Miami's American Harvest Cuts Food Costs with Seasonal Sourcing

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On this episode of Fast Casual Nation, we talk to the founders of a concept that has quickly established itself as a loved brand in Miami.

Consumers today are demanding much more from restaurants. They expect clean, locally sourced ingredients, quick service, and affordable prices. While many restaurants try to offer all of these things, few can successfully execute without sacrificing their margins.

American Harvest Co., a concept started by Grove Bay Hospitality Group in the Brickell City Center, seems to have found the right balance.

With a menu focused on clean eating, American Harvest serves up minimally processed foods. They use words like ‘GMO-free’, ‘grass-fed’, and ‘organic,’ to support their commitment to sustainable practices and sourcing local.

With decades of experience combined between the top three minds of the leadership team, the Grove Bay Group has perfected every aspect of American Harvest Co. and now they market it as their growth brand.

Watch the episode above for more expert insights into fast casual!

 
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Support Local at Brickell's American Harvest

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Consumers today expect much more from restaurants. They demand clean ingredients that are locally sourced. They demand quick service at affordable prices. Many restaurants have tried to offer all of these things but not without sacrificing their margins. However, American Harvest Co. seems to have found the right balance in order to scale their healthy concept. American Harvest Co. is a concept started by Grove Bay Hospitality Group in Brickell with a focus on “Delicious. Clean. Eating.”

With a menu focused around clean eating, American Harvest serves up “minimally processed foods.” GMO-free, grass-fed, and organic are all words used to describe the dishes served up at the Brickell City Center restaurant. The concept also prides itself on its commitment to sustainable practices and sourcing local. Take for example their craft sodas and beer selection.

“We also developed our own soda recipes with a local vendor and they’re all organic cane sugar sodas. We also brought in some wine and some beer, locally-- some craft Florida beers,” says Co-Founder and CEO Francesco Balli.

The restaurant has a farmhouse kitchen feel, using pictures of old Florida and old Brickell to relay the fact that they are a Miami brand. Grove Bay owns a number of restaurants like the Big Easy WIne Bar right next door, but identify American Harvest as their “growth brand. The team plans to open their second location in South Miami where they will give it its own local flavor.

“Miami over all is having a little bit of a culinary renaissance in and of itself and Brickell is definitely a reflection of that,” says Balli.

With a menu including grass-fed burgers, cage-free rotisserie chicken, and and sustainable tuna, American Harvest Co. is a place you can feel good about eating at.

Only Organic and Clean Ingredients at green2Go in California

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green2Go is a fast-casual concept started by two moms who were having a hard time finding healthy fast food that they felt was good enough to feed their children. After discussing their frustrations, Joulia Hantas-Kalah and Anita Allison decided they would open their own restaurant. Serving only clean, healthy ingredients, green2Go has created a loyal following in California.

What exactly is "clean" food? Anita explained what it means to them in just a few words: “Basically, it’s all natural.” Joulia added, "It’s real food! At the end of the day, we feel someone at some point has to draw that line, and that’s what we chose to do and how we opened in 2012.”

Joulia said some restaurants have tried to provide clean food, but they are often hindered by how difficult it can be to keep clean ingredients fresh because of their lack of preservatives. This leads those restaurants creating modified menus serving only the clean ingredients they are able to control. However, the green2Go duo didn’t want to change what people were eating. They simply wanted to make those dishes cleaner. So they took dishes like burgers, tacos, and rice bowls, and served them — just with better ingredients.

What do they use? Ingredients like antibiotic-free chicken, bread without high-fructose corn syrup, organic tomatoes, non-GMO corn tortillas, locally sourced blue cheese, and cage-free eggs. To keep their ingredients fresh, Joulia and Anita decided to invest in better storage.

“We’ve tried different things from getting lids that are always cracking, or plastic wrapping things as tight as you can get it, but still, it’s an imperfect world that we’ve created. But now we’ve saved about a 1.5 percent reduction in food costs just by being able to extend the shelf life of produce and not have as much waste,” Joulia said.

As restaurants start to turn towards serving better-for-you menus, Joulia and Anita are looking forward to the future.

“It makes us feel good because it makes our bottom line. It helps us afford our ingredients a little better now because the more people — supply and demand!” Joulia said.

Watch how this clean fast casual makes it all possible on this episode of "Fast Casual Nation."