MRM News Bites: National Food Safety Month, Shake Shack in Bed and More on This Week’s Plate

Modern Restaurant Management magazine compiles restaurant industry headlines, new products, openings and personnel announcements in our weekly MRM News Bites. Send items of interest to Content Director Barbara Castiglia at

National Food Safety Month

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced  this year’s National Food Safety Month (NFSM) theme: “Notorious Virus”- how to protect against the leading causes of foodborne illness.

“Food safety and security is the top priority for America’s one million restaurants,” said Sherman Brown, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe food safety and handling program. “With over 130 million meals served daily, learning how to detect and protect against foodborne illness is top of mind in the restaurant and foodservice industry. This September, we’ll provide the tools foodservice professionals need to protect themselves and their guests against foodborne illness.”

This year’s NFSM campaign will focus on protecting against some of the leading causes of foodborne illness – Norovirus and Hepatitis A. The Association will highlight the sources of these viruses and provide tips and tools on how to detect and prevent the spread of foodborne illness through proper hand washing and cleaning procedures. New training tools and resources will be made available each week including activities, posters, infographics, and videos. 

For the sixth consecutive year, NFSM is sponsored by SCA, maker of the Tork® brand of Away-from-Home professional hygiene products in North America. NFSM, held annually in September, was created in 1994 by the Association to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education. As part of its campaign, the Association offers free resources for foodservice industry professionals.

Toast Connects with Chowly

Toast, Inc., a Boston-based point of sale company, has partnered with Chowly, Inc. to integrate third-party online ordering systems (TOOS) directly into its point of sale (POS) software. The integration aims to solve a growing problem for customers who order food online. 
Chowly logo[1]
With the significant expansion of online ordering platforms such as Grubhub and Yelp’s Eat24, restaurants are seizing the opportunity to grow their delivery and pickup business. Using these services; however, has been challenging as they typically send orders via fax or separate hardware, rather than digitally and directly to the POS. 

“Online ordering marketplace sites can bring in customers for restaurants, but pose operational challenges because of the disconnect with the POS and kitchen,” said Chris Comparato, CEO of Toast, Inc. “Chowly’s integration with Toast streamlines this flow so that orders from third party sites can go immediately into the restaurant’s central operating system.” 

Restaurants now have the ability to take back ownership of their delivery and pick-up services without shifting focus from the in-store customer or sacrificing customer service altogether. 

Toast also sees the new partnership with Chowly as providing one more advantage over its point of sale competitors. 

“This integration provides a great complement to Toast’s POS platform, allowing Toast customers to expand their revenue stream to third party online ordering sites without sacrificing operational efficiency,” said Comparato. 

TouchBistro Integrates with Square

TouchBistro, an iPad Point-of-sale (POS) solution for restaurants in 37 countries, has now integrated with mobile payment processor Square. With the integration, restaurateurs using TouchBistro can expand their capabilities to include all the services Square can offer – whether payment processing, accepting Apple Pay, depositing their money instantly, or accessing a loan through Square Capital.

“This partnership has been many years in the making, we are excited to finally bring Square’s elegant, best in class hardware and processing to our customers,” said Alex Barrotti, CEO and founder of TouchBistro. “Together, TouchBistro and Square deliver a great combination for hospitality venues of any size.”

“Today’s partnership with TouchBistro is a natural fit for our hospitality companies and means that more sellers will have access to a greater range of software solutions, payments and financial services to reinvest in their business,” said Francoise Brougher, Business Lead at Square.

TouchBistro brings mobile innovation to the food and beverage industry with an iPad POS solution that is designed to work as the heart of a restaurant or bar, significantly increasing efficiencies and the overall customer experience. Servers use the TouchBistro iPad POS system to take customer orders tableside, or while patrons are in line or at the bar. Orders are then instantly transmitted to the kitchen or bar for preparation. Bills are automatically calculated and split according to the patrons’ requests. With the Square integration, initially for US-based restaurateurs, TouchBistro venues can use Square’s hardware and simple signup from within TouchBistro. Bill totals are transferred automatically to Square for payment, thereby minimizing order errors, increasing operations efficiency, and improving the overall customer experience.

QikServe Certification

QikServe technology has been certified on the FreedomPay Commerce Platform. The integration allows QikServe to offer its hospitality customers a powerful and secure option for handling payments and transactions with PCI-validated point-to-point encryption (P2PE), and provides EMV (chip and pin) certification out-of-the-box.

The United States is transitioning more than a billion payment cards, and upwards of 12 million credit card terminals, to the EMV standard.

QikServe’s patented ‘Waiter in Your Pocket’ technology lets guests order and pay for their food and drinks directly from a smartphone, website or kiosk. The integration with FreedomPay’s Commerce Platform enables QikServe to quickly deploy mobile ordering solutions that require traditional and emerging payments technologies like magstripe, EMV, ApplePay and near-field communication (NFC).

In an industry-wide move to combat card fraud and counterfeiting, the United States is transitioning more than a billion payment cards, and upwards of 12 million credit card terminals, to the EMV standard. EMV chips are designed to prevent card fraud by authenticating each card-present transaction, but still leave clear text card data exposed to the merchant’s point of sale system.

The integration with FreedomPay’s platform, which is fully audited and validated according to the PCI Security Council’s Standards, means that QikServe provides true card data security for all transactions by ensuring that sensitive cardholder data is completely encrypted with P2PE and tokenized so no cardholder data flows through its customers’ systems. The combination of EMV, P2PE and tokenization delivers a layered approach to payment security that significantly reduces the risk of card fraud while rendering cardholder data useless to hackers.

In addition, with FreedomPay’s EMV certification, QikServe customers do not have to undergo their own separate EMV certification. Both QikServe and FreedomPay are also Oracle Hospitality Partners.

“We are delighted that QikServe is now certified on the FreedomPay platform, providing hospitality operators with the option of an elegant, customer-facing front end to their POS with mobile and/or kiosk ordering that is also EMV capable and PCI-compliant,” said Christopher Kronenthal, CTO, FreedomPay. “Our partnership directly addresses a need within the hospitality market for multi-channel self-service solutions as well as addressing EMV challenges that have been a big issue for operators.”

Burgers in Bed, Anyone?

The Chicago Athletic Association hotel announces Shake Shack® in-room dining service, becoming the first hotel worldwide to offer Shake Shack room service for hotel guests. Now available for daily delivery to all 241 guestrooms, the beloved “roadside” burger stand features all menu items available from its location within the hotel’s first floor lobby, including a selection of ingredients from local purveyors such as Publican Quality Meats, Bang Bang Pie Shop, Glazed & Infused, and more.   Shake Shack IRD _ AJ Trela (4) copy
“Shake Shack has certainly become an iconic American brand and a cornerstone of our hotel, and we’re thrilled to extend the opportunity to enjoy Shack burgers to our guests without having to leave their room – or bed,” says Chicago Athletic Association hotel General Manager Patrick Hatton.
Offered daily from 3–10:30 p.m., Shake Shack’s in-room dining menu allows guests to choose from classics such as the ShackBurger™, SmokeShack, and hand spun frozen custards from the ease and comfort of their hotel room. The Chicago Athletic Association hotel’s in-room dining program offers Shake Shack’s menu of items inspired by playful riff on Chicago staples such as Shack-ago Dog™ with Rick’s Picks Shack relish, onion, cucumber, pickle, tomato, sport pepper, celery salt, and mustard and the Publican Pork Sausage with Shack cheddar & American cheese sauce and crispy ShackMeister Ale-marinated shallots. Founded by Danny Meyer in 2004, Shake Shack now has 100 locations across the country including the Shack located on the ground floor of the Chicago Athletic Association, which opened along with the hotel in May 2015.  

Tennis, Anyone? Lavazza Teams with Andre Agassi

Lavazza took to the streets and announced the global partnership with the legendary Andre Agassi with a flash mob of “clones” stationed in Union Square. The 150 80s mullet-donning clones channeled the iconic Agassi look. The flash mob marks the launch of Agassi’s “I’m Back” campaign with Lavazza at the U.S. Open.

Andre Agassi Flash Mob courtesy of Lavazza
Andre Agassi Flash Mob
courtesy of Lavazza

The campaign is a buildup to the official announcement that Andre Agassi is back at the U.S. Open with Lavazza to “give back.” For every cup of Lavazza coffee ($3) purchased at the US Open this year, one dollar ($1) will be donated to the USTA to support the Andre Agassi Foundation to benefit education efforts for underserved youth.

Back to School

Typsy is putting its focus on improving training in the hospitality industry. The company has developed an online training platform that helps hospitality professionals improve their skills and through access to a library of online video courses, users can learn practical tips from the world’s best instructors.

Typsy offers bite-size video courses and instant self-assessment to allow hospitality professionals to learn industry-specific skills. The platform also allows hospitality owners and managers to schedule training out to specific venues and team members, and then monitor how staff are responding. An intuitive management dashboard shows how many hours of training staff have completed and who the most engaged staff members are.TypsyWordmark

The Australian hospitality is facing major skills shortages. According to The Australian Tourism Labour Force Report, over half of businesses in the café and restaurant sector report recruitment difficulties, naming a lack of required skills as the main reason. The report concluded that if not addressed, these difficulties in the hospitality industry will also restrict growth in Australia’s tourism sector in the long-term.

Jonathan Plowright, founder and CEO of Typsy, says that it’s time for the hospitality industry to take training online.

“We’ve talked to a lot of hospitality businesses, and skill shortages and high turnover rates seem to be general problems they’re having a lot of trouble with,” he says. “Most hospitality managers don’t have the time to organise extensive training, and they want to track results. Typsy offers a simple way for hospitality businesses to fill those skill gaps.”

Typsy has been filming courses across Australia and North America, with course instructors including World Barista Champion Sasa Sestic, Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Award winner Brooke Adey and social media expert Sam Mutimer. Members can learn about a range of course topics including barista skills, leadership, menu engineering and social media marketing. Typsy’s course library currently consists of over 200 course titles and is said to grow to 300 in the next 6 months.

RRT Success Story

Restaurant Revolution Technologies, Inc. (RRT),  Catering and Outbound Business Development – continues to gain national interest within the restaurant industry by enhancing revenue streams for various restaurant chains. 

David Schofield
David Schofield

In a recent case study, over a 120-day period, RRT generated in excess of $40,000 in new catering orders through its outbound efforts; when all costs were factored in, which included food and labor costs and RRT fees, the net contribution margin for the client exceeded 25 percent.

Beyond the new catering orders, RRT also scheduled in excess of 100 new appointments for the client to meet with local businesses to discuss and promote their catering business, which greatly increased their visibility within the local community and position the client to capture future catering orders when events are held. As part of RRT’s overall program, RRT provides direct follow-up after these appointments are held to keep the clients’ catering business “top of mind” and to be readily available when new catering opportunities arise.

“AT RRT, we focus on providing our clients innovative and fully integrated solutions for restaurant operators to grow their off-premise business, which is the fastest growing segment within the industry and represents close to 40 percent of our industry’s total market opportunity,” said David Schofield, CEO of RRT. “A key part of these off-premise opportunities is supporting the larger and more complex catering orders, which is a rapidly growing segment within the industry. However, the majority of operators are extremely challenged in supporting these larger transactions as well as actively engaging in outbound business development. Often times the dine-in experience is their primary focus and the other opportunities, specifically as related to off-premise opportunities, are neglected. Operators need to understand that they are leaving a significant amount of money on the table.”

New Products

Snacktops® launched its first commercial product line of interlocking food and beverage containers that allows on-the-go consumers to carry more in their hands when they leave the point-of-sale. Each of  lid design features a straw insert strategically angled at the rim, rather than the center, that works in conjunction with its selection of snack containers and allows for more practical food and beverage consumption.LITTLE GIRL_223124620flat 3

Designed to service the needs of various establishments, such as amusement parks, stadiums, convenience stores, quick-service restaurants and food concession businesses, Snacktops’ solutions fit a variety of existing branded beverage containers, are cost competitive to paper-based packaging and 100 percent recyclable.

“Snacktops represent a new generation of portable packaging that is changing the way the world eats and drinks while on-the-go,” said Jeff Engel, president and CEO of Snacktops, Inc. “Through multiple pilot programs, such as the Yankee Stadium test, Snacktops’ products are proving to not only increase revenue and profits for vendors, but also enhance the customer experience by providing them with a convenient and easy way to carry more items and enjoy them while on the move. It’s truly a win-win situation for everyone.”

The Yankee Stadium pilot program yielded strong results with 65 percent of customers stating they were influenced to purchase a combo meal as a result of the convenience and ease of Snacktops’ packaging. The results also showed that 97 percent of customers wanted to see more foods sold the same way. 

NewMetro Design introduced a new line of Füri Cutlery to the U.S. market. The line features a seamless, all-stainless steel construction, a blade constructed from hardened high-specification Japanese Steel for superior durability and ease of sharpening, and an innovative wedge-shaped handle design.

FUR614E lifestyle

The blades feature very thin shoulders, for less cutting resistance, and a 17-degree angle cutting edge that makes the blades strong and durable as well as sharp. Developed for the professional chef, Füri knives are tough, weighty and more comfortable for professional restaurant work, with a reverse-wedge handle design that resists slip toward the blade, eliminating the need for dots on the handle.  The optimum bolster design also allows the user to fully sharpen the knife to the blade heel while providing a comfortable finger rest. The Füri line retails for $59.95 to $499.99, at specialty retailers and online.

Lotito Foods, a family owned, four generation cheese and specialty food company, introduced Folios™, lightly baked sheets of cheese that are made from Parmesan, Cheddar or Jarlsberg® cheese.   Folios are a first of its kind cheese product as no other company has ever created a product made of all natural, part-skim cheese, that is carb and gluten free and high in protein. For foodservice operators they are available in 10 packs and come in cases of 12. image003[2]

Folios can be crisped in the microwave or oven and crumbled for use on salads and soups, or eaten alone as a crunchy cheese snack.  They can be molded into an edible bowl for salads or pasta or melted over omelets or soups and they can come straight out of the package as a no-carb, high protein wrap option. 

“Our family has been in love with cheese for over a century,” said Chris Lotito, President of Lotito Foods.  “Folios is the culmination of this rich, long history of our family’s love and knowledge of artisan cheese, with a versatile, modern take on offering home cooks and chefs a totally new way to enjoy cheese. It’s a game changer!”

Folios join the Lotito food product line, which includes both imported and domestic Italian cheese, cheese blends and solutions as well as Italian specialty foods. Lotito brands include Gabriella®, Suprema®, Lotito® and Swan Valley®.

Nor-Lake, designer and manufacturer of refrigeration equipment for foodservice, scientific and industrial markets, introduced the new AdvantEDGE™ undercounter/worktable refrigerator and freezer line. This undercounter/worktable line offers a new design to capitalize on available workspace, energy efficiency and easy maintenance.
NorLakeUndercounter_NLUR48A[1]The enhanced AdvantEDGE™ series features a new front-breathing design and allows cabinets to be enclosed on top, sides and back, freeing area workspace and offering zero-clearance installation. The undercounter/worktable series also includes a new condenser filter screen located in the rear of each cabinet that can be removed without tools for easy cleaning. Users simply pull the screen out, rinse with water, and replace. The mesh screen filters incoming air to ensure the condenser coil is free of dirt and debris, extending the life of the equipment and increasing efficiency. Doors on the undercounter/worktable series are self-closing and offer one, two or three door option to fit any application.

The AdvantEDGE™ undercounter/worktable series’ enhanced design increases energy efficiency with no required perimeter door heaters. The refrigeration systems have been redesigned for higher efficiency; all models meet 2017 Department of Energy requirements.

This undercounter/worktable series offers a stainless steel interior and exterior as well as two-inch wall thickness. Refrigeration models are ENERGY STAR qualified, and the series is available in five refrigerator models and three freezer models.

Taking it Personnely

Larry Goldfarb has joined Westminster Hotel as Director of Catering. He brings extensive experience and a unique approach to all facets of the luxury hotel and catering market. Most recently, he was an independent consultant and Director of Catering with Maiden Lane Hospitality (Capitale, Espace/NYC).

Larry Goldfarb
Larry Goldfarb

“I’m excited to be back in my hometown of Livingston, NJ, working with the Westminster Hotel and Strip House teams to further enhance their impressive offerings in this highly competitive special and corporate events space,” said Goldfarb.

Posto 9, a Brazilian Gastropub, named Dani Borow as Executive Pastry Chef in Lakeland, FL.

Dani Borow
Dani Borow

As Executive Pastry Chef, Borow will be responsible for the day to day operation of the pastry kitchen. Borow will oversee creating and executing desserts, pastries, and Brazilian appetizers for Posto 9.

Borow comes to Posto 9 with 15 years of experience as a pastry chef and will report to Executive Chef and Restaurant Manager, Michel Revy. Prior to joining Posto 9, Borow was the owner of Buttercup Gourmet Bakery in Lakeland. She began her career at the Great Harvest Bread Company, in Annapolis, MD, and left her position as Executive Brand Manager at a large advertising agency to pursue her dream of becoming a Chef.

In addition to having earned a degree in Pastry Arts from L’Academie de Cuisine, one of the top 10 culinary schools in North America, Chef Dani has trained and specialized with renowned Pastry Chefs, including World Pastry Champions and Executive Pastry Chefs to the White House. Prior to starting her own business, she has worked across the US at several Marriott International properties, and was the Bakery & Pastry Lead Chef at their largest property, The World Center Marriott in Orlando.

“When I learned about Posto 9’s concept, I immediately fell in love with it,” Borow said. “Being a native of Brazil, I passionately started dreaming up how I could take all those childhood flavors and elevate them and transform them into something that would entertain the American palate. Making the move to Posto 9 was something that happened naturally, as if life and career had come full circle for me.”

Restaurant Programs of America, LLC. (RPA), a restaurant and hospitality insurance brokerage added Peter M. Enos joined RPA as Vice President of sales at the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Peter M. Enos
Peter M. Enos

“We are excited to have Peter as part of the team,” said Dean Carras, President and CEO of RPA. “He will be involved in sales and market development in order to expand RPA’s presence on the West Coast.”

For 25 years, Enos provided innovative risk management solutions to clients in a variety of specialties including restaurants, hospitality, health and fitness, construction, real estate and manufacturing. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from California State University, Northridge.  

Prior to RPA, Enos was a broker with B&B Premier Insurance Solutions, Inc. in southern California. He was also an insurance agent with Automobile Club of Southern California and Prudential Insurance.  

Restaurant Programs of America (RPA) is a national restaurant insurance agency focused on providing quality business insurance products and services to restaurants throughout the United States. RPA insures more than 5,000 hospitality companies across the U.S.

Juan Licerio Alcala has been named Executive Chef of the new Grand Velas Los Cabos, the fifth property of the family owned and operated Velas Resorts opening in late 2016. In his new position, he is responsible for the “Beyond All-Inclusive, Beyond All Compare” resort’s highly anticipated gourmet specialty restaurants with food, creativity and presentation comparable to that of top restaurants in world capitals. These include Cocina de Autor, the resort’s signature restaurant; Frida, offering Mexican fine dining; Piaf, which serves gourmet French specialties; and Lucca, with a menu of traditional Italian cuisine. In all, he will oversee six restaurants, multiple bars, and the catering operation of the 306 all-suite, uber luxury resort. 

Juan Licero[1]
Juan Licero

With over two decades of experience, Licerio’s culinary skills are international ranging from Mexican, Italian, American, French, and Spanish to Indian, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Latin, Asian, and Thai. He has also spent time honing his skills in molecular gastronomy and healthy lifestyle cuisines tailored to specific diet-dependent conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and gluten-free, as well as unique dietary preferences including macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets. Most recently, he served as executive chef of the Princess Mundo Imperial in Acapulco and, immediately prior, the Pelican Hill in Newport Beach. Licerio has also spent time managing and working in food & beverage for Four Seasons, Fairmont, Capella, and Ritz Carlton throughout the US and Mexico. 

Filippo Berti has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer for the Ali Group.  As Chief Executive Officer, he will have responsibility for all of the Group’s operating companies worldwide. Luciano Berti will continue in his role as Chairman of the Ali Group and remain actively engaged with Filippo and other corporate staff.

Filippo sitting_blackbackground_med[3]
Filippo Berti

Berti joined the Ali Group in May 2008 with the acquisition of Beverage-Air where he held the role of President. He most recently served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Ali Group North America based in Chicago, IL. 

“Since Filippo joined the Ali Group in 2008, he has proven to be a dynamic, discerning manager, well respected by his team and those in the foodservice industry. Over his career, I have provided him with direct experience in the field and the opportunity to see the many different aspects of our business. Filippo has shown himself to have vision and a great sensitivity to the market,” Luciano Berti said.

Founded in 1963 by Luciano Berti, the Ali Group is an Italian corporation with headquarters located in Milan, Italy and North American operations based in Chicago, Illinois. The company, through its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, markets and services a broad line of commercial and institutional foodservice equipment used by major restaurant and hotel chains, independent restaurants, hospitals, schools, airports, correctional institutions and canteens. The Ali Group and its 77 global brands employs over 10,000 people in 33 countries. It has 58 manufacturing facilities in 14 countries and sales and service subsidiaries throughout Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.