The Specialty Food Association (SFA) annually hosts the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. The largest specialty food and beverage event in North America, the Summer Fancy Food Show features a growing number of restaurants and organizations focused on providing innovative menus and products.
This year, host Paul Barron interviewed a number of leaders in the industry. Becky Mulligan, a former Starbucks executive and the new CEO of The Little Beet, offered her perspective on the growing consumer demand for plant-based products.
After spending sixteen years overseeing thousands of Starbucks units, Becky Mulligan switched gears in 2018 and joined The Little Beet team.
The fast casual veggie restaurant chain just seemed like a perfect fit. “It was perfect for my lifestyle,” says Mulligan. “I was drawn to the concept immediately.”
The Little Beet recently expanded its offerings to a full service gluten-free restaurant: The Little Beet Table. According to Mulligan, the two branches work in tandem: customers continue to go to The Little Beet for a quick, healthy breakfasts and lunches, and they go to The Little Beet Table for dinner, drinks, and special occasions.
“People are becoming more educated about what they consume,” notes Mulligan. “It’s helped us to have a broader platform to talk about why it’s good to have a plant-based diet.” While she emphasizes that plant-based foods should make up the bulk of your diet, balance rather than guilt is ultimately the goal. “We want consumers to have accessible food that is good for you—and that you want to eat.”
All food at both The Little Beet and The Little Beet Table is made fresh everyday. All vegetables and ingredients are prepared from scratch, and the company avoids added sugars and non-blended oils. These prerequisites can be challenging for staff in terms of ensuring everyone is served in a timely fashion, but rewarding for the brand and customers alike.
The Little Beet currently consists of ten units, and there are four The Little Beet Table locations. Mulligan says the company hopes to double those numbers by next year. The chain is also developing a beverage platform.
Check out the video above to learn more about the future of The Little Beet and the company’s plant-based mission.