Chelsea Market Lands a Promising New Pop-Up Vendor

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“A new pop-up space in Chelsea Market will highlight Ethiopian fast casual this summer. The NYC-based culinary training nonprofit Hot Bread Kitchen has a new pop-up space in Chelsea Market that will feature rotating menus from members and alums of its culinary incubator, which is based in East Harlem. First up is Gorsha, a fast-casual Ethiopian restaurant from Hiyaw Gebreyohannes. There is another location in DC’s Union Market, but here, the restaurant will have specials specific to Chelsea Market. There will be build-your-own bowls for around $13 with proteins like berbere chicken and braised lamb. It’s open now from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will run until October 31.”

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Starbucks begins mobile ordering rollout in Beijing and Shanghai

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“Starbucks said it has begun rolling out its Starbucks Now mobile ordering platform to 300 select stores in Beijing and Shanghai and will expand the service throughout China over the next year.

Starbucks Now, available for Starbucks Rewards members through the company’s mobile app in China, allows customers to order their food and beverages ahead of time and pick them up in store.

“Starbucks Now represents a significant opportunity for Starbucks China to drive new, innovative customer experiences,” Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China said in a company release. “This builds on the latest of several digital initiatives in China, including Starbucks Delivers and locally relevant gifting and e-commerce experiences.”

Customers can use Starbucks Now to find a local store based on the mobile app’s GPS location, order food and customized beverages and make payment, with the order ready to pick up when they arrive at the location.”

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Why Teriyaki Madness CEO is confident about 500-unit growth strategy

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“Claiming to double your restaurant unit count in one year may seem pretty gutsy, but Teriyaki Madness CEO Michael Haith isn’t afraid to say it aloud.

Founded in 2003, the Las Vegas-based concept now based in Denver started 2019, with about 40 units but will end it with more than 80. The growth plan doesn’t stop there, however, as the chain will hit 500 by 2026. And that’s a “minimum,” said Haith, who purchased the brand in 2016, from the founding brothers, who still own five locations.

“500 is not our goal as much as it is a conservative forecast for the next five to seven years,” he said in an interview with FastCasual. “It is the number we will be at as a benchmark towards our 10-year goal.”

Since taking over, Haith — who came to Teriyaki Madness from Maui Wowi and Doc Popcorn — and his team have implemented processes and systems to focus on growth. And that team includes several industry veterans:

  • VP of Marketing Jodi Boyce, who worked for Quiznos and Smashburger.
  • CFO John Miller, Chipotle’s former CFO.
  • VP of Operations Janice Branam, whose tenure includes Smashbuiger and Quiznos.
  • Joe Gordon, who worked for Noodles and Co., is VP of Supply Chain.
  • COO Erin Hicks, formerly of Maui Wow.
  • VP of Real Estate Peter Harding, who came from Einstein Bros.
  • VP of Real Estate Hank Janik of Schlotzsky’s. (…)”

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Bento Boxes Are Trending In Fast Casual

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We’ve rounded up several examples of the emerging bento box trend in fast-casual restaurants, from a bento-only delivery concept to an already-emerging chain undergoing a major expansion.

“The bentos are appealing because you’re not eating a huge plate of pad Thai, and then falling asleep at your desk the next moment,” Kelley said. “I lived in Japan for over a year and was always taken by the bento delivery system there … they deliver bento boxes and then pick them up in the afternoon. We are doing the same thing in Colorado, and we are essentially zero-waste.”

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China’s Fastest Growing Hotpot Chain Just Minted Two Billionaires

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“China’s insatiable demand for spicy hotpot is placing the founders of a restaurant chain atop one of the world’s fastest-growing fortunes, allowing them to outpace many of the wealthiest families globally.

As of Monday, Zhang Yong, chairman of Haidilao International Holding Ltd., and his wife Shu Ping, had grown $6 billion richer in 2019, a 79 percent jump in just over three months.

That pace is the fastest in Asia and globally only topped by Australian mining baron Andrew Forrest, who has doubled his fortune this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.

Haidilao went public in September, and it’s been a lucrative time for China’s largest hotpot chain, popular for the spicy broths in which diners cook their meats and vegetables. The company is pushing to make its restaurants more efficient by creating automated kitchens. Perks like the free manicures it offers waiting customers have kept families coming in. And the brand is expanding overseas with new locations planned in New York and London.

Last year, revenue surged 60 percent to 17 billion yuan ($2.6 billion), and that’s helping to push the stock up more than 75 percent this year. At about $21 billion, the company’s market value is now higher than Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.”

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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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Taco Bell and Chipotle Want to Shave Time off Food Deliveries

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“When it comes to restaurant delivery, speed matters. And the burrito chains want to be faster.

Taco Bell –– which now offers delivery at roughly two-thirds of its U.S. restaurants through GrubHub Inc. with plans to continue expanding the service –– says its average delivery time is 34 minutes. The company acknowledges that’s not good enough for today’s demanding customer.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., meanwhile, says it’s averaging between 28 and 32 minutes for delivery, but it thinks it can shave four minutes or so as it expands pickup shelves across the nation. It’s also introducing prepaid delivery so drivers don’t have to pay in stores. It’s all part of a digital push that is a key part of the comeback plan laid out under Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol in his first year on the job.”

“While restaurant delivery has long been part of the culture in major cities like New York and San Francisco, pizza was often the only option in many markets. That has started to change as on-demand delivery services like DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats have proliferated, joining GrubHub to expand delivery options.”

Read more here.