Just Salad: Healthy Salad in a Reusable Bowl

While plant-based brands and restaurants are on the rise, few are able to successfully craft a workable menu that is simultaneously health-conscious, flavorful, and sustainable. Just Salad is the rare fast casual chain that has achieved all three goals, while also keeping prices affordable.

On the latest episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen & Bar, host Megan Harris chats with Nick Kenner, founder and CEO of Just Salad. Two years after graduating from college, Kenner left the finance industry in the hopes of creating a platform for healthy food at a reasonable cost. Kenner shares with Harris some of the secrets behind the success of his ever-expanding chain.

“There are very few places in this country where you can get local organic items under ten dollars that taste great and are healthy,” says Kenner. “We’re delivering on every aspect of that.”

And for Kenner, securing local partnerships has been absolutely essential in keeping food taste and quality consistent. “Local supports the community that we are doing business in. It’s also about freshness and sustainability,” adds Kenner. “The less that food has to travel, the less gas and resources that goes into it—and honestly, it just tastes better.”

Just Salad also utilizes a bowl rewards program that represents the largest restaurant reusable program in the United States. Recognized by the EPA, the bowl program provides new customers with a reusable bowl containing their purchased salad. Whenever a customer returns to Just Salad for another salad with that bowl, one of the items in their salad is added for free.

Watch the video above to learn the recipes behind Just Salad’s popular crunchy avocado toast and autumn caesar salad, and keep watching Smart Kitchen and Bar on Foodable On-Demand.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer

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Knouse Foods on Apple Butter and Identifying Fads vs. Trends

Consumers today are constantly evolving in terms of how and where they want to engage with food. The Food Leaders podcast aims to highlight the innovative companies that are working to meet those changing needs while simultaneously exploring how to improve the food system on a global scale.

The podcast’s opening episode features Todd Michael, the director of sales for the food service division of Knouse Foods. With 150 growers, six processing plants in two states, and over fifty years of service, Knouse Foods is a grower-owned co-op that prioritizes high quality, nutritious ingredients. Some of the brands that have partnered with the co-op include household names like Musselman’s and Lucky Leaf.

“We’ve looked at trends in data as well as our customer needs and wants, and we wanted to look at what the future could hold as far as apple butter and unique flavors,” says Michael. “We’re beyond the millennials. We’re tapping into the future generation as well as the current base.”

Knouse Foods is adding a number of new flavors to its product line, and the company has a particularly unique approach when it comes to crafting and understanding apple butter. “Apple butter is made by slow simmering of our grower apples, and we add a little sugar and spice to it,” says Michael. “It’s more than just a spread—it’s also a delicious and versatile ingredient.”

While Knouse Foods is tapping into current trends, Michael advises new or emerging businesses to be careful about investing in a recently popular concept or type of product. Trends can transform into a forgotten fad in the span of a year, and product development typically requires nine to eighteen months before launch. Gather as much market data as possible regarding packaging, flavors, and consumer wants and needs first.

“We want to yield the best results for our growers,” adds Michael. “We’re successful on our side, and they’re successful on their side. That’s our largest differentiators from our competitors.”

This episode is sponsored by IFMA. Check out the podcast above to learn more about the company’s conservation efforts, multimillion water treatment facility, and its solar power innovations in Pennsylvania!

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer

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EveryPig Offers First-of-Its-Kind Pig Health App

In this episode of The Barron Report, host Paul Barron sits down with Chris Bomgaars, the founder of pig health and management tool EveryPig. Barron and Bomgaars discuss the agtech industry at large, the unique struggles that swine producers, veterinarians, and caregivers currently face, and how EveryPig is using complex artificial intelligence algorithms to revolutionize the swine industry.

Episode Highlights:

  • Bomgaars shares his contract farming background and family swine business.

  • How do you build a system to work with pig owners and veterinarians in the global market?

  • Explain the concept of artificial intelligence and farming, and how it is already being implemented.

  • Some of the largest food companies in the world are afraid to use the technology because of a lack of education.

  • How many pigs are currently monitored within the app?

  • Are you interested in expanding to other species?

  • The app could become the industry standard, but other countries may take the lead before the United States.

  • What is the process for recruiting caregivers?

  • Animal protein vs. plant-based are starting to jockey for position—how do you see that panning out in the future?

  • What federal regulatory changes might be in the pipeline?

  • What does the future of EveryPig look like?

Three Key Points:

  • The swine industry needs to develop a quicker response time to medical concerns and lower pig mortality rates.

  • Telemedicine is ready for the industry—people simply need to be educated about its usage and benefits.

  • EveryPig aims to lower consumer costs, increase profits for producers with healthier pigs, and reduce overall antibiotic usage in animals.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “The goal of EveryPig is to help every pig on the planet.” – Chris Bomgaars

  • “It’s not super sexy, but we’ve probably got the world’s largest database of swine post-mortem high resolution images. It’s incredibly important to make diagnoses and treat those animals.” – Chris Bomgaars

  • “We’re looking to get to a point where we’re going to be able to leapfrog the dependency we currently have on human caregiving in terms of their observations.” – Chris Bomgaars

To keep listening, check out The Barron Report podcast on iTunes Now!

Produced by:

Paul Barron

Paul Barron

Editor-in-Chief/Executive Producer


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Restaurant Masters: The Formula to Create a Badass Brand

In today’s crowded restaurant industry, most brands focus more on year-to-year survival than mastering their particular market. To compete, companies lower prices, offer promotions, and do everything they can price-wise to get customers in the door—and while rewarding at first, these techniques tend to do little to engender consumer loyalty.

This episode of Restaurant Masters features restaurant coach and former restaurant owner Donald Burns. In part three of his series on building a successful restaurant brand, he offers his best tips for creating a “badass” brand that dominates—rather than competes in—your chosen market. He has written the acclaimed books 2017 Your Restaurant Sucks! and the 2019 Your Restaurant STILL Sucks! and was featured in restaurant software company Toast’s Top Restaurant Experts to Follow in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

“A badass brand is created from core values, emotions, your mission, and your culture,” says Burns. “If you are confused about your brand, your guests are confused too.”

For Burns, truly successful restaurants “disrupt the status quo.” Rather than inventing a new market or type of meal, they simply offer a different approach to a common concept that raises the bar in terms of customer service and consumer experience.

So what are the steps to becoming a badass brand? Successful brands have three key elements: a coherent, concise understanding of your core values and brand promise, a brand kit composed of your restaurant’s image, logo, colors, and fonts, and the ability to consistently convey and execute your brand story.

“All houses need a solid foundation—and for a brand, that’s your culture,” adds Burns. “Core values are what separate the average from the outstanding. If you cannot strive to be an example of the core values your brand has, then they’re not core values, they’re just wishful thinking.”

Check out the episode above to learn more about developing a strong tagline and strategically engaging in social media and traditional market channels!

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Darisha Beresford

Production Manager / Sr. Producer

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Modern Market on Scaling a Sustainable, Health-Focused Restaurant

An increasing number of restaurants are investing in healthy, sustainable ingredients and sourcing from local farms. However, few of those restaurants are able to successfully expand beyond one location.

Modern Market is one of those exceptions. With 28 restaurants in five states, Modern Market specializes in craft, quality products that are free of chemicals, artificial ingredients, and antibiotics, and are fully made from scratch.

Anthony Pigliacampo co-founded Modern Market with his business partner Robert McColgan in 2009, and the two remain co-CEOs of the company. With a background in mechanical engineering and product design, he initially designed products and services for a number of companies, including McDonald’s. And while he admired McDonald’s ability to quickly scale, he began to imagine a franchised business that could better serve its repeat customers’ health in the long-term.

“I couldn't reconcile how you were supposed to eat out all the time and eat at the places available and not have your health suffer greatly,” says Pigliacampo. “We’ve always hoped to prove that healthier, better for you, more complex food could have the same economic return or better than pure fast food.”

And choosing that concept has proved to be a boon for the company. “The competition is generally focused in clumps,” adds Pigliacampo. “And in our space—the ‘better for you’ one—because it’s a little bit harder, there’s not that many players in it. It’s allowed us to grow a little more unencumbered.”

Navigating an ever-expanding business can be tricky. Having a planned set of economic goals to meet for each new restaurant is critical—and in a crowded market, social media is often insufficient when trying to spread awareness to potential customers of your latest expansion after joining a new market. Even when customers come, new restaurants mean more “failure points” for the overall brand in terms of quality and consistency.

To combat this, Modern Market has “a full suite of online videos for essentially every step in every process that goes on in our restaurants,” says Pigliacampo. “The biggest trend we’re observing with new customers is that the expectation of the guest continues to go up at an extraordinarily high rate… people have a higher level of culinary sophistication than ever before.”

Check out the podcast above to learn more about the Modern Market ethos, the restaurant’s investment in innovation and local supply chains, and what lies ahead for the brand.

Produced by:

Darisha Beresford

Olivia Aleguas

Producer