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.
The fish used for McDonald’s Fish McBites and Filet-O-Fish sandwich is not local. Nor is the product used for Long John Silver’s Whitefish Fillet. Same goes for Wendy’s Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich, Jack in the Box’s Fish Sandwich, and Quiznos’ Lobster and Seafood Salad.
Not local, that is, unless the consumer lives in a place where the sun might not come up until 9:30 a.m., depending on the time of year. A place where even Subway and Starbucks have not ventured. A place at the edge of the world.