Take-Out Take Over, Food-Truck Food Hall and Crave Crasher

Today’s specials include the rapid growth of take-out orders, a retro food hall concept and No Kid Hungry goes on tour. 

Send news items to Barbara Castiglia at bcastiglia@modernrestaurantmanagement.com.

Hitting $2 Billion in Take-Out Sales

SYNQ3 Restaurant Solutions reached $2 billion in restaurant sales for several top restaurant brands on August 28. CEO Steve Bigari said while it took 11 years for the company to reach its first billion in take-out sales processed, they eclipsed the second billion in less than 18 months.

Working with nearly 7,000 restaurant locations, SYNQ3 facilitates off-premise orders for regional and national chains such Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Noodles & Company, Famous Dave’s Barbeque, Portillo’s, McAlister’s Deli®, and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. SYNQ3’s business looks to grow exponentially in 2018, so much and they plan to hire more than 500 additional employees by March, according to Bigari.

“Off-premise sales are the primary source of revenue growth in the restaurant industry today and will continue to be in the future,” said Bigari. “Nearly 13 years ago, we recognized this trend and started SYNQ3 to meet the need that would soon overwhelm many restaurants; and now, everyone is seeing it. By combining data collection and technology with the undivided attention and detailed service we provide, we’re transforming the way guests and restaurants interact.”

Red Robin’s Vice President of Alternative Platforms Jason Rusk added, “We partnered with SYNQ3 to enhance our guests’ dining experience, whether they’re dining in or ordering take-out. Red Robin is known for customization and SYNQ3’s seamless integration is critical to the success of our on-demand initiatives because the guest remains in control without compromising the ordering process.”

Seventh Street Truck Park Opens

Seventh Street Truck Park in St. Paul officially opens its doors to their 1970 VW bus, 1979 Winnebago, and the rest of the line-up of vintage vehicles turned food-trucks. With a quirky campsite-style atmosphere and a menu chock-full of guilty pleasures, Seventh Street Truck Park delivers the ultimate communal dining experience. 

The retro food-hall was brought to life by M5 Management, the parent company behind New Bohemia Wurst + Bierhaus. Inspired by a cross-country trek to unearth the nation’s best local eateries, M5’s executive team collaborated with Shea Design to channel the most memorable meals and one-of-a-kind experiences from each city into the concept of Seventh Street Truck Park. 

“We couldn’t be more excited to share our vision for Seventh Street with the public,” said COO Brian Ingram. “With our old-school vibe and groovy décor, we invite our guests to flash back in time to piling into the family station wagon, cranking up an eight-track, and spending hours on end playing the license plate game, all while enjoying their favorite road trip fare.” 

Brian Ingram

Serving up great American road trip-inspired classics with a twist such as crispy buttermilk fried chicken, giant ice cream sandwiches, Kool-Aid based cocktails, tacos with all of the fixings, and pizzas with bizarre toppings, the funky menu offerings will rotate to give guests a unique culinary experience from one visit to the next. 

M5 Management is a full-service hospitality based company specializing in creating, financing, and operating entertainment venues, attractions, bars, and restaurants. Projects include Seventh Street Truck Park, New Bohemia Wurst + Bierhaus, Minus5 Ice Experience, 1923 Bourbon Bar, and Freight House Restaurant, Beer Garden and Tap Room.  

No Kid Hungry on Tour

During the month of September, Nékter Juice Bar will donate $1.00 from each kid’s juice or smoothie sold in participating restaurants in California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Colorado to No Kid Hungry with the goal of raising at least $5,000.

“The fact that there are so many children in our country today that don’t know where their next meal will come from is absolutely shocking, but with organizations like No Kid Hungry, many of these children have found a guardian angel,” said Alexis Schulze, co-founder and chief visionary officer, Nékter Juice Bar. “Found in the smallest of towns to the largest metropolitan centers, childhood hunger negatively impacts the way our nation’s children live, function, learn, and so much more. We are truly honored to be able to support No Kid Hungry in this way.”

The Dine Out for No Kid Hungry school bus tour kicked off in New York  and ends in Los Angeles on September 13, holding events in cities along the way to highlight how and where you can dine out and make your meal count for kids. All September, when guests eat at a No Kid Hungry partner restaurant, from popular chains to local mom-and-pops, they can donate in exchange for money-saving rewards. Every $1 donated connects a child to 10 meals through No Kid Hungry’s programs and partnerships. Last year, this nationwide restaurant fundraiser generated more than 900 million meals for kids.

“It’s critically important that communities work together to help kids succeed in school and beyond,” said Paul Brown, CEO of Arby’s, a long-time Dine Out for No Kid Hungry partner.  “With three out of four teachers regularly seeing kids come to school hungry and more than half of teachers buying food out of their own paychecks for students, it’s clear that this is an issue that we can’t turn our backs on.”

The tour stopped at the Back Yard Burgers in the Nashville area at the Franklin restaurant located at 1015 Center Pointe Place on  Monday, August 28. David McDougall, CEO of BYB and board member of NKH Dine Out and Muhsin Muhammad, former wide receiver for the Chicago Bears and Charlotte Panthers and now a partner in Axum Capital Partners who recently bought Back Yard Burgers were grilling burgers and serving guests.

“We have an obligation to come together as a community to help our kids succeed in school and beyond,” said Dave McDougall, CEO of Back Yard Burgers, a long-time Dine Out for No Kid Hungry partner. “When three out of four teachers are regularly seeing kids come to school hungry and more than half of teachers are buying food out of their own paychecks for their students, the time to act is now.”

Join the Dine Out for No Kid Hungry tour in New York, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles. For additional information, click here.

SICOM Turns 30

SICOM, which provides end-to-end solutions for quick service and fast casual restaurants, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The company serves 25,000+ restaurants in more than 47 countries.

SICOM Employees

“Since we were founded in 1987, we have supported leading quick service and fast casual restaurants with purpose-built technologies to help them grow their businesses,” said Jim Flynn, CEO of SICOM. “Our focus has not changed. We continue to develop technology that empowers restaurant managers to more effectively manage, control and standardize their processes while achieving greater profitability.”

SICOM Employees

SICOM’s Digital Menu Boards are installed in more than 40,000 locations around the globe. Its Drive-Thru Director™ solution is in more than 7,000 locations and it has 6,500 + installations of its POS (Point of Sale) worldwide.

Crave Crasher Game

Jack in the Box® launched Crave Crasher™, a mobile-optimized, browser-based game that challenges players to “crash their cravings” using the brand’s Crave Van. 

A time-trial racing game comprised of three levels, Crave Crasher encourages players to navigate through the streets as fast as possible to complete their craving delivery. The game controls the speed while the player controls the steering. Times can be improved by taking tighter turns to avoid obstacles, and players are encouraged to share with friends to top their high scores. Those who beat the game have the opportunity to sign up for Jack in the Box deals and coupons.

The launch marks the continued gamification and innovation of Jack in the Box, which most recently teamed up with DoorDash and Marble to test new autonomous robot delivery technology in San Francisco.

“Jack in the Box has a strong passion for delivering unexpected and welcomed experiences that allow our fans to engage directly with us,” said Iwona Alter, Chief Marketing Officer for Jack in the Box. “In addition to innovating our menu, we’re also focused on innovating the guest experience. With Crave Crasher, guests can crash cravings with a simple tap or click.”