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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Sudden Coffee Is Changing The Way People Think About Instant Coffee

Instant coffee may be convenient, but the name traditionally revealed its bitter, inferior, and acidic taste. But, you know we love game changers at Foodable Network and on this episode of On Foodable Feature, we have the pleasure of introducing the exception to the rule.

Instant coffee has always been thought of as a last resort for coffee lovers, but now Sudden Coffee, a food technology company founded in San Francisco, is revolutionizing instant coffee. Co-Founder and CEO, Josh Zloof, graduated from Stanford University in 2008 as an Engineer. He went on to gain experience in multiple fields, including supply chain, lean management, and operations and is responsible for many start-ups, including an email service, an on-demand shopping service, and a coaching company. After experiencing much success and failure, Josh was able to discover what he is most passionate about—serving a delectable cup of coffee while focusing on the convenience and experience a consumer receives.

Throughout this episode, Josh explains how Sudden Coffee’s brewing method and coffee bean selection process differentiates their coffee from most instant coffee brands. In addition to using single origin coffee beans from specialty farms, Sudden Coffee uses a freeze-drying brewing process. This method preserves the aromatic features in their coffee, whereas most instant coffee brands use heat to boil their beans, destroying the flavor.

Not only is their brewing method a differentiating factor in their business, but their pricing is as well. While they currently use a subscription model, their products are available on Amazon and will soon be expanding to stores near you! Sudden Coffee hopes their prices will mirror a shocking $1.50 in the future. Not only are they innovative, but Sudden Coffee is aiming to be the most affordable instant coffee brand out there, as well.

Zume Pizza Raises $375 Million From SoftBank, Other Firms on the Verge of Investing Too

The automated pizza delivery restaurant Zume has raised an additional $375 million from SoftBank, according to a recent report from "The WallStreet Journal."

“We’ve recently closed a round of funding to support our growth and hiring,” said Alex Garden, Zume CEO and co-founder in a statement.

Zume Pizza is a Silicon Valley-based company that is store-less and has a team of six different robots that assist in making the pizzas.

Zume also has delivery vehicles equipped with pizza ovens, so pizzas are ready for fast delivery.

But delivering fresh pizza isn't the company's only focus, Zume owns a patent for these delivery trucks and is considering licensing this technology to other restaurants looking to use trucks similar to those in Zume's fleet

“Pizza was our prototype,” said Garden to "TechCrunch" in April. “There’s no reason why this technology wouldn’t work for any restaurant or any food category. Any restaurant who wants to adopt our system can now easily do that. They don’t have to be experts in technology or appliance manufacturing. They can just be restaurateurs, who have a more flexible offering for customers.”

Evidently, the company's automation technology is especially attractive to investors because "The WSJ" also said that another firm is looking to invest another $375 million.

Prior to this recent investment, Zume already raised $70 million.

Do you think that this tech-focused pizza brand will take off with this massive investment?

Read more about the funding announcement and what the future holds for Zume at "TechCrunch."

We recently took a closer look at automation in the pizza industry. Watch the video below to see how Zume deploys its team of robots to make its pizzas.

Winemakers in California Prep for the Cannabis Boom

Winemakers in California Prep for the Cannabis Boom

As more regulations are passed across the country making cannabis legal, the potential for the market only grows.

Companies in the food and beverage industry are already gearing up to be ahead of the cannabis trend by offering either infused options with either the legal CBD non-psychoactive compound or the THC compound, both found in the marijuana plant.

In areas where marijuana isn't legal recreationally, CBD-infused treats and beverages instead are being sold.

The bar The Breslin at the Ace Hotel in New York is selling CBD brownies and cocktails. The eatery Bubby’s also in New York City has a CBD sweetener available for its coffee and cocktail beverages.

In areas when it is legal like California, cannabis fine dining has arrived.

However, there are some legal challenges when it comes to serving cannabis in dishes.

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Northern California Sees a Surge in Wine Tasting Room Openings

tasting room

Northern California is known for its wine country, but establishments selling wine in the Napa and Sonoma counties have to abide by strict regulations prior to opening.

With that being said, tasting room openings aren't happening every week.

But this year, the area saw a spike in these openings.

Some of the new Napa tasting rooms include Rebel Vintners, which is located downtown and features wines from Holman Cellars, Leaf & Vine and Cadle Family Wines; Signorello, which has opened a temporary space after its previous one was burned down in the 2017 wildfires, and Keplinger, which opened in August and offers an array of Rhone-style wines.

In Sonoma Country, the winery known for its fresh Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays Lioco opened its tasting room over labor day weekend; Abbot's Passage is now open offering wine tastings from a new wine label by Gundlach Bundschu; and then there's Small Vines, a vineyard operated by two former farmers that now has a tasting room in a converted apple barn in Sebastopol.

But wait there's more. In the Santa Cruz, there were two new tasting room openings.

Long Meadow Ranch, which just purchased the Stony Hill Vineyard, opened its tasting room in July where they serve Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris wines. Mount Eden is now allowing visitors to tour the historic property if they make an appointment for a seated tasting of a selection of six Mount Eden and Domaine Eden Wines.

Find out what other tasting rooms are opening in Northern California at "The Press" now.

Looking to enhance your wine menu?

Watch the video below to learn how to build and pair your wine selection with a food menu.