The theme for the last webinar featured ICCA members who have opened Ghost Kitchens, Virtual Kitchens or even new concepts running from an existing chain kitchen. Efrem Cutler, Senior Director, Executive Corporate Chef for Bloomin’ Brands talked about their Tender Shack delivery concept running out of Outback Steakhouses and Carrabba’s Italian Grill kitchens plus their new Aussie Grill concept. Alex Sadowsky, Concept Chef for Twin Peaks talked about their first virtual kitchen that recently launched and their plans for 3 more ghost/virtual kitchens in the plans for the next six months. Luis Haro, Director of Culinary for SPB Hospitality who’s brands include Logan’s Roadhouse, Old Chicago Restaurants, Rock Bottom Restaurants & Brewery discussed their Twisted Tenders and Roadies Slider new concepts. Mark Brandau, Project Manager from Datassential shared data on these trending activities in our industry.
The Wednesday, February 24th webinar featured Kendra Keenan, Global Marketing Manager and RJ Harvey, Director of Culinary for Potatoes USA; Shane Schaibly, VP of Culinary Strategy at First Watch and Marie Molde, Client Solution Specialist at Datassential. Kendra and RJ presented inspiring dishes highlighting potatoes as the main ingredient including a culinary demonstration featuring three trend-leading potato driven recipes with amazing plating. Below is the entire webinar video that showcases the explanations of the PowerPoints. . Potatoes USA ICCA GCIA Webinar Slides
Shane discussed their new prototype which includes an indoor and outside bar, along with a second kitchen designed exclusively for takeout and delivery. He also discussed the role-out of their new menu and the logic behind those changes plus how takeout and third-party delivery has been working for them. Marie used the resources at Datassential to showcase global flavor trends with an emphasis on breakfast and potatoes – it was such a hit with the members and sponsors emails started right after the webinar to get copies of this PowerPoint. Marie Molde Datassential ICCA GCIA Webinar Ethnic Trend & Breakfast Presentation_0221
The last webinar featured Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse of America who talked about their success in the past year with their Firehouse Subs brand. He also discussed his role as a long-term board member of the NRA and FRLA and the legislative push for the $15 per hour minimum wage. Mindy Armstrong, Menu Strategist – Product Development for Buffalo Wild Wings discussed their marketing before the Super Bowl and the results of their amazing marketing programs around events. She also talked about all of the changes they have created on the menus and how they are communicating that to their key customers. Linda Ashbrook, Director of Innovation Strategy and Customer Solutions for Datassential comes from a long history running innovation research at Taco Bell, Chipotle, and others . She also is the author of Datassential’s “IDEA” innovation process, which she will share during the webinar.
Below are the videos from our first two GCIA/ICCA webinars in this new series that featured new menu trends and labor saving best practices. The keynote speakers on our last video were the following: With nearly 17 years of experience working in the Senate Democratic Leadership, Stacy Rich joined the Cornerstone team as a principal in January 2020 after serving as the leadership staff director for Sen. Patty Murray’s (D-WA) office. Stacy has been at the center of all major policy debates for nearly two decades, serving as Sen. Murray’s liaison to the Senate Democratic Leader, Democratic Whip, other Senate/House leadership teams, supporting the Senator’s work as Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. She also played key roles supporting Sen. Murray’s work in leading the caucus to successfully passing landmark pieces of legislation including the Affordable Care Act and the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) among others. She talked about the agenda for this year, the challenges and opportunities for labor, as well as discuss the Covid-19 response and relief and how it effects the foodservice industry.
Jack Li, Haiku Master at Datassential, and his team presented the next generation LTO trends and solutions for food manufacturers and GCIA Members with a focus on automation and robotics.
Alex Sadowski, concept chef at Twin Peaks, discussed the challenges our industry faces with regards to labor issues. They have successfully accepted the challenge and right now, because of cutting items and SKUs, they have been able to reduce labor from 18% to 25%. This is a massive cut compared to 2019 and honestly is lower than they would like. Another factor is one our entire industry is facing today and will in the short future – a hard time re-staffing in a lot of locations due to stimulus and other economic effects. They have a really big gap in restaurant size and sales volume, but the larger stores have reduced labor by 200+ hours a week. These best practices are something every member in our associations can benefit from.
This video from our first in the series featured a recap of what trends were successful in challenging 2020, coupled with predictions for 2021. The kick off of our exciting new series featured Carly Levin, the Plant Based Expert and an Account Manager at Datassential. who showcased data on trends to look out for in 2021. Here is a link to her presentation. Cliff Pleau, visionary and co-creator of Seasons 52 and former VP of Bloomin’ Brands discussed his view for new menu additions over the next year while experts from SRG & US Highbush Blueberry Counsel’s presented a vision for “The Restaurant of the Future.” The SRG experts included: Jeremy Kay, Director of Brand Environments, and Chef Rosalyn Darling, Associate Culinary Director plus Kasey Cronquist, President of the US Highbush Blueberry Council who talked about culinary solutions and how Blueberries Deliver for the Restaurant of The Future.