Grubhub LevelsUp, The ‘Ernesto’ and Imperfect Produce

MRM’s News Bites has news from Four Corners Property Trust, Technomic and GroundTruth, General Mills Foodservice, Grubhub and LevelUp, Seasoned, Bridg, Wayback Burgers, Gather, Princess Cruises, B.GOOD, DoorDash, Tunity, Como, Baldor Specialty Foods and Les Dames d’Escoffier International.

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FCPT To Acquire 48 Chili’s 

Four Corners Property Trust (FCPT) signed a definitive agreement to acquire up to 48 corporate-operated Chili’s restaurants through a sale-leaseback transaction with certain subsidiaries of Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) for a purchase price of up to $155.7 million on initial annual cash rent of up to approximately $9.9 million. As of the end of Brinker’s third fiscal quarter on March 28, 2018, Brinker owned, operated or franchised 1,686 restaurants under the names Chili’s® Grill & Bar (1,634 restaurants) and Maggiano’s Little Italy® (52 restaurants).

The transaction is expected to close on or around August 8, 2018, subject to due diligence and customary closing conditions. The properties are under individual leases with 15 years of initial term, rent increases of 10% every five years during the initial term and a corporate guarantee from Brinker International, Inc. If the Company is successful in closing the transaction and acquires all 48 properties, Brinker would comprise approximately 8% of the Company’s cash rent and the Company’s exposure to Darden would decrease to approximately 79% of the Company’s cash rent. Additionally, closing on all 48 properties would have a positive impact on FCPT’s portfolio weighted average lease term, increasing it from 12.5 to 12.7 years.

The properties are located principally in Florida (14 properties) and Texas (13 properties), but are spread across 15 states and include exposure to western U.S. geography (AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, NM, NV, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA). The sites are within well-located retail corridors with high traffic and attractive demographics. FCPT believes that rent is well-supported with conservative EBITDAR coverage, averaging 3.9x for the portfolio. FCPT has significant cash on hand ($88 million as of 6/30/2018) and an undrawn corporate revolver ($250 million) to finance this acquisition. FCPT expects to remain below the low end of its stated leverage thresholds pro forma for this transaction.

Bill Lenehan, CEO of FCPT stated: “We are excited to partner with Brinker on this important transaction for both of our companies. FCPT focuses on building a high credit quality portfolio with household brand names, and we are excited to bring Chili’s branded real estate into our portfolio in such a meaningful way.” Mr. Lenehan added, “In addition to the attractive locations, we are particularly pleased with the property-level rent setting and strong coverage in this portfolio.”

Technomic Partners with GroundTruth

Technomic Inc. and GroundTruth  announced a partnership to further enhance Technomic’s brand sales performance-tracking product, Transaction Insights. Transaction Insights already features ongoing purchase data from more than 3 million consumers, representing more than 18 million monthly foodservice visits. Unprecedented transparency allows users to see every competitive brand within the leading 200 chains, down to the market level, and proprietary modeling methodology based on Technomic’s deep expertise in the foodservice industry provides unparalleled accuracy.

With the addition of GroundTruth’s database of 3 million mapped business locations through its proprietary Blueprints technology and 75 million mobile devices, Technomic’s traffic intelligence will more closely report on foodservice visits at the daypart level and allow the company to leverage location data into comparable store performance modeling. Technomic customers will now be able to answer questions such as:

  • Which restaurant chain is winning breakfast in Dallas?
  • Which QSR is gaining market share against leading competitors? How have they grown business across dayparts and what initiatives may be driving this?
  • How has a new menu item or media campaign impacted foot traffic?

“Understanding traffic at the daypart level can inform competitive brand strategy, especially related to the menu and daypart-specific promotions,” said Sara Monnette, vice president of innovation at Technomic. “GroundTruth provides us with a large, reliable location data set which in turn allows us to provide our customers with unprecedented insight into their business at a very granular level.”

“Our customers are asking for better behavioral information to make informed business decisions, and our partnership with GroundTruth allows us to continue to lead innovation to that end,” said Shawn Edwards, president at Technomic. “Our ongoing quest is to provide a holistic, transparent view of the foodservice industry through bigger and better data sets, and this partnership is one more step in that direction.”

“Location is the biggest untapped opportunity for digital marketers wanting to drive business growth,” said Eric Hadley, chief marketing officer at GroundTruth. “Consumers may aspire online, but they live offline—no one travels to a restaurant without genuine intent. For the last decade, we’ve focused on building the most reliable location data out there, and we’re excited to partner with Technomic to provide their clients with valuable location-based insights.”

Neighbor to Nation Contest

Celebrating great food and flavors from coast to coast, General Mills Foodservice announces the five Regional Winners in its 4th Annual Neighborhood to Nation™ Recipe Contest, which gives independent family or “neighborhood” restaurants and food trucks the chance to win up to $80,000 in cash and prizes and bring hometown pride to their communities. The Grand Prize Recipe Winner will be named from among the five Regional Winners in late August.

The only foodservice recipe contest of its kind, the 2018 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest honors five Regional Recipe Winners who each receive $5,000 in cash and an additional $1,000 to share with a local charity of their choice. This year’s contest was the first to include food trucks as well as more traditional establishments. One of the five regional winners will also be named the Grand Prize Recipe Winner and receive an additional $25,000 in cash and $5,000 to share with a charity as well as a three-day trip for two to the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival, the premier food and wine event celebrating America’s favorite foods.

This year’s Regional Winners* are:

  • Bryan Bennett, South Central Region, Manager and Chef, Back Street Food Truck in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for his Sea Salt Caramel Bacon Pecan Pie;
  • Dennis Chan, South East Region, Chef and Owner, Blue Bamboo in Jacksonville, Florida, for his Sunshine State Orange Crunch Cake;
  • Dan Duris, North East Region, Co-owner and Chef, Gypsy Café in Lincoln, New Hampshire, for his Bacon Corn Johnny Cakes with Maple Drizzle;
  • Anne Klingler, North Central Region, Chef and Owner, Outlanders in Marquette, Michigan, for her Thai Basil Bowl;
  • Nick Shipp, West Region, Executive Chef and Partner, Upper West Restaurant in Santa Monica, California, for his Mushroom Tart with Tomato Jam, Goat Cheese and Fresh Oregano, top photo.

“Local restaurants play such an important part in their communities, and we love shining the spotlight on their vast talent and creativity with this special contest,” said Alyca Judge, senior marketing manager for General Mills Foodservice.  “Each of these finalists did an amazing job of honoring local flavors and traditions with some fantastic twists, and we continue to be impressed by their inspired use of General Mills products in these mouth-watering creations.”

Recipes for the Neighborhood to Nation Recipes Contest were judged based on taste, appearance, creativity and foodservice viability. General Mills will travel to the Regional Recipe Winners’ hometowns, and the winners’ staff, customers and community will be invited to a special check presentation and celebratory event. The Grand Prize Recipe Winner will be determined by comparing the total scores for each of the five Regional Winner recipes and will be announced in late August after each of the winners’ Regional hometown celebrations take place.

 “Neighborhood to Nation is one of our favorite events of the year, because we get to connect with amazing restaurant owners and chefs while enjoying some outstanding food,” added Judge.  “This year’s finalists continued to raise the bar.”

 Neighborhood to Nation was created to inspire culinary creativity among independent restaurants and food trucks, giving operators an opportunity to experiment with high-quality and consistent products from General Mills Foodservice as well as exclusive access to trend information, insights and ideas to help them differentiate their menus and delight their diners

Grubhub to Acquire LevelUp

Grubhub will acquire LevelUp. Matt Maloney, Grubhub’s founder and chief executive officer said LevelUp’s restaurant-facing technology will help Grubhub provide the most comprehensive solution for restaurants, powering everything from online demand generation to fulfillment for restaurants. LevelUp’s world-class technology and team will simplify Grubhub’s integrations with the nation’s top restaurant brands, provide more channels to attract and engage diners, and position us to dramatically accelerate product development for valuable restaurant-facing tools, he added.

With the addition of LevelUp, Grubhub will offer national and independent restaurants the industry’s most comprehensive solution to drive online delivery and pickup orders, from demand generation through fulfillment. In addition to making it easier for restaurants like KFC, Taco Bell, Bareburger, and Roti to integrate with the Grubhub marketplace, LevelUp accelerates Grubhub’s existing point-of-sale (POS) integration capabilities and provides restaurants with powerful CRM and analytical tools to help them drive more diners to their platform and increase volume from existing diners.

“For the last seven years, the LevelUp team has worked to provide our restaurant partners with a complete solution to engage customers in this rapidly evolving digital landscape,” said Seth Priebatsch, LevelUp’s founder and chief executive officer. “By becoming a part of Grubhub, we take our biggest and most exciting step in achieving that mission. Together, we will provide restaurants with everything they need to grow profitably as more and more diners opt for the convenience, transparency and control of ordering online.”

Grubhub has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LevelUp for $390 million in cash, subject to standard closing conditions, including the expiration of U.S. antitrust waiting periods. The transaction is expected to be funded through cash on hand and Grubhub’s existing credit facility.

Foley Hoag is serving as legal counsel to LevelUp in connection with the acquisition and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel to Grubhub.

Bridg Launching First Customer Data Platform with CRM Built for Restaurants and Offline Retailers

Most advanced Customer Data Platform available powers new Bridg CRM, allowing users to reach 80% of their existing customers; innovation creates new revenue opportunities for operators

Bridg CDP to Debut

Bridg announced the Bridg Customer Data Platform (CDP) is launching this fall. The first-of-its-kind Bridg CDP is designed specifically for the needs of restaurants and retailers, making guest data more accessible and actionable than ever before.

For the first time, restaurants and brick-and-mortar businesses will have the same level of insight available to online retailers. Whereas POS transaction data is typically underutilized for marketing in brick-and-mortar businesses compared with online businesses, Bridg CDP takes valuable POS transaction data, and combines it with loyalty and ordering data to create robust, individual unified customer profiles. Profiles are then augmented with social media and other marketable identities, making it possible for brands to engage previously unreachable guests.

The all-new platform powers a new B2C CRM, giving marketers a powerful Segment Builder to create audiences for marketing on nearly any owned or paid channel plus daily customer lifecycle insights. With both opt-in and purchase data, Bridg CRM allows marketers to make decisions based on the most granular and accurate guest data available. The underlying Bridg CDP also makes data accessible through a variety of APIs, making it possible to input segments, insights and more directly into enterprise environments.

“Our research shows that the average brick-and-mortar business today is, at best, able to identify 15 to 20 percent of their consumers via a loyalty or other ‘opt-in’ marketing program,” said Amit Jain founder and CEO of Bridg. “The Bridg Customer Data Platform gives operators access to an entirely new revenue opportunity – the other 80 percent of their guests existing in their historical POS data. Given the evolutions taking place across the restaurant and retail worlds, we believe precision, data-driven marketing is among the single largest opportunities for margin growth.”

Ecommerce businesses such as Amazon have long enjoyed the benefits of being able to connect guests with their purchases. However, brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants have not. Unlike making a purchase online, connecting a physical, POS-based purchase to guest identity has not been possible except for through loyalty clubs or other opt-in programs.

Customer Data Platforms are central locations for consolidating customer data that significantly reduce the time and resources required to clean, standardize and integrate data – information which is ultimately made accessible through a CRM tool. Bridg CDP takes things further by matching existing guests to Bridg Bureau™, which enhances incomplete guest profiles with proprietary details, allowing for precision segmentation and campaign targeting.

“Only the most sophisticated QSRs and retailers have started trying to solve this multi-billion-dollar puzzle,” said Jain. “Bridg is leveling the playing field between traditional and online restaurants and retailers by making this challenge not only solvable, but affordable.”

Brands currently using the Bridg platform today can identify their guests and, more specifically, which guests are new versus regular, one-time or lapsed. In its Fall 2018 release, Bridg will debut a new interface with category-leading CRM functionality that allows for further guest segmentation, analyses and retargeting. Marketers using the Bridg platform will also be able to export segments of unified and augmented data back to their email, SMS, social media, display, mobile, video advertising and other channels.

The Fall 2018 product release includes:

  • Bridg CDP. The underlying data pipeline powering Bridg CRM, Bridg CDP consolidates disparate silos of customer data, including usually-untapped POS transaction data, to create a single view of the guest that incorporates all of their interactions with the brand.
  • Bridg CRM. The first true business-to-consumer CRM for restaurant and retail brands including a Segment Builder and deep lifecycle and activeness insights, giving marketers access to every customer, including those who’ve yet to opt-in to loyalty or similar programs. Bridg CRM also includes an API Library to integrate with third-party analytics tools, marketing platforms and communication channels.
  • Email, Loyalty and Mobile Applications. Optional, built-in and integrated communications channels including an email platform with revenue attribution, quick-to-market mobile template apps, loyalty programs, SMS/push messaging and more.
Seasoned Taps First CEO

Seasoned named restaurant-technology veteran, Ware Sykes, as Chief Executive Officer. In January 2017, Seasoned was spun out from HotSchedules, a TPG Growth-funded company, and the leading provider of back-office technologies that serves 167,000 restaurants and 2.8 million restaurant professionals.

“We are delighted to welcome Ware as our first CEO, a role that will be instrumental in driving the company’s leadership and vision,” said Bill McGlashan, TPG Growth Founder and Managing Partner, Co-Founder and CEO of The Rise Fund, and a Board Member for Seasoned. “Ware shares our passion for Seasoned’s mission and the positive impact we can create for employees and employers across the hospitality industry as well as other industries. We are confident that he will help take the company to the next level.”

Previously, Sykes was CEO of Nowait, the first mobile network for casual-dining restaurants that pioneered the ability for consumers to “get in line” remotely, which was acquired by Yelp in 2017. After the acquisition, he was Vice President of Yelp’s restaurant strategy. Earlier in his career, Sykes was an executive at TheLadders, an online job-search service for corporate professionals.

“For too long, technology has ignored the 69 million hourly professionals in the U.S., and we are going to change that, starting with the 14 million people devoting their careers to the foodservices industry,” said Sykes. “I’m excited to deepen the meaningful impact that Madhav and team have already made, while giving back to this hard-working community that provides memorable dining experiences for hundreds of millions of Americans across the country. Leveraging our relationship with HotSchedules, we have an unfair advantage to deliver the greatest impact as quickly as possible.”

Wayback’s App

Wayback Burgers’s  debuted a new intuitive app designed to make it convenient to purchase Wayback’s menu direct from mobile devices and tablets. Guests can discover a Wayback Burgers nearby, easily monitor the loyalty points they rack up via the Wayback Payback Rewards program, send gift cards to family and friends, and share their Wayback experience through social media connectivity.

Wayback Burgers’ President John Eucalitto said the brand has further enhanced its engagement with guests via the brand-new app.

“It is one of our top priorities to deliver top-notch meals and service to our guests, and we believe the new Wayback App continues our long-standing tradition,” said Eucalitto. “We get it — families are on the go and every second is critical. The Wayback App caters to families who need to get in and out of the restaurant in a matter of moments. Conversely, the Wayback App allows parents to spend more quality time at our restaurants by opting to order and pay for their meal at their table. The app may be new; but enjoying a meal of cooked-to-order burgers, fresh fries and hand-dipped-to-order milkshakes remains timeless.”

The Wayback Payback Rewards program pays immediate dividends to guests who take advantage of the new Wayback App. Guests will receive a free Classic Burger after their first purchase through the app. Guests have the ability to earn one point per dollar spent. Once guests accumulate 100 points, they will earn a $10 reward.

Wayback Burgers will further incentivize loyalty through a two-tier status. Classic Members (those with 0–99 points) will be rewarded with monthly double and triple point days and special offers. Gold Members (those with 100+ points) will receive all Classic-level benefits in addition to a free birthday reward, a free anniversary reward, and of course the $10 reward.

Patrick Conlin, Wayback Burgers’ Senior Vice President, says the additional perks associated with the new Wayback App are a big deal for Wayback’s loyal guests.

“The Wayback Burgers experience our guests love now extends beyond our brick-and-mortar restaurants into the convenience of their pockets and purses,” said Conlin. “We have always embraced technology, as we’ve offered online ordering through a desktop platform for nearly a decade. However, we recognized the trend is moving to mobile platforms. The Wayback Payback Rewards program is an extension of our commitment to provide excellent service to everyone — our loyal guests and the newcomers giving us a try. We are excited to adopt and implement the mobile ordering capabilities of the Wayback App and the Payback Rewards program for our guests.”

Gather Adds BizBash

Gather added BizBash to its growing partnership program, the Gather Booking Network.

Launched earlier this month, the Gather Booking Network connects restaurants and event venues with over 15 million potential event planners and opens the door to the $30 billion dollars spent on events and parties in the U.S. each year. BizBash joins a growing list of partners that includes Yelp and EVENTup.

“We are so excited to work with Gather to help propel the event industry forward, offering venues and their clients everything they need to make booking events a quick, streamlined process,” said David Adler, CEO and founder of BizBash Media. “We believe as a unique discovery engine in the events industry, partnering with Gather will add huge benefit for our almost two million annual users of”

The Gather Booking Network was launched with the goal of simplifying the event booking and planning process at restaurants and other venues. Using the reach of its partners, the Gather Booking Network allows restaurants and venues to tap into a larger audience by providing new and diverse ways to promote their businesses in the top places where event planners go to find venues and book events. Venues are listed on partners’ sites and showcased in relevant search results to generate more leads. When planners find a venue and submit an event request, it’s seamlessly connected via Gather — resulting in a streamlined booking process and an exceptional customer experience.

“BizBash brings a tremendous amount of expertise and resources in the event planning space to our vast network of customers,” said Nick Miller, co-founder and CEO at Gather. “We’re committed to connecting our venues with the largest network of planners and diners in the world, and the addition of BizBash to the Gather Booking Network brings us one step closer to that goal. We’re excited to unveil additional partners in the coming months.”

The ‘Ernesto’ Now Available on Land

The “Ernesto,” the signature burger of The Salty Dog Gastropub aboard select Princess Cruises ships will now be available on land for the first time, added as a featured item on the dinner menu of chef partner, Ernesto Uchimura’s Los Angeles based neighborhood restaurant and bar, Electric Owl.

Developed in collaboration with Ernesto Uchimura, a founding chef of the original Umami Burger, the “Ernesto” is the signature offering at The Salty Dog Gastropub and the Salty Dog Grill, both found on select ships in the Princess Cruises fleet. The gastropub was unveiled in 2016 and the grill in 2017 as part of the line’s Come Back New Promise, $450 million multi-year product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign to enhance the line’s onboard guest experience.

The namesake burger consists of ribeye and short rib beef patty, grilled pork belly, caramelized kimchi, beer battered jalapeño, charred onion aioli and is topped with cave-aged Gruyère cheese. Uchimura’s creation has been voted “Best Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic.

“Creating the ‘Ernesto’ as my namesake burger and having it offered aboard Princess ships around the world has been such a proud moment for me,” said Uchimura.  “As a chef, I have a passion for sharing my food with the world, and through this partnership I’ve been able to reach further than ever before. It was only fitting to bring the burger home to Los Angeles, and offer it to our guests here at Electric Owl.”

B.GOOD Goes to the Farm

B.GOOD hosted its first company outing at Hannah Farm on Long Island in Boston Harbor on Thursday, July 26, 2018. The fast-casual chain brought together 60 employees including executives, corporate employees, and district managers from the U.S. and Canada to connect around the mission of B.GOOD and the purpose of the farm.

B.GOOD restored Hannah Farm in 2016 to help meet its goal of building a company that makes communities better. As part of the restoration, B.GOOD partnered with Camp Harbor View, a summer camp for at-risk Boston Youth. The partnership gives campers an opportunity to learn about farming, healthy eating, and entrepreneurship. Campers and Leaders in Training (LITs) harvest fruit and veggies that are incorporated into their daily meals while at camp, and get sent home to their families via the Friday Harvest Bag Program. The remaining crop is donated to local organizations or used in local B.GOOD stores.

Last year, the farm grew 12,300 pounds of produce and donated 75% of it to local organizations that help people who need fresh healthy food including Camp Harbor View, Fresh Truck, and Serving Ourselves Kitchen. 

“As one of the only restaurants to own its own farm, I am excited that we got to spend a day coming together as a company to experience all the farm has to offer,” said Chris Fuqua, CEO of B.GOOD. “It is one of the unique aspects of our company culture and I am excited to continue to showcase and educate our employees and customers about what makes B.GOOD great.”

B.GOOD employees spent the day doing a variety of team building activities and getting a tour of the camp and farm, followed by an afternoon of farming and harvesting produce – kale, edible flowers and more for dinner. As part of the outing, the team planted cucumbers that will be sold as pickles in B.GOOD restaurants this Fall, and the proceeds will go towards funding three scholarship for local high school students. To top off the outing, Chef Tony Rosenfeld and Chef Linh Aven created a special curated B.GOOD farm-to-table dinner for everyone, which included fresh produce from Hannah Farm.

In other news,  B.GOOD and DoorDash announced a partnership to make delivery available across the East Coast. Customers will now be able to order delivery through DoorDash at 40 B.GOOD locations, and B.GOOD catering delivery is available at 28 locations. As part of the partnership, for every order placed on DoorDash during the month of August, B.GOOD will match every meal* with a donation to Feeding America®.

“Delivery has been a key focus for us to make B.GOOD more convenient and accessible to our customers who want to enjoy their burger, salad or grain bowl outside our restaurants,” said Hadrien Delande, VP, Brand Marketing at B.GOOD. “Our partnership with DoorDash is a natural fit as they provide the off-premise coverage we need for our existing and future markets while also being a like-minded partner who gives back to the community.”

  B.GOOD delivery is available at 40 locations in the following markets: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and North Carolina.

“B.GOOD and DoorDash share a strong commitment to connecting local communities and providing customers with a quality dining experience, whether in store or at home. We’re thrilled to launch with a mission-driven, community-first partner in our concerted effort to solve hunger, and we look forward to continuing to expand our geographic footprint with B.GOOD to reach more customers,” said Christopher Payne, Chief Operating Officer at DoorDash.

As part of the new partnership, B.GOOD is also working with DoorDash Drive, DoorDash’s white label service offering, to facilitate B.GOOD catering deliveries across 28 corporate and franchise restaurants.  

Tunity Debuts SDK for Audio

Tunity, a technology that allows users to hear live audio from muted televisions directly on their mobile device, debuted Tunity SDK for Audio.

Tunity SDK for Audio, gives any customer facing business with an App, from a small pub to large multi-unit chain restaurants, the ability to implement a white labeled version of Tunity’s patented deep learning TV audio streaming technology. This allows users to hear live audio from muted televisions directly on their existing mobile devices. Tunity SDK adds multiple touch-points with their patrons on and off premise.

With Tunity SDK for Audio, bars and restaurants can improve customer engagement in multiple ways:

  • Increase App Usage- Customers using an app with the Tunity SDK now have the power to listen to live TV wherever they are. Customers who have used Tunity spend on average over 40 minutes of ongoing in-app engagement. Market research has long established that the longer a customer views an in-house television the greater the likelihood of increased sales for the business.
  • Retain Customers- Even if a customer is at a competitor’s bar or restaurant, by using your app to watch TV, there is direct access to send them deals and discounts, adding off-site touch points and increasing the likelihood they return. With the SDK in place, businesses get a more complete picture of how valuable each customer is.
  • Upsell Customers- Tunity SDK for Audio means more onsite touchpoints with a company’s app. This means greater opportunity to push marketing engagement, upsell campaigns, and produce real-time tailored brand engagement.
  • Acquire New Customers- The added functionality and versatility of Tunity SDK means existing customers are more likely to download the company’s app and talk about it with non-customers. This contributes to higher user app ratings, word of mouth, and sharing via social media.

The advantages of SDK for Audio adoption are not just limited to customer impact. Because Tunity uses a cloud-based platform coupled with each customer’s mobile device, businesses do not need to make the financial investment of additional hardware, or deal with the hassle of constant upkeep and repairs. If a bar or restaurant has a TV then they can engage with Tunity. Research has shown that the addition of televisions to almost any establishment results in increased customer activity and retention. 

Como Partners with MobileBytes

Como partnered with MobileBytes to bring restaurants across the nation the data-driven tools that will help them know their customers better, personalize their experience, and grow visits and sales. The integration with Como Sense, Como’s flagship product, will make MobileBytes’ leading products—Online Ordering and Self Order Kiosks—even more valuable as it will provide businesses with comprehensive, granular customer purchase data, the insights to act on it, and the tools to run automated, personalized campaigns based on that data.

Yair Holtzer, President of Como America, said that: “MobileBytes and Como share similar goals in our approach to the restaurant industry. We both believe that technology, especially mobile, will change the way customers engage with brick-and-mortar establishments. Como Sense’s out-of-the-box data and machine learning tools, fully integrated with MobileBytes POS, will enable restaurants to engage with customers in a more relevant and personalized way, and drive more revenue as a result.”

Dan Calderone, MobileBytes CEO, said: “From the get-go, our goal was to bring our experience to the restaurant industry by developing innovative software. The new partnership with Como will help us do just that, by bringing in more innovation and technologies in order to provide full-scale applications in this exciting space. With Como Sense’s high-end data-driven solution and our current products, we will be able to deliver even greater value to our customers.”

Baldor’s Imperfect Produce Program

Baldor Specialty Foods is working with two local farms, Hepworth Farms of Milton, NY and Satur Farms of Cutchogue, Long Island, to bring second cuts and aesthetically imperfect produce to market. Launched as the Imperfect Produce Program, the initiative creates a market for the perfectly good and nutritious, locally-grown produce that would otherwise go to waste.

“Virtually a third of a farmer’s crop never makes it to market because of oddly shaped or cosmetically blemished items that the food service industry routinely rejects,” said Thomas McQuillan, Baldor’s VP of Sustainability and Culture. “With this new program, we’reworking with two local farms, Hepworth and Satur, to sell their surplus, irregular – but perfectly nutritious and delicious – select produce items to our customers.”

Currently, Hepworth Farms is supplying freshly picked, but aesthetically imperfect, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers and tomatoes to the new program. Satur Farms is supplying second-cut kale and a kale spinach mix. Baldor makes this completely safe, usable and locally-grown produce available to its network of restaurant owners, top chefs and institutional food suppliers.

Baldor plans to expand the service to additional farms in the near future.

“Baldor’s Imperfect Produce Program is a win-win for everyone,” said TJ Murphy, Baldor’s CEO. “Our farming partners will waste less and sell more and by doing this we’ll build a stronger regional food system.”

“Baldor’s Imperfect Produce Program is a win-win for everyone,” said TJ Murphy, Baldor’s CEO. “Our farming partners will waste less and market more yield, we’ll build a stronger regional food system, and our chefs will bring more, locally-grown produce to their customers who increasingly demand this level of ingredient freshness.”

To learn more about Baldor’s Imperfect Produce Program, click here.

Grand Dame Nestle

Les Dames d’Escoffier International announced its 2018 Grande Dame Award Winner, Marion Nestle, the internationally recognized researcher, degreed nutritionist and author who has been named by Forbes Magazine as number two of “the world’s seven most powerful foodies.” Marion known worldwide for her vast nutritional knowledge and passionate food advocacy. Called a food fighter for her efforts in establishing a food movement that calls on people to leverage food for political change, Marion is Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, emerita, at New York University (NYU), in the department she created and chaired from 1988-2003, and from which she retired in September 2017. She is also Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University.

Les Dames d’Escoffier 2018 Grande Dame Marion Nestle

She is the author of six prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health; Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety; What to Eat; Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics (with Dr. Malden Nesheim); Eat, Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics; and Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning). She also has written two books about pet food, Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine and Feed Your Pet Right (also with Dr. Nesheim). Her forthcoming book, Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat, will be published on October 30.

LDEI’s Grande Dame Award honors a lifetime of outstanding professional achievement, excellence, and charitable/community contributions within the culinary industry and is bestowed biennially. Nestle, fifteenth recipient of this international honor, will receive her award at the LDEI Annual Conference Gala Dinner in Seattle, WA, on October 12th.