It’s the conundrum befuddling limited-service restaurant operators the world over: How do you answer consumer demand for healthier menu items when so many customers are scared away by health-food claims? How do you help fight off the nation’s obesity epidemic when the entire business is designed around tasty, indulgent menu options?
Green City Growers, an urban farming company in Somerville, Massachusetts, launched a “Save the Kale” campaign to save the first kale crop for b.good. Boston-based chain b.good, which prides itself on serving fresh, farm-to-table food, has been growing its own ingredients on its roofs and through indoor grow lights for years. However, due to restricted access to the upper level of their 255 Washington location, b.good has had to relocate their kale crop. In true b.good community outreach form, Green City Growers was able to find b.good their baby kale babysitter.
Today’s consumers want to know where their food is coming from and are hungry for local foods. In the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) “What’s Hot in 2014 Culinary Forecast,” which surveys U.S. chefs, locally grown meats and seafood and locally grown produce were the No. 1 and No. 2 trends for this year, respectively.
Now some restaurants, including quick serves, are taking local sourcing to the next level. The NRA’s “What’s Hot” survey found that hyper-local sourcing—or foods sourced from the restaurant’s premises—ranked as the sixth-most popular trend.
Friends since sixth grade, Anthony Ackil and Jon Olinto talked about starting a business together for years. They could only agree on one idea, however, and that was “making fast food real.”
Ackil and Olinto trace their appreciation of “real food” to being fed after school by Ackil’s Uncle Faris, who dispensed both home-cooked meals and advice, often reminding the boys to “be good.”
Eventually, the two created a restaurant concept called b.good with the tagline “real.food.fast.”