10 Food & Beverage Leaders to Watch in 2019

It’s that time of the year again, where everyone reflects on the year before and plans their goals for the next year.

A leader in the food & beverage industry has unique challenges, but a smart leader never stops learning and soaking up insights.

With that in mind, Zenreach recently released a list of thought leaders in food & beverage to follow to stay informed about the latest trends in the foodservice sector.

This list includes our own Paul Barron, Foodable's CEO, executive producer, and editor-in-chief, along with other entrepreneurs in the business.

The Food Critic and Podcast Host Soleil Ho also made Zenreach's list. This 31-year old is making a difference with her podcast Racist Sandwich, which covers social justice issues in the industry. As the Zenreach blog writes Ho exposes industry problems like as "cultural appropriation, male dominance in the kitchen and culinary authenticity." Ho also is the new food critic for the "San Francisco Chronicle."

Although Gary Vaynerchuk doesn't only cover topics pertinent to the restaurant industry, he is a marketing and branding mastermind who lands on Zenreach's list. He helped grow his family's wine company from a $3 million business to a $60 million business in just a few years by incorporating video content with the channel Wine Library TV. This entrepreneur and speaker has interviewed many of the industry's best too, including Jon Taffer and Danny Meyer.

Zenreach also lists restauranteur David Chang and restauranteur and restaurant industry consultant Aaron Allen. Learn more about these thought leaders at the Zenreach blog now.

We also have a few others to add-on to this list.

The CEO: Clare Reichenbach

Clare Reichenbach |   The James Beard Foundation

Clare Reichenbach | The James Beard Foundation

At the beginning of 2018, the coveted James Beard Foundation named Clare Reichenbach its CEO. Even though she has no culinary experience, she has a long career leading organizations. She was the founder of CJJR Consulting, a business network and was the former EVP Strategy and Business Development for BBC Worldwide North America. Her goal at the JBF is to extend "awareness of the foundation and bringing it greater global recognition through programs dealing with education diversity, women’s issues and childhood nutrition," writes "The New York Times."

The Builder: Sam Fox

This restaurateur launched Fox Restaurant Concepts, a group that now has almost 50 restaurants across the U.S., including Zinburger, Wildflower, and Tucson's Blanco. Fox has been a James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurateur 11 times.

The Rule Breaker: Erik Oberholtzer

Foodable has been following Oberholtzer's career for years now. As the co-founder of the fast casual Tender Greens, he has taken a hands-on approach to make the chain a success. Oberholtzer, along with his partners even dug ditches for the chain's first store's plumbing. The chain is backed by Danny Meyer, who even said in 2015 "that I wish I'd thought of it myself." There are now 29 Tender Greens stores in California, New York, and Massachusetts.

The Trailblazer: Ethan Brown

Brown is the CEO of the plant-based company Beyond Meat that has emerged as a leader in this space. Brown spent his childhood on a farm where he developed the mindset to change of the way the world eats meat. Beyond Meat went public at the end of 2019 and the company's products are now available in 11,000 grocery stores across the country.

We recently sat down with Brown to talk about his company and the booming plant-based market. Listen to the recent episode of The Barron Report below.

The Comeback Artist: Brian Niccol

This industry veteran was hired by the struggling chain Chipotle in early 2018 to help the former fast casual darling to recover. Niccol was formerly the CEO and marketing mastermind of the brand Taco Bell. In 2018, Chipotle's store sales gradually climbed and the company's shares spiked 50 percent. Niccol has directed the chain to upgrade its mobile app and in-store technology. He has also made it his mission to "build a culture of accountability," as he said in July. In 2019, Chipotle rolled out new menu items to cater to those on restrictive diets with the Keto Bowl and Whole30 bowl. With Niccol holding the reins, 2019 is expected to be the year Chipotle makes its official comeback.

David Chang's Delivery-Only Restaurant "Ando" Acquired By UberEats

David Chang's Delivery-Only Restaurant "Ando" Acquired By UberEats

David Chang’s delivery-only restaurant, Ando, announced Monday that they have been acquired by UberEats.

It’s an interesting move for the delivery giant after Foodable reported on Uber’s jump into building virtual restaurants in established kitchens. It seems the next chapter for UberEats is producing their own food to deliver.

Uber is already on par to dominate the food delivery sector in 2018. “We’ll be the largest food delivery company in the world this year,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Monday at DLD in Munich.

According to the notice on Ando’s homepage, the company is shutting down its service, effective immediately, as it begins to integrate with Uber Eats. Since launching in May 2016, the company had been working with Uber Eats as a delivery partner, alongside other delivery services and a few of its own people.

UberEverything, the portion of the business not focused on ride-hailing, is run by Jason Droege who said in a statement, “We are committed to investing in technology that helps consumers, delivery and restaurant partners alike. Ando’s insights will help our restaurant technology team as we work with our restaurant partners to grow their business.”

It sounds like Uber will be combining their proprietary technology, which has allowed the business to anticipate and fill gaps in food offerings, with Ando’s technology, though Ando has not specifically said what their role will be in the new partnership.

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New York's Anticipated Hudson Yards Signs On London-Based rhubarb For Two Restaurants

New York's Anticipated Hudson Yards Signs On London-Based rhubarb For Two Restaurants

Hudson Yards is a 28-acre neighborhood that is being built in Manhattan’s West Side.

With phase one of the urban development set to open 2018, the site is expected to be the next city center of New York. Not only will Hudson Yards have commercial and retail spaces, but it will also boast residential and public areas in order to appeal to locals and visitors alike. "We're all those things rolled into one, and it's that rolled into one that will give it its dynamism. Every New Yorker will have a reason to go to Hudson Yards...," Jay Cross president of Related Hudson Yards told Inc.com.

The idea for this neighborhood is to have multi-purposed buildings where people will be able to live, work and play. One of the reasons New Yorkers will want to visit Hudson Yards will be to experience all the dining options the neighborhood will provide starting March 2019.

The latest hospitality giant to sign on is London-based rhubarb, with two major eateries to be located at the Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group’s complex development employing over 250 people.

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Mooove Over Beef, Consumers Are Turning to Alternate Proteins

Mooove Over Beef, Consumers Are Turning to Alternate Proteins

Mooove over beef, pork is hogging up the top spot as consumers’ most loved protein. With a sentiment score of 89.5 (out of 100,) consumers now prefer pork over any other protein. Beff has dropped to the number 5 spot below chicken, seafood, and lamb. Millennial demand for fresh seafood is up 49.5% and consumer mentions of pork menu dishes are up 23.6% from last year. That's more growth than both chicken and beef combined!
 

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Lawsuit Accuses Danny Meyer and Other Top Restaurateurs of Conspiracy

Lawsuit Accuses Danny Meyer and Other Top Restaurateurs of Conspiracy

Danny Meyer, along with other renowned operators in the restaurant industry have been on the forefront of the no-tipping movement.

This is a policy where employees are given higher wages instead of relying on tips.

Meyer, in particular, is known for putting his employees first. He maintains that happier employees foster more enjoyable guest experiences and this mentality has attributed to his success in the industry.

Meyer’s name is often in headlines celebrating his industry efforts, but yesterday it was reported that Meyer, along with other big names in the business are being sued over their no-tipping policy.

The lawsuit claims that Meyer, Tom Colicchio founder of Craft Hospitality, and David Chang of Momofuku conspired to implement the no-tipping policy as a way to overcharge guests, while also stealing tips from their employes.

“The conspiracy is in its early experimental stage, focused on developing and disseminating best practices for switching to a no-tipping, “hospitality-included” business model. The no-tipping movement is the most significant issue in the industry today. One conspirator predicts that “ten years from now we’re going to look back and go, ‘Oh, God, do you remember when we used to tip?’” according to the complaint. “The ongoing conspiracy unlawfully transfers millions of dollars from customers and servers to restaurant owners in violation of federal and state antitrust laws. Participating restaurants and a compliant media have portrayed the no-tipping/higher prices movement as intended to promote social justice and equality, while the real aim and effect is greater profit at the expense of workers and consumers.”

The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status.

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