Is The Future of Dining Digitization? Allset CEO Thinks So!

We are living in a world with a live and thriving “on-demand” economy.

From having the choice to watch your favorite TV shows on your own time and schedule, to ordering meals and groceries through your mobile phone or online.

Companies seem to have finally figured it out…

Time is of the essence!

People seem to be willing to pay for their precious time to avoid time-consuming, mundane tasks. And with so many efficiencies taking place in different aspects of people’s lives, consumers are getting accustomed to speedy services so they can get back to what’s most important to them.

This phenomenon has us thinking… Is the future of dining digitization?

On this episode of On Foodable Feature, we learn from Stas Matviyenko, CEO and co-founder of Allset—a San Francisco-based application that aims to help restaurants provide a more efficient dining experience to guests who are short for time.

Watch the full interview to learn how this app can help increase a restaurant operation’s bottom line, how the technology integration would look like, and costs associated with the service!

Will Startup Hungry Planet™ Gain Momentum After Recent Success in a California School District?

Will Startup Hungry Planet™ Gain Momentum After Recent Success in a California School District?

A California school district began to offer plant-based meals across all their cafeterias this past academic year and had students choose whether or not they wanted to eat them based on taste. “The initiative was so successful, the meals will likely be offered again next year,” reports KEYT.

We’ve heard about companies like Impossible Food and Beyond Meat making their way in restaurants, but the Santa Barbara Unified School District actually sourced her plant-based protein from a startup based out of Missouri. It’s called Hungry Planet™.

According to the company’s website, it focuses on creating an alternative protein to ground beef, chicken, pork, Italian sausage, chorizo sausage, and crab for culinary professionals to use as a 1:1 substitution in innovative entrees. The company says it develops its faux meats to delight the demanding tastes of meat lovers in the heart of the Midwest.

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Curtis Stone’s Maude Is Seasonal, Intimate, and Has a No-Tipping Model

Video Produced by Vanessa C. Rodriguez

A tiny Beverly Hills eatery serving a creative menu to about two dozen guests is Chef Curtis Stone’s life-long dream. Its name, Maude, pays homage to his first culinary mentor — Curtis’ late paternal grandmother. Her influence can be seen throughout the restaurant fixtures and china used to serve food.

Since opening in 2014, Foodable Top 25 Restaurant Maude has been serving a 10-course seasonal tasting menu, focusing on one key rotating ingredient each month.

“The reason we do only a tasting menu format here at Maude is because some of Curtis’ experiences are going to restaurants that friends of his own, sitting down, they take off the menus out of your hands, and just cook for you…no decision to make, you just sit back and let brilliant people do what they do best,” Ben Aviram, general manager and wine director at Maude, said, explaining the premise of Maude’s mission to recreate that experience for all of its guests.

In this "Table 42" Vignette, Maude Head Chef Justin Hilbert demonstrated for us a seasonal dish with pistachio as its star ingredient: Ravioli with Pistachio Ricatta and Broccoli De Cicco.

Preparing the Dish

  • Start by making the pasta with all-purpose flour, salt, and some eggs; mix for 30 mins.
  • Heat up milk until it reaches 200 degrees, then add lemon juice; let the mixture cool down on a deep tray.
  • Garnishes for the dish include: Sweet Italian broccoli de cicco, rapini flowers, fresh dill
  • After pasta dough has come together and rested nicely, it is rolled out two to three times through a stretch machine; then, it’s laid out on table and even strips are cut.
  • The ricatta will be the ravioli filling, which was whipped with pistachio. Each one is placed between a pasta blanket and cut through to make the ravioli. They are later thrown in boiling water to be cooked for three minutes.
  • In the meantime, the broccoli de cicco is sautéed to achieve a char-grilled flavor profile.
  • Pasta is then picked out of the pot of boiling water and thrown into a bowl of butter and water; dill, lemon juice are then added to the mixture.
  • Dish can be plated by laying the pasta over the sautéed broccoli de cicco. Pour a little bit of dill butter sauce and the ramini leaves and flowers.

Service Charge Model

The prix fixe menu at Maude is designed to create an intimate chef’s table experience for every guest. Foodable was curious to learn more about their no-tipping model, as this topic along with minimum wage is still being debated at the national stage.

“We feel it is the best way to fairly compensate all the employees,” Aviram said. “Restaurants generally have a pretty large disparity of what the dining room makes and what the kitchen makes, and by us charging a service charge and taking that 18 percent and being able to spread the wages both in the dining room and the kitchen, helps us to level that playing field a little bit.”

To learn more, watch the full episode!

Washington Report: Immigrants Make Up 23 Percent of Restaurant Workforce

Note: If you would like to learn more about the Sanctuary Restaurant movement, you can do so in the organization's website.


Twenty-three percent of 14 million restaurant workers are immigrants and so this industry depends on them. At this time, it feels more important than ever to stand with diverse communities and pledge to protect their liberties, dignities, and freedom[s],” says Della Heiman, who put up a sign at her Wynwood restaurant, Della Test Kitchen, that reads: "Sanctuary Restaurant: A place at the table for everyone."

“...We wanted to be a part of this legally compliant movement to support the safety and diversity of our employees. Some of the core values of Della Test Kitchen and The Wynwood Yard are community and diversity. The Wynwood Yard is a hub where we feel that many of Miami’s different communities overlap and come together,” explained Heiman.

Della Test Kitchen is the only restaurant in Miami-Dade County to publicly join the Sanctuary Restaurant movement. This happened after the county’s mayor, Carlos Giménez, was the first in the nation to demand its local officials to comply with President Donald Trump’s executive order to enhance public safety by hiring “10,000 additional immigration officers” to enforce federal immigration laws and target “sanctuary cities” by withholding funding.

To support this executive order, Trump has gone as far as creating a program he first announced on Feb. 28, in his first speech to Congress, called VOICE — Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement — to provide “service to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the family members of such victims,” while the program’s office provides “quarterly reports studying the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States.”

What is a Sanctuary City?

A Sanctuary City is a jurisdiction where local officials decline detainer requests of undocumented immigrants by the federal government.

While Giménez’s motives were economically founded to protect the county’s funding, other local leaders, like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, San Francisco Mayor Ed Le,  and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, have taken a moral stance to protect their dense immigrant communities. The 10 largest sanctuary cities combined would be giving up $2.27 billion dollars in federal funding, according to a Reuters analysis, if they do not comply with Trump’s plans.

List of 10 Largest Sanctuary Cities

  1. New York City | $701.6 million funds at risk

  2. Chicago / Cook County | $526.4 million funds at risk

  3. Los Angeles / L.A. County | $466.2 million funds at risk

  4. Philadelphia | $199.5 million funds at risk

  5. Detroit / Wayne County | $104.7 million funds at risk

  6. Seattle / King County | $72.7 million funds at risk

  7. San Francisco | $70.9 million funds at risk

  8. Boston / Suffolk County | $65.5 million funds at risk

  9. Denver | $39.1 million funds at risk

  10. Washington D.C. | $20.4 million funds at risk

(Source: Reuters analysis of federal data)

Also, in response to Trump’s orders, the “Day Without Immigrants” protest took place Feb. 16, when restaurants sympathizing with the immigrant labor force decided to close shop to prove the importance of this minority group to the restaurant industry.

sweetgreen— a popular fast-casual brand, which ranks as high as No. 11 in Foodable's Top 100 Most Loved Brands report— joined the protest by closing all 18 D.C. locations and stated: “Without the hard work and grit of our team, our stores do not run, and that means we can’t make good on our promise to you, our guest. Our team members are the face of the brand, from the front lines to our kitchen — they’re the backbone of this company and what makes sweetgreen special. And that’s exactly why we stand with them, today and every day...”

The same day of the “Day Without Immigrants” protest, President Trump announced his new Secretary of Labor pick, R. Alexander Acosta, after his first choice, Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination amid controversy.

Acosta is currently the Dean of Florida International University’s law school and was formerly the assistant attorney general under the Bush administration. If confirmed, he would be the first Hispanic in Trump’s cabinet.

Last Update - March 3: At publishing time, two more restaurants have registered as sanctuary restaurants in Miami-Dade County. These restaurants are Choices Cafe and Lulu's Nitrogen Ice Cream.

Which Foodservice Trends Will We See in 2017? What Foodable Industry Experts Predict

The new year is upon us and Foodable is beyond excited to see which trends will reign in 2017!

Luckily for you, a few of Foodable’s foodservice industry experts have come to aid you in this arduous task of identifying key trends and making solid predictions. Our experts, who work as restaurant consultants themselves, are in tune with the pulse of the industry and the changing consumers attitudes in foodservice.

Lets see what our experts have to say!

With 34 years of experience in different areas of the foodservice industry, Donald Burns, The Restaurant Coach™, has identified his big three trends for the year.

African Flavors

“You’re going to see a lot of things like Shawarma and Harissa, and you’re going to come in and see a lot of the chefs...take a lot of those spices and those kinds of flavor profiles and implementing them… You’re going to see that kind of stuff in tacos, barbecue, etc.”

Cooking Classes and Kits

“Restaurants could really take advantage of this and have some options here to have some real cooking classes...or maybe you could do a kit, maybe your own home meal kit, and you can basically send it to people or they can pick it at your restaurant with instructions. Maybe you already have your signature sauces blended for them, so it takes some of the guess work out of them…it’s a huge opportunity for people who want to take advantage of this hot trend.”

Food Halls

"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: Avante in Denver… also the Revival Food Hall in Chicago. Another great concept!”

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Jaclyn Morgan is the owner in principal of JM Foodservice Consulting, LLC with 20 years of experience in equipment product management and category management for grocery retail. She’s also an MAS consultant belonging to the FCSI organization. Below are a couple of trends Morgan sees spilling over into 2017 from 2016, along with the emergence of a trend that is gaining major traction thanks to the fast-advancing-technology environment that we live in nowadays.

Hyper-Local Food

“Customers want to connect personally with their food. This is why hyper-local sourcing is so important. Another interesting side to that is people want global flavor. So it’s very interesting that we want to know where our food comes from and how to be part of our community, but customers want to travel the world at the same time.”

Food Waste Reduction (Sustainability)

“We heard of sustainability in many different ways over the years. We’ve seen it decades ago as back-to-nature, we’ve all heard about going green. So, again, we’re continuing to talk about sustainability and how are we — either as restaurant owners or as customers — ...helping the environment and the community around us. 

This boils down to food waste reduction… Within interior design, right now, sustainability still involves:reclaimed woods and a sense of 'green.' Again, it’s that connection we all want to have back with nature and within our community.”

Digital Collection of Consumer Data (Technology)

“We need to gather feedback from our customers, from social media, from the internet, as quickly and efficiently as possible and work that into an excellent recipe for customer service, to be able to communicate immediately and make an impact.”

As a 15-year veteran in the hospitality world, restaurant consultant and founder of Savory Hospitality, Salar Sheik, builds, grows, manages, expands, and brings clients' food and beverage visions to life. Sheik’s top picks are as follows:

Pasta

"In 2017, we are definitely seeing a big push in crafted pastas, definitely pastas that are housemade from scratch, as well as gluten-free…. We’ve also seen: kelp noodles, rice-based noodles, a lot of great quinoa noodles.… Be on the look out because this definitely fulfills the comfort food section as well as just flavors.”

Korean Food

“It definitely has a great spice profile, a lot of flavors. You’ve seen, I believe, mass chains picking up on the flavor profiles and ingredients from gochujang pepper paste to kimchee, bulgogi burgers. We are already seeing it a bit on the food trucks, but I think it will definitely be a big hit out in the restaurant industry.”

Naturally Fermented Food

“What are naturally fermented foods? More than just pickles. We’ve seen fermented bread, radishes, yogurts, kombucha juice. Naturally fermented foods have been in great popularity in terms of health, flavor profile. Chefs are definitely exploring its ability to enhance dishes. We saw a festival of 5,000 people at Boston Fermented Food Festival. People showed up really enthusiastic… A lot of food critics are saying this is the future of eating. I think in 2017 we will see a whole lot of that!”

Finally, Doug Radkey, an expert in restaurant and bar startup development and founder of Key Restaurant Group in Canada, shared his top three trends for 2017.

Tech-Driven Delivery

“I believe this is continuously going be a disruptor from within the industry and more so with independents in this upcoming year, as it’s more convenient for them to get online ordering, online payments, digital loyalty reward programs. These are all becoming more accessible for them and also affordable.

At the same time, we are also going to see more full-service restaurants get into the take-out and delivery spectrum, delivering food to homes, offices and even hotels…. Also voice-recognition is going to become a bigger thing... [with items such as Amazon‘s Echo] where customers can place an order from their home by simply using their voice."

Garden to Glass with Hyper-Local Products

“Chefs getting into it with their own gardens, more storytelling behind the product, where it’s coming from, and also instead of farm to table, we are going to start seeing more garden to glass for example, on the bar side of things…”

Struggles for Start-Ups in 2017 and Advice

“In terms of cost, [it] is no secret that utilities are continuously rising, food costs are going up, wages continue to go up, which is also creating labor shortages, in terms of having qualified cooks [who] can deliver on high quality, hyper local product, and of course, market saturation, as well. There are plenty of copy-cat type concepts that are out there, making it very difficult for independent aspiring restaurateurs to get into the game. The ideal situation to combat this issue within the industry is to develop a very detailed feasibility study followed by a very thorough concept plan that is profitable, sustainable while executing on a very solid business plan.”