After owning several fast food franchises for 25 years, Rio Infantino was seeking a healthier lifestyle and wanted to provide others with more nutritious dining options.
He opened Copper Branch in 2014, starting with two locations, then opening a third in Spring 2015.
The growing chain’s menu and mission is to serve wholesome, plant-based food quickly in an inviting atmosphere. Offerings range from quinoa and tofu, to bacon sandwiches and burgers made with sweet potato and black beans, to vegetable and grain “power bowls.”
One of its staple offerings is poutine, a combination of french fries, gravy and cheese curds, which originated in Quebec and is a Canadian favorite.
Because this calorie-filled dish didn’t fit in with the operation’s mission, it was necessary to find a healthier way to produce vegan poutine, which is made with air-baked French fries, Portobello and organic Miso sauce, and dairy-less mozzarella cheese.
Copper Branch does not serve any fried foods, meat or meat-based products.
“Our menu features ingredients that you don’t find in most fast food restaurants,” said Andrew Infantino, Copper Branch’s marketing director. “We serve food that is natural for the body.”
Copper Branch’s mission was to provide an innovative menu while also catering to local food traditions.
With the help of Alto-Shaam’s combi oven technology, the chain rose to the challenge.
As a start-up company, Copper Branch started food production with an Alto-Shaam combination convection-steamer oven. The combi oven is used to grill the black bean burgers, Portobello mushroom burgers and vegetables. With the touchscreen-based recipe management system, it doesn’t matter who is working in the kitchen, as the results will be consistent across batches.
“We like the programmable features and the timers,” said Infantino.
While Copper Branch started the business relying on Alto-Shaam products, it was the start-up process and customer service that set the company apart. Infantino was considering purchasing combi ovens from several vendors, but the support the company received from Alto-Shaam, along with the innovative features of Alto-Shaam’s CT PROformance Combitherm combi oven, made the decision for him.
Still, the company needed to test menu items before committing to the combi oven. Alto-Shaam chefs were available to meet with Infantino, allowing him to ensure the oven would perform to his expectations.
For creating its popular poutine, Infantino found that Alto-Shaam’s fit the bill perfectly.
This allows the potatoes to be air-baked, reducing the extra grease and oil associated with frying.
The CT PROformance oven also is equipped self-cleaning system that simplifies the cleaning process.
“Upon testing our products, we were able to get better service with Alto-Shaam, which helped us a lot,” said Infantino. “The customer service and ability to test the ovens made us choose and stick with Alto-Shaam.”
Learn more about the benefits of combi oven cooking at http://www.alto-shaam.com/en/combi-white-paper-request.