Schlotzsky’s Sets World Record and Poké Popularity

The rising interest in poké meals, a new president and CEO at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and Sweetbitter gets series pickup. Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at

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Riding the Poké Wave at Work

Poké restaurants are all the rage these days and offices across the United States and now offices are enjoying these bowls as,  since the start of 2017, ZeroCater has seen a 76 percent increase of poké meals delivered from poké meals delivered in 2016.

At the end of 2016, industry experts predicted poké would have a significant influence on the restaurant space in 2017 with menu additions and new concepts.  One factor may be a focus on health in the workplace. Poké is full of flavor, low in calories and high in protein, with sushi-grade seafood boasting essential fatty acids, which are great for maintaining brain function, cardiovascular health and healthy cholesterol levels.

With clients’ increased interest in poké, ZeroCater brought on five new poké vendors to accommodate demand, including Pokéworks in the San Francisco Bay and New York regions. 

“We strive to keep our offerings fresh and exciting so that our clients and their employees enjoy their food programs to the fullest,” said Arram Sabeti, CEO of ZeroCater. “As wellness becomes increasingly important in the workplace, especially among millennials, poké is a fresh, flavorful option loaded with veggies and omega-3s.”

Van Berkel Acquires OMAS SpA

Van Berkel International, the Italian producer of food slicers, knife sets, and cutting accessories, acquired OMAS SpA, a manufacturer of professional machinery.  While Berkel offers customers food slicers and processing equipment for both professional and domestic use, Omas specializes in professional machinery for customers at an industrial level. The company offers restaurants, grocery stores, and industry professionals a variety of models to fit their needs.

“The business moves we’ve made this year are a strong indication of how enthusiastic and passionate we are about the company,” says Alberto Gonzalez, Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Our recent U.S expansion paired with the acquisition of a brand as well-respected as OMAS, makes me confident in our position to grow Van Berkel’s presence worldwide.”

“The purpose of the acquisition is to leverage the scope of both brands to consolidate Van Berkel International’s leadership in the high-end slicer segment,” explained Giuliano Reas, President of Van Berkel International S.r.L. “Berkel is recognized throughout the world for making slicers a symbol of excellence and tradition in history. OMAS founded its brand based on the same principles and has affirmed itself over the years due to the high quality of its machines and the deep penetration in foreign markets.”

The current business plan envisions an expansion of the product offerings and penetration of new markets. After last year’s expansion in the United States, Berkel wishes to continue growing in the U.S market as well as in India, where the company invested in a new and improved production site that, in the last two years, has increased the production volume of over 10,000 units/year. This equals to about half of Berkel’s total production, with the rest being manufactured in the Italian plants.

Tracy Lorenz Named President and CEO of Triumph Higher Education Group / Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

The Triumph Higher Education Group Board of Directors appointed Tracy Lorenz president and chief executive officer of Triumph Higher Education Group / Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, effective October 2.

Tracy Lorenz
Tracy Lorenz

For the past six years, Lorenz served as the president of Western International University, a regionally-accredited institution located in Phoenix. She served as the chief financial officer and chief operating officer for Western International University prior to her promotion to president. She has also held a variety of key executive roles at Career Education Corporation where she led operations, strategy and development as well as investor relations and corporate communications. Prior to her tenure in higher education, Lorenz held positions at McDonald’s International and KPMG Peat Marwick in finance and accounting. Lorenz is a CPA and holds her bachelor of science degree from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Lorenz is also a seven-time Ironman Triathlon finisher and successfully completed the Boston Marathon.

“Tracy has the passion, experience and student focus to help us bring our world-class culinary education programs to students across the U.S. and abroad,” said Jack Larson, executive chairman of the board for Triumph Higher Education Group. “Her vast experience in strategic development and operations makes her a perfect leader to enhance our online programs as well as our campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.”

With a strong background in online education, Lorenz will focus on enhancing the influence of the Escoffier brand on a domestic and international level. Namely, she will concentrate her efforts on expanding the school’s affordable and accessible online culinary program which includes an industry externship and lifetime career services support. The program has already shown great promise in terms of growth, student success and employer placement. Expansion of other online programs is also underway.

“Escoffier represents one of the most prestigious names in culinary and one of the best alternatives for students striving for a career in the culinary arts and hospitality industry. I am honored to represent a brand with such a rich history and global opportunity. For me, this is also a unique opportunity to combine the excellence of Escoffier’s culinary training and education with today’s most advanced technology to enhance student learning and outcomes both online and on-campus.”

Schlotzsky’s Sets World Record

Schlotzsky’s® has become a Guinness World Record title holder for the Most contributions to a painting by numbers. The title attempt was the culmination of a three-day celebration in the brand’s hometown of Austin to mark the 46th birthday and the first official “Schlotzsky’s Day,” proclaimed by the City of Austin on October 6.

The paint-by-numbers mural was designed by street artist and the “Mayor of Austin Graffiti Art,” Sloke One. Situated on a background featuring the Austin skyline, a larger-than-life replica of the famous sandwich Schlotzsky’s Sets World Record and Poké Popularitystarted serving in 1971 — The Original® — was sketched onto the brick wall on the side of the building at the Schlotzsky’s South Lamar Boulevard location.Featuring 2,643 individual sections painted by Austinites and visitors over the course of three days, the mural surpassed the 2,604 goal and is a true “Austin Original,” and a colorful, permanent legacy in the city. The weekend-long  title attempt and birthday celebration also featured live music and surprise rides on the Schlotzsky’s double decker bus with celebrity appearances. By the end of the celebration, 3,000 free sandwiches had been enjoyed, and over 22 gallons of paint had been carefully brushed onto the wall.”Our Austin heritage is what the Schlotzsky’s brand was built on, and we couldn’t be more proud to work alongside the local community to bring home a Guinness World Record’s title,” said Kelly Roddy, president of Schlotzsky’s®. “Schlotzsky’s will share a permanent piece of history with the city and Austinites who have been loyal fans for over 46 years. We’re committed to continuing to bring a taste of Austin to our fans all over the country.” The previous record was held by Victoria Educational Organisation in Hong Kong, which had 2,603 contributions to a 42-foot-long mural completed on December 22, 2015.”It was wonderful to see so many members of the Austin community participating in Schlotzsky’s attempt for the Guinness World Records title of Most contributions to a painting by numbers,” said Michael Empric. “Thanks to their efforts, Schlotzsky’s was able to make history by achieving the title with an outstanding number of participants. We congratulate and welcome Schlotzsky’s into the Guinness World Records family.”

Sweetbitter Going to Series

Starz ordered straight to series six half-hour episodes of the scripted drama “Sweetbitter” based on the national best-selling novel of the same name written by Stephanie Danler. MRM profiled the novel here.

Stephanie Danler

“Stephanie’s smart, sensory and genuine storytelling is set in the world of high-end dining, fueled by too much debauchery, drugs and French wine,” said Starz President and CEO Chris Albrecht. “Stephanie, Stu and Plan B have found an exciting way to translate the celebration of senses depicted in the book to the screen, and along the way, will post a love letter to New York City. We look forward to announcing our Tess, Jake, Simone and Howard soon.”Previously announced as a development project for the network in July, Danler has written the script for the first episode. Stu Zicherman (“The Americans,” “The Affair,” “Six Degrees”) joins Danler, and both will serve as executive producers along with Plan B Entertainment. Donna Bloom will serve as producer on the six-episode freshman season. Laura Rosenthal is currently leading the ongoing casting search.“This has already been a thrilling ride, and I can’t wait for everyone to see how we expanded the world and characters beyond the book,” said Danler. “I’ve been working with the most brilliant and generous people, and am extremely grateful. It’s an honor to show up to work every day.”

“Sweetbitter” follows 22-year-old Tess who, shortly after arriving in New York City, lands a job at a celebrated downtown restaurant. Swiftly introduced to the world of drugs, alcohol, love, lust, dive bars, and fine dining, she learns to navigate the chaotically alluring, yet punishing life she has stumbled upon. This is the story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the rich and grimy backdrop of exclusive restaurants, conjuring a nonstop and high-adrenaline world evoking the possibility, beauty, and fragility of being young and adrift.