NYC New Mega Mall to Open With Online-Only Store Section

A new-age mega-mall in New York City coined “Hudson Yards” is now open for business.

Besides featuring 1 million square feet of popular retailers like Sephora and Louis Vuitton, there will be an array of restaurant concepts.

Hudson Yards developers have created the mega-mall with culinary experiences paired with convenience in mind.

“In addition to being located steps away from each other, several restaurants will have cafe or takeaway outposts offering “picnic versions” of meals should diners want to enjoy their food elsewhere or outside. There is also the ability to order via an app that streamlines delivery and pick up services across all Hudson Yards food properties, which Stuessi feels will be especially handy for the thousands of workers who’ll have offices with entrances that feed directly into the restaurant floors,” writes “Vogue.”

But there are also fine dining restaurants like Kāwi and Peach Mart by Momofuku and TAK Room by Thomas Keller.

In terms of retail, there will be a section dedicated to retailers that were previously online-only retailers.

These popular online brands, including show retailer M. Gemi and men’s athletic apparel company Rhone will be on the “Floor of Discovery.”

It’s an interesting transition, especially as other retail brands like Gap and Victoria Secret are focusing more on online business and are instead closing underperforming stores.

“We think about this as a long-term deal,” said Brian Berger, founder, and CEO of Mack Weldon, who is opening the first brick-and-mortar store at Hudson Yards.

Many are using these stores as a test to see if they can thrive in a normal retail setting.

“The statistic is in the markets where you have physical retail, the [e-commerce] business in that market increases by about 30 percent,” said Berger.

Some online retailers have aggressive plans to enter the retail space. The online mattress maker Casper, for example, plans to open at least 850 stores by 2023.

Hudson Yards isn’t the only mall to do this either. Malls across the country are introducing these online-only brands to entice new business.

“A business known as Fourpost is doing something similar at the Mall of America in Minnesota. And then there’s Neighborhood Goods, often referred to as the “department store of the future,” which is opening up stand-alone locations that house digitally native brands — like men’s wellness company Hims and sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods — and is soon coming to New York. A concept called HiO, headed by a former top real estate exec at Gap, is testing a space for online brands in a shopping center in Brooklyn,” writes “CNBC.”

The E-commerce giant Amazon has lofty goals to expand into the traditional retail space with its Amazon Go stores. Watch this past episode of The Barron Report to learn more about the Amazon Go stores and how these cashier-less stores are changing the retail space forever.

An Interview with Asori Soto, Director of the Film Cuban Food Stories

In this episode of Food Out Loud, we meet Asori Soto, filmmaker, and director of the documentary Cuban Food Stories. The documentary takes us on a tour of Cuba through the eyes and the food of the locals.

Cuban Food Stories Movie Poster.jpg

Asori lives here in the U.S. but was born in Cuba and when given the opportunity to combine his passion for food and film he wanted to return to his homeland and capture the heritage and history of the Cuban cuisine before it changes forever.

Although it must have been tempting, the film does not take on a political message, which frankly is refreshing; instead, Asori tells the stories of traditional Cuban dishes through the people that create them. Cuban food is not talked about much like French or even Mexican cuisine. Asori wants to change that.

The film is split into chapters, each one taking us to a different place on the island, meeting new people and discovering new traditions. Some moments in the film leave you longing for a simpler time, questioning what the higher calling is. In Cuban Food Stories, you discover a culture being preserved through food and and a people who take pride in that mission. You find yourself thinking of your grandmother's cooking, for me a taste and feeling that I haven't experienced in years. It made me wonder, maybe I need to get more in tune with my heritage and the recipes my family passed down for generations before those stories start to become forgotten.




Yogurts Changing the Snacking Game

Consumers' eating habits are constantly evolving and the millennial population is paving the way.

According to a 2017 survey by Surverygoo, commissioned by Welch’s Global Ingredients Group, 92 percent of millennials (consumers between the ages of 18 and 35) are replacing full meals with snacks. Specifically, 26 percent of those surveyed eat a snack over a meal about four times a week.

This trend is only gaining momentum as more consumers adopt healthier lifestyles.

As snacking increases, the more diners are looking for grab-and-go options at restaurants and at grocery stores.

One of the most loved snacks on the market remains yogurt. Yogurt brands have been ahead of the curve when it comes to catering to those with dietary restrictions, which is more important in today's market than ever.

“Consumers want to eat in ways that address real dietary concerns, but they can’t do it alone. They need help from food manufacturers to offer products formulated with an eye towards food sensitivities and other specialized diets, and they need help from retailers to stock shelves with a proper assortment of foods that cater to a wider variety of consumer needs,” said Andrew Mandzy, Director, Strategic Insights, Nielsen.

In the On Foodable Feature video above, FoodableTV Host Layla Harrison is tasting five different "yogurt" options including Oikos Greek Yogurt, Siggi's, non-dairy Chobani, Kite Hill Vanilla Almond Milk Yogurt, and Noosa Yoghurt.

Several of these options cater to health-conscious eaters.

Siggi's, for example, has 25 percent less sugar, along with no preservatives, no artificial coloring and is made with real fruit. Both the Kite Hill and Non-Dairy Chobani are plant-based.

Watch the video above to learn more about these yogurt-like options and see which one Layla likes the best.

Why More Cafes are Making Coffee In-House

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As the demand for artisan coffee is only increasing, more and more cafes are roasting their own blends of coffee instead of getting them from mass-produced coffee companies.

This has fueled the growth of coffee roasting co-ops, where coffee enthusiasts and coffee store owners can rent time to use roasting machines to make their own coffee blends.

“The visions and the goals of the coffee roasters and the visions and goals of a cafe or bakery owner didn’t always align,” said Paolo Maliksi, one of the owners of Regalia a coffee roasting co-op in Long Island Island. “We are here to make sure that anyone can come in and roast for whatever reason.”

Consumers are willing to pay more for a food product that is high-quality, sustainable, and locally sourced. This is driving the growth in the craft coffee industry.

This is inspiring big retail coffee brands to adapt as the market becomes more inundated with coffee options.

“Rabobank says roasting shops alone aren’t yet a major threat to Big Coffee, but as young consumers move away from traditional brands, that’s forcing the old guard to adapt. JM Smucker Co., for example, has rolled out a new line of coffee called 1850 intended to attract younger drinkers who wouldn’t think to pick up a pound of sister brand Folgers,” writes “CNBC.”

Craft coffee is becoming so much more accessible too.

When a café doesn’t want to invest in making its own beans, there are so many options on the market and coffee traders are now more flexible when it comes to selling smaller batches. Previously, coffee traders were sending shipments of 20-feet containers but now there are E-commerce marketplaces for specialty roasters.

“Smaller specialty roasters are forcing importers and traders to become more responsive. When people are buying smaller quantities of anything, I think they expect to buy them in the same way they buy stuff from Amazon or their online grocers. We are having to find new platforms and new approaches to sell to people the way they want to be sold to,” said Cory Bush, managing director of 32cup.

Read more about the rise in premium coffee brews at “CNBC.”

Speaking of coffee, we recently sat down with the director of sourcing and shared value at Intelligentsia Coffee and Allen Wang, founder & partner of Kung Fu Tea about how these companies are standing out from the rest in this saturated artisan beverage market.

How On-Brand Music Programs are Enhancing the Guest Experience

Music plays a pivotal role in a restaurant's ambiance. It helps to convey the vibe you want your restaurant to have. However, as Adam Melrose, the chief playlist officer of Control Play, says music tends to take a back seat.

But music can really enhance the brand experience in multiple ways, starting with the team members at the restaurant.

"Music has a lot to do even with just the energy of the staff members," says Melrose in the video. "If the staff is having more fun, their gonna have more fun with your customer."

Music on loudspeakers is common, but at most restaurants, there are also TV screens meant to add entertainment value. Mostly, sports or ChiveTV are popular programs being played for diners.

Melrose points out that in 2017, 25 percent of all music listened to all over the world was done while watching music videos. With that being said, playing music videos on screens has its advantages from an operator standpoint.

"Once the videos are part of the experience, people are staying longer and that equates to another drink or another shareable or a just longer stay time, which only increases how much money they're going to spend while there," says Melrose.

Unlike Pandora or Spotify, Control Play creates custom video entertainment specifically for restaurants and bars. With over 5,000 venues using the service in North America, Control Play curates a playlist specifically for your restaurant and the experience you want to convey. The playlist is constantly updated too, meaning the same old' songs won't be playing over and over to torture your staff.

What role does music play at your restaurant? Watch the On Foodable Feature episode above to learn more about Control Play and how music and video can enhance your customers' dining experience.

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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