Millennials’ Attitude Toward Food and ChefsGiving

The Thursday edition of MRM’s Daily Bite features Edamam, Taco Bell and Comcast, ChefsGiving, the 100th Restaurant Roundtable at the Sardine Factory and John Smith Subs. 

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Attitudes of Millennials Toward Food

Edamam released a white paper on the habits and attitudes of millennials toward food and what these mean for running a restaurant business in today’s world. A key finding of the paper is that nutrition data, as well focus on sustainability and social engagement, are important differentiators that drive the millennial customers to restaurants. With ever expanding wallets and strongly held views on food, this generation is likely to have the greatest impact on restaurants in at least 50 years.

The white paper was based on independent research done by Edamam, researcher from New York University College of Global Public Health and SPE Certified, a company certifying restaurant sustainability efforts.

Image Courtesy of Edamam
Image Courtesy of Edamam

In addition to doing a broad study of millennial attitudes toward food and eating, the team interviewed a number of New York City based restaurants to evaluate their awareness, preparedness and ability to cope with the new rising tide of young diners.

“We found that while restaurants are generally aware of changing attitudes and their potential impact, they have by and large done little to change and adjust course to take advantage of the millennial diner,” commented Victor Penev, Edamam’s CEO and Founder.

As transparency becomes a must and a growing awareness about the impact of food on health and well-being is starting to drive decisions when buying groceries or ordering a meal, fully available and clearly presented nutrition data is something every restaurant must consider as part of running day-to-day business.

“Restaurants believe that for the time being price and taste still drive decisions. While this is true, establishments with focus on transparent data are likely to draw in clientele disproportionately.” added Victor Penev.

Edamam provides a tool for restaurants to analyze the nutrition of of meals they serve and add nutrient, allergen and diet relevant data to their menus.

Taco Bell Selects Comcast

Taco Bell has selected Comcast Business Enterprise Solutions to provide managed services, including guest Wi-Fi, at more than 6,200 Taco Bell company and franchise locations across the U.S. 

Taco Bell, which has launched several innovative technology solutions in recent years to improve the overall dining experience for its customers, including allowing people to place orders and pay both online and via the Taco Bell mobile app, digital menu boards and free Wi-Fi, has retained Comcast Business to support the technology requirements needed to maintain  business operations nationwide, including a high-performance, redundant, highly-available network infrastructure.

“Comcast Business understands the unique network demands of national restaurant chains and looks forward to supporting Taco Bell, one of the technology leaders of the fast food industry,” said Glenn Katz, VP & GM Enterprise Solutions at Comcast Business. “By understanding the ever-changing demands of this highly competitive industry and having the largest high capacity network infrastructure in the country, Comcast is in a unique position to provide and manage all aspects of a service deployment within the quick serve restaurant (QSR) sector, whether they are a smaller restaurant group or a national chain with several thousand locations.”

Comcast Business will provide Taco Bell secure, high-performance communication services that include:

  • A new in-store Managed Wi-Fi network and Managed Router solution for each restaurant capable of 20 Mbps downloads and 3 Mbps uploads minimum.
  • 4G business continuity at each location.
  • Redundant connections at each location – and to the network and corporate data centers – that creates an always-on infrastructure.
  • A distributed IPsec VPN network, providing the ability to collect and exchange massive amounts of data at very high speeds across Taco Bell locations.

From an operations standpoint, Comcast will support Taco Bell’s need to share corporate sales figures and trend statistics swiftly and securely and distribute electronic marketing and training materials to franchisees. Fast food restaurants typically experience employee turnover rates greater than 100 percent, which makes on-demand access to training videos and interactive sessions for new employees critical. In the fast food industry, network downtime at any location or on a mobile app can lead directly to lost sales. Taco Bell selected Comcast Business Enterprise Solutions for its ability to support distributed enterprises with high-capacity and more importantly, highly-reliable communication and Managed Services.

ChefsGiving Week

ChefsGiving Week—a restaurant-driven fundraiser for Northern California fire relief—culminates in a Gala at San Francisco’s iconic Ferry Building on Sunday, Nov.19  from 4pm to 7pm. Tickets are on sale now and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund and Restaurants Care.

The Chefs Giving Gala is the Bay Area’s big-hearted food and wine community coming together for a cause close to home.

Chaired by Debbie Zachareas of Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, and hosted by Liam Mayclem (KCBS Radio’s “Foodie Chap”) and Leslie Sbrocco (KQED’s “Check, Please! Bay Area”), the Gala is a fundraiser and celebration to officially bring a close to a week of giving by more than 85 Bay Area restaurants. Guests will enjoy wine from more than 50 wineries across California and the globe, with a total of more than 250 wines to taste, and food by the Ferry Building’s renowned restaurants and eateries. Cocktails and bites will be served outside in the CUESA kitchen, Hog Island will provide oysters, and guests can enjoy a cheese and foie gras cave featuring cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and members of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. An inaugural Chef Humanitarian of the Year Award presented by Williams-Sonoma will also be given to a local chef.

“I am truly honored to witness our community coming together. We expect almost every vendor in the Ferry Building to contribute to this Gala, give back to those impacted by the fires, and pay homage to the chefs who donated to ChefsGiving for an entire week. I was bowled over by the outpouring of support from wineries and my colleagues and peers in the Ferry Building who are generously providing all of the food and wine for the Gala. After a week of giving, it’s our turn to toast and host guests,” said Zachareas.

In an effort to raise more for the two ChefsGiving charity partners, Mayclem and Sbrocco will host a live auction to include one-of-a-kind lots, such as: an “Instant Wine Cellar” with 100 bottles of wine from top wineries including Chateau Montelena , Littorai Wines , Pride Mountain Vineyards , Silver Oak , Shafer , Peay Vineyards , Hirsch Vineyards , and Duckhorn Vineyards ; “Dinner for a Year,” with 52, $100 gift certificates from local restaurants; and a two-night getaway to Las Vegas hosted by Chef Hubert Keller.

Two ticketing options are available via Eventbrite (, all of which include unlimited wine, food, and cocktail tastings:

  •  $195 VIP Tickets: Arrive an hour before general admission to mingle with ChefsGiving Week restaurant chefs, enjoy exclusive Champagne tastings from Ruinart , Veuve Clicquot , Krug , and Dom Perignon , and caviar from The Caviar Company.
  • $125 General Admission

“The Chefs Giving Gala is the Bay Area’s big-hearted food and wine community coming together for a cause close to home,” said ChefsGiving Founder, Liam Mayclem. “It’s an event that will honor our neighbors affected by the fires and also allow us to give thanks to the many chefs who fed those in need. It’s our way of saying we care and that aid will continue to be on the way”.

ChefsGiving Week (November 13-19) is a fundraising effort to support those devastated by wildfires in Northern California. During the week, restaurants of all price points will hold a variety of events to support Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund and Restaurants Care. The Bay Area’s most recognized chefs and restaurants will join, including Atelier Crenn, Manresa, Mourad, The Slanted Door, Robin, Outerlands, The Riddler, La Folie, Foreign Cinema, Donato Enoteca, The Restaurant at CIA Copia, La Costanera, Shakewell, La Marcha, Dumpling Time, Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, and fast-casual spots like 4505 Burgers & BBQ, Souvla, and Media Noche. Pop-ups powered by Feastly before and during ChefsGiving Week will also be available for chefs without a permanent restaurant space.

The Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund directly supports low-income communities affected by the devastating fires in the North Bay. Restaurants Care, an emergency assistance fund for restaurant workers formed by the California Restaurant Association Foundation, has dedicated specific funds to support restaurant workers who are affected by the fires.

For more information about ChefsGiving, visit and follow along on social media for the latest news: @ChefsGiving on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Restaurants interested in participating are encouraged to visit and contact Maddie Emodi,

Sardine Factory Restaurant Hosts 100th Restaurant Roundtable

The California Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association and Ted J. Balestreri, Chairman and CEO of the Cannery Row Company and co-owner of the Sardine Factory, hosted the 100th Restaurant Roundtable of 2017 at the Sardine Factory in Monterey, California.  Congressman Jimmy Panetta was the featured guest at the event. 

Sardine Factory 100th Roundtable
Sardine Factory 100th Roundtable

Panetta, son of former Secretary of State Leon Panetta and Sylvia Panetta, represents the 20th congressional district which includes all of Monterey and San Benito Counties, and parts of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. He said he was pleased to be able to meet with the restaurant owners and discuss the industry he worked in as a youth.  Topics covered included health care and immigration reform, along with some discussion about tax reform.

Congressman Panetta said, “Hearing directly from small businesses provides me valuable information about the issues they and their employees face. Congress should work to foster an environment that encourages job growth and economic prosperity, as small businesses work to expand employment opportunities in our communities.”

National Restaurant Association started the Restaurant Roundtables program in 2015 to ring restaurateurs and lawmakers together and provide the opportunity for elected officials from both parties to hear directly from restaurant owners about the challenges they face and to discuss how regulations and legislation could help or hurt business.  Along with State Restaurant Association partners they hosted 15 roundtables in the first year, 70 in 2016 and 100 in 2017.

In 2017, 700 people representing 33 states have participated, including 10 senators and 90 representatives. Lawmakers attending the events this year include U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Boozman (R-Ark.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). U.S. House of Representatives include Congressmen Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Mike Bost (R-Ill.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Bradley Byrne R-Ala.).

Balestreri said, “As a former National Restaurant Association Chair and CEO of the Sardine Factory, it was a special honor to host the 100th roundtable of 2017 and welcome Congressman Jimmy Panetta.”

John Smith Subs Plans Global Expansion

 Jon Smith Subs® announced its first stride in international expansion with its first overseas location slated to open in Kingston, an area of Southwest London, England, in early 2018. United Franchise Group (UFG) has partnered with Jon Smith Subs to fast track its global expansion.

The master license partner for the United Kingdom territory is Hasna Sheikh Ali, who has a background in commercial and residential real estate and currently owns and operates Pepe’s, a chicken franchise restaurant in Bournemouth. In addition to the Kingston location, Ali plans to open two additional Jon Smith Subs locations; one in Bournemouth, and a third location near the Kensington High Street area of Central London in the coming months.

“I’m truly honored to be part of this major milestone for the brand and to help expand the Jon Smith Subs franchise internationally, starting in the UK,” said Ali. “The help I have received from the Jon Smith Subs and UFG teams has been instrumental in ensuring consistency with our brand message and menu to match the renowned quality of the stores in the United States. England is going to love these subs.”

The new location in England is part of a larger international expansion plan for the Jon Smith Subs brand, which until now has been wholly based in Florida. Plans call for the brand to open 40-45 locations over the next eight years throughout the UK. Other near-term international targets include Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, Singapore and the UAE.

“We’re excited to expand our brand internationally as it is a testament to the quality of the concept and the universal appeal of full-flavor sandwiches,” said Scott Stuck, president of Jon Smith Subs, and an owner-operator himself. “We’ve been looking for  strategic and savvy owner operators to take Jon Smith Subs global, and Hasna is a great partner to lead that charge. We look forward to watching her succeed, and for the brand’s continued international growth.”

“With plans for the overall global growth and development of UFG’s franchise concepts, the introduction of Jon Smith Subs to the UK is a tremendous milestone for both the brand as well as UFG,” said Tipton Shonkwiler, International Director and Executive Vice President of United Franchise Group. “The brand is in an excellent position within its international expansion plan, showing the potential to exceed our global growth goals.”