains dominated TV advertising again in February, with Yum Brands’ subsidiaries — Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC — in the top 10 for the fourth consecutive month.  Olive Garden and Applebee’s, the casual restaurants that cracked the top 10 in January, ended February at 11 and 14, respectively, after shelling out more than $10 million each.”

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Toby’s Estate Doubles Capacity with New Bushwick Roastery Cafe

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“Toby’s Estate has opened its second production roastery in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, alongside a new cafe space with seating for 40, a daily brunch menu and a pourover bar outfitted by Saint Anthony Industries.

The New York arm of the Australian-born brand created by Sydney native Toby Smith in 2001 is co-owned by Amber Jacobsen and Adam Boyd, who first opened a Toby’s Estate roastery cafe in Williamsburg in 2012.

Since then, Toby’s Estate has opened four other retail bars throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, with a temporarily closed Flatiron location in Manhattan to be replaced this year by another Flatiron bar, according to the company.

At 8 Wilson Ave. in Bushwick, the new roastery will allow the company to double its current production capacity with the addition of a 22-kilo Probat roaster. The roastery will also be home to a new wholesale partnership initiative, through which cafes, restaurants or other wholesale partners can receive a more tailored coffee program.”

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The Future of Hotel Dining Will Be Branded

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“Paris-based Accor is one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, with more than 4,500 places to stay (homes and hotels) in 100 countries and 10,000 dining outlets that — according to Accor CEO of food and beverage and lifestyle, Amir Nahai — generate more than 5 billion euros, or $5.7 billion U.S. dollars, in revenue on an annual basis.

And now that SBE, the Los Angeles-based hospitality group whose hotel and restaurant brands include the Mondrian, SLS, Delano, Cleo, Katsuya, and Umami Burger, is partly owned by Accor, you can expect to see more of those thousands of restaurants and bars being rebranded under SBE.

Over the next seven years, Accor and SBE plan to open at least 100 Umami Burger restaurants worldwide, as well as focus on opening other SBE dining and beverage brands such as Carna, SkyBar, and Dandelyan within Accor properties.”

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Free webinar: Optimize Operations by Running a Data-Driven Restaurant

Free webinar: Optimize operations by running a data-driven restaurant

“(…) Now, on the afternoon of Thursday, March 7, Focus Brands Manager of Retail IT Systems Tyler Schack will join with Revel Systems Sales Engineering Manager Wajih Rahman to share how the two companies partnered to improve business at more than 1,200 brand locations that use Revel’s POS. The free hour-long webinar will give listeners a peek behind the curtain at how Focus uses data to drive profits.

Listeners will learn how Schack and others at the Focus brands first created a powerful framework for data collection and analysis and then put the findings to work to improve everything from overall on-the-job performance to more efficient operating practices, higher margins and a more impactful customer experience.”

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