How Souvla is Capitalizing on the Delivery Craze in San Francisco

In this episode of On Foodable, we are at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, where Paul Barron sits down with Charles Bililies, Founder and CEO of Souvla— Lyft’s most traveled-to restaurant in the United States in 2017.

Souvla is a “fast-fine” Greek-American restaurant that Bililies dreamt up about nine years ago, inspired by casual souvlaki joints found throughout Greece.

“Souvla is very much Greek through and through, but nowhere around there will you see “traditional” or “authentic”. We definitely took a lot of liberties as I created the menu,” said Bililies. “Everything on there is sourced locally or it’s coming in from Greece. It’s sorta this Californian-Greek, if you will.”

Essentially he wanted to modernize the way people looked at gyros or souvlaki sandwiches here in America.

Bililies opened the first location in 2014 after about five years of looking for the perfect real estate location. Shortly after Souvla opened, he started seeing the rise of delivery becoming a “thing” in San Francisco.

Fast forward to today, on average, Souvla can pump out between 150 and 225 delivery orders a day. An impressive number coming from an upscale counter service restaurant.

With delivery in mind, Bililies decided to open its fourth location in the Marina neighborhood with a sidewalk facing pick-up window. They successfully were able to lobby the city to allow them to put in a white zone or a passenger loading zone. Bililies believes this is going to be a huge allure and convenience for customers since by doing this people won’t have trouble finding parking or worrying about double parking, etc.

Check out the episode above to see footage of their new location, learn about the restaurant’s menu offerings, and its magic price point making the concept above fast casual but still under fine dining.

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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How Uber Eats Continues to Grow and Lead in the Food Delivery Space

This year's Winter Fancy Food Show was full of innovative specialty products and incubators helping reimagine the future of food. Foodable had the pleasure of joining more than 15 innovators to the Specialty Food Association (SFA) Live Stage where trending industry topics were discussed. The following video features Foodable’s Paul Barron, interviewing Bowie Cheung, Director of Operations for Uber Eats.

Cheung explains how Uber Eats has gone as a lunchtime delivery experiment, partnering with one to two restaurants a day with a curated selection of meals. Now boasting a 24/7 coverage to 70 percent of the U.S. population, as well as, 70 percent of the Canadian population, with over 100,000 restaurants.

“Food delivery is a really complex process, there’s a lot of steps involved,” said Cheung. “In a lot of ways, every single transaction can go wrong, and so you need to be thinking about all audiences and how it comes together, in order to deliver a winning platform.”  

For a restaurant to perform well on a food delivery platform, Cheung advises operators to offer unique products, like the ones featured at the Winter Fancy Food Show. Uber Eats features images of restaurants’ specialty menu items as a way to highlight these options to consumers.

Discover how this rideshare giant continues to lead the food delivery industry by watching the video above.

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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Miracle Pop-Up Creates Christmas-Themed Bars for the Holidays

During the holidays your bar just might be the busiest it will be all year. If you’re looking for a unique way to attract newcomers, Gen Z and millennials, and your regulars why not recreate your space as a pop-up?

Miracle Pop-Up is a Christmas concept that takes over bars across the country to create Christmas-themed bars. With different bar owners, Miracle Pop-Up provides a unique experience for guests each year from November to December. Everything from the bar menu to the decor receives a complete makeover.

The concept first started in 2014, when owner Greg Boehm transformed an unfinished bar in NYC into a pop-up bar serving holiday-themed drinks with outrageous Christmas decorations. Crowds quickly began to swarm the location leaving bar owners asking how they could recreate the same thing. By 2016, the concept became a worldwide phenomenon with pop-ups in Greece, Montreal and Paris.

Currently, Miracle Pop-Up has 94 locations this year, including their newest concept, Sippin’ Santa. Sippin’ Santa is a bar takeover specifically for tiki bars in partnership with tiki-connoisseur Jeff “Beachbum” Berry.

The creative cocktail menu has a variety of drinks like the “Christmapolitan Vodka” made with elderflower, dry vermouth, spiced cranberry sauce, rosemary, lime, and absinthe mist. Or the “Grinch Grog” made with blanco tequila, herbal liqueur, pine, pear, lemon juice, and Grinch syrup.

“It’s capturing a little bit of forgotten magic from your childhood and your family memories,” Miracle Pop-Up’s bar manager, Joanne Spiegel, explains to “Thrillist.” “[You’ll experience] the magic of great cocktails in fun vessels, holiday music, and all the decor and twinkling lights. It’s a great way to socialize.”

For more on Miracle Pop-Up, the holiday-themed cocktails, and which bars are participating watch the video above and read more at “Thrillist.

Research by:

Rachel Brill

Rachel Brill

Social Producer


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The Future of Edibles in the U.S. and Canada

On this episode of The Barron Report, Paul Barron is joined by Nancy Whiteman, founder and CEO of Wana Brands, the leading edibles company in the Colorado medical marijuana industry in terms of quality, consistency, and potency. The two discuss future innovations, laws, and potential brands entering the marijuana industry.

Wana Brands’ products are in over 450 dispensaries and account for $2 out of every $10 spent on edibles in Colorado. The company under Whiteman’s guidance has expanded to Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Illinois with hopes to expand their market in Florida and several other states.

Listen to this episode of The Barron Report for more insights on what the future will hold for edibles in the U.S. and Canada and how it will impact the foodservice industry.

SHOW NOTES

  • 17:37 - Edible Sales to Reach More Than $4 Billion by 2020

  • 19:12 - From Drug Trade to Grown Commercially in the U.S.

  • 22:22 - Bigger CPG Companies Looking to Enter the Cannabis Sector

  • 26:18 - What’s Next for Wana Brands

  • 1:00 - How Wana Brands Became an Edible Company

  • 4:06 - How Edibles are Expanding into the Foodservice Industry

  • 7:15 - Cannabis-Based Stocks

  • 9:03 - Predictions for Public Consumption in Restaurants and Bars

  • 15:18 - Dissecting Dosages for Medicinal and Recreational Use

 
 

How This Firm Became One of the Biggest VC Funds in Food

As consumer tastes continue to evolve, the more demand there is for high-quality healthier products.

With that in mind, these suburban moms turned venture capitalists are on a mission to bring healthier packaged food brands to the masses.

Both Lauren Jupiter and Jordan Gaspar used to be in grocery aisles as “the people who read the nutrition facts, the people who read the ingredients in the two different products sitting next to each other on the shelf" and decided to launch the investment firm AccelFoods to help grow small packaged food products they believe in.

Found in 2013 with only $4 million, the firm now has three separate funds of $85 million.

The fund and the companies it backs have been a success because consumers have changed the way they shop at grocery stores.

They want “cleaner labels, more transparency, not having ingredient panels that are 60 items long and full of words that you can’t pronounce,” said Jupiter.

Today's buyers are willing to invest in higher quality products that are better for them. Food is now seen as fuel to millennials, the better the fuel or food, the better performance of the engine or body.

"The Baby Boomer generation that’s aging and looking for natural alternatives to traditional medicine...the millennial mom purchasing on behalf of her family and investing in allergen-friendly foods...digital natives who are willing to invest more heavily into the food they put in their bodies than even the house that they sleep in,” said Gaspar.

Read more about the firm and how it's fostering the growth of smaller food product companies at "Forbes' now.

Earlier in the year, we spoke to Gasper about how the firm is disrupting the industry with its companies in its portfolio offering innovative food products.

Listen to this episode of The Barron Report below, where host Paul Barron speaks with Gaspar about trends and what types of companies AccelFoods seeks to invest on.