Group Ordering at and Chefs Cycle for Charity

Plenty of #MondayMotivation in this edition of MRM’s Daily Bite with news from Chefs Cycle,, fresh&co, LoyaltyPlant and LavaSurf, The Balcony, Lola’s Lumpia and IMG.

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Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry

For the fourth consecutive year, top culinary professionals from across the U.S. will step out of the kitchen and on to bikes to raise funds for No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America. Through Chefs Cycle, a three-day, 300-mile endurance cycling event, riders raise funds to help No Kid Hungry connect the 1 in 6 kids in America who face hunger with healthy food. The annual event takes place this year in Santa Rosa, Ca.on May 15 – 17.

Participating celebrity and award-winning chefs include:

  • Duff Goldman, Charm City Cakes
  • Michael Voltaggio, Voltaggio Brothers Steak House
  • Bryan Voltaggio, VOLT
  • Jared Simons, No Name
  • Dakota Weiss, BRAVO’s Top Chef; Sweetfin Poké

“You won’t find a group more passionate about feeding people than culinary professionals,” said Billy Shore, Executive Chairman of Share Our Strength, the organization behind No Kid Hungry. Shore, who is participating in Chefs Cycle for the fourth year, continued, “Whether in kitchens or on bikes, their continued support will help us end childhood hunger in America.”   

“Chefs Cycle is more than just a bike ride. Every mile and every dollar raised means we’re closer to ending this hunger epidemic in our country,” said Duff Goldman. “We feed people for a living. It’s our responsibility to step up and make No Kid Hungry a reality.”

In 2017, Chefs Cycle raised over $2 million for No Kid Hungry, and aims to exceed that amount this year to feed more kids in need. For more information about Chefs Cycle and to donate, visit

Group Ordering Now at added a functionality to appeal to groups of all sizes: friends, families, and coworkers can take advantage of a brand new group ordering feature that makes checking out with multiple people easier and faster than ever—and gives individuals the power to select exactly what they want, rather than relying on an organizer to choose for them.

Group organizers can initiate an order from any restaurant menu on the website, create custom settings (like ordering deadlines and spend limits) and then invite others to join via a share URL, email, or text link. Participants submit items to the group order in just a few clicks, and organizers can check out with all leading payment methods, including pre-paid corporate credits, major credit cards, and digital wallet providers. Optionally, organizers can divide the cost among other participants in the organization.

The new functionality adds to’s quickly expanding corporate product offering. Batched, labeled orders improve merchants’ efficiency in preparing orders for large groups and aim to solve the logistical issues companies face when ordering to the office. 

“We believe that food ecommerce platforms don’t sufficiently address the needs created by growing social ordering trends,” said Jed Kleckner, CEO of “This initial launch of group ordering is our first foray into meeting today’s customers with an offering that fits these changing dynamics, but it is by no means the end result of our efforts. We have many other features already in progress—split payments, recurring orders, and on-the-go group ordering on our native apps, to name a few—that will streamline ordering for groups even further.”

fresh&co Launches Order Ahead App

fresh&co’s launched an Order Ahead app for both iPhone and Android that allows users to pre-order fresh&co’s  farm-to-desk menu options  – all in 30 seconds or less. In honor of launch day, all users who download the app tomorrow, May 15  will receive a $5 credit and the first 50 customers at each Manhattan location will receive a free bag of Luv Michael granola with their meal.

In addition to skipping the lines during the lunch rush, for every $100 spent in-app, users will receive a $9 credit to put towards their next order (that’s a free lunch, folks!). Also, for every $100 spent, fresh&co will donate $1 to No Kid Hungry, the national campaign to end child hunger in America.

Users who order before 10:30 a.m. for pickup will also receive a $3 off their order (This will be ongoing, not just for the launch), and the app can be used to pay in-store with a quick scan of your smartphone. Users will also receive a $3 credit on their birthday.

With over 15 locations in Manhattan – and more scheduled to open in the coming months –  fresh&co offers an array of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu options including signature chopped salads and homemade soups, to made-to-order sandwiches, grain bowls and cold-pressed juices.

LoyaltyPlant Teams with LavaSurf

LoyaltyPlant, an NYC-based mobile loyalty and ordering solutions provider, now partners with LavaSurf to empower franchise restaurant chains with opportunities to effectively and seamlessly communicate with customers through their white-label branded mobile apps, as well as social media pages.

Both teams have spent years in the multi-unit & SAAS spaces. Ten million of  users are now engaged in communications with restaurant brands like Skyline Chili, Balance Grille, Mama Gaia, L Taco, Frontera, Hank & Harry’s Deli in the U.S., TGI Fridays, KFC, Pizza Hut, Hooters, and Burger King in Europe. This year LoyaltyPlant has entered a Singaporean market by teaming with Bake Cheese Tart.

 LoyaltyPlant has built 642 apps for restaurant and retail brands in 13 countries. The solution has a proven track record of business results LoyaltyPlant’s partners have reached like 12 percent same-store incremental revenue growth, 30 percent rise of the average check, three to four times visit frequency increase, etc.

The LavaSurf platform allows users to create, manage, and measure any number of local pages across several social media platforms. In addition to LoyaltyPlant’s mobile solution integrated with a handy CRM-system, it will allow automatically engage with customers 24/7, easily process their requests and orders and sell more.

‘This team-up will surely enhance our customers’ brand integrity and increase their revenue. Businesses can now create more powerful social media campaigns through our partnership with LavaSurf. This will inevitably increase app downloads through social media referrals’,  said Joe Caraballo, Head of Partnerships at LoyaltyPlant.  

‘Our partnership with LoyaltyPlant will enable our customers to build brand loyalty and boost profits. Customers will be able to easily engage their most loyal customers and create more brand advocates,” added Joaquin Jimenez, PV of Strategic Partnerships.

The Balcony Opens

The Balcony, an upscale two-story restaurant which features an open-air rooftop and balcony on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard, recently opened. It features New Orleans-style cuisine, including tapas-style small plates, craft cocktails and live music. Owned by the PDKN Restaurant Group and led by Executive Chef Simon Porter, the restaurant incorporates the  tastes of New Orleans, which blends French, Spanish, West African, Amerindian, German, Italian, Irish and Vietnamese influences and ingredients.

Crab Cakes

Located at 1309 E. Las Olas Boulevard, The Balcony offers the taste and lively atmosphere of New Orleans in South Florida. The menu includes unique and New Orleans-inspired dishes such as:

  • Shreveport Smoked Gumbo: Skillet braised chicken, andouille sausage, fried okra, pepper, onion, carrot, celery in a rich vegetable broth ($10)
  • Alligator & Shrimp Jambalaya: Andouille sausage, smoked chicken, red beans, tomato, garlic crostini ($18)
  • Baked Porterville Bay Oysters Bienville: Shrimp, bacon, mushroom, cheese with a Meyer lemon-green onion relish ($16)
  • Natchitoches Pies: Adena Ranch grass-fed all-natural beef, vegetables with bayou hot sauce ($16)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes: Ciabatta and corn-crusted, cayenne barbecue aioli ($12)
  • Southern Confit Duck Cobb: Point Reyes bleu cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, avocado, heirloom tomato, egg, romaine lettuce tossed in a creamy Cajun vinaigrette ($18)

The beverage menus include specialty New Orleans-inspired cocktails such as Milk Punch, The Balcony Sazerac and French 75 Cristo, in addition to craft beers and an extensive wine list. As a special start to the evening, every table is greeted with a complimentary Gruet sparkling wine toast upon being seated. Wine aficionados will love the restaurant’s comprehensive wine selection, which is on display in a wine gallery. 


Executive Chef Porter spent an extensive amount of time in New Orleans researching its cuisine, and brings over 25 years of international culinary experience to The Balcony. Originally from Cambridge, England, Porter has worked at many prestigious restaurants in England, as well as in Switzerland and Belgium at Michelin star restaurants. In addition, he has worked onboard 5-star ships for Cunard and Seabourn cruise lines, allowing him to experience many parts of the world’s cultures and cuisines. Most recently, he worked at The Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico. Chef Porter joined PDKN Restaurant Group in April 2017. 

“At The Balcony, we present unique and sophisticated food for the soul, as well as a welcoming New Orleans-style ambience and hospitality,” said Chef Porter. “By incorporating various cuisines to bring out the best NOLA fare, we are happy to offer our guests a truly unforgettable dining experience.”  

Reminiscent of a scene from a New Orleans street car, the restaurant leaves no detail overlooked in both its interior and exterior spaces, right down to the  staff uniforms. Decorative tiles, showpiece chandeliers, red booths and a hammered tin ceiling are all carefully selected pieces that effortlessly work together to create an elegant yet inviting atmosphere. A large dining room on the ground floor incudes a stage for live music and a full bar with TVs, accessorized by brick barrel vaults where branded wine barrels are on display.

On the second floor, an airy rooftop bar is designed to entertain guests all year long with a weather-sensing shuttered roof to protect from rain and sun. A large central bar serves The Balcony’s signature libations, which can be enjoyed at surrounding booths. At the front of the restaurant a wrought iron balcony overlooks Las Olas Blvd. offering guests the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail.

The Balcony is owned by former Miami Dolphins player Kim Bokamper and his three partners — P.J. Kavanagh, Damon DeSantis and Noel Cullen — who also own Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill, with locations in Fort Lauderdale, Miramar, Plantation, Naples, and Estero. Additional projects include Bo’s Beach House, featuring fresh seafood and stunning ocean views on Fort Lauderdale Beach set to open in fall 2018.

Lola’s Lumpia Coming to Brooklyn

Lola’s Lumpia is a new restaurant founded by first-generation Filipino American twins and their spouses. The four Brooklynites come from the design and advertising industry–working with many restaurants and food brands–and wanted to focus on a lumpia-only menu. “This is our first restaurant, and we wanted to do one thing really well. New York City is so diverse in food and cultures, and we’re excited to contribute to the boom that Filipino cuisine is finally experiencing, similar to Vietnamese and Thai food in recent years,” said Co-founder Glenn Pajarito.

Their Lola, which means grandmother in Tagalog (the most-spoken dialect in the Philippines next to English), created the recipes. Glenn’s wife Alison created three original sauces that pair with each of the lumpias. Kristine’s husband Jess Andrews has enhanced the recipes for a modern palate. “I’ve always been passionate about food and its role in culture, as well as its ability to bring people together,” said Jess.

Patty Kan, Director of Marketing & Event Programming for DeKalb Market Hall said, “DeKalb Market Hall is thrilled to welcome our first POP UP vendor, Lola’s Lumpia for the entire month of June. Brooklyn has such diverse tastes and a Filipino inspired spring roll each with their own unique sauces based off of their Lola’s recipes, will be the most delicious addition to our food family.”

Lola’s Lumpia will be open during the month of June in DeKalb Market Hall in Downtown Brooklyn at 445 Albee Square W, Brooklyn, NY 11201, while they look for a permanent home for the restaurant.

The World Restaurant Awards

IMG created The World Restaurant Awards – a new award show for a restaurant-hungry public increasingly obsessed with eating, drinking and travel. The awards, produced by IMG, were conceived in partnership with restaurant journalist Joe Warwick (Creative Director) working alongside legendary gastronomic writer and broadcaster Andrea Petrini (Chair of the Judging Panel).

The World Restaurant Awards will be the annual event recognising and celebrating the diversity of the international restaurant scene, delivered by the team that brings Taste Festivals to 20 cities around the world, as well as The Big Feastival and Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

The World Restaurant Awards will be a truly international collaboration. Boasting an unrivalled judging panel of celebrated restaurant industry figures, including Yannick Alléno, Elena Arzak, Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, David Chang, Dominique Crenn, Hélène Darroze, Daniel Humm, René Redzepi, Ana Roš and Clare Smyth, alongside an intercontinental selection of the world’s most-travelled and best-informed members of the culinary press.

On February 18, 2019, stars of stage and screen will join the restaurant industry elite in the world’s first televised restaurant awards ceremony, mirroring the glamour and anticipation of awards in industries including film, music, art, design and fashion.

Justin Clarke, SVP & Managing Director of Culinary, IMG, said: “With the full force of IMG and WME behind us, we are delighted to bring this first-of-its-kind and star-studded awards programme to life. As the site of the Western world’s first restaurants and a centre of culinary excellence, Paris is a natural and dynamic home for our inaugural event.”

Warwick commented: “The World Restaurant Awards will be conducted with complete integrity, total transparency and a real sense of inclusivity. We want to make everyone think about the full gamut of the world’s great restaurants – old and new, from luxury destinations to humble institutions – and what makes them so special.”

Petrini added: “We’d like to make The World Restaurant Awards about the pleasure of eating, drinking, travelling and forward thinking. Not the Nobel Prize for food but rather our take on the idea of an Oscars for the restaurant world, with all the sense of zeitgeist and glamour that implies.”

The World Restaurant Awards partners include Singapore Tourism Board, where Singapore will be the Official Culinary Destination Partner; Champagne Laurent-Perrier; luxury kitchen appliance manufacturer Gaggenau; and Fine Dining Lovers. 

The judging panel also made a commitment to the Perennial Farming Initiative, the chosen charity for The World Restaurant Awards, which is dedicated to combating climate change by mobilising support for regenerative agriculture in the food world. Co-founders Karen Leibowitz and Anthony Myint have a history of leadership in the restaurant industry – notably as co-founders of The Perennial, which has been lauded as the most sustainable restaurant in the world, and of Mission Chinese Food, which has won international acclaim and raised enough money to provide over one million meals for the SF/Marin Food Bank.