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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68 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • MARCH 2018 chain profile HEAD 1 Head 2 With an open kitchen and more sophisticated look, this fast-casual concept's design matches its food. I f CEO James Park had his way, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh would probably have a different name. The word garbanzo is lighthearted, maybe even a bit silly. Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh, though, serves serious food: hummus, falafel and pita; grilled steak and chicken; rice, tabbouleh and baba ganoush. "I always say that if I were a betting man, [I'd bet] this was the food that was served to ancient Roman and Middle Eastern soldiers. It's ancient food, Biblical food, if you will, that a lot of people are just now discovering," Park says. What's more, he adds, it's generally healthy food that accom- modates several different diets, including low-carb, paleo, vegetarian and vegan. The chain fully embraces the seriousness, and the simplicity, of this food. Each restaurant, for example, makes all its sauces from scratch and bakes its pitas fresh in-house using only five ingredients: flour, water, salt, yeast and sugar. Garbanzo's uses antibiotic-free beef and chicken, marinat- ing the proteins in the restaurant for 24 hours. Finally, staff hand-cut all meats and vegetables in-house. The healthful nature of Garbanzo's food combined with the care the chain puts into making it, says Park, inspire its two mantras: Love in Every Pita, and Feel Brighter on the Inside. There's a catch, though. Historically, none of this has been communicated by the brand. There's the lightheart- edness of the Garbanzo name of course, but also the res- taurant's design, which, Park says, has traditionally been "tongue-in-cheek" and "plastic-ey." Nothing about the look and feel communicated the quality of the food or the effort that went into producing it. Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh Takes Itself Seriously By Toby Weber Photos by Angie Knost Photography

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