#GivingTuesday, Plate Envy and Disgusting Food Museum

This edition of MRM's News Bites features OpenTable and No Kid Hungry, GS1 US, The Basque Culinary World Prize, Shift4 Payments and Jon Taffer, MAC’D and eatsa, The Oneida Group, Foodtastic Inc. and Enoteca Monza Pizzeria Restaurants, The Disgusting Food Museum and Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar.

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

Season of Giving

In advance of the holiday season, OpenTable once again partnered with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign aimed at ending childhood hunger in the United States. Anyone can donate here

OpenTable diners can choose to donate their dining points to provide nutritious meals to children struggling with hunger in America. Every 100 points donated can provide a child in need with five healthy meals. The campaign will extend through Monday, Dec. 10.. Last year, OpenTable committed to match donations for up to 250,000 meals to deepen the impact of this effort. 

"This holiday season, we are encouraging our diners to give back to those who do not know when they'll receive their next meal," said Alisa Weiner, Vice President of Marketing at OpenTable. "Following the huge success of our partnership with No Kid Hungry last year resulting in 1.25 million meals donated, we, along with our restaurant partners, hope to inspire consumers to join this movement so that together, we can make a real impact and help hungry children this holiday season."

"One in six children in the U.S. live with hunger, which can have devastating consequences for their health and wellbeing. We're grateful to be partnering with OpenTable this holiday season to help feed kids in need," said Debbie Shore, Co-founder of Share Our Strength, the organization behind the No Kid Hungry campaign. "By simply donating their points, diners can make a huge impact in the lives of children across the country. Just 100 points can provide five meals to kids in need. Now that's something to celebrate!"

To donate points, diners can simply visit their OpenTable profile pages to view their points and select "donate my points." From there, diners will have an opportunity to donate a portion or all their points to support No Kid Hungry. For more information, click here

New Home for GS1 US

GS1 US®, the information standards organization, has relocated from Princeton Pike Corporate Center in Lawrenceville, NJ to a new, “built-to-suit” office located in the Princeton South Corporate Center at 300 Charles Ewing Boulevard in Ewing, New Jersey, top photo. GS1 US will continue to be co-located with U.S. subsidiaries of GS1®, the global standards organization, and 1Worldsync™, a  provider of product content solutions. 

GS1 US worked with The Opus Group and Founders Properties, L.L.C. to develop, design and construct the new two-story building, which features an open and collaborative environment, along with the latest technology solutions to support the organization’s evolving business needs. It offers employees several more conference and meeting rooms, including a large meeting space to accommodate educational workshops often held on-premises, and a special sound-proof room for higher quality webinar broadcasts. 

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for GS1 US,” said Bob Carpenter, president and CEO, GS1 US. “Our transition to a more collaborative workspace will position GS1 US to better serve the dynamic needs of our customers, who given the rapidly-evolving nature of business today, increasingly rely on GS1 US as a partner to aid in their growth and success.” 

Best known as the administrator of the U.P.C. barcode since 1974, GS1 US collaborates with member companies and their supply chain partners to improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of commerce across physical and digital channels through the unique identification of products, locations and more in real-time. With the evolution of e-commerce and increased consumer demand for trustworthy product data, GS1 US has grown in recent years to better support member innovations and technological advancements. What started as a way to speed grocery store checkout has become the global language of business and today more than six billion GS1 barcodes are scanned per day.

GS1 US occupies two additional offices: a satellite office located in Chicago, Illinois and member support center, located in Dayton, Ohio.

Scottish Chef Wins World Prize

Scottish chef Jock Zonfrillo was awarded The Basque Culinary World Prize 2018 for championing the culture of the native peoples of Australia and safeguarding Aboriginal culinary tradition. The prize, worth €100,000, will support Jock Zonfrillo’s work to connect indigenous peoples to the rest of Australian society by creating a market for their culinary heritage.  The winner was selected by a panel presided over by chef Joan Roca and made up of some of the most influential chefs in the world, as well as international experts in other fields. 

Jock Zonfrillo
Jock Zonfrillo

The Basque Culinary World Prize is organized and promoted by the Basque Government, under the Euskadi-Basque Country Strategy and the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), a world leading academic institution in gastronomy. It is an award for chefs improving society through gastronomy in areas ranging from innovation to education, health, research, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and economic development. 

In the presence of a distinguished audience, the Basque Government’s Councillor for Economic Development and Infrastructure, Arantxa Tapia, awarded Jock Zonfrillo the prize, now in its third edition, for his work challenging the exclusion of the First Australians from contemporary Australia’s history and culture.  Through his Orana Foundation, Jock Zonfrillo preserves the sophisticated cooking knowledge and practice of indigenous Australians who have farmed and thrived on the land for 60,000 years.

Since making Australia his home, in 2000, Zonfrillo has visited remote communities to understand the origins of ingredients and their cultural significance.  He has given them a platform on the menus of his prestigious Orana restaurant, based in Adelaide, and has brought aboriginal cultural traditions to wider audiences through programs such as the Nomad Chef.

The chef has documented native products and worked with them in innovative ways. Through alliances with universities and institutions including the University of Adelaide, the South Australian museum, and the Botanic Gardens of South Australia, he has ensured that information on these ingredients has been verified and recorded as part of a new database of indigenous ingredients.

The Basque Culinary World Prize fund of €100,000 will be used by Jock Zonfrillo’s Orana Foundation to support this indigenous food database. Eventually it will feature 10,000-15,000 edible native ingredients, enabling the commercial production of ingredients and creating new food-based enterprises for indigenous communities. The Basque Culinary World Prize funds will help develop the software required to house the 2,000 ingredients already analysed, and to scale to 15,000 ingredients over the next few years.

In addition, the prize funds will be used by Orana to support projects that promote Australia’s traditional food culture.  They include: 

Community Packing Shed: Built in the Kimberley, Western Australia, for the Nyul Nyul community to utilise as a processing and packing shed for wild harvested product. The shed is built from sustainable bamboo to prevent termite rot in community and is assembled with minimal impact on the land.  Processing and packing products at source will increase their shelf life, nutritional value and their hygiene standards, giving the community the ability to broaden their market far beyond what is currently possible.

Farming Freshwater Prawns: The Orana Foundation has been researching the possibility of farming Cherabin, a giant freshwater prawn living wild in the freshwaters of the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  The foundation is partnering with an indigenous-owned organisation, which has aquaculture experience, to Cherabin to the Australian Market. The Basque Culinary World Prize funds will fund the purchase a mobile shellfish processing plant, allowing remote indigenous communities to snap-freeze the prawns and transport them to Australian cities. 

Jock Zonfrillo was selected as winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2018 from ten finalists, by a jury led by Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca restaurant (Spain) and composed of some of the world’s most influential chefs, such as  Gastón Acurio (Peru), Massimo Bottura (Italy), Manu Buffara (Brazil), Mauro Colagreco (France), Dominique Crenn (USA), Andoni Luis Aduriz (Basque Country), Yoshihiro Narisawa (Japan), Enrique Olvera (Mexico), Leonor Espinosa, winner of the Basque Culinary World Prize 2017,  as well as experts in other disciplines, such as food writer Ruth Reichl, food historian Bee Wilson, and interior designer Ilse Crawford. 

The winner was announced at Collegio San Carlo, in Modena, in July following a meeting of the prize jury in the city.   Modena is the hometown of chef Massimo Bottura, a prize jury member and one of the pioneering chefs who first brought gastronomy’s impact ‘beyond the kitchen’. 

"I’m so extraordinarily proud to have been chosen as the winner of the 2018 Basque Culinary World Prize,"  Zonfrillo said:. "To have a jury of peers who I respect so much makes this acknowledgement even more meaningful. Indigenous communities in Australia are the true cooks and ‘food inventors’ and have thrived on these lands for over 60,000 years. This international recognition symbolises just how important it is to gastronomy that we preserve their sophisticated cooking techniques and foods, and gives courage to us at The Orana Foundation to keep fighting on their behalf. 100 percent of the prize money is being invested into Indigenous community projects that will see a long term and sustainable impact on their community and financial security, and make positive change on their terms. The world of gastronomy is an enabler for change and the Basque Culinary World Prize is an instrumental part of that wave of change."

Shift4 Teams with Jon Taffer

Shift4 Payments partnered with Jon Taffer, host and executive producer of Paramount Network's hit TV show Bar Rescue, to provide Shift4 customers with access to Taffer Virtual Teaching (TVT), an online training course for restaurant and bar managers and staff.

Jon Taffer

TVT is a training platform that will allow restaurant staff to learn and retain information through short, engaging video modules. It is a comprehensive resource that provides access to the largest interactive library of its kind. TVT gives restaurateurs access to industry-leading strategies on how to drive more revenue by obtaining new customers and increasing their spending and length of stay. The training program includes testing to ensure that the information is understood by staff as well as a resume-building "Taffer Certification" upon successful completion, which will provide a huge value-add for restaurateurs looking to differentiate themselves in the employment market.

Shift4 Payments has worked with Jon Taffer to deliver the program to their customers. Normally sold for $99 per month, Shift4 customers can obtain the complete program for an exclusive price of $49 per month. The training program is available to each Shift4 Payments customer directly through the marketplace section of the company's Lighthouse Business Management System.

Shift4 Payments CEO Jared Isaacman states, "Jon Taffer is much more than just a television personality. He is the leading expert in the food and beverage industry with a long resume of impressive accolades. His management methodology, Reaction Management, has become the gold standard of the industry and he has successfully turned around hundreds of floundering bars and restaurants with his proven approach. This exclusive offering gives our customers access to Jon's invaluable expertise 24/7, 365 days a year."

MAC’D Implements eatsa’s Technology 

MAC’D, the fast-casual, build-your-own mac & cheese restaurant located in San Francisco and Portland will start rolling out eatsa’s technology, which offers scalable solutions for fast food and quick service restaurant operators. MAC’D now joins other eatsa partners, including Chicago-based Wow Bao. The first MAC’D store to use eatsa’s products will be the 2127 Polk Street location in San Francisco.

The eatsa platform integrates the entire process from digital ordering channels to pick up and offers a flexible, integrated, scalable, data-driven technology solution that supports rapid growth through operational improvements and exceptional guest experiences. The Company’s omnichannel intelligent queue software integrates multiple order channels – including in-store kiosk and POS, mobile, third-party delivery and web – eliminating the need for tedious manual queue handling from multiple third-party delivery tablets, and providing optimized order management with accurate order availability times. Additionally, eatsa’s innovative pickup solutions create a new operational model for digital orders, facilitating more efficient service for operators and enabling a seamless and engaging pickup experience for customers and delivery service providers.

“We are incredibly impressed by eatsa’s technology and their ability to create a convenient, speedy experience for our customers,” said Antony Bello, Co-Founder of MAC’D. “Our brand is about fun and customization. We want to empower our guests to get creative with our mac & cheese, and we know eatsa will amplify their overall experience.”

MAC’D will be implementing the full eatsa platform. Their customer experience will be elevated with self-serve ordering kiosks, digital menu boards, a white labeled mobile app, as well as eatsa’s groundbreaking self-service order pickup system with a digital status board. Back-of-house, the restaurant will deploy eatsa’s operational tools, including an easy-to-use Kitchen Display System to streamline fulfillment.

As today’s consumer increasingly looks to ways technology can make their life easier, so too does the restaurant operator look to streamline operations and costs without sacrificing a positive guest experience,” said Tim Young, CEO of eatsa. “We’re proud that MAC’D decided to work with us to elevate their store operations, and maximize labor with the use of smart technology. We’re also thrilled MAC’D has chosen our solutions to deliver exceptional guest experiences — from ordering through to our innovative self-service pickup solutions.”

Oneida Group Debuts Mobile Tool

The Oneida Group unveiled a mobile version of its  digital tool Plate Envy™, building on the May launch of the first-of-its-kind 3D visualizer that enables restaurant owners and operators to quickly and easily create a tabletop design and sampling experience.

plate envy

“The feedback we’ve received since introducing Plate Envy six months ago has been outstanding, with the tool revolutionizing how restaurant operators design the dining experience,” said Jeff Jarrett, CMO of The Oneida Group. “Our new mobile version builds on our initial success, allowing operators who are always on the go to fully realize the benefits of the tool right from their mobile devices. Plate Envy™ allows operators to skip the antiquated catalogue-based sourcing process by providing tailored dinnerware, glassware and flatware combinations that bring tabletop visions to life. The tool works by walking users through a three-step process. 

Plate Envy™ starts by asking a handful of questions to discover the restaurant’s style, setting, and cuisine. The tool then responds with recommended place settings to match the restaurant’s aesthetic and vision. Place settings come to life in 3D on a virtual table, so restauranteurs can visualize and swap dinnerware, flatware, and glassware to see how various combinations look together. Unlike flat photography, the 3D imagery puts contours in perspective, allowing users to tell how deep a soup bowl is or whether the lip of a dinner plate flares in a desired way. That makes it easier to narrow down top choices.  The user can then click to request physical samples of any of the recommended items so that they can order later with a high degree of confidence.  The tool is available here.

Foodtastic Acquires Monza

Foodtastic Inc. acquired Enoteca Monza Pizzeria Restaurants "Monza,"  a full-service Italian restaurant concept in the Montreal area with a state-of-the-art food commissary.

Peter Mammas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Foodtastic, said, "We are excited to add Monza to our portfolio of leading restaurants. This acquisition of a homegrown Quebec business is consistent with our strategy of acquiring brands with growth potential that complement our existing brand portfolio. We expect to grow the Monza brand immediately with four new locations in the Montrealarea expected in 2019, and locations in Quebec City and the Outaouais region slated for 2020. We believe the Monza acquisition will leverage our marketing, purchasing and operational systems to better serve our existing franchisees."

Michael Gutfeld, Co-Founder of Foursome Restaurant Group (parent company of Enoteca Monza Pizzeria Moderna), said, "We've had a great run and an incredible experience building our restaurants and commissary over the last 9 years. We're extremely proud of the brand we built and the void we filled in the upscale casual Italian food market. We are thankful for what became a loyal clientele following, and we trust Foodtastic will apply their industry knowledge and expertise to this great brand, and take it to the next level of growth and expansion." 

Monza is the first of several expected acquisitions financed by a recently announced $47 millioninvestment in Foodtastic.

Digusting Food Museum Opens

The Disgusting Food Museum, featuring the most provocative foods from around the world, is opening its doors in Los Angeles for visitors to see, smell, and even taste (if they dare) international foods. The Disgusting Food Museum is not just an exhibit, but a celebration of food from around the world highlighting how different cultures may or may not view certain things as disgusting. Exhibited at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District, The Disgusting Food Museum welcomes visitors to enjoy a culinary journey beginning December 9 through February 17, 2019.


The Disgusting Food Museum will introduce its visitors to worldwide delicacies from 80 diverse food exhibits that include:

  • Frog smoothies from Peru
  • Maggot cheese from Sardinia
  • The notoriously smelly fruit, the Durian, from Thailand
  • Surströmming, the infamous putrid sea herring dish from Sweden
  • Mouse Wine, drowned baby mice in rice wine from China

Foodies, travelers, and the just plain curious can explore unfamiliar food creations, smell new and face-cringing aromas and try select samples at the far from usual grand finale tasting bar! Amazing and bizarre Instagramable moments are endless at the internationally known museum. 

Sheep Eyeball Juice

First displayed in Sweden, the exotic collection of foods was conceived and curated by psychologist, Dr. Samuel West, well-known as "Dr. Failure" after the runaway success of his Museum of Failure. Dr. West wanted to create an exhibit focused on exploring the shared human experience of disgust and expand the discussion of more environmentally sustainable proteins of the future such as insects and lab-grown meats. "The museum aims to change our view of what is disgusting or not and expose our minds to what is known as normal in other cultures," says Dr. Samuel West. 

This iteration of the museum has been designed by the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and produced by Special Entertainment Events (SEE). "After the success of The Museum of Failure, we're looking forward to once again joining Dr. West on another exciting journey of intriguing, unusual, unconventional, and hugely entertaining concepts," says Martin Biallas, President of SEE.

The Disgusting Food Museum will be on exhibit  at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum, 900 E 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013.

Vying for Gumbo Title

Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar will be spicing up this year's Independence Bowl by teaming up with world-renowned Louisiana Cajun and Creole chef, John Folse, to prepare what attempts to set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the largest pot of gumbo. As more than 6,500 pounds of gumbo are prepared, Fan Fest goers are encouraged to purchase $5 bowls with proceeds directly benefiting Fisher House Foundation, a non-profit organization providing "a home away from home" for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis.

Football fans far and wide will gather at Independence Stadium, located at 3301 Pershing Blvd. in Shreveport, on December 27 for the game day action. As Fan Fest kicks off at 9:00 a.m., gumbo will be available for purchase until the delicious, traditional Louisiana dish runs out. Guests can purchase a bowl with cash donation on-site. With 11,000 servings up for grabs, the donation to Fisher House Foundation could result in over $50,000 to aid military and veterans' families. A formal check presentation will take place during the half-time show. 

"Food has an undeniable power of bringing people together, and I'm proud to use this vehicle to support the Walk-On's team in their effort to cook up change in my home state of Louisiana," said Folse. "I look forward to surpassing the record-breaking 4,000-pound pot I made in 2011, especially with a supportive crowd at this year's Independence Bowl all in the spirit of supporting our nation's veterans."

"As the founder of a company that fosters and supports opportunities for military veterans, and a son of a veteran myself, it has always been a key effort to find a way to give back to our nation's service men and women," said Brandon Landry, Founder of Walk-On's. "We believe whole-heartedly in the Fisher House Foundation's mission to provide comfort and a taste of home to hospitalized military vets, and are proud to employ our go-getting, walk-on spirit to aid America's heroes."