Celebrity Chef John Tesar's Knife Burger to Open at New Food Hall in Texas

Celebrity Chef John Tesar's Knife Burger to Open at New Food Hall in Texas

Food halls, in general, are becoming wildly popular.

Earlier this year, Foodable reported on how this new dining category may become the next big thing with more fast casual restaurants joining forces to form part of a diverse collection of food offerings housed close together in one go-to destination for customer convenience.

The appeal for consumers, who want to eat healthier, support local farmers and fisheries while having different cuisines available to satisfy every craving, is there.

Our industry expert, Donald Burns, went out on a limb late last year predicting the rise of food halls, as he shared his favorite spots found around the U.S.

"Today, people, they want to mix it up… they want to try out new things. Nothing is better than going to a food hall with your friends and having lots and lots of different options available... There are [great] ones out there in the market. There’s one in Houston, Tex., called Conservatory… There’s another one: Avanti in Denver… also the Revival Food Hall in Chicago. Another great concept!,” said Burns.

Well, Fort Worth, Tex. is the next lucky city with development plans in place to create an exciting food hall in Crockett Row at West 7th.

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AR Could Be the Next Frontier for the Restaurant Industry

AR Could Be the Next Frontier for the Restaurant Industry

These days it seems like every brand is dipping its toes into the world of Augmented Reality, or “AR” for short.

And, for good reason.

You are probably wondering why we are even talking about a technology that seems so disconnected with the restaurant and hospitality industry. Truth is the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating the illusion that virtual objects are part of our physical world as the technology slowly weaves itself into the thread that is our everyday lives.

Brands that recognize this and develop creative marketing campaigns around AR could really benefit when looking for a boost in exposure or even sales.

Most of us got our first taste of AR through Snapchat or Instagram’s face-scanning filters. Others experienced it through the Pokemon Go craze. Some restaurants were actually able to capitalize on the trend while it was hot, with some places seeing an 82 percent increase in weekly restaurant foot traffic and 63 percent increase in weekly sales if the business was located near a “Pokestop,” according to POS platform Revel systems.

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Taco Bell's Urban Store Plans and Latest Menu Items

Latest news about Taco Bell are proving the brand’s tagline, ‘Think Outside The Bun,’ still fuels corporate’s decisions. The Tex-Mex QSR chain is breaking its mold by shaking off drive-thrus and adding alcohol to their future locations, in their latest push to expand into urban areas.

According to “Business Insider,” the company that brought to you the Naked Chicken Chips and, most recently, the Naked Egg Taco, had been testing its Taco Bell Cantina concept in seven locations and was slated to open four more by the end of 2017.

Now, they are expecting to open 300 to 350 “cantina-style” stores by 2022.

According to “Food & Wine,” the brand is “zeroing in on big cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York (including a plan to open at least 50 locations around the city’s five boroughs.” Each store will be somewhat unique with designs aligning with the local city culture, while featuring digital menu boards and open kitchens.

Taco Bell is known to push the envelope with its menu offerings. Take, for instance, the forbidden bowl and burrito, featuring forbidden rice, being tested in their Irvine location. According to “Thrillist,” a spokesperson told them “No other [fast food restaurant] has tested a black rice product like this." Claiming to be the first to test a dish with a grain product only eaten by royalty in ancient China, hence the name— ‘forbidden.’

That’s why it comes at no surprise that the chain will finally offer boozy drinks like beer, wine, sangria and Twisted Freezes with tequila, rum or vodka at their new urban, cantina-style stores. 

In their Las Vegas flagship location, for example, Spring Valley visitors continue to post pictures with their favorite spiked slush.

I came to Vegas just to get a bacardi baja blast

A post shared by Ava Lavalle (@avalavalle) on

I think I speak for everyone when I say: It was time, T-Bell! It was time...

Pizzeria Locale sets its sights on expansion

Pizzeria Locale  | Yelp, Loren K.

Pizzeria Locale | Yelp, Loren K.

Denver based fast casual restaurant Pizzeria Locale opened its first location four years ago with the goal of serving traditional Neapolitan-style pizza.  The innovative restaurant found immediate success, prompting Thrillist just last month to declare the restaurant as poised at becoming the next Chipotle.  And it seems Chipotle agrees with Thrillist's assessment as the fast-casual giant is the pizzeria's largest investor. 

While Pizzeria Locale is still currently only operating in the Denver area, nationwide expansion seems imminent, with plans already underway for a location to open this summer in Kansas City.  

Will Pizzeria Locale take the lead amongst the growing number of fast casuals?  Read More