An Inspired Partnership, Wingstop Flies to Australasia and $1.5 Billion Dubai Food Hall

The top five specials on MRM’s Daily Bite include a celebrated chef introducing a product line designed to inspire, Wingstop’s planned expansion in Australia and New Zealand and an upcoming spot for the Museum of Ice Cream.

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Destination Dining in the Middle East

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, unveiled the blueprint for Dubai Food Park (DFP), the latest addition to Dubai Wholesale City (DWSC.) To be developed at a cost of US$1.5 billion,  it is the first destination in the Middle East dedicated to serving the food sector.  Conceptualized at a time when food trade makes up 11 percent of the UAE’s GDP and the food industry is estimated to grow by 70 percent to US$6.3 billion by 2030, the park will offer all categories of food wholesale services to meet the high demand of the food sector in the UAE and the wider region.

Central Wholesale Market within Dubai Food Park

DFP will span over 48 million square feet within DWSC, the largest wholesale hub in the world occupying 550 million square feet that will take shape over a 10-year period at an estimated cost of US$8.2 billion. T

DFP will fall under the supervision and responsibility of Abdulla Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Wholesale City, who said: “DFP has been established to meet the increased need for specialized logistical services to reduce supply chain costs. The Park will be a one-stop destination for government, administrative and logistical services related to food wholesale, import, export and re-export.”

The Park will feature a central wholesale market serving the retail, hospitality and food service sector, a logistics area, complementary services area, handling packaged goods area, a facility for recycling organic waste, and a comprehensive range of governmental services including customs clearance, licensing, food safety and inspection – all under one roof.

US Foods Teams with Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Chef Marcus Samuelsson and  US Foods will introduce a line of new products aimed at bringing restaurant operators unique flavors to help inspire their menus. Through this partnership, the company is introducing six products as part of its 2017 Fall Scoop™ product lineup, launching on September 18. Developed in collaboration with Chef Samuelsson, the products offer operators flavor combinations inspired by his Ethiopian and Swedish heritage and his roots in Harlem, New York, home to three of his 11 restaurants: Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club and Streetbird Rotisserie. 

Chef Marcus Samuelsson and US Foods Senior Product Developer, Amanda Schmid showcase new product, Harbor Banks® Smoked Norwegian Salmon

“Chef Samuelsson’s passion and creativity have already made a significant impact on the restaurant industry and his community,” said Andrew Iacobucci, chief merchandising officer, US Foods. “By combining the scale of US Foods with Chef Samuelsson’s skills, this partnership is one of the many ways US Foods is redefining the foodservice industry and differentiating ourselves as a partner to independent restaurants.”

The products include:

Patuxent Farms® Uptown Par-Fried Chicken Thigh – Inspired by Chef Samuelsson’s famous Yard Bird Chicken from Red Rooster Harlem, this dish is a cross between Grandma’s fried chicken and world cuisine. The item includes buttermilk, coconut milk, and a touch of Berbere seasoning along with the crunch of traditional southern breading.

Molly’s Kitchen® Spicy Battered Cauliflower with Aleppo Pepper – Easily deep-fried or baked, Molly’s Kitchen Spicy Battered Cauliflower with Aleppo Pepper serves up a tender cauliflower floret in crispy batter, seasoned with a gentle, well-balanced Middle Eastern spice.

Monarch® Addis Style Spice Blend – Inspired by the traditional Ethiopian Berbere spice blends, this version factors in cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and chile de árbol. This item can be used as a fiery rub for meat, poultry and fish, and seasoning for stews, soups, grains and vegetables.

Chef’s Line® Cornbread Muffin – By adding big-city spice to down-home soul food, this collaboration has livened up traditional corn muffins with the warm red and gently sweet spice of Aleppo pepper.

Harbor Banks® Smoked Norwegian Salmon – A staple in Sweden where Chef Samuelsson grew up, this Norwegian salmon is cold-smoked for 24 hours using Beechwood at a critical point in the process which contributes to higher quality and sensory attributes.

Harbor Banks® Smoked Norwegian Trout – Sometimes known as Norwegian Atlantic steelhead trout, this delicious dish has a rich red color and firm texture.

“One of the things I’m most excited about is creating items that are both on-trend and delicious,” said Chef Samuelsson. “This partnership with US Foods will bring unique ingredients and distinctive flavors to restaurants across the country. I can’t wait to see what chefs will do to make these products their own.”

Wingstop Flies into New Frontiers

Wingstop Restaurants Inc. is extending its global reach by expanding into Australia and New Zealand. The company entered into a franchise agreement with a newly created entity under John Bridgeman Limited. Over the next 10 years, the partners estimate 110 restaurants will open across Australia and New Zealand with the first Wingstop set to open in Brisbane during the first half of 2018.

Leading the efforts on behalf of John Bridgeman Limited is managing director Stuart McAuliffe who specializes in identifying investment opportunities and providing extensive financial and management support. John Bridgeman Limited is also a master franchisee of American restaurant brand, Johnny Rockets.

“This is a very exciting project for our food and beverage team,” said McAuliffe. “The chicken category is underserved in Australia, and our research indicates that Wingstop’s proven success can be replicated in Australia and New Zealand. We have invested in due diligence and planning over the last year to maximize this opportunity. The team brings food and beverage management combined with real estate skills and financial management, which places us in a strong position to rapidly expand the Wingstop brand.”

“Our expansion into Australia and New Zealand is an exciting step as we grow our brand internationally and continue on our mission to serve the world flavor,” said Larry Kruguer, president of international at Wingstop. “Stuart and his team have been very successful and have begun focusing attention in the local food and beverage sector by introducing great American fast casual brands like ours. Australia is a major consumer of chicken, and our uniquely flavored wings provide a differentiated offering in the market.”

Openings in Australia and New Zealand will mark the eleventh and twelfth international markets outside of the United States; and the sixth and seventh new markets announced over the past 12 months. The company recently opened the first Wingstop locations in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Wingstop Inc.  operates and franchises more than 1,000 locations across the United States, Mexico, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. 

Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice Enters U.S. Market

Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice is ready to expand its footprint into the United States. With more than 6,000 locations across China, Australia, Japan and Singapore, the brand recently announced that it will open its first U.S. restaurant in Tustin, California on Sunday, Sept. 10.

“What makes us different is that we celebrate one delicious dish that has a rich tradition in Chinese culture: Huang Men braised chicken,” said founder Xiao Lu Yang, who opened the first Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice in 2011. “This dish, a staple of the well-known Shangdong-style, Lu Cai cuisine, is fairly complex and requires a commitment to flavor and ingredients, which we ensure through making sure the sauce is consistent across all our locations. We’re ready to bring Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice to Tustin, and eventually across the entire state of California and beyond.”

Xiao Lu Yang

The restaurant’s single menu item got its start when Yang’s grandmother acquired the secret recipe for the sauce and began serving it at the family’s many well-known independent restaurants. With years of culinary training under his belt, Yang began lovingly adapting the sauce of the braised chicken recipe and added rice before launching it at his fast casual restaurants in 2011.

“Our restaurants are focused on providing customers with an easy, delicious experience, and that starts with our signature braised chicken rice dish,” said Yang. “We aspire to be the dish of choice for the young at heart and the young of age. With our home-cooked, taste-of-childhood flavors, we hope to transport our guests to their family dinner table.” 

While the majority of locations in China are owned by multi-unit franchisees, the Tustin restaurant will be owned and operated by the corporate team. The brand aims to start signing deals with qualified franchisees to bring the brand to targeted markets such as throughout California, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. At 1,500 square feet, the Tustin restaurant has enough seating for 40 and will feature both dine-in and carryout. Yang’s Braised Chicken Rice opened its first restaurant in Ji Nan, Shandong Province in 2011 and has since franchised more than 6,000 locations across China, Australia, Japan and Singapore.

San Francisco Screams for Ice Cream

The Museum of Ice Cream announces its third location in San Francisco. Following  demand in Los Angeles and New York City, Museum of Ice Cream opens its doors this September at historic 1 Grant Avenue. The museum features ten thematically tailored, immersive installations produced entirely by its in-house design team. Interactive elements include a magical candy garden, psychedelic rainbow unicorns, a push pop installation, a cherry on top sky, the Sprinkle Pool, top photo, and new tastings, including an original Museum of Ice Cream flavor.

Founder and Creative Director Maryellis Bunn was drawn to the challenge of creating and designing the next Museum of Ice Cream in a historical building with stunning architectural highlights. Located in an old bank near San Francisco’s Union Square, Museum of Ice Cream’s modern design and signature playfulness stands in stark contrast with the 108-year-old historic landmark. Underneath Museum of Ice Cream’s forty-five foot dome ceilings is the famous Sprinkle Pool – filled with over one hundred million custom designed sprinkles.

Museum of Ice Cream San Francisco opens September 17.

Museum of Ice Cream Los Angeles, image courtesy of Katie Gibbs