Danny Meyer-Backed Fast Casual Pizza Concept Transitions to Full-Service

Danny Meyer-Backed Fast Casual Pizza Concept Transitions to Full-Service

It appears as though the Danny Meyer-backed pizza concept Martina wasn't performing as well as a fast casual concept. The New York pizzeria has transited from the fastcasual format to full-service.

The Union Square Hospitality Group, which started the fast casual success Shake Shack, closed Martina last week to complete the revamp.

The new restaurant opened back up Monday and is serving bigger portions and a new menu.

The menu includes more wine selections and a new Reuben with mortadella, artichoke slaw, and cheese.

Martina was opened in August of 2017 by the renowned chef Nick Anderer as a more affordable version of his restaurant Marta. Before the revamp, people would order at the counter then pick up their thin-crust pizzas at the counter after their buzzer went off.

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Plant-based Meat Gets Pushback From Missouri and France

Plant-based Meat Gets Pushback From Missouri and France

As more consumers gravitate to plant-based diets, multiple vegan companies have emerged to provide more options that fit into these consumers' lifestyle.

While Beyond Meat just filed an IPO, this plant-based burger company, along with others in the market appear to be facing legal challenges from the state of Missouri and the country France.

"In France, you can now be fined 300,000 euros (about $343,000) if you “use ‘steak,’ ‘sausage,’ or any other meat term to describe products that are not partly or wholly made up of meat,” BBC reports. This rule also applies to dairy alternatives," writes "Fortune."

Even using the a term before steak like "soy steak" isn't allowed.

Missouri passed similar legislation this year over the legal term of meat.

"Missouri lawmakers earlier this year banned food marketers from marketing a product as meat if it’s not made of livestock or poultry. The fine for violations can run as high as $1,000, and you can end up incarcerated in a penitentiary," writes "Fortune."

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Beyond Meat Goes Public

Beyond Meat Goes Public

A few weeks ago, there were rumors that the plant-based company Beyond Meat was planning to go public before the end of the year.

Well, these rumors ended up being true because last Friday, Beyond Meat filed an initial public offering for $100 million.

Beyond Meat reported $56.4 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2018, which is a 167 percent spike from last year.

"Going forward, we intend to continue to invest in innovation, supply chain capabilities, manufacturing and marketing initiatives," said the company in the filing.

The plant-based market is growing at a rapid rate as more consumers gravitate to a vegetarian or flexitarian lifestyle.

Plant-based consumption is up over 300 percent over the last year, according to our Foodable Labs data.

The Good Food Institute (GFI) has also released market data from Nielsen showing that the sales of this sector have recently exceeded $3.7 billion and that plant-based meat sales specifically have increased by 23 percent.

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How Sweetgreen is Becoming the Next Fast Casual Unicorn

How Sweetgreen is Becoming the Next Fast Casual Unicorn
  • On this live episode of the Barron Report, Paul discusses the biggest news of the week — how salad chain Sweetgreen is quickly becoming the next fast casual market leader.

  • Find out why wings may be taking on pizza in takeout choices for delivery.

  • Diageo sells 19 of their brands to make way for craft spirits.

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Why Panera's Founder Started an Investment Fund for Emerging Brands

The former founder and CEO of Panera Bread Ron Shaich has started a new venture.

But instead of creating an iconic fast casual brand, he has started an investment firm to help emerging restaurant brands with funding and to grow.

With his partner, Keith Pascal, who was the senior concept advisor at Panera Bread Co., the two restaurant industry veterans have teamed up to assist up and coming brands that need capital but want to focus on strictly growing the business.

“This is the Buffett approach,” said Shaich in an interview. “We’re providing capital and they don’t have to spend time fundraising or dealing with board fights.”

Shaich, who struggled as the CEO of Panera Bread to keep up with the operational business while also pleasing investors, created the firm to keep other entrepreneurs off the "Wall Street treadmill."

The fund is named Act III Holdings and is working with Zoe's Kitchen, a publicly traded company, to go private at $12.75 a share by the end of the year.

The firm "saw a chance to keep Zoe’s out of the hands of activists by investing $140 million in that deal, which involves a takeover by the privately held Mediterranean chain Cava Grill. The goal is to give Zoe’s a chance to reset the brand amid a sales slump and a stock decline since its 2014 debut in public trading,” writes “Bloomberg.”

Shaich said that Zoe’s “would have gotten ripped apart" without the strategic move.

But to nurture emerging restaurant brands isn't Shaich's only incentive. Find out why he also started the firm at "Bloomberg" now.

Back in 2016, we spoke to Shaich about how he founded Panera Bread and his story as a game-changer in the industry who helped to build the fast casual movement. Check out the Fast Casual Nation documentary trailer below or watch the full film at Amazon.

The New Miami: How KYU is Elevating the Food Scene in Wynwood

The New Miami: How KYU is Elevating the Food Scene in Wynwood

On this episode of Table 42, Paul sits with Chef Michael Lewis and Steven Haigh to talk about how the restaurant connects with the community, the thoughtful design, and KYU’s unique name. Not to mention we get a behind the scenes look at popular menu items like the roasted cauliflower with goat cheese, shishito, and herb vinaigrette and the Wagyu beef brisket with black shichimi pepper.

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Zume Pizza Raises $375 Million From SoftBank, Other Firms on the Verge of Investing Too

Zume Pizza Raises $375 Million From SoftBank, Other Firms on the Verge of Investing Too

The automated pizza delivery restaurant Zume has raised an additional $375 million from SoftBank, according to a recent report from "The WallStreet Journal."

“We’ve recently closed a round of funding to support our growth and hiring,” said Alex Garden, Zume CEO and co-founder in a statement.

Zume Pizza is a Silicon Valley-based company that is store-less and has a team of six different robots that assist in making the pizzas.

Zume also has delivery vehicles equipped with pizza ovens, so pizzas are ready for fast delivery.

But delivering fresh pizza isn't the company's only focus, Zume owns a patent for these delivery trucks and is considering licensing this technology to other restaurants looking to use trucks similar to those in Zume's fleet

“Pizza was our prototype,” said Garden to "TechCrunch" in April. “There’s no reason why this technology wouldn’t work for any restaurant or any food category. Any restaurant who wants to adopt our system can now easily do that. They don’t have to be experts in technology or appliance manufacturing. They can just be restaurateurs, who have a more flexible offering for customers.”

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Veggie Grill to Expand to the East Coast With First NYC Store

Veggie Grill to Expand to the East Coast With First NYC Store

The fast casual chain known for its veggie-centric bowls, Veggie Grill has announced that it's expanding to the east coast with a new store in New York City's trendy Flatiron District.

The concept has 31 total stores in California, Oregon, Washington, and Illinois, but will be soon feeding the NYC masses bold yet healthy food starting spring of 2019.

The west-coast based chain launched in the Midwest with a Chicago location earlier this year. But the management team felt it was time for the fast casual to set up some roots in The Big Apple.

“The expansion of Veggie Grill to the East Coast could not come at a better time,” said Steve Heeley, Veggie Grill CEO in a press release. “Plant-based food and clean eating continues to be a growing trend, especially in big cities, so New York City is a very exciting opening for us and we look forward to joining the community there.”

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Fuzzy's Taco Shop Names Former Casual Dining Executive David Catalano COO

Fuzzy's Taco Shop Names Former Casual Dining Executive David Catalano COO

The Texas-based fast casual concept Fuzzy's Taco Shop announced late last week that it has named a new Chief Operating Officer.

David Catalano, a former casual dining executive, will be joining the chain's leadership team as the company continues it's massive expansion plans.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop has 144 restaurants in 12 states with an additional 17 stores currently in the development.

"I'm excited to join a company that is already doing so many things right," said Catalano in a press release. "I've been a fan of the brand for a long time and look forward to using my restaurant and hospitality experience to further the Fuzzy's Taco Shop success story."

Catalano has had a long career in the casual dining segment of the industry. He held management roles at Hard Rock Café and TGI Friday's. But his first-hand experience as a franchisee will be especially valuable in his new role as COO at Fuzzy's, he was the first franchisee of Twin Peaks.

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Female-Led Funding Startup, AccelFoods Helps Other Food-Focused Startups like Soozy's Thrive

Female-Led Funding Startup, AccelFoods Helps Other Food-Focused Startups like Soozy's Thrive

On this episode of The Barron Report, our host Paul Barron speaks with Jordan Gaspar, co-founder of AccelFoods, and Susan Chen, CEO of Soozy’s, a frozen, gluten-free baked good product company that has partnered with the female-led venture capitalist group in order to grow its business.

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