Dunkin’ Partners with Beyond Meat for a Plant-Based Breakfast

Dunkin’ is adding plant-based meat to its menu. The fast food chain has partnered with plant-based meat producer Beyond Meat to offer the brand new Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich.

As of yesterday, the sandwich is already available to purchase in 163 Manhattan locations. The chain appears poised to offer the sandwich nationwide in each of its 9,400 Dunkin’ locations by 2020. According to Dunkin’, this is the first time a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich has ever been sold in any restaurant in the United States.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, CEO David Hoffmann affirmed the company’s commitment to the product. “We absolutely believe this will move the sales needle for us. It’s a damn good product.”

Dunkin’ is responding to a growing consumer demand for plant-based meat products. And Dunkin’ is hardly the first fast food chain to recognize and invest in the concept: White Castle, Red Robin, Burger King, Little Caesars, and a number of other businesses have also partnered with plant-based giants like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. With plant-based now a billion dollar industry, it has become clear to restaurants large and small that meat substitutes are well worth investing in.

The Plant Based Foods Association reports that over the past year, plant-based meat sales has gone up by 10 percent, while refrigerated plant-based meat has gone up by 37 percent. Beyond Meat stock has also surged post-IPO by a whopping 734 percent according to Business Insider.

Hoffmann noted to CNN that for now, the company is still in the process of considering vegan sandwiches. “Right now we’re targeting flexitarians,” says Hoffmann. “[We] want to make sure that as we roll this out, we can give the customer a chance to customize this.”

How Otto's Tacos is Setting Its Business Apart

The Summer Fancy Food Show provides an opportunity for restaurants and industry operators to share new flavors, products, and ideas they hope will revolutionize the food industry. During this year’s signature Specialty Food Association (SFA) New York City event, host Paul Barron interviewed a number of emerging industry leaders on the live stage.

One of those interviews was with Otto Cedeno. Cedeno is the founder of popular fast casual Mexican chain Otto’s Tacos. The chain currently maintains four locations that can be found throughout New York City. Barron and Cedeno discussed entrepreneurship and the increasing popularity of fast casual chains.

Otto Cedeno came to New York City to attend college at New York University, and quickly found that something was missing: affordable Mexican food. In 2012, five years after graduating, he decided to create a southern California-inspired taqueria: Otto’s Tacos.

“Entrepreneurship is hot right now,” says Cedeno. “It’s easy to capitalize on great ideas.”

Maintaining a successful business model, however, can be quite difficult. New York City in particular is highly competitive and expensive. To combat this, Otto’s Tacos endeavors to keep things small. The chain only uses ingredients that are readily available and easy to access.

According to Cedano, a successful business excels in three key areas: service, hospitality, and consistent product. “If you focus on those three things,” says Cedano, “everything else can and should be forgivable.”

Third party delivery does add a wrinkle in achieving those three goals. Consumers are increasingly turning to delivery instead of making or going out to dinner, but ever-rising costs and food quality concerns are becoming significant issues for brands.

“‘Fees’ is definitely the buzzword when it comes to third parties,” Cedano affirms. “It’s such a fast-changing business with a lot of rotation. You have to keep your finger on the pulse—otherwise, you may miss a really important beat.”

Check out the video above to learn more about the future of Otto’s Tacos and its growing catering business!

CxRA Addresses New Catering Demand With State of The Art Facility

Most chefs would love to design their own kitchen, but few actually get to make it happen. This episode of “BUILT.” highlights Tim McLaughlin, the head chef of CxRA, and his vision for the catering company’s new facility in New York City.

CxRA is a custom caterer and part of the renowned Restaurant Associates family. Tim McLaughlin is both the company’s head chef and vice president of culinary services. He manages the sales, marketing, service, and design of CxRA. After a nine month search, McLaughlin selected a brick building with over 15,000 square feet of space—including a spacious parking lot perfect for housing CxRA trucks—that now comprises the catering company’s foodservice operations.

He then asked Christine Gurtler, the design director for Jacobs Doland Beer, and Thomas Mango, the senior project director for ENV, to help him create the blueprint design for the new kitchen.

“I know Tim and Restaurant Associates from work on other projects where they were the operator and we were the foodservice design consultant,” says Gurtler. “This was the first time we worked with Restaurant Associates where they were the client.”

CxRA has enjoyed steady growth since its inception—so much growth, in fact, that the company outgrew its first kitchen much more quickly than McLaughlin ever anticipated. This space would need to be functional and flexible.

THE CHALLENGE

While the space was largely a blank canvas, McLaughlin wanted to keep its industrial feel. He envisioned an open-concept kitchen filled with natural light that could meet the needs of the company’s ever-changing requirements. The design also needed to keep the loading dock easily accessible, as it serves as the beginning and end point for products.

“We needed a space that was going to be mobile at all times,” he explains. “We could be doing dinner for 100 one day, and the next day serving boxed lunches for 5,000.”

Mango and Gurtler were up for the challenge. “A lot of clients don’t always know exactly what they want,” says Mango. “Tim had a direction that really helped us.”

The goal of the design was to ensure that the company’s 107 cooks would be able to perform their day-to-day tasks in “as few steps as possible,” adds Gurtler. “Looking at the relationships between functions was critical during the design process.” The kitchen was to be employee-focused rather than office- and event-focused to ensure a comfortable working environment where the staff could meet the growing consumer demands of CxRA.

McLaughlin also wanted to avoid the problems of the old CxRA kitchen, knowing that in the catering world “you’re as good as your last party.”

“We can create a lot of smoke because of the amount of production we do,” says McLaughlin. “We wanted to make sure you can leave here and your clothes aren’t going to smell like food.”

McLaughlin followed Gurtler’s advice and had the Halton system installed—a decision he has not regretted since day one. The results have been life-changing in terms of flexibility and performance.

The result? A beautiful blend of brick, wood, and stone. With over 2,000 events a year, CxRA needed a place that felt inviting while still remaining functional.

The kitchen looks entirely different during the day compared to at night, allowing for unique design and event opportunities. The large, industrial-sized windows also provide an amount of natural light uncommon to most New York City kitchens. And whether for crafting pastries, chopping ingredients, or completing general prep, every space serves a purpose.

This episode is brought to you by Halton. . M.A.R.V.E.L. is the only technology able to adjust the exhaust airflow rate of every hood, independently and in real time, while keeping the balance between exhaust and supply, whatever the number of cooking zones or the number of fans. It reduces the exhaust airflow rates by up to 64%.

Research by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


VIEW BIO

NYC Council Investigates Third Party Delivery Companies

This past June, the Small Business Committee within the City Council of New York conducted a hearing regarding third party delivery business practices. The investigation, entitled “The Changing Market for Food Delivery,” is arguably the first of its kind. The hearing endeavored to address the growing tensions between restaurant operators and third party delivery companies.

“New York continues to be a trailblazer,” said Committee Chairman Mark Gjonaj. “I’m proud to be part of this historic moment.”

Restaurant operators hope that the hearing will kindle new government regulations that better protect the needs of the industry. According to Robert Bookman, counsel for the local industry trade group New York City Hospitality Alliance, “We’re calling for both the federal government and the state attorney general to look into this matter.”

The Small Business Committee called on restaurant operators, third party delivery companies, and various trade groups to share their practices, concerns, and complaints. The hearing was open to the public. Discussion ran long, and largely focused on rate structures, questionable fees, and the future plans of third party delivery companies.

The difference in perspective between the restaurant operators and the third party deliverers was considerable. Operators like Robert Guarino, the co-founder of 5 Napkin Burger, argued that delivery companies have every intention of moving toward discarding restaurants and offering their own meals for delivery. Third party representatives emphatically denied this claim.

Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the Hospitality Alliance, provided the council with an extensive list of questions for third party deliverers. Some of the questions addressed:

  • If financial factors don’t determine where a restaurant is listed on a third party’s app, what variables do? How can restaurants be safeguarded against erroneous fees?

  • Who owns the information on a restaurant’s customers who order through a third party, and what happens to the data if the establishment pulls out of the arrangement?

  • Does the prominence and penetration of the big third-party delivery services constitute a restraint of trade?

Restaurant operators appear to universally agree that third party delivery companies need to interact with restaurants in a clearer and more transparent fashion, and third party representatives at the council pledged to provide that. Next steps for both sides of the industry, however, remain unclear.

Why are CBD Edibles Being Pulled Off Restaurants in Some Parts of the Country?

Across various parts of the country, health department officials are asking restaurants to voluntarily pull CBD-infused foods and drinks off menus.

The latest local and regional governments that have reportedly taken steps against CBD are New York City, California, Texas, and Ohio banning the substance from restaurants and retail stores.

For example, according to the New York City’s official government website, beginning July 1, New York City restaurants that don’t comply with the CBD ban voluntarily could be embargoed of their CBD products by the health department... and by October 1, officials “will begin issuing violations to restaurants and retailers for offering CBD-laced foods and drinks. Violations may be subject to fines as well as violation points that count toward the establishment’s letter grade.”

CBD, or cannabidiol, which derives from cannabis, doesn’t cause the psychoactive effects for the lack of enough THC—the compound that gives people the “high” sensation.

In fact, CBD proponents claim the substance is mainly used for its therapeutic benefits helping people relax, ease pain, anxiety, insomnia, and even depression.

Despite the fact that not many studies have been done on cannabidiol in human trials, as pointed out by a recent New York Times article, we are seeing an immense amount of CBD products being sold across the country, with Walgreens as the latest retailer to announce plans to sell creams, patches, and sprays in nearly 1,500 stores in select states.

So, why is it being pulled out of the restaurant space, specifically?

Although, the farm bill that was passed in December 2018 legalized industrial hemp in the U.S., this only means industrial hemp was removed from the controlled substance category. Anything that is put in foods and drinks has to be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and, as of right now, CBD is not determined safe or effective for other health conditions aside from being an active ingredient in an approved drug that treats two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

The FDA regulations are something different and there’s a huge push from lawmakers to change this.

Since there is no federal law specifically addressing CBD-laced edibles, some states, like Colorado and Maine, have already attempted to clarify the status of the substance by passing laws allowing the addition of CBD to food, as reported by Reuters. California and Texas have introduced bi-partisan legislation to do the same, as reported by the Associated Press.

Last week, the FDA slated the first public hearing to take place May 31 to discuss how to regulate CBD food and beverage products.

In the meantime, here at Foodable, we are tracking the latest in this arena:

In a podcast episode of Chef AF, Chef Brandon Foster shares with us a personal anecdote about how CBD has positively affected a local farmer to The point where this person wanted to dedicate the rest of his available land to grow hemp for the CBD industry.

In an On Foodable Feature episode, our host Layla Harrison breaks down for our audience some of the CBD-infused products that have stood out from the rest.

And in a Barron Report podcast episode, we learned about Azuca— a company offering CBD and THC products ranging from edibles to sweet syrups.

We expect to continue hearing about ‘Culinary Cannabis’ and its impact on the restaurant business and society as a whole. so, stay tuned for more interesting content!