Chicago’s Sputnik Coffee Boldly Grows in Ways No Roaster Has Grown Before

Sputnik Coffee Roaster Chicago

Since lifting off its launchpad roastery in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago in 2017, startup Sputnik Coffee Roasters has rapidly carved out a niche for itself with a concise product line and personable service.

In response to rocketing demand, Sputnik has now tripled its capacity with a new 15-kilo, IMF roaster and upgraded its packaging from hand-stamped craft bags to printed bags.

Starting with smaller and lower-priced retail bags of its one core blend, Sputnik’s growth also depends on the sales work of co-founder Vova Kagan. And with the recent shift from hand-stamped craft bags to printed bags, the company also adjusted its labeling to provide info in multiple different languages, reaching directly out to more people in the communities it serves.

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Burgers still America’s favorite sandwich, chicken gaining ground

Image result for Burgers still America's favorite sandwich, chicken gaining ground“Burgers have been a top item ordered at U.S. restaurants for decades, but chicken sandwiches have come on strong over the last several years, according to The NPD Group receipt-harvesting service, Checkout, which tracks the same buyers’ purchasing behaviors over time. It found that although chicken sandwiches were still behind burgers in the sandwich pecking order, they were gaining ground. Over the 12 months ending February 2019, chicken sandwich orders were up 4% at 4 billion serving, but burger orders were flat at 8.6 billion ordered.

By the numbers, the average number of times a customer purchased a burger at a restaurant over the same period was 14.7 times, and the customer purchase frequency of chicken sandwiches was 8.7. Burgers also have the upper hand when it comes to menu importance or the percentage of all restaurant orders that include one. Burgers were included in 14.1% of all restaurant orders and chicken sandwiches were included in 6.5% of orders.”

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New York Restaurant To Host Nine Michelin-Star Chefs In A Special Dinner Series

Chefs Club

“For those looking for a unique and intimate dining experience, there’s now a special dinner series to consider.

Between May 13 and June 18, Val Cantu (Californios), Carrie and Rupert Blease (Lord Stanley), Erik Anderson (Coi) and five other chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants in the San Francisco and Bay Area will take over Chefs Club in Soho—celebrating the key ingredients, cooking and cultural influences Northern California has to offer.

This is the first New York 4×4 dinner series hosted by the Michelin Guide and Chefs Club—a restaurant group that has hosted nearly 200 world-acclaimed chefs on a rotation basis at their Manhattan, Aspen and St. Regis locations since 2012. Running four times each year, each dinner series will see renowned chefs bringing a combined rating of four stars to every table. (…)”

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This New York Restaurant Sets the Standard for American Fine Dining

“Their questions might start near where coats are collected, or in the bar. (“Your first time with us?” “Where are you from?”) And their eavesdropping determines whether you might be the sort of diner to welcome lamb chops or lamb brain. Unbeknownst to diners, the intel makes its way back to the kitchen, where an assembly of cooks and servers use it to create one-of-a-kind meals for people who might have booked months ahead for one of 75 seats.

You don’t get a menu when you sit down, in other words. You’re asked to trust chef Dan Barber and associates with your appetite. Barber, 49, opened the dining destination — a 35-minute express train ride from Manhattan, home to the original Blue Hill — with family members 15 years ago, on land donated by the late David Rockefeller Sr. Almost from the start, the one-time dairy barn and its environs, located within the nonprofit Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, have redefined American fine dining.”

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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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Three Owls Market: One Part Bodega, One Part Restaurant

Three Owls Market

“Lehrer Dumaine seeks to close the gap with Three Owls Market, which is one part bodega, one part prepared-foods all-day cafe and one part bar. The Mamaroneck, N.Y., native who lives close by, (“I’ve got it down to an eight-and-a-half-minute walk,” she says) hopes to serve the neighborhood with New York City bodega staples like Domino sugar, Heinz ketchup and toilet paper — and also feed and imbibe them, with a full menu of hot sandwiches, prepared vegetable dishes and rotisserie chicken, as well as craft beers and wine for happy hour.

To staff her full kitchen, Lehrer Dumaine brought in head chef Greer Lou, who previously worked as a private chef for Jessica Seinfeld at her Hamptons home, and is a veteran of Alice Waters’ Rome Sustainable Food Project.

Lehrer Dumaine has been working on Three Owls since 2017. The landlord for the property informed her the previous tenant — the Nonno Gourmet deli and bodega run by a man named Charlie — wanted to hang up his hat. Lehrer Dumaine said yes, and started on renovations and acquiring a liquor license; a process she says allowed her to become closer with the community.

“The liquor license process required me to meet with the neighborhood associations around here,” she explains. “That was really eye-opening to me because I’d never been involved with city politics before — just seeing how influential the people who live in a neighborhood can be, determining what goes where.”

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McDonalds Buys Dynamic Yield For $300 Million to Bring Big Data to Drive-Thru

Image result for McDonalds Buys Dynamic Yield For $300

“In a testament to the value of personalization, McDonald’s announced plans to acquire an Israel-based startup that uses data to serve up personalized offers to customers. According to people familiar with the matter, McDonald’s will acquire Dynamic Yield for upwards of $300 million.

The acquisition will inject technology into multiple areas of the traditional fast food restaurant, starting with a core feature: the drive-thru. McDonald’s tested the technology in a Miami location, where, according to Wired, the company’s algorithms took real-life factors like weather and traffic into account, suggesting appropriate menu items.

Thanks to new technology, restaurants collect plenty of data. But the practical application of that data is big business, and McDonald’s is seizing that opportunity with the Dynamic Yield buy.

“Upon closing of the acquisition, McDonald’s will begin to roll this technology out in the drive thru at restaurants in the United States in 2019 and then expand the use to other top international markets,” the company said in a statement on the news. “McDonald’s will also begin work to integrate the technology into all of its digital customer experience touchpoints, such as self-order kiosks and McDonald’s global mobile app.”

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