In this edition of MRM News Bites, we feature Winnow, Epic Burger, OneDine, Revenue Management Solutions, the ONE Group Hospitality, McCain Foods, Epson America and Noble, Inspire Brands and 2nd Avenue Lighting.
Winnow Raises $20M to Fight Food Waste
Tech company Winnow raised $12m Series B round led by Ingka Group and Mustard Seed: the company’s largest raise to date. This follows a recent $8m loan from The European Investment Bank (EIB). Combined, this means Winnow has raised a total of $20m in the last month to enable expansion within the hospitality industry across global markets.
The company, with US offices located in Iowa City, has recently made headlines in the country, having been selected as a food waste innovator and recipient of the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Kroger Foundation Grant. Within the US alone, an estimated 63 million tons of food is wasted every year. Winnow aims to continue growing in the market, with hospitality being a key industry, as there has been a significant focus on companies to act sustainably, with food waste being a large contributing factor to this.
The series B round included high-profile investment from Ingka Group, a strategic partner to the IKEA franchisee system, Mustard Seed, Circularity Capital, D-Ax and The Ingenious Group.
Winnow co-founder and CEO Marc Zornes said, “We are very excited about driving the business forward in our global fight against food waste and we are grateful for the continuous support of our investors. This year we launched our ground-breaking AI product Winnow Vision, and chefs using Winnow around the world are saving $33m worth of food from going to waste annually. We have set a target to save our customers $1bn by 2025, and this investment will accelerate our technology development and business development approach to help achieve this ambition.”
Launched in a single staff restaurant in 2013, Winnow has been adopted by more than 1,000 sites globally, and is now operating in 40 countries with offices in London, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Cluj-Napoca and Iowa City.
Winnow’s latest AI product Winnow Vision, an advanced food waste technology on the market, has been developed to automate waste tracking, enabling chefs to run more profitable and sustainable kitchens. With global clients already adopting Winnow Vision, from IKEA stores through to the Armani Hotel in Dubai, the demand by companies to drive down food waste in 2019 is increasing. Kitchens using Winnow tend to see a 40-70 percent reduction in food waste within six-twelve months, driving food cost savings between two-to-eight percent in total, which improves profit margins whilst doing the right thing.
Winnow Vision works by taking photos of wasted food as it's thrown away, and uses the images to train itself to recognize what has been discarded. Winnow’s systems have already reached and surpassed human levels of accuracy in identifying wasted foods. This means for clients, over time, these systems will enable their kitchens to automatically register food waste without any human interaction. Food will be thrown in the bin and the data will be captured automatically.
Leading the round, Henry Wigan, Director at Mustard Seed stated, ‘We are privileged to be leading another Winnow round. Right from the very start, we have been deeply committed to Winnow's impact mission, which is intricately aligned with the Mustard Seed Lock-Step thesis that solving big social and environmental problems drives commercial success in the long run. We look forward to seeing Winnow grow at pace.'
Krister Mattsson, Managing Director of Ingka Investments added, ‘Winnow has been a strong partner on our journey to reducing food waste in our IKEA stores by 50% by 2020. This investment supports growth and creates new opportunities to further accelerate the positive impact of food waste prevention. We are focused to increase the use of digital tools and analytics to both create the IKEA store of tomorrow and to deliver on IKEA’s sustainability ambition.’
Adding to this, Jamie Butterworth Partner of Circularity Capital noted, ‘We are delighted to have supported the funding round and maintain our strong relationship with Winnow. We believe strongly in the strength of their technology and its role in accelerating the transition to a circular economy’.
‘We believe in the market potential and the positive impact of Winnow’s product. With our strong presence in the food market and our commitment to building sustainable businesses, we are excited to continue our support to Marc, Kevin and the team going forward’, Joakim Skarborg, Chairman of D-Ax.
Final notes from Guy Ranawake, Senior Investment Director at Ingenious added, “We are very happy to support Winnow and look forward to seeing the growth of the company which aligns strongly with our investment strategy and sector focus, including resource efficiency.”
Epic Burger is giving back in a bigger, more mindful way in partnering with Generosity Feeds, a national nonprofit dedicated to making a local impact in ending child hunger. The partnership kicks off with a company-wide volunteer event at Epic Burger, followed by a truly epic fundraiser throughout all of Epic Burger’s eight Chicagoland locations beginning Friday, Nov. 15 — Sunday, Nov. 17.
For the entire weekend, Epic Burger will donate a portion of sales back to Generosity Feeds. The fundraising efforts will commence with a company-wide volunteer event on Sunday, Nov. 10, where Epic Burger will donate the space, time and volunteers needed to assemble 10,000 nutrient rich meals for kids facing food insecurity at Chicago Public Schools.
“In partnership with Epic Burger and community volunteers, we will create nutritionally balanced and filling meals that will be taken home in backpacks every Friday afternoon for children and their families,” says Ron Klabunde, Generosity Feeds Founder and CEO. "We have discovered that the value of decreasing food insecurity is more than just giving people food – it involves mobilizing people into a lifestyle of generosity.”
In a joint effort to reach Chicago’s kids in need, the 10,000 meals packed by Epic Burger volunteers, will be distributed to three local Chicago Public Schools via Blessings in a Backpack, a national nonprofit organization that feeds school children in the United States who currently are fed during the week on the federally funded Free and Reduced Meal Program and are at risk of going hungry on the weekends.
According to the University of Wisconsin Public Health Institute, in Cook County, IL, 64 percent of children struggle with food insecurity, without reliable access to sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Nationwide, No Kid Hungry reports that 1 in 7 children, or over 11 million children in America live in households that lack the means to get enough food on a regular basis.
“We’re incredibly proud to help draw awareness to Generosity Feeds here in Chicago,” says Vice President of Operations of Epic Burger, Michael Cruickshank. “The stats are staggering, we first wanted to partner with Generosity Feeds as a meaningful volunteer opportunity for our Epic Burger team members, but when we saw how many kids face food insecurity in Chicago, our home, we knew we could do more for these kids and our community."
In addition to assembling 10,000 meals for kids within Chicago Public Schools, Epic Burger will donate 20 percent of hamburger sales (including catering and food delivery orders) for every classic, all-natural beef ‘Epic Burger’ purchased between November 15 — 17 to Generosity Feeds. To learn more about how to get involved, click here.
OneDine Now Available
Restaurant AI platform OneDine is now available. Designed to address industry changes and compliance regulations by providing more automation and solving increasing challenges of labor costs, it creates a user-friendly, frictionless dining experience and offers affordable tableside ordering and payment and up to 20x the speed.
Diners sit down at the table of their choice, place their order easily, get served and pay quickly while restaurants increase profits and table-turns, streamline operations, and reduce labor costs.
"OneDine makes the dining experience for everyone more efficient and streamlined and when customer satisfaction goes up so do server tips," said Rom Krupp, Founder & CEO of OneDine. "While competitors boast similar features, OneDine is in its own category when it comes to ease of use, elegance of design and actionable data."
Guests use their cellphones to see all menu items, order and pay. Servers are equipped with wearable devices which allow for faster, focused and more efficient service. Restaurant owners and operators can learn more about OneDine and schedule a personalized demo at www.OneDine.com
RMS Launches metiRi
Revenue Management Solutions launched metiRi, a new financial solution. The secure, fast and easy SaaS application gathers, consolidates, standardizes and verifies financial data from all points in a franchised system. User-friendly, interactive reports and dashboards deliver critical insights and promote collaboration across the entire organization.
metiRi (Latin for “measure”) is the first cloud-based financial solution designed to serve multi-unit and international brands in multiple languages and currencies. It is already being rolled out in more than 15,000 locations in 80+ countries.
“After analyzing data for hundreds of thousands of franchised locations,” said RMS CEO John Oakes, “we uncovered a common challenge: Even the most sophisticated franchise brands need more financial transparency. metiRi is the automated answer, with an easy-to-use solution for aggregating, benchmarking and evaluating financial information across the organization.”
RMS called on expert consultants with ties to some of the largest franchise operations in the world to build metiRi. It is the first financial solution designed both for franchised operations and by experienced franchise professionals. As a result, metiRi delivers a solution franchisors and franchisees can use, with easy setup and data integration. Franchisees upload financial statements every month from nearly any accounting source at a click of a button, and metiRi aggregates and standardizes the data into user-friendly and tailored dashboards.
“It’s simple,” said Oakes. “Businesses that know their numbers are more successful than those who don’t. metiRi offers the financial transparency needed to identify short-term action and establish the foundation for long-term planning for the brand and franchisees to be successful together.”
STK in Puerto Rico
The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. announced the opening of STK in San Juan, Puerto Rico marking the continued global expansion of the STK restaurant portfolio.
“Puerto Rico has such a vibrant scene with unique culture, music, art and entertainment, and we are thrilled to bring our take on VIBE dining to this wonderful city,” said Emanuel “Manny” Hilario, President and CEO of The ONE Group. “We offer an unmatched dining and social experience for our guests with a special focus on the best music, live DJs, happy hour, an elevated menu and topnotch service. To us, it’s all about experience, and as we continue to grow, there is clear demand for our differentiated offering.”
STK San Juan is located on waterfront property at 1055 Ashford Avenue, East Tower Entrance at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. Helmed by Chef Lindell Smith, a native of Puerto Rico, the new company-owned restaurant menu will feature classic cuisine for which STK is best known, as well as dishes with local flair including Beet Salad, Grilled Octopus, Stuffed Roasted Lechón Belly, Stewed Rabbit and Caribbean Lobster Truffle Risotto. STK’s famed LIL’ BRGS with wagyu beef, and Alaskan Red King Crab will also be featured. STK San Juan also features a variety of cocktails with robust flavor profiles inspired by Puerto Rico such as Ventana Del Mar, Curious Jorge, Not a Paloma and Condado 75, as well as STK classics like the Cucumber Stiletto and Not Your Daddy’s Old Fashioned.
McCain Foods Starts Construction on Expansion
McCain Foods USA celebrated the official start of construction of a 170,000-square-foot expansion at its Othello, Washington potato processing facility.
This $300 million investment will significantly expand McCain Foods North American production capacity through the addition of a state-of-the-art battered and conventional french fry processing line. Moreover, deepening McCain Foods’ commitment to Washington and the potato growing community, the expansion will bring an anticipated 180 new jobs to area residents and require approximately 11,000 additional acres, to be sourced from local potato growers in the region.
“Thanks to our passionate farming partners and hardworking employees, McCain Foods has a rich history of producing high quality food right here in Washington,” said Dale McCarthy, Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain at McCain Foods North America. “This $300 million expansion will deepen our roots and commitment in this great state and grow the potato industry for years to come.”
McCain Foods Othello employs over 450 individuals who produce and distribute over 400,000 million pounds of frozen products. Completion of the 170,000-square-foot expansion is anticipated in early 2021.
A Noble Partnership
Noble adopted the Epson TM-m30- and TM-T20II POS receipt printers to further enhance the in-venue guest ordering and payment experience. The printers are part of the ‘Noble Kit’ — an iPad and receipt printer designed to fit seamlessly into the venue operations staff’s workflow.
Noble’s omni-channel ordering services are tailored to a variety of venues, including arenas, bars, bowling alleys and casinos, and enable patrons to pre-order or schedule delivery for their items. This removes the inconvenience of having to wait in long lines while anxiously checking the clock. Consumers can order bar and concession items, such as cocktails or hot dogs by text, app or though Noble’s website. They can then choose their desired pick up or delivery locations, and pay and tip via Venmo or credit card. The Epson TM-m30 and TM-T20II receipt printers print the order information at the concession stand, bar or kitchen. The chit printed includes the proper order information for fulfillment.
“Delivering satisfying user experiences for both guests and venues is our top priority so we look for partners that can help us realize that and can scale with us as needed,” said Matt Draper, chief operating officer, Noble. “The Epson printers are easy to integrate with our clients’ existing POS systems, and they already know and trust the Epson brand, which gives us a great advantage as we scale our business. Our partnership sets venues up with a streamlined platform to manage food and drink orders helping them increase concession efficiency and sales.”
Epson’s compact and versatile TM-m30 and TM-T20II printers are used at all of Noble’s customer sites, including Spectrum Concessions, Boch Center in Boston and Long Center in Austin.
“In the competitive world of entertainment, venue vendors need to provide exceptional customer experiences,” said Tom Kettell, director, Commercial Channel – North America Epson America Inc. “Noble delivers on that with its smart, safe and efficient digital ordering and marketing platform. Together, we can scale as needed and offer the best possible solutions so patrons can make the most of their time and focus on enjoying their experience.”
Inspire Completes Jimmy John's Acquisition
Inspire Brands, Inc. completd its acquisition of Jimmy John’s Sandwiches. With the addition of Jimmy John’s, Inspire now encompasses more than 11,200 restaurants across 16 countries generating more than $14 billion annual system sales, making it the fourth-largest restaurant company in the United States. In addition to Jimmy John’s, Inspire’s restaurant portfolio includes Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In and Rusty Taco.
“We are excited to officially welcome Jimmy John’s to our growing family of brands,” said Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Brands. “The team members and franchisees at Jimmy John’s should be incredibly proud of the company they’ve helped create, and we look forward to building on their success as we continue to drive innovation and long-term growth at Jimmy John’s.”
As previously announced, James North has been named President of the Jimmy John’s brand, reporting to Paul Brown, and founder Jimmy John Liautaud is serving as an advisor to the brand.
“Jimmy John’s is thrilled to join the Inspire family,” said North. “Our guests, team members and franchisees will benefit greatly from Inspire’s significant scale and investments in industry-leading capabilities, and we look forward to working alongside the Inspire team to fuel future growth for the Jimmy John’s brand.”
When asked to create statement pieces to enhance the Asian influenced restaurant décor, 2nd Ave Lighting manufactured custom pendants and chandeliers for the Mystique Asian Restaurant and Lounge at Encore Boston Harbor, top photo. Mystique is the property of New England’s hospitality group, Big Night Entertainment Group, and the flagship dining destination located on the main esplanade of Encore Boston Harbor, a five-star waterfront resort. The project was curated by Wynn Design Group and designed by award-winner interior designer Peter Niemitz,
To illuminate the lounge area, large oblong pendants were designed with a unique Asian influenced geometric design to complement the interior décor. The fixtures deliver beautiful ambient lighting and are installed above the bar, island and throughout the space. The luminaires were manufactured with Off-White Textrene diffusers that are enhanced with hardware in a Brushed Brass finish.
Massive rectangular shaped chandeliers over dining tables feature a gorgeous Beige Marblesque Idalight designs. Enhanced with a Brushed Brass finish, the chandeliers provide beautiful decorative ambient illumination and enhance the décor with style and drama.
Mystique features a 16,400 square foot dining room and lounge with panoramic windows that look out onto the Mystic River. Named for both its alluring design and waterfront location, guests will be transported on a mystical journey through Asia upon entering Mystique.
Designed by award-winning designer Peter Niemitz, Mystique features luxurious finishes and rich textures throughout the open dining room with seating for over 450 guests. The space boasts an expansive stone bar with seating for 28, plush lounge seating, a sushi counter, and a glamourous open kitchen with a captivating robata grill. Throughout the restaurant and lounge are one-of-a-kind Asian-inspired décor curated from around the world. A picturesque seasonal patio with seating for 36 overlooks the Mystic River under the lights of the Encore Boston Harbor sign. Mystique is one of 15 dining, lounge and casual food offerings located in the three-million square foot Encore Boston Harbor Resort.