#DryJanuary and Drunken Clam Pop Up

This edition of MRM’s News Bites features  Cruise and DoorDash, Beyond Meat and Carl's Jr., Mediaplanet (with  a little help from Modern Restaurant Management) , Allergen Control Group, Listen Bar and The Whippersnapper aka The Drunken Clam.

Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

Autonomous Food Delivery

The Future is here. Cruise and DoorDash are partnering to pilot food and grocery delivery by Cruise’s autonomous vehicles through the DoorDash platform. The testing program will begin in early 2019 with an initial focus on the San Francisco market.

“Delivery is a significant opportunity for Cruise as we prepare to commercialize our autonomous vehicle technology and transform transportation,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann. “Partnering with DoorDash will provide us with critical learnings as we further our mission to deliver technology that makes people’s lives better and more convenient.”

DoorDash  will use Cruise autonomous vehicles to test and improve the efficiency of getting food and groceries from DoorDash’s merchants to its customers’ doors. As part of the program, select DoorDash customers will receive deliveries from their favorite restaurants via a Cruise autonomous vehicle. In addition to ready-made restaurant meals, the partnership will also explore grocery fulfillment via Cruise vehicles for select grocers already partnered with DoorDash. DoorDash and Cruise expect to evaluate and develop safety, operational, and other learnings in the pilot.

“We are excited to partner with Cruise to develop our expertise in the autonomous vehicle delivery space,” said Tony Xu, CEO of DoorDash. “We see autonomous vehicles playing a major role in the future of delivery as consumer behaviors continue to shift online, and we are confident Cruise’s leading technology will help us scale to meet growing consumer demand.”

The Beyond Famous Star

Beyond Meat  and Carl’s Jr. launched The Beyond Famous Star, which marries the 100-percent  plant-based Beyond Burger patty with the restaurant’s fan-favorite Famous Star burger.


The new Beyond Famous Star is a first-of-its-kind flexitarian take on the iconic Carl’s Jr. Famous Star, with a 100% plant-based patty from Beyond Meat. The quarter-pound patty is cooked top-to-bottom on an open flame in Carl’s Jr.’s unique char broiler, packing its delicious flavor right into the burger.

“We know people are looking for options – in fact, roughly one-third1 of consumers identify as flexitarians – and we’re thrilled to partner with Beyond Meat to bring more delicious, irresistible flavors to our menu,” said Jason Marker, CEO, CKE Restaurants. “The new Beyond Famous Star is a true industry game changer, and we’re proud to add it to our roster of innovative offerings and build on the legacy of mouthwatering flavors.”

Retail data from one supermarket chain this summer found that more than 90 percent of customers who purchased The Beyond Burger also purchased animal-based protein. This behavior shows Beyond Meat's appeal among meat eaters who want to continue to eat the things they love, while incorporating more plant-based options. Working to serve that consumer need, Carl’s Jr. is proud to be the largest restaurant chain to date in the United States to offer The Beyond Burger on-menu.

The Beyond Famous Star features The Beyond Burger® patty topped with melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, sliced onions, dill pickles, special sauce and mayonnaise on a seeded bun. The Beyond Burger patty is free of GMOs, gluten and soy, and has lower saturated fat than regular beef, but still delivers tons of flame-broiled flavor and 20g of protein.

“I have long looked forward to the day when my kids can go to a major fast-food chain and order The Beyond Burger. I am grateful to say that day has arrived,” said Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat Founder & CEO. “At our core, Beyond Meat is about enabling consumers to Eat What You LoveTM, and there is no better example than being able to enjoy a delicious Carl’s Jr. burger, while receiving the added health and sustainability benefits of the plant-based Beyond Burger. It is with innovative and forward-looking partners, like Carl’s Jr., that we are building a brighter and more sustainable future.”

'Restaurants in America' Campaign

Mediaplanet launches their newest “Restaurants in America” campaign. This campaign sheds light on the vast growing industry within its health and safety aspect as well as the industry standards for equipment, supplies, technological advancements and trends.

Restaurant and food service jobs have been increasing since 2017, growing faster than health care, construction, and manufacturing. In some metros, restaurants are powering the entire economy. More than a third of Cleveland’s new jobs since 2015 are in restaurants, according to EMSI data. The food distributor industry employs a workforce of 350,000 people and supports an additional 700,000 jobs in the nation’s economy, for a total employment impact of more than 1 million jobs, according to the IFDA. With an industry growing and evolving so rapidly, new advancements and regulations abound to get lost in the shuffle.

Statistics show that most restaurants don’t make a profit until after their first three-to-five years of business, making the initial years essential to their sustainability. Few restaurateurs can afford to fully stock their kitchen out of pocket, leaving them using outdated and unsafe equipment. With the new industrial kitchen equipment being used as the industry standards, restaurateurs and food service professionals need to know not only what equipment to use, but where to obtain them.

The print component of “Restaurants in America” is distributed within today’s edition of USA Today in the New York, Washington D.C./Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles markets, with a circulation of approximately 250,000 copies and an estimated readership of 750,000. The digital component is distributed nationally, through a vast social media strategy, and across a network of top news sites and partner outlets. To explore the digital version of the campaign, click here.

Executive chef, TV personality and restaurateur Paul Wahlberg are featured on the cover of the print publication.

pw Prior to his starring role on the hit A&E show “Wahlburgers”, owning the burger restaurant chain of the same name, and paving the way for his family matriarch inspired Alma Nove restaurant, Paul Wahlberg simply set off to become a chef with a love of food. Through an exclusive interview on the interior, Paul shares his beginnings as a young chef in Boston, and how he grew to be a multi-restaurant owner and executive chef. The article provides insight on how Paul was able to make his restaurants an extension of his artistic culinary vision. You must “allow the team to build its identity in the restaurant’s framework,” he noted.

This campaign was made possible with the support of the U.S. Small Business Administration, National Sanitation Foundation, Modern Restaurant Management, Purell, QSR Automations, JMH Premium Institute of Food Technologists and the International Food and Beverage Technology Association (IFBTA).

Plant-Based Certification

Allergen Control Group (ACG), owners of the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP), formed two food-industry stakeholder working groups to support the development and launch of the first internationally recognized and voluntary Plant-Based Certification Program (PBCP). A limited number of seats are still available for participation from key brand owners, grocery retailers and manufacturers. The first face-to-face sessions will be hosted in both North America and Europe, towards the end of February 2019.

With the ever-changing regulatory landscape, and increased consumer demands, brands and manufacturers are even more challenged when making sound and trustworthy specialty-food product claims. “Although, there appears to be little or no current regulations around these claims, our PBCP will be designed to enable consumers to make safe and informed choices, while also meeting the current and future practical needs of our industry,” states Paul Valder, president & CEO at Allergen Control Group.

“The key message for the customer related to our PBCP is to communicate that making a plant-based consumer claim is all about food and diet, where vegan claims are strictly a lifestyle. Consumers today want to incorporate plant-based foods into their diet, but do not consider themselves vegan,” explains Katie Daniels, Technical Program Manager at ACG. Ms. Daniels goes on to state that “retailers, brands and manufacturers around the globe can now gain operational and financial efficiencies, by combining their existing annual third-party food safety audit, together with both our gluten-free and plant-based certification programs.”  
As more and more consumers are incorporating plant-based foods into their diets, they are also increasingly discerning when faced with endless product options. When implemented and verified at the manufacturing stage, the PBCP will then be the trusted “on-pack” trademark/symbol to attract customers, differentiate products, build trusted brand loyalty and protect the brand reputation, associated with making such a claim.

Listen Bar Returns for #DryJanuary

Listen Bar, which was profiled by MRM here, is back and ready to bring more booze-free good times to NYC. Just in time for #DryJanuary, they launched Listen Bar Vol. 2, a dry happy hour series every Monday in January from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at VON Bar in the East Village. The month kicks off with FutureMakers event, bringing together entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and more.

As one of New York City’s first booze-free bars, Listen Bar bring together the worlds of bar and cocktails  with Eamon Rockey leading the menu with drinks from Jack McGarry, Pam Wiznitzer, and more, nightlife, wellness, music, CBD, events and networking. 

 Drunken Clam Dallas Pop-Up 

 The Whippersnapper is making way for The Drunken Clam, a 30-day pop-up based on the favorite watering hole of the hit TV show Family Guy. The remodeled bar, located at 1806 McMillan Ave. in Dallas opened January 4.


Dallas-based This & That Concepts, the folks behind neighborhood staples like High Fives, Tiny Victories, The Whip, Ferris Wheelers and its newest brand, Dibs on Victory, are bringing The Drunken Clam to life with a nearly identical exterior façade and interior design, 30 days of specialty drinks and several surprises every Family Guy fan will enjoy.

“We have some exciting plans for The Whip moving forward, but we thought we’d have a little fun first by bringing The Drunken Clam to Dallas,” said Brandon Hays, This & That co-owner. “Whether you’re a fan of the show or not, we think you’ll enjoy dropping by and checking out the pop-up bar along with drink specials, photo opportunities and more!”

The Drunken Clam is slated for a 30-day run through Feb. 2, after which the bar will again be closed, remodeled and re-opened for The Whippersnapper’s third anniversary.