Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAR 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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56 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MARCH 2018 Beefsteak Ownership: ThinkFoodGroup, Washington, D.C. Founded: 2015 Segment: Fast-casual Units Open: 5 Average Ticket: $10-$11 per person Best Sellers: Frida kale bowl, curry lentil bowl, customizable bowls Beefsteak, part of Chef Jose Andres' ThinkFoodGroup portfolio, launched in Washington, D.C., as a next-gen fast-casual concept celebrating veg- etables. Currently at three units in D.C., one in Bethesda, Md., and one on the University of Pennsylvania campus, the company plans to develop additional corporate stores. Its recent partnership with Compass Group USA will lead to Beefsteak units opening in noncommercial operations managed by Compass Group's Bon Appétit division. "It was a dream of Jose's for a long time to create a vegetable-centric restau- rant, with the goal of feeding 1 million people a day," says Eric Martino, chief operating officer of ThinkFoodGroup's FastGood Concepts division. "We wanted to do a concept that meets demands for convenience, transparency and customiz- ability, with vegetables as the stars. That being said, we're not positioned as a vegetarian restaurant. Our focus is simply on clean ingredients with low carbon footprints and high nutrient values. We partner with local growers for many of our ingredients and with local compos- ters, who in turn sell their compost to some of our growers." Helping to bring the concept's motto — vegetables, unleashed — to life, Beefsteak's graphics feature caricatures of playful, slightly naughty vegetables. Other prototypical design elements include soil-colored flooring and sky- blue ceilings, from which white produce cartons hang in cloud-like clusters. Its menu celebrates "the unsung power of vegetables" and features chef- inspired and/or customizable combina- tions of vegetables served atop warm grains or salad greens and topped with signature sauces and a wide selection of toppings. These include optional pro- tein add-ons such as chicken sausage, salt-cured salmon and poached eggs. "One of the biggest things we had to figure out was how to be able to do vegetables in a fast-casual environ- ment," Martino notes. "After a lot of experimentation, we settled on blanch- ing them to order in salted water for about 90 seconds before they go into the bowl with grains or greens and toppings. We use programmable pasta cookers for blanching. A second key is to ensure that all of the vegetables are cut in the right size and/or shape to ensure compatible cook times." While vegetables are the stars at Beefsteak, Martino says chicken sausage is the best-selling add-on. That fits with the plant-forward movement, in which animal proteins aren't shunned but enjoyed as complements to vegetable-based dishes. "That speaks to the fact that we can accommodate all diets, from high protein to vegetarian and vegan," Martino says. "But whatever your choice, you can feel good about the ingredients and the fact that you've had a healthy and delicious meal that's also fast and affordable." Above: A chef-developed best seller at Beefsteak is the Frida Kale bowl, which features rice, kale, sweet potato, black beans and spicy tomatoes topped with cherry tomatoes, scallions, Corn Nuts, pump- kin seeds, cranberries and lemon-honey dressing. Photo by Rey Lopez by CHLOE. Ownership: ESquared Hospitality, New York Founded: 2015 Segment: Vegan fast-casual Units Open: 9, 3 additional opening early 2018 Average Ticket: $17-$20 Best Sellers: Quinoa taco salad, The Guac Burger An upstart brand from multicon- cept operator ESquared Hospitality, by CHLOE charted new territory for the firm: Not only is it the company's first fast-casual brand, it's also entirely vegan. Most of by CHLOE's customers, however, are not. Manuel Trevino, cor- porate executive chef, has been with the brand since the beginning and says its immediate and broad-based acceptance by mainstream consumers was a bit of a surprise. "Initially we were a little concerned that our customer base would be limited Below: The 100 percent plant-based menu at by CHLOE's ranges from house-made veggie burgers and salads to pasta dishes and, in some locations, breakfast and brunch items. Shown here are the pesto meatball sub with air-baked fries and the popular quinoa taco salad. Photo by Mikey Pozarik Where's The Beef?

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