BlueCart on Purchasing Trends and Camp Corral’s Record-Breaking Year

The TGIF version of MRM’s Daily Bite features news from BlueCart, Golden Corral, MasterClass, Carl’s Jr. and  The Chickery.

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Free BlueCart Report Uncovers Hospitality Purchasing Trends

Using data from BlueCart’s user community of 37,000 businesses, the company put together a one-of-a kind report that gives insights into the what, when, and why of purchasing patterns between restaurants and suppliers. It focuses on U.S. market trends providing businesses valuable insights as to where the food sector could be migrating in terms of demand. As a procurement app, BlueCart has gathered a significant amount of purchasing data across the food and beverage industry over the last three years. The report identifies potential market trends, risks, and opportunities through analysis of this data. 

The one-of-a kind report gives insights into the what, when, and why of purchasing patterns between restaurants and suppliers.

The data in this report is comprised of purchasing data from BlueCart’s users with some analysis of larger trends in the industry, provided by industry leaders. Key sectors that are covered are: meats, seafood, alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages, produce, bakery and paper goods. Possible emerging trends include farmed salmon and shrimp demand increasing while alternative cuts of chicken are decreasing in popularity. Additionally, analysis of mobile vs. desktop purchasing trends can be found in the report.

“We are eager to rollout the first BlueCart Report of relevant data trends to the food and beverage community! Our network of supplier users provides us the opportunity for an in-depth analysis of what products are in demand and what appears to be trending among consumers.  Our hope is that by providing this data to the public on a regular basis through these reports, it will allow businesses to stay up to date with what is popular in the marketplace and where they may want to focus their attention based on these potential emerging trends,” explained Konstantin Zvereff, CEO of BlueCart.

BlueCart invites restaurants and suppliers who are not using the BlueCart platform to share the report and provide feedback. BlueCart is also interested in learning about your own food and beverage buying behavior and how it aligns with the data from BlueCart’s customer base.  BlueCart welcomes commentary and continued conversation on this matter.  

David Barber from Blue Hill Farms commented, “BlueCart’s insight into consumer trends is unique. Over time, the data will help suppliers be more proactive and better equip restaurants to delight customers.”

To get your free copy of the report, click here.

Golden Corral Raises Record-Breaking Total for Camp Corral

Golden Corral raised more than $2 million to help support Camp Corral, a nonprofit corporation that provides free, one-of-a-kind summer camp experiences for children of wounded, injured, ill or fallen service members.

Golden Corral President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Trenary made the check presentation to Camp Corral at its annual convention in New York City in October.  The company also welcomed a family from Wendell, NC who attended Camp Corral earlier this summer.

“Camp Corral is part of our company culture, our company DNA” he said. “Our team gets it and it’s turned into a year-round event. This year, we had children from all 50 states.”

Donations for Camp Corral were collected from Golden Corral restaurants and their guests across the country, as well as a partnership with DAV (Disabled American Veterans).  This year they collected a record total of $2,035,971 to support Camp Corral and send 3,683 children to camp this summer.  Now in its seventh year, Camp Corral hosted 22 camps in 2017 and served families from all 50 states.  The camp provides kids, ages 8 to 15, a unique, weeklong experience where they are free to escape the challenges they face as military children.

“Golden Corral is appreciative of the incredible generosity of our guests, restaurant teams and partnership with DAV in raising a record amount to support Camp Coral,” added Trenary. “Through their donations, Camp Corral has been able to host thousands of military children across the country to a unique, summer camp experience.  This is just another way in which Golden Corral would like to thank military members and their families for the sacrifices they make for our country.”

Golden Corral is a long-standing supporter of American veterans. The company founded Camp Corral in 2011, and continues to provide generous support to the organization, a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt, nonprofit corporation. Since 2011, Golden Corral and its guests have provided more than $9 million to Camp Corral.

MasterClass Adds Culinary Scholars

MasterClass announced classes with new culinary instructors and a new All-Access Pass enrollment option. New classes with  Thomas Keller, Alice Waters, and Wolfgang Puck are open for pre-enrollment at Enrollment is $90 for an individual class or now $180/year for unlimited access to all new and existing classes with the newly launched All-Access Pass. Individual classes or a year of the All-Access Pass can also be given as a gift.

Thomas Keller, top photo, is one of the most accomplished chefs of our time. He is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide and he is the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France. In addition, he has been awarded the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurateur” Awards. More than one million copies of Chef Keller’s books, including the New York Times bestsellers “Ad Hoc at Home” and “Bouchon Bakery,” and “The French Laundry,” “Bouchon,” and “Under Pressure,” a book devoted to sous vide cooking, are in print. He is the chef / proprietor of The French Laundry, Per Se, Ad Hoc + Addendum, Bouchon, and Bouchon Bakery. Chef Keller is credited with setting a new standard for excellence within the culinary and hospitality profession.

In his first ever online class, Chef Keller teaches students his philosophy that culinary excellence comes from mastering the fundamentals. Lessons include his techniques for selecting and handling kitchen tools, preparing and creating foundational ingredients (like vegetables, eggs, and pasta), and the science behind cooking and ingredient preservation. Students of all skill levels will walk away with a sense of confidence in the kitchen, having mastered the skills required to execute recipes to perfection.

“If you learn the essentials of cooking they will last a lifetime,” said Keller. “Cooks cook to nurture people. My MasterClass students will learn that if they go through the proper steps, are patient in the process, and learn to understand ingredients, they will taste the difference and have the tools to succeed in making a nourishing meal.”

Alice Waters

When the kind of food Alice Waters wanted to eat wasn’t available in the United States, she brought seeds back from France and ultimately convinced farmers to adapt to her vision. The “mother of American cooking” has been a steadfast pioneer of the farm-to-table movement for more than 40 years, through her iconic restaurant, Chez Panisse — as well as her Edible Schoolyard program in public schools nationwide that aims to connect future generations to the power and pleasure of eating sustainably and deliciously.  Since then, Chez Panisse has ranked among the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” and Waters has received several James Beard Foundation Awards, Bon Appetit Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Humanities Medal for her food activism. Waters is also Vice President of Slow Food International and a champion of local, sustainable agriculture.  She established the Edible Schoolyard program in 1995, which brings organic gardens and sustainable food curriculum to schools around the world.

In her first ever online class, Waters teaches students her process and philosophy for how to find the best tasting organic ingredients and prepare them. Lessons include how to find the highest-quality, seasonal ingredients, approachable recipes and kitchen skills, and ingredient-led meal planning. Students will also gain a better understanding of where their food comes from, and the positive impact of simplified cooking with sustainable ingredients.

“When you change your relationship to food, it can change your life. I want my students to learn what nourishes the body and the soul. By focusing on the ingredients and techniques, cooking will become second nature to them,” said Waters.

Chef Wolfgang Puck’s fascination with food began at a young age in Austria, watching his mother cook in the kitchen. After cooking in restaurants across Monaco, Paris, and Los Angeles, Wolfgang opened his first restaurant, Spago, in 1982. Now located in Beverly Hills, the iconic restaurant offers an innovative approach to California cuisine with market-driven menus inspired by regions across Asia, Italy, and France. Puck has been the recipient of four Michelin stars and is the only chef to have received the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef Award Winner twice. The James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award-winning chef’s success comes from his understanding of flavor profiles, cooking techniques, and desire to always take risks. Today, over 100 restaurants across the globe boast the Wolfgang Puck name.

Wolfgang Puck

In his MasterClass, Puck shares his recipe of success with his students so that they too can be innovative in their culinary approach. In the only MasterClass to cover recipes for an entire menu, students will learn how to master key courses from starters to salads to mains, techniques on how to plate them, and sauces to complement each dish. This class is not only for the at-home chef, but also for aspiring restaurateurs, as Puck shares his approach to the restaurant business and his creative process for creating one of the most recognized culinary brands of all time.

“My students are going to learn many different recipes, presentations, and how to really make incredible things happen in the kitchen. In the end, the diners my students cook for should say ‘Did you learn that from MasterClass or did you go to study in Paris for a year?’” said Wolfgang Puck, MasterClass instructor.

Carl’s Jr. Coming to Manhattan

Carl’s Jr. is opening its first Manhattan location in Midtown, near Penn Station, at 425-427 Seventh Avenue.

Carl’s Jr.

With two floors of dining space, the restaurant will become the shining star for quick service food in the city and a refuge for New Yorker City commuters. Serving up everything from the new $5 All Star Meal to the brand’s iconic Handmade American Classics like 100% Black Angus Beef Thickburgers®, Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders™ and Hand-Scooped Ice Cream Shakes™, the new Carl’s Jr. will shadow the competition come January.

“We’re excited to open the first Carl’s Jr. in Manhattan in early 2018,” said Carl’s Jr. CMO Jeff Jenkins. We know New Yorkers are a tough burger crowd, but we’re confident that the Happy Star will outshine the competition. We’re looking forward to becoming a proud member of the NYC community, so keep your eyes open in the new year –  we’re coming in hot.”

The Chickery Rebrands at Dupont Circle

The Chickery, the  fast-casual “better chicken” concept, debuted two new menus and a complete rebranding of their Dupont Circle location.  The concept partnered with Chef Spike Mendelsohn, former Top Chef contestant and chef-owner of popular Washington D.C. restaurants Good Stuff Eatery, Santa Rosa Taqueria and We, The Pizza, to consult for the brand and bring his culinary expertise and proven track record of success to reinvent the menu and revitalize the concept.

The new lunch and dinner menu stars “The Chicky Bunch,” which includes several reimagined riffs of current sandwiches like The Chickery Classic and BBQ Big Dixie as well as new additions: #TheBlueHot with hot fried chicken, lettuce, pickles, blue cheese crumbles and buttermilk ranch dressing; #Tête-à-Cluck with rotisserie chicken, french fries, cheddar cheese curds and gravy; and vegetarian #CauliFire with battered and fried cauliflower steak, Chickery hot sauce, lettuce, tomato and buttermilk ranch dressing; and more.

Much of the existing menu was streamlined to align with “The Chicky Bunch,” and the options for sides, salads, sauces, and desserts was expanded.  In addition, the Dupont Circle location has also introduced a new late night menu that will be available Thursday through Sunday from 9:30 P.M. to 3:30 A.M which will feature Chicken Cones and select Chicky Bunch sandwiches.

Celebrity Chef Spike Mendelsohn

“The Chickery has strived to be a leader in the fast-casual chicken segment since day one,” said The Chickery’s President, Kert Gennings.  “As we focus our energy on franchising internationally, this rebranding and collaboration with Chef Spike, who has a proven track record in the success of fast-casual concepts and unparalleled culinary expertise, is a strategy to reignite The Chickery brand in Washington D.C. and beyond.”

As the company’s President, Gennings has been at the helm of the rebranding and franchising efforts since assuming the position in July 2017.  The industry veteran has collaborated with The Chickery’s franchising partner Fransmart to bring the “better chicken” concept to major markets in North America and internationally, including Northern California and Dubai. Fransmart is the franchise development company behind the explosive growth of restaurant brands like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, The Halal Guys and Qdoba Mexican Grill.

“The fast-casual chicken segment is one of the fastest growing in the industry, and The Chickery, with their rebranded concept and innovative menu of high quality, fresh chicken, in collaboration with Mendelsohn, positions the concept to flourish in any economy,” said Fransmart CEO, Dan Rowe.   

The Chickery  is currently looking for experienced multi-unit foodservice operators to develop franchise territories in major markets.