Culinary Cannabis with The Herb Somm, Jamie Evans

Cannabis is introducing a whole new aspect of the restaurant industry. With the emergence of some of the most renowned chefs beginning the process of developing menu items related to CBD and Cannabis, to CBD taking the lead currently in the approval process via the recently approved $867 billion Farm Bill which allows for use of CDB in food-related items. What we are seeing is a massive early adoption to integrated food and menu concepts by restaurants and experts around the US. I get a chance to explore the idea of tasting and pairing Cannabis related items with food and wine with Jamie Evans, the Herb Somm as we discover new aspects to the integration and new age of unique ingredients.

I continue to be surprised in the advancements of ingredients, flavors and culinary techniques that chefs are integrating every year, but 2019 seems to be the year of Cannabis and will surely be a major campaign topic in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. A small or possibly huge setback is the recent banning of CBD products by restaurants in NYC. However, this action is not without a fight when you consider Andrea Drummer. Drummer, a former drug counselor turned definitive expert on edibles and cannabis is pushing back on the bizarre circumstances that have led to CBD being banned as a food additive, even as its legality has been firmly established. It appears that this new form of creativity in food will face a bit more in the way of challenges this year.

Stay tuned as I continue to explore this critical time in the evolution of culinary creativity to understand where we are really going with the future of Cannabis. Will this be a new era in similarity to when alcohol products began showing up in menu items at restaurants around the world or is it a fight that will be forthcoming for years to come?

Video Produced by:

Nathan Mikita

Nathan Mikita

Director of New Media/Producer


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Building the Right Marketing Plan for 2019

Listen on: iTunes | Google Play | tunein | iHeartRADIO | Spotify

Marketing for 2019 is beginning to morph into a new face of digital, in person and one to one marketing that involves a variety of strategies that are improving the overall performance of restaurant operators across the country. The four P’s have been a cornerstone of measuring and developing a plan in the past around Product, Price, Place, and Promotion and today is no different.

I get a chance to sit down with The Restaurant Coach, Donald Burns and explore some of 2019’s key marketing tips to employee for your restaurant as we discuss the issue around Price and why it is much more than what is on your menu, all the way to Promotion and what new tactics are working and what is not.

We also discuss the falling engagement on Facebook for restaurant operators and the potential of new platforms and tactics that might be more effective including creating content for your business as a new strategy for 2019. Even email is coming back with today's operators and the potential of a new club strategy vs loyalty. As you can see this podcast is packed with ideas and discussion on ways to improve your marketing position for 2019.

Stay tuned for my breakdown of the Top Loyalty programs for 2019 and why I think they work and what they need to do to improve.

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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 Blue Bottle Coffee Maintains Product Quality As It Continues To Expand

In this episode of On Foodable, Paul Barron sits down with Bryan Meehan, CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee, at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. The two chat about specialty coffee, company expansion, and branding among other topics.

In 2011, Meehan—whose retail experience comes from co-founding UK-based brands like Nude Skincare and Fresh & Wild, an organic market which is now owned by Whole Foods—came across James Freeman, founder of Blue Bottle Coffee Company and said: “What are you doing with this company? I love it. Can I help you?”

Fast forward to today and Meehan has been the CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee Company for over six years now and has been hard at work growing the company to 60 locations in collaboration with James Freeman. The fast expansion boost was partially thanks to the Nestle acquisition that took place in 2017, but Meehan assures Blue Bottle works as an independent entity under that larger umbrella and the company’s growth has not come at the expense of product quality.

“A lot of companies here worry about with growth ‘If I could just maintain what I have then everything is going to be fine…’ but as you know you can’t succeed long-term with that so we push ourselves to try and get better every year,” says Meehan.

“With scale, the worry always with a company like Blue Bottle, and I see it in the industry today… with scale it’s so easy to just to take shortcuts and compromise on quality,” says Meehan. “We need to go back to focusing on why we started in the industry and in specialty coffee is that these products have got to taste delicious. If it’s not delicious we shouldn’t do it.”

Blue Bottle has taken its brand internationally with 10 stores in Japan and recently announcing it’s getting ready to launch its first South Korea location in Seoul.

Watch the episode above to learn about who is operating their stores internationally, the tech being used for Blue Bottle’s latest retail products, and how quality control affects the brand’s business decision.

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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How FoodLogiQ Had a Role In Helping Small Businesses Through the Romaine Lettuce Scare

In this episode of On Foodable, Paul Barron sits down with Bryan Cohn, Food Safety Solution Engineer at FoodLogiQ, at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. The two chat about food safety compliance, whole chain traceability, and supply chain transparency solutions.

Cohn does a good job at explaining how FoodLogiQ works with businesses to accomplish its mission of mapping out the world’s supply chain to promote food safety and traceability.

“What FoodLogiQ is able to do is... automate their work flows, meaning being able to get documentation of suppliers, ingredients, products into a cloud system so they can be shared across organizations and then decisions can be made,” says Cohn.

One of the most recent food safety issues that FoodLogiQ had a role to play in had to do the with the recent Romaine Lettuce scare.

“Some of our clients leveraged our technology to understand where Romaine was within their respective supply chains,” Cohn shared with Paul. Thanks to FoodLogiQ, its clients were able to “justify their supply chain and their product path and journey.”

Companies like Tyson Foods and Subway have invested in the software firm hoping that more suppliers jump on board and begin to digitize their paperwork in order to have everything organized in one cloud.

To learn more about FoodLogiQ it’s processes and what challenges they face, check out the video above!

Video Produced by:

Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez

Writer & Producer


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