Special Edition: 
Highlights from the Foodservice Immersion™ Brands 2020 Program 
Hosted with CSSI Marketing + Culinary

Newsletter: April 25, 2016

Roy Choi: TIME's 100 Most Influencial People of the Year
From TIME: Roy Choi first changed the world when he elevated the food-truck concept from "roach coach" to highly sought-after, ultra-hot-yet-democratic rolling restaurant, and has now been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of the Year. He and his partners started with his groundbreaking Kogi Korean Taco trucks, and went on to found his restaurants Pot, Chego, Sunny Spot, A-Frame, and his latest venture LocoL, a healthy inexpensive fast food cafe started in Watts. As if that's not enough, he's just opened yet another restaurant, Kogi Taqueria, also in Los Angeles. For more insight, read his memoir and cookbook, L.A. Son. Foodservice Immersion™ visited both Chego and LocoL on our Brands 2020 program in Los Angeles last month, and met Chef Choi at LocoL. A warm, unassuming, and gracious man, Chef Choi posed for photos with our program attendees. In the photo above, he's with Chris LaJoie and Kevin Anderson, both from Schreiber Foods.  Learn more >
Sidecar Doughnuts One of the 33 Best Doughnut Shops in America
From Thrillist: And we know why! Sidecar Doughnuts in Santa Monica was one of our stops on the Brands 2020 tour last month. A three-unit regional chain, Sidecar has mastered the trifecta of the modern successful doughnut shop: Gourmet doughnuts with unique flavor combinations (Rosemary, Chocolate & Rye); Savory doughnuts (country ham and egg); and Branding, which includes innovative packaging. It was quite crowded when we were there, but that didn't stop us from trying as many doughnuts as we could, and fueling up on excellent coffee!  Learn more >  
Food Halls: Gjusta
From  The Los Angeles Times:  " Signs behind the counter list sandwiches, breakfasts and main dishes. There is a full juice bar--nut milk! kale smoothies!--and a marble coffee counter that is probably bigger than your first apartment. If this is your first time, or even your fifth, your reaction to the 5,000 square feet of excess and dozens of working cooks is likely to be first awe, then befuddlement. Gjelina is a restaurant. Gjusta is a Choose Your Own Adventure."--from Jonathan Gold's review in The Los Angeles Times . Food halls are a new Big Thing: We also visited Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, and there are at least three others in the greater Los Angeles area. Also, read about Anthony Bourdain's work-in-progress 155,000-square-foot food h all , Pier 5  here   Learn more >
Fast Casual Expands in Unexpected Ways: 
Tender Greens
From Fast Company: F resh, healthy, chef-inspired, farmer's market sensible dishes at an affordable price in a relaxed environment? Yes, this IS one of the futures of fast casual. Tender Greens was our first stop on the Brands 2020 tour, and it was beautiful, delicious, and fast! Danny Meyer, of Union Square Hospitality Group (Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe, and more) has seen the future and invested in Tender Greens. A few years ago, we would have said it was impossible to provide this kind of fresh, farmer's market food consistently and across multiple locations. But with over 20 restaurants, Tender Greens has proved us delightfully wrong.   Learn more >
100-Year-Old Grand Central Market Home to New Trends

From Los Angeles Eater:  Grand Central Marke t has stood in the center of downtown Los Angeles for 100 years, and in that time has reflected the city and its changes.  In the 1920s the market's ninety-plus vendors included multiple green grocers, fishmongers, Jewish delis, and butchers, as well as stalls for dry goods, baked goods, flowers, coffee, cheese, notions, and even one vendor who sold nothing but eggs. Today, it's the centerpiece of a revived downtown, with international fast casual concepts, new specialty concepts, new spins on traditional fare, and well-known chefs experimenting with fast casual. And it's still the best place to load up on Mexican and South American chilies, herbs, spices, and imports.There are so many interesting vendors--and we visited most of them on the Brands 2020 tour--it's probably better to glance through the selection here.   Learn more>
Snooze Thinks You Deserve Brunch Every Day
From The Culture Trip: Snooze is a fun, fun, fast casual restaurant that does an amazing breakfast and brunch all seven days of the week. Just take a look at their Hollandaise specialties--Chilaquiles Benedict! The mood is energetic, the atmosphere mid-century modern, the food is fresh and affordable, and the staff simply can't do enough to make sure you are thoroughly satisfied.  With 14 locations across the Southwest, and three more planned, it seems people like it. We certainly did when we stopped in for breakfast on the Brands 2020 program.  Learn more >
Rubio's Moves Toward Healthier Fish Tacos

From Nation's Restaurant News:  With the tastes of their customers changing, Rubio's is also changing, slowly but surely. Their menu has been redeveloped to  include healthier items--although you can still get the iconic fish taco, thank heavens. 

Celebrity chef Mark Miller is advising Rubio's on their flavor profiles. Their branding is also new: New logo, new name (Rubio's Coastal Grill),and newly redecorated locations. And a new market, after buying Ruby Tuesday locations in Florida. 

When we visited the Rubio's Test Kitchen on the Brands 2020 tour, we were really blown away, both with the food and with the presentation.   Learn more>
Not Your Parent's Cafeteria
From Nation's Restaurant News: Lemonade Restaurant Group has become one of the hottest restaurant chains in the country by resurrecting a service format long forgotten: the cafeteria-style concept. Lemonade was one of NRN's Breakout Brands for 2015, and the chain has expanded and remained hot.

 What makes it different? Lemonade's emphasis on seasonal items, global flavor combinations, a large selection of salads, sandwiches, braised meats, and desserts, all ready to be quickly served as you walk down the line. A stop on our Brands 2020 tour, we only wished we had more time to spend there!
Learn more >

Upcoming 2016 Foodservice Immersion™ Programs

National Account Culinary Selling: Learn all aspects of creating & selling-in new menu items. We're fortunate to be able to present this program in conjunction with notable agency CSSI Marketing + Culinary.
June 13 - 15, Chicago
Foodservice Immersion™: A deep dive into the real world of the foodservice operator. We'll visit and talk to operators in the major foodservice segments.
September 13 - 15 , Boston 
Foodservice Immersion™: A deep dive into the real world of the foodservice operator.  We'll visit and talk to operators in the major foodservice segments.
October 11 - 13, Chicago