America’s 1st Certified Organic QSR Is Giving Sport Fans What They Want

Foodable had the chance to catch up with The Organic Coup, the first certified organic fast food restaurant, once again, but this time at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. On this episode of On Foodable, Paul Barron sits down with the brand’s founder, Erica Welton, to talk about latest achievements and future plans.

We first learned about The Organic Coup in 2016 when Foodable had the chance to visit its first location to learn about the brand in depth. Although the certified organic fried chicken remains at the core of this fast food concept with the fried chicken sandwich still being the favored menu item, the brand has started to develop six grab-and-go retail products that are currently featured at some Whole Food locations in Northern California.

This fast food joint has grown to 10 locations in just a little over three years. However, Welton believes that when she looks back at the brand’s history one day she’ll say that the “breakout moment” for The Organic Coup came once it opened a concession shop at a major sports venue like Oracle Park (formerly known as the AT&T Park), home of the San Francisco Giants.

We’re at the “San Francisco Giants ballpark and of course that was not part of the business plan, not a part of our original thought process...,” says Welton. “but, the San Francisco Giants, they had so many fan requests... requesting organic, clean, healthy food... food that they can feel good about eating… and some of their executives had been eating in our San Francisco location and so they brought us over.”

This lead The Organic Coup to later open at the Levi’s Stadium, home of the 49ers. In the last game of the season— during the College National Championship Game— the brand ended up closing as the No. 1 concession stand for the stadium making $37,000 in just four hours.

Check out the video above to learn more about what sets this fast food concept apart to get a clue to their success!

How Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Continue to Innovate In the Boutique Hotel Space

In this episode of On Foodable, Paul Barron is at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Barron sits down with George Morrone, Director of Culinary Development for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, to talk about how this boutique hotel chain builds out independent restaurants; what they look for in specialty food, and tips on recruiting employees, among other topics.

“What drew me to the Kimpton hotels was just this whole approach to every detail mattered, you know, from the hotel side to the food and beverage side, which is usually where, in hospitality… that’s where it separates,” said Paul Barron. “If it’s going to break down, it’s going to break down at the restaurant.”

Morrone replied that the reason why Kimpton Hotels places such high importance on the food and beverage side of their business, as well, is because the late Bill Kimpton, boutique hotel developer, had a great passion for both sides of hospitality and instilled this philosophy to his employees early on.

George Morrone, a trained chef who is now focusing on guiding the growth and development of future culinary talent, as well as, the menu for Kimpton’s 70+ restaurants and bars, has turned to hiring from within when it comes to promoting executive chefs for new Kimpton concepts.

“What we’ve looked at and we’ve been successful with it is grooming the number twos and promoting them as we grow as a company and that way they already know our philosophies, financially how we operate,” says Morrone. “So, it’s been a successful formula for us.”

To learn more about what other factors set Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants apart in the hospitality space, check out the video above!

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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How Souvla is Capitalizing on the Delivery Craze in San Francisco

In this episode of On Foodable, we are at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, where Paul Barron sits down with Charles Bililies, Founder and CEO of Souvla— Lyft’s most traveled-to restaurant in the United States in 2017.

Souvla is a “fast-fine” Greek-American restaurant that Bililies dreamt up about nine years ago, inspired by casual souvlaki joints found throughout Greece.

“Souvla is very much Greek through and through, but nowhere around there will you see “traditional” or “authentic”. We definitely took a lot of liberties as I created the menu,” said Bililies. “Everything on there is sourced locally or it’s coming in from Greece. It’s sorta this Californian-Greek, if you will.”

Essentially he wanted to modernize the way people looked at gyros or souvlaki sandwiches here in America.

Bililies opened the first location in 2014 after about five years of looking for the perfect real estate location. Shortly after Souvla opened, he started seeing the rise of delivery becoming a “thing” in San Francisco.

Fast forward to today, on average, Souvla can pump out between 150 and 225 delivery orders a day. An impressive number coming from an upscale counter service restaurant.

With delivery in mind, Bililies decided to open its fourth location in the Marina neighborhood with a sidewalk facing pick-up window. They successfully were able to lobby the city to allow them to put in a white zone or a passenger loading zone. Bililies believes this is going to be a huge allure and convenience for customers since by doing this people won’t have trouble finding parking or worrying about double parking, etc.

Check out the episode above to see footage of their new location, learn about the restaurant’s menu offerings, and its magic price point making the concept above fast casual but still under fine dining.

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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How Uber Eats Continues to Grow and Lead in the Food Delivery Space

This year's Winter Fancy Food Show was full of innovative specialty products and incubators helping reimagine the future of food. Foodable had the pleasure of joining more than 15 innovators to the Specialty Food Association (SFA) Live Stage where trending industry topics were discussed. The following video features Foodable’s Paul Barron, interviewing Bowie Cheung, Director of Operations for Uber Eats.

Cheung explains how Uber Eats has gone as a lunchtime delivery experiment, partnering with one to two restaurants a day with a curated selection of meals. Now boasting a 24/7 coverage to 70 percent of the U.S. population, as well as, 70 percent of the Canadian population, with over 100,000 restaurants.

“Food delivery is a really complex process, there’s a lot of steps involved,” said Cheung. “In a lot of ways, every single transaction can go wrong, and so you need to be thinking about all audiences and how it comes together, in order to deliver a winning platform.”  

For a restaurant to perform well on a food delivery platform, Cheung advises operators to offer unique products, like the ones featured at the Winter Fancy Food Show. Uber Eats features images of restaurants’ specialty menu items as a way to highlight these options to consumers.

Discover how this rideshare giant continues to lead the food delivery industry by watching the video above.

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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How the Specialty Food Industry Has Evolved into a $127 Billion Industry

There has been a shift in consumer demand for hand-made, artisan foods in the last few years. It’s no longer just our industry recognizing the art and dedication behind these products. We decided to sit down with Specialty Food Association President Phil Kafarakis to talk about this shift and how it’s impacting the specialty food sector.

The Specialty Food Association (SFA) has been around for 65 years, so this segment is not new to the industry. Previously known as the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT), the Specialty Food Association is best known for its bi-annual Fancy Food Show. It has been sold out every year for more than 10 years, proving that specialty food products are growing in popularity.

Artisan food manufacturers have built up the community after a shift in consumer behavior. Consumers are asking questions they didn’t used to ask like, ‘Where does this come from?’, ‘Who makes this?’, ‘What’s its story?’ and this community is finally getting a chance to shine.

Restaurants operators have helped to foster thus growth. “They’ve got phenomenal cheese cases from around the world, they’ve got charcuterie bars, these folks represent the industry at large. And what we're finding is that no longer does it serve the membership to be buyer specific to the retail channel," said Kafarakis. So now, by opening up their doors to a wider range of consumers, we are seeing that the foodservice industry is not the only sector infatuated with fancy food.

Kafarakis also notes that there are special challenges associated with opening up to the market at large. Being specialty food, some artisan manufacturers might not be prepared to provide large quantities of product as the larger, non-specialty food companies. The SFA’s job is to prepare them and help them be successful– while retaining the authenticity and integrity of their products. With more than 35,000 manufacturers ranging from startups to mature companies, the specialty food sector is now a 127 billion dollar industry.