Ray White has a problem. The chief foodie and head of product development for Southern California–based Veggie Grill wants to put bacon on his menu.
To the average quick-service operator, this doesn’t seem like a problem at all. But consider that Veggie Grill is an all-vegan concept offering 100 percent plant-based food. If White wants to put bacon on the menu, it has to be made of meat substitutes like tofu, seitan, or tempeh. Consider, too, that White wants the product to have the same flavor and textural profiles as regular bacon.
The most powerful woman in the restaurant industry isn’t intimidating, nor is she larger than life. She isn’t cold, tight-lipped, terse, or abrasive. She doesn’t talk down to you. She doesn’t double-book you and cancel at the last second.
Certainly one might expect such a person to be and do any number of those things; overseeing nearly 1 million members that collectively earn more than $650 billion in sales and represent 4 percent of the entire U.S. GDP isn’t a walk in the park.
There’s been no shortage of foodservice professionals who are striving to do right by their customers in the health department. Whether it’s brands offering healthier menu items or executives practicing what they preach about nutrition, the industry is coming together to bring real change to the way Americans eat and live.