Vegandale, CHEF’STORE and PancakeWear

This edition of MRM’s Daily Bite features Revel Systems, The 5700 Inc., AllergyEats, US Foods, LevelUp and  Gusto® Point of Sale, JBF,  IAM Hospitality, Go To Steve’s and IHOP.

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Dukat Joins Revel Systems

Greg Dukat was named Chief Executive Officer for Revel Systems. Scott Betts will step down from his role as CEO, but remain close to the organization and has been appointed to the company’s board of directors.

Greg Dukat
Greg Dukat

Dukat has more than 20 years of experience in the enterprise software space serving in executive roles focused on sales and operations. He is known for leading fast-growth technology companies, which aligns to Revel’s trajectory. Dukat also has extensive experience in helping businesses bring products to scale, which will help as Revel grows its footprint in the enterprise space. Most recently, Dukat was the Chairman, President, and CEO of Comverge, which provides cloud-based, energy efficiency and customer engagement solutions for electric utilities. He also previously served as CEO of several technology companies in the enterprise management solutions space including Campus Management Corp, StarCite, and Indus International.

“This is a high-growth time for Revel and I am thrilled to be a part of it,” said Dukat. “I’m excited to be with the organization as we build on 2017’s momentum to take the company forward for both customers and employees.”

During his tenure as CEO, Betts ushered Revel into a new era of maturity and productivity. Under Betts’ guidance, the company moved its San Francisco headquarters into a larger and more centralized office location, expanded and upgraded its Lithuania office, and announced the opening of a new Atlanta-based technology center for the organization in addition to achieving many internal milestones.

“Greg’s skills and experience are a terrific fit for Revel as we take on new opportunities in 2018 and beyond,” said Betts. “I am excited to see the company continue to effectively execute and accelerate growth under his direction.”

Parkdale Becomes Vegandale

What was once a cheeky nickname for an empire of vegan businesses is now a fully realized destination. Toronto’s  vegan company, The 5700 Inc., is transforming Parkdale into ‘Vegandale’. Currently home to three vegan brands (Doomie’s Toronto, The Imperative and Mythology), the company plans to double their footprint with five more vegan projects currently in the works.


Located on one city block of Queen Street West, Vegandale is a mecca for the ethically minded and hungry, offering the best of vegan food, goods and services. This premiere destination for the vegan and vegan curious is the only one of it’s kind, promoting a world where animal exploitation is a thing of the past.

The 5700 Inc. has their sights set on the expansion of Vegandale and has taken over leases at nearby locations including 1312, 1316 and 1346 Queen Street West. Joining the neighbourhood in 2018 will be three new vegan concepts; Vegandale Bracitorium, Prohibition Pie and NYM. With their roots in abolitionism, the company’s unapologetic vegan messaging is the connection between all of the projects they have a hand in.

Heading into its fourth season, the company’s  Vegan Food & Drink Festival has also been overhauled with a fresh look and name – the Vegandale Food Drink Festival. Vegandale can’t be contained to just one city block, so organizers are packing up and taking their utopia on the road – showing other cities the ease and enjoyment of living without the use of animals.

“Vegandale is just the beginning,” says Hellenic Vincent De Paul, Owner of The 5700 Inc. “World vegan domination begins in Toronto!”

Top 10 Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains

AllergyEats released its 2018 list of the Top 10 Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains in America. The chains on this highly-anticipated annual list have earned top ratings on the AllergyEats app and website, per feedback from the food allergy community. These chains are rated solely on how well they have accommodated food-allergic diners over the past year.

“For the over 15 million Americans with food allergies, it’s incredibly important to know which restaurants are the best at creating allergy-friendly experiences so these individuals can more comfortably dine out,” said Paul Antico, Founder and CEO of AllergyEats. “The restaurant chains on our 2018 list have differentiated themselves with exceptional food allergy protocols, education, and training, according to peer reviews from AllergyEats users. Even better, this year’s list includes chains that offer diverse types of cuisine – from Italian and Mexican to steaks, seafood, and more.”

AllergyEats’ Top 10 Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains are grouped into two categories – large (50 or more restaurants) and small (under 50 restaurants). The list was created per crowdsourced feedback from the AllergyEats app and website through December 31, 2017. Ratings are based on a 1 through 5 scale, with 5 being the most allergy-friendly.

Most allergy-friendly large chains:

  • Maggiano’s Little Italy (4.76 rating)
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (4.45 rating)
  • Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant (4.43 rating) **
  • Mellow Mushroom (4.37 rating)
  • Longhorn Steakhouse (4.28 rating) **

Most allergy-friendly small chains:

  • Burtons Grill (4.83 rating)
  • Flatbread Company (4.77 rating)
  • Legal Sea Foods (4.58 rating)
  • Weber Grill (4.52 rating) **
  • 110 Grill (4.43 rating) **

** Denotes restaurant chains that are new to the list this year.

“We are excited to announce that four restaurant chains are new to the list this year, earning top honors for their exceptional food allergy accommodations, as determined by AllergyEats users. These new additions to the 2018 Top 10 list – Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant, Longhorn Steakhouse, Weber Grill, and 110 Grill – have shown the same outstanding commitment towards accommodating food-allergic guests as those chains that consistently make this list, such as Maggiano’s Little Italy, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Burtons Grill, and Legal Sea Foods,” Antico added.

“On behalf of all of us at Bertucci’s, we are honored that AllergyEats users have recognized our brand and the efforts of our local teams to individualize guest special requests,” said Brian Wright, CEO, Bertucci’s. “We take pride in our scratch kitchens, fresh ingredients and passionate culinary staff and we are ever-grateful for a legion of amazing guests who’ve supported us since 1981. Thank you, AllergyEats, for providing your service and giving voice to this distinctive guest recognition.”

The AllergyEats Top 10 Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains list – and the growing number of AllergyEats ratings of all restaurants around the country – helps the food allergy community make more informed decisions about which restaurants to visit and which to avoid, based on how well or poorly they’ve accommodated other diners’ food allergies.

CHEF’STORE Debuts in Dallas Area

US Foods Holding Corp. celebrated the grand opening of its fifth CHEF’STORE®, located in Farmers Branch, Texas. CHEF’STORE is a wholesale food and restaurant supply store designed as a one-stop shop for chefs, restaurant owners and other food industry professionals and features an assortment of more than 5,000 food products, equipment and other restaurant supplies.

(L-R) Jay Kvasnicka, Executive Vice President of Locally Managed Sales and Field Operations US Foods; Keith Knight, Regional President US Foods; Josh Waters, VP of CHEF’STORE; Robert Dye, Mayor of Farmer’s Branch; and Tracy Osborne, Area President Texhoma US Foods participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of CHEF’STORE in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Feature Photo Service for US Foods)

“Through our Great Food. Made Easy. strategy, US Foods is committed to helping independent restaurants succeed. With CHEF’STORE, we’ve developed a shopping experience specifically designed for food industry professionals who need to quickly and conveniently replenish ingredients,” said Josh Waters, vice president, CHEF’STORE at US Foods. “We recognize restaurant operators may want to purchase products through multiple channels and now, US Foods offers a new wholesale store that is there to help seven days a week, in addition to our traditional foodservice delivery.”

The new CHEF’STORE houses more than 47,000 square feet of products that includes everything from fresh produce, meat and dairy to pantry staples, as well as a wide range of cookware such as cooking tools and restaurant grade stoves. The store also features national brands, exclusive brands from US Foods and specialty ethnic items. In an effort to help operators keep costs low, all CHEF’STORE products are offered at wholesale pricing.

“Given the booming food scene in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, we’re proud to offer local restaurant operators a new way to shop when they have that unexpected surge of traffic or just need one or two items,” said Tracy Osborne, area president, US Foods. “The warehouse style shopping experience is easy to navigate and fully stocked with products that are available in case and individual quantities to best meet our customer’s needs. There are also temperature-controlled areas to ensure optimal freshness and allow us to offer a wide variety of fresh and frozen products.”

CHEF’STORE is open to the public and  located at 4240 Alpha Road in Farmers Branch, Texas near the intersection of Midway and Alpha road. CHEF’STORE is open seven days a week with service available in both English and Spanish.

 LevelUp Partners with Gusto

LevelUp is partnering with Gusto® Point of Sale (POS), a  provider of web, kiosk and mobile restaurant technology. Through this integration, Gusto’s restaurant partners can leverage LevelUp’s custom digital payment and loyalty solution to connect and engage with their customers, and offer them a unique in-app ordering experience that drives order volume. In addition, Gusto’s partners will also have access to LevelUp’s channel distribution service, Broadcast, by which restaurants can be listed on the most popular digital and social channels like Facebook, Yelp and Chase Pay to reach massive audiences of new consumers.   

“We are excited to team up with Gusto to provide restaurant operators with a dynamic digital loyalty program fully integrated into their point-of-sale,” said Seann Moriarty, Director of Strategic Partnerships at LevelUp. “Consumer demand for speed and convenience, especially through use of mobile apps, is influencing the way operators run their businesses, and we are thrilled to partner with Gusto’s restaurant-clients to provide another easy access point for them to connect with their customers.”

LevelUp’s Chief Strategy Officer Michael J. Hagan told MRM magazine this partnership will provide restaurant owners with a deep best-in-class solution with access to data that will enable them to better serve their guests.

“We are able to create magic to help restaurants be competitive and have data and flexibility that lets them be responsive to guests  in a personalized manner.”

With a focus on fast casual and quick service restaurants, Gusto is committed to helping its clients deliver unparalleled guest experiences. Gusto’s cloud-based point of sale technology integrates seamlessly with the LevelUp platform for mobile loyalty and payment both in-store and in-app.

“Intuitive and robust solutions are key not only to our success, but that of our restaurant-clients, and we are happy to provide an additional avenue to allow restaurants to connect with their guests and keep them coming back,” said Niko Papademetriou, Vice President Business Development. “LevelUp’s engagement solutions are a perfect complement to Gusto’s comprehensive platform.”

LevelUp is used by more than one million customers every month paying at over 50,000 locations nationwide.

JBF Design Icon Award

The James Beard Foundation said The American Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, known equally for its architectural and culinary artistry, has been awarded this year’s Design Icon Award, video above. 2018 Design Icon honoree The American Restaurant opened on Valentine’s Day 1974 atop Crown Center in Kansas City. Designed by Warren Platner, it became the conceptual parent of all the over-the-top top-of-the-building restaurants that followed, including some by Platner himself.

Platner described it as, “Bridging the contrast in scale between great volume of space and the minute detail of food and tableware, between public gathering and personal intimacy, the design entertains the diner and gives distinction to the server in this emporium of elaborate meals.”

One travels to The American by elevator, arriving at the top of the three story-high restaurant in a carefully designed but modest entry space. As the visitor descends into the restaurant, the grand 6,500 square foot space is dramatically revealed as the terraced landings create an enormous glass lined theater with views to the city visible below. The lacy Gothic-inspired bentwood rosette-topped pillars above not only lend a “dining under the trees” feel, but, because they line the ceiling, make for an intriguing view from the street below. Miles of wood louvers cover the sheets of glass adding to the sense of tree-filtered light and making a very large space feel quite intimate. While design elements have been altered in the intervening decades, the largest gestures, including the decorative wood elements, are all intact.

“We are honored to receive the Design Icon Award from the James Beard Foundation,” said Stacey Paine, president, Crown Center Redevelopment Corporation. “Warren Platner created a unique design, timeless in nature and a wonderful example of great architecture inspiring those around it. We are proud to have The American recognized.”
Built and still owned by CrownCenter, the real estate development business for Hallmark Cards, the restaurant and its design is as much a confection as a considered confluence of space, form, light, and color. And because it was created by Joe Baum, in collaboration with James Beard, Barbara Kafka, and a host of other food-world luminaries, it was, and is, as much of a dining event as a design event. The American serves up a range of dining experiences from guest chef events to private dining, all under the signature wood tracery canopy that defined the space in 1974 as it does today.
The Design Icon Award is chosen by the Restaurant Design Committee. In order to qualify, a restaurant or dining space’s design must have remained substantially unchanged for at least 20 years and must have influenced and inspired the design of subsequent restaurants and dining spaces. Additionally, the restaurant/dining space must still be in operation.
The James Beard Foundation Awards Gala will be held at the Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 7.
Fourth Prep Kitchen To Open in April

IAM Hospitality will open a fourth Prep Kitchen location in San Marcos, California. The concept will occupy a roughly 3,000 square foot space, inclusive of outdoor dining under the trees. It will be located in the rising North County development of Block C, a modern residential, commercial, and a walkable neighborhood community. Prep Kitchen’s latest addition will open its doors in April 2018.

Prep Kitchen San Marcos

 “As we continue to develop and expand the Prep Kitchen brand, we are thrilled to be able to serve San Marcos,” said Deborah Krause, owner of Prep Kitchen. “We see great potential to grow alongside such a promising community that’s proving itself to be an up-and-coming destination within San Diego County. Our newest Prep Kitchen will bring both familiar dishes as well as bold takes on seasonal, inventive cuisine that the eatery is known for.”
IAM Hospitality purchased the three existing Prep Kitchen restaurants in January 2018. Prep Kitchen has been serving distinctive, locally driven cuisine since 2009 when it opened its flagship location in La Jolla, California. The eatery now serves communities throughout San Diego County at three locations in La Jolla, Del Mar, and Little Italy. The experiential casual eatery partners with local artisans and farmers as much as possible and offers brunch, lunch, happy hour, and dinner as well as a selection of beer, wine, and handcrafted cocktails.

 Go To Steve Gets Going … on Water
Go To Steve’s will be sponsoring a racing team in the Powerboat P1 SuperStock USA Powerboat Championship in 2018. Go To Steve’s owner, Steve Westphal, will compete himself. 
Westphal grew up in Pinellas County, and has lived and operated restaurants in Downtown, St. Petersburg for over 10 years. He is on the board of the St Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and is also a member of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA). His restaurants, The Hanger, Annex, 400 Beach Seafood and Parkshore Grill are all located in St. Petersburg, where the fourth round of the series will take place.
“I had followed the sport for years had always considered it to be a great way to market an area and a brand, as well as having fun at the same time,” Westphal said. “When I caught sight of the Visit St. Pete Clearwater race boat on a trailer in Downtown one day in 2017, that was all the motivation he needed to bite the bullet and make enquires.”
He has enjoyed boating all his life and is an avid water lover “powerboats, sailboats, all boats…I love being on the water and most of all I like going fast – it helps take your mind off the every-day.”
As for racing experience, Westphal also has a NCCA driving licence allowing him to race sports cars on the track. He owned his first boat when he was just 14 years old which went over 72 miles an hour so he is no stranger to speed. Westphal will be joined in the cockpit by two Navigators throughout the season, Eric Johnson and Bill Auer and together, they and the P1 Panther race boat, will sport the Go To Steve’s brand.
Azam Rangoonwala, P1 CEO said, “Steve is passionate about the water and the St. Pete area making him an excellent fit for the 2018 P1 SuperStock line up. We look forward to promoting the Go To Steve’s brand and restaurants through the partnership and wish Steve the best of luck for the coming season”.
 IHOP Introduces PancakeWear

IHOP® Restaurants announced the debut of PancakeWear by IHOPTM, a limited-edition clothing collection inspired by a love of all things breakfast. The colorful, one-of-a-kind lineup features adult- and child-sized one pieces and lounge pants as well as socks. Part of the IHOP “60 Days of Giving” campaign, a portion of the proceeds from every purchase will benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

(PRNewsfoto/IHOP Restaurants)

The ultra-comfy PancakeWear by IHOP collection is the perfect accessory for eating pancakes, dreaming about pancakes, talking about pancakes and general pancake revelry – and helps a child in need at the same time. Limited inventory of the Spring collection is available now for purchase on eBay for Charity.

“Breakfast and laid-back loungewear just go together at IHOP so we thought it would be fun to design a limited-edition merchandise collection that reflects the spirit of the brand and what we see in our restaurants all the time – people in pajamas enjoying pancakes,” said Stephanie Peterson, Executive Director, Communications at IHOP. “PancakeWear by IHOP was launched to celebrate our 60th anniversary as a brand, but also to do a lot of good for our largest charity partner Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. A portion of proceeds from every sale of our breakfast-inspired one pieces, lounge pants and socks directly supports CMN Hospitals and the more than 10 million kids that are treated every year at their 170 affiliated facilities.”

This year, IHOP aims to raise $5 million for children’s charities dedicated to treating and eradicating life-threating illnesses during its annual giving effort. The centerpiece of the campaign, IHOP National Pancake Day, took place last week and served as the largest one-day donation event for the campaign. Guests can contribute by purchasing PancakeWear by IHOP (price varies by product), available until sold out, or by making an on-check donation at any IHOP restaurant until March 31, 2018. Since 2006, IHOP, its franchisees and guests have raised more than $30 million for charity partners.

Guests are encouraged to wear their new pancake loungewear into their local IHOP and post a photo tagging @IHOP on Instagram and Facebook and using the hashtag #PancakeWear.