Please send plant-based news to Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine’s Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

Stutz Joins Native Foods

Native Foods appointed Carin Stutz as the new chief executive officer for the plant-based restaurant group where she will focus on supporting sustainable growth for Native Food’s 13 restaurant locations in California, Oregon, Colorado and Chicago.

Carin Stutz

As somewhat of a full-circle moment, Stutz studied food and nutrition in college, with a concentration on utilizing soy-based foods as protein substitutes. “It was a forward-thinking notion at the time. Now, plant-based dishes are not only popular, they are a part of the everyday eating habits of diners,” Stutz said.

Now at Native Foods, she is looking forward to applying her leadership skills and passion for plant-based dining in her role as CEO. “I look forward to helping the Native Foods team grow. This unique brand is one of the true innovators in the area of creating plant-based food choices with delicious and flavor options. It’s a wonderful opportunity to build on the culture that has been established over the last 25 years. As my own dietary choices have become more plant-based, I find Native Foods to be a great resource, beyond the ever-popular plant-based burgers. The menu’s variety and creativity result in simply delicious offerings that are loved by all.”

Robert Millstone, managing partner of Millstone Capital Advisors, the manager for the parent company for Native Foods is thrilled to have Stutz join the brand. “Carin has demonstrated the ability to build teams that embrace continuous improvement, operational excellence and an exceptional guest experience. We are confident these and her many other abilities will position Native Foods to serve more people with new stores in existing and future markets.” 

Most recently, Stutz served as executive vice president and chief operating office for Red Robin where she oversaw 560 restaurants across the United States and Canada. She also served as president for McAlister’s Deli with FOCUS Brands; chief executive officer and president of Cosi; and president of Global Business Development for Brinker International, leading all operations and franchise development for 240 Chili’s and Maggiano’s restaurants around the globe. Prior to her work at Brinker, she was executive vice president of operations for Applebee’s International, Inc., and she also worked as vice president for the Central Division and later Pacific Division for Wendy’s International, Inc. 

In addition, she has served as the past chair of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, a leading organization in the food service industry, dedicated to developing gender-diverse leadership talent. She has been recognized in Chicago’s Top 100 Women to Watch and Women Making a Difference; Texas Women Worth Watching award; received the distinguished alumni award from WIU; and is a national judge for ProStart, NRA Education Foundation. In her free time, she enjoys music, theatre, golf, and travel with her husband Rodger as well as spending time with her two sons and their families, including four grandsons.

Stutz will be leading the Native Foods team from the brand’s headquarters in Chicago.

Courtyard by Marriott Goes Beyond

Recognizing the growing demand for plant-based offerings*, Courtyard by Marriott has partnered with plant-based powerhouse Beyond Meat® to satisfy cravings. The announcement marks the first brand-wide initiative to partner with a plant-based food company within Marriott International’s extensive portfolio.

Travelers can now enjoy Beyond Meat on the road at Courtyard by Marriott’s Bistro Bar at nearly 1,000 hotels across North America. (*A recent study found that “95% of consumers who have ordered a plant-based burger in the past year also order animal meat burgers.” NPD QSR Study, 2019)

Courtyard introduced two new menu items featuring Beyond Meat’s products to its Bistro Bar menu:

●       The Beyond BurgerTM, the world’s first plant-based burger designed to look, cook and satisfy like beef without GMOs, soy, or gluten. Topped with gruyere, lettuce, tomato, and garlic aioli on a brioche roll, with French fries or arugula salad. Suggested Retail Pricing: $11.50 – $13.00 (depending on location)

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●    Beyond Meat® Roasted Red Pepper Flatbread, topped with plant-based Beyond Meat, roasted red pepper sauce, mozzarella cheese, banana peppers, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil., top photo. Suggested Retail Pricing: $9.25 – $11.00 (depending on location)

 Health Tribes

While not solely plant-based, Just Salad, the NYC-based fast casual concept that cultivates healthier lifestyles by serving real food at an affordable price, is exclusively partnering with Grubhub, the nation’s leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace, to launch a new virtual restaurant, Health Tribes™. The digital-only concept features a variety of diet-specific recipes that are available exclusively on Grubhub and orderjustsalad.com.

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Supporting Just Salad’s “Healthy for Everyone” mission, Health Tribes customers can find nutritionist-verified recipes based on their individual dietary preferences. Just Salad developed the Health Tribes virtual restaurant to provide curated recipes for those following Keto, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Paleo diets.

“Just Salad has always been dedicated to making healthy food accessible to everyone, and the Health Tribes brand is a continuation of that mission,” said Stephen Swartz, VP of Marketing at Just Salad. “As the dietary needs and preferences of our guests evolve, we’re taking this step with Grubhub to evolve right alongside them.”

“Whether it’s picking up on the go or ordering lunch to the office, Just Salad has recognized the changing tastes of consumers, and we’re excited to partner with them on this new concept. We want to empower our diners to find what they want – and need – for their own lifestyle, and the new Health Tribes menu is making that possible,” said Raleigh McClayton, VP & GM, Business Development/Enterprise at Grubhub. “By leveraging our data and insights across the platform, we were able to work with Just Salad to help strategically inform new concepts and menus, and we see this as the first phase of innovation around their virtual restaurant concepts.”

In addition to existing favorites like The California (Keto, Gluten-Free, and Paleo) and Tokyo Supergreens with Tofu (Vegan), Health Tribes features exciting new salad and warm bowl recipes developed by Just Salad’s R&D team, including:

  • Feisty Fiesta Bowl (Vegan): Cauliflower + Broccoli Rice, Red Cabbage, Corn, Grape Tomatoes, Pickled Red Onions, Tortilla Chips, Cilantro
  • Beyond Tex Mex (Vegan): Supergreens Blend, Beyond Beef® Meatballs, Black Beans, Corn, Pickled Red Onions
  • Mushroom Harvest Bowl (Vegan): Black Rice + Bulgur Wheat, Supergreens Blend, Organic Sesame Tofu, Roasted Balsamic Mushrooms, Broccoli, Carrots
  • Warm Shawarma Bowl (Keto): Cauliflower + Broccoli Rice, Baby Spinach, Warm Chicken Shawarma, Pickled Red Onions, Grape Tomatoes, Cilantro (Net Carbs: 17g)
  • Spicy Buffalo Bowl (Keto): Cauliflower + Broccoli Rice, Kale, Grilled Chicken, Sharp White Cheddar, Celery, Carrots (Net Carbs: 15g)
  • Pesto Parm (Keto): Kale + Spinach, Red Cabbage, Grilled Chicken, Shaved Parmesan, Grape Tomatoes (Net Carbs: 12g)
  • Protein Power (Paleo): Romaine + Arugula, Grilled Chicken, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Hard-Boiled Egg, Avocado, Grape Tomatoes
  • Mediterranean Bowl (Paleo): Cauliflower + Broccoli Rice, Arugula, Warm Chicken Shawarma, Carrots, Cucumbers
  • Cauli-Crunch Bowl (Paleo): Cauliflower + Broccoli Rice, Arugula, Grilled Chicken, Pumpkin Seeds, Grape Tomatoes, Carrots

A Proggy Award (“Proggy” is for “progress”) is on its way from PETA to Just Salad in honor of its recent decision to remove all beef from its menu and, instead, offer diners Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef meatballs, citing red meat’s “huge carbon footprint.” While other dining chains have added vegan meat options, Just Salad is the first to replace beef entirely with a vegan protein option.

“We can envision a completely meatless menu at Just Salad within the next five years,” said Just Salad Chief Sustainability Officer Janani Lee.

“By ditching beef in favor of Beyond Beef meatballs, Just Salad just got on board with the vegan dining trend,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “As the demand for delicious vegan fare continues to skyrocket, PETA looks forward to seeing more eateries veganize their menus—for the sake of animals, the environment, and diners’ health.”

Fatburger’s Vegan Milkshake

FAT Brands, parent company of Fatburger, is proud to announce its latest menu addition, vegan milkshakes. Made with hand-scooped Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream, the new milkshakes topped with non-dairy whipped cream will debut at 12 Fatburger locations in Southern California on October 14.

Fatburger’s new vegan milkshakes will be available in two flavors, vanilla and strawberry, and are available starting today at the Beverly Hills, North Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Woodland Hills, Venice, Van Nuys, Wilshire, Redondo Beach, Carson, Santa Monic & Sepulveda, and Lincoln & Pico locations. This latest menu addition expands on Fatburger’s current vegan menu offerings, such as the Impossible Burger patty, and speak to the brand’s commitment of offering top-quality new items for customers of all dietary preferences to enjoy.

Hollywood’s iconic Fatburger is best known for its mouthwatering, juicy burgers made famous by founder Lovie Yancey in Los Angeles more than 70 years ago. Each burger is made-to-order with traditional toppings along with delicious add-ons including bacon, egg, cheese, and onion rings. In addition to their iconic burgers, Fatburger offers perfectly crisp fries and hand-scooped milkshakes.

“Our existing vegan items have performed incredibly well with not only vegans, but existing Fatburger customers who are looking to try something new. We have no doubt our new Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream milkshake will follow the same trajectory,” said Andy Wiederhorn, CEO of FAT Brands. “Like Fatburger, Craig’s Vegan Ice Cream is a Los Angeles institution. We are thrilled with the opportunity to partner with such a like-minded, local brand.” 

Houlihan’s Veggie Good

When the new fall menu offerings launched earlier this month, Houlihan’s also introduced “Veggie Good – Meatless Items From Our Menu ” which includes the new Crispy Cauliflower Stir Fry, which debuted in the Midwest to rave reviews. The popular Crunchy Spicy Cauliflower appetizer is now available in all restaurants (in the Northeast it’s called Firecracker Cauliflower.) 

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Vegetarian options include Avocado Toast, Margherita Flatbread, Original Baked Potato Soup (order without bacon), Housemade Veggie Burger, the Impossible Burger, Houlihan’s Famous Stuffed ‘Shrooms, Classic Spinach Dip, Loaded Guacamole with cotija cheese, and amazing Basil Pesto Brussels Sprouts. If soup is your game, the Original Baked Potato Soup or Roasted Tomato Bisque is sure to please your palette.

Menu items vary by location and the availability of produce and other ingredients may alter the menu in some markets. For example, in the northeast guests will find the Salsa Cruda Bruschetta on the vegetarian offerings, and in the Midwest restaurants the special menu insert features the Parmesan Frites served with chipotle mayo, tangy tomato and garlic parm dipping sauces.

“The Houlihan’s menu has a wide variety of options and although we’ve always identified the items that are vegetarian, we wanted to take it a step further and provide a special menu insert to make it easier for our guests with a vegetarian lifestyle,” said Bill Leibengood, chief marketing officer, Houlihan’s Restaurant, Inc. “We want to ensure that as we move forward with new menu development, that vegetarian options are an ongoing part of that process.”

“We realize how important it is to provide more than just a side salad or salad options for our guests who follow a vegetarian lifestyle,” added Angela Potts, senior marketing director of Houlihan’s Restaurant + Bar. “Bringing in fresh and on-trend items that highlight vegetarian ingredients is our focus – and ensuring these take center stage on our menu.”

Carl’s Jr. Adds to Beyond Lineup

Carl’s Jr.® expanded its partnership with Beyond Meat® to launch an innovative new menu item – the Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger. Drawing on the success of its Beyond Famous Star, the restaurant developed a new burger build meant to complement the Beyond Burger™ patty, while drawing on the flavors of its famed Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

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The new Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger will feature some of the restaurant’s most popular ingredients including a Beyond Burger patty topped with Carl’s Jr. original BBQ sauce, American cheese, crispy onion rings, all on a sesame seed bun, for an indulgent flexitarian option that turns BBQ on its head with a plant-based spin.

“After seeing the overwhelming demand for our Beyond Famous Star, in true Carl’s Jr. fashion we knew it was time to give customers even more plant-based innovations to delight their taste buds. With one Western Bacon Cheeseburger sold every second, we saw this as the perfect flavor inspiration – and so the new Carl’s Jr. Beyond BBQ Cheeseburger was born,” shared Patty Trevino, SVP of Carl’s Jr. Brand Marketing. “We’re always looking for the next great way to innovate and deliver the most craveable burgers, and we’re thrilled to continue our partnership with industry leader Beyond Meat to bring new and exciting flavors to our customers.”

Carl’s Jr. was one of the first major U.S. quick service restaurants to introduce a plant-based option to its menu in December 2018, and since then more than 4.5 million Beyond Famous Star burgers have been sold, making it the most successful burger launch for the brand in the past two years.

“It’s been great to see the strong positive consumer response Carl’s Jr. has received since launching the Beyond Burger on-menu as more and more consumers look for delicious plant-based meat options. The on-menu expansion of Beyond Meat reflects Carl’s Jr.’s continued enthusiasm around the brand partnership and commitment to delivering innovative options for their customers,” said Chuck Muth, Chief Growth Officer at Beyond Meat.

Impossible Burger Is Top Performer

Impossible Burger debuted on store shelves earlier this month, immediately becoming the No. 1 product sold at some of America’s favorite grocery stores — and remaining the top performer ever since.

Impossible Burger is sold in more than 17,000 restaurants nationwide. The flagship product from Impossible Foods made its worldwide debut in grocery stores September 20 at all outlets of Gelson’s Markets in Southern California.

Since its debut, Impossible Burger has remained the No. 1 packaged item at Gelson’s 27-unit chain. Since its launch, Gelson’s has sold more Impossible Burger than all types of ground beef from cows, based on both revenue and total number of pounds sold.

“No one could have predicted this level of pent-up demand for Impossible Burger,” said John Bagan, Gelson’s Chief Merchandising Officer. “We had die-hard Impossible fans buying 10 packages at a time, and we saw a record number of new customers who have never shopped Gelson’s before. It’s the biggest product launch we’ve ever had.”

On September 26, Impossible Burger became available in all 100 outlets of Wegmans in seven states and two Fairway locations in New York City. Impossible Burger immediately became the No. 1 single item sold in the meat department at Fairway’s two Manhattan locations.

In addition:

  • During its first full weekend on store shelves in Southern California, Impossible Burger outsold by more than six times the No. 2 most popular standalone SKU.
  • Impossible Burger buyers spent 72 percent more than the average shopper.
  • More than one-third of all shopping carts with Impossible Burger contained at least two 12-oz packages; Gelson’s imposed a 10-pack limit for the $8.99 item.
  • The most commonly cross-shopped items were: brioche buns, marinara sauce and cheddar cheese slices.
  • The retail launch comes as Impossible Foods accelerates production to meet scorching demand.
  • Last month, Impossible Foods announced a co-manufacturing collaboration with global food provider OSI Group, one of the largest food producers in the world. OSI has already begun to produce the Impossible Burger, adding short-term capacity to Impossible Foods’ plant in Oakland, Calif. OSI will continue to expand production of Impossible Foods’ flagship product throughout 2019 and thereafter.

In addition to its retail performance update, Impossible Foods hired tech industry sales leader Dan Greene as Senior Vice President of US Sales. Read more details in this news release.

Greene leads the Impossible Foods’ US sales team as it enters an unprecedented growth phase. Greene oversees both the foodservice division (which sells to restaurants, universities, theme parks, stadiums and other outlets) and the retail division, which will announce more grocery store partners throughout the next year.

The Impossible Burger is served in all 50 states and in nearly every type of cuisine — from burgers, tacos and pizza to poke sushi burritos. The Impossible Burger is now America’s most popular late-night delivery snack, according to Grubhub’s “State of the Plate” report, with delivery sales surging 529 percent in the first half of 2019 — proof that the product satisfies the midnight cravings of carnivores on the prowl for chow.

Whirled Peas Pop Up

Sabra’s Whirled Peas will be a limited-time pop-up experience reimagining the versatile Mediterranean dish as inspired by global culture and cuisine. Five chefs, each celebrated for sharing their heritage flavorfully through food, will collaborate with chef, cookbook author, and restauranteur Einat Admony to introduce a collection of original dishes featuring the plant-based favorite, reinterpreted. Presented by Sabra®, ‘Whirled Peas’ will be open to the public through November 24 with reservations available through the Resy app and Resy.com.

Rice Cake Gnocchi

“We are so excited to open the doors at Sabra’s first pop up in NYC. Hummus is a simple and delicious, plant-based food… a bowl of whirled chickpeas with tahini (ground sesame seeds,) aromatic herbs and rich oils,” said Jason Levine, Sabra CMO. “Hummus is Mediterranean in origin, yet we believe food has a transcending ability to connect us, which is the idea behind this pop-up experience. We are partnering with a group of brilliant chefs, with diverse culinary and cultural experiences, to reinterpret hummus and showcase the unexpected versatility and relatability of this nourishing and flavorful food. From hummus with tacos to tahini and Thai Pho, delicious things can happen when we connect in the kitchen. We think you’ll want to try this at home.”

A recent study conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Sabra examined how Americans look at culture and food, revealing Americans feel food is a true unifier. Among respondents, 84% percent indicate food is a welcoming and approachable way to share cultures with others and 88 percent cite food and recipes as preferred ways to first experience new cultures.

To create the unique pop-up experience, Sabra takes over and transforms Kish-Kash, a West Village based restaurant owned by Chef Admony whose new book “Shuk” was released last month. 

Whirled Peas Chefs:

Einat Admony– (NYC) Chef at Kish-Kash, Taim, and Balaboosta and author of Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking.

Wes Avila– (LA) James Beard Semi-Finalist for Best Chef, cookbook author and owner of Guerilla Tacos , Avila was awarded the Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide to California in 2019.

Esther Choi – (NYC) Hailed as New Rising Chef by Food Republic and named a Zagat 30 under 30 NYC Culinary Rockstar, Esther owns Mŏkbar and Ms. Yoo in NYC. 

Kwame Onwuachi – (DC) James Beard Award-winning executive chef at Kith/Kin and author of Notes from a Young Black Chef, the former Top Chef contestant was named one of Food & Wines Best New Chefs and a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes. 

Jet Tila – (LA) Chef, cookbook author (101 Epic Dishes) and TV personality, Chef Tila is the official Culinary Ambassador of Thai Cuisine. He has appeared on Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain, Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen, The Today Show, Beat Bobby Flay and stars in a new Food Network digital series Ready Jet Cook!

Deborah VanTrece– (GA) Owner of Twisted Soul Cookhouse and Pours and noted caterer for the Centennial Olympics, has been seen on Food Network and was named one of Zagat’s Most Badass Female Chefs.

“I’ve always got hummus stocked in the fridge and I am thrilled to partner with Sabra on this project,” said Chef Wes Avila. “When we share a meal, or even better, a kitchen with others, we can cook our way through pre-conceived culinary notions to bring something incredible to the table. Hummus is central to the cuisine of an entire region, yet it is rich enough to lend itself to creativity much like salsa and guacamole, making it a perfect food to infuse with unexpected textures and flavors.”

“There is no food quite like hummus,” said Chef Admony. “As a dip, of course it is delicious but if you stop there, you are really missing out. I am so proud to collaborate with Sabra and this special group of chefs, each of whom, like me understands the power of sharing of ourselves through food. My parents are from Iran and Yemen, I grew up in Israel, my husband is French, and my children are born in America. I know for a fact that opening palates leads to opening minds and arms. Cooking for others is both vulnerable and brave. That is what we have on the menu here at Whirled Peas and I am so thrilled to be part of it and to welcome these incredible chefs into the kitchen to cook with me.

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