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Foodservice News

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Meaningful Value: Innovation and Information Sharing

W hen the economy tanked seven years ago, innovation became the panacea that was going to cure everyone's fiscal ills. Business leaders and politicians tripped over each other in a race to the microphone to let everyone know they were ready to lead the charge toward innovation, which ultimately would spark the economic growth the U.S. so desperately needed to break free from its economic tailspin.

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Designing for Flexibility: How Much Can You Afford Not to Do?

Many factors come into play when designing a restaurant. The décor and ambience represent obvious considerations but one design element many concepts fail to consider is building flexibility into the front-of-house, middle-of-house and back-of-house designs.

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jStiegler
Jerry Stiegler

Burger King Gets Heat for Proposed Move while McDonald’s Feels the Crunch Despite Positive Advance Sales Reports for August

This Week In Foodservice looks at good sales numbers in August from both the government and Knapp Track, provides a look at a Federal Reserve study on why the economy is so soft, and covers a bunch of news on both McDonald’s and Burger King as well as a whole lot more.

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Greg Christian
Greg Christian

Outcomes for Year One of a New, Self-Op School Lunch Program

As the 2014-2015 school year draws to a close, I'd like to share the final outcomes of Nardin Academy's new self-operated foodservice program.

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Highlights

Chain Innovators: Anna's Tacqueria

It's not just the West Coast restaurant chains that are on the cutting edge of the green movement. For Anna's Taqueria, which has six locations in the Boston area, environmentally friendly business practices have been standard since the chain was founded by owner Mike Kamio in 1995.

Anna's TacqueriaIts green initiatives have been implemented, not at the expense of the operation, but for its benefit. "It has to work for Anna's, our customers and the environment to be a win-win situation," Kamio says.

Its focus on green starts with the menu, which includes freshly prepared food with ingredients purchased from local purveyors.

From a green perspective, the chain gives special attention to its disposables. For example, Anna's serves cold specialty drinks in biodegradable cups made from corn flour. And the chain's extensive recycling program includes cans, plastic and glass. Managing the recycling program can be a labor intensive process. Staff collect and clean soda bottles before taking them to a local recycling center. Anna's also has separate collection bins for cardboard recycling.

"We bring about 2,000 pounds of recyclables to the recycling center twice a week," Kamio says.

When Kamio saw a restaurant utilizing the heat produced from a refrigeration unit to help warm up the eatery in the winter, he implemented a similar setup using an ice machine at one of Anna's locations.

"We utilize an ice machine that blows hot air inside the restaurant to keep it warm during the winter," he says. "A hood over this unit vents the hot air outside over the summer, saving energy and air conditioning costs."

The chain also utilizes a diesel truck that runs on used vegetable oil. "We converted a standard diesel truck in 2005, which we use to go to the local vegetable market, club store and recycling center," Kamio says.

Diesel fuel is required only to start the truck and after that vegetable oil runs the engine. This has decreased the need for diesel fill ups to only three times annually.

Kamio continues to look for other ways to decrease his carbon footprint and implement green initiatives. He is currently working with a paper supplier to replace bleached napkins with brown and will soon convert lighting to more energy-efficient systems.

"We always have environmentally friendly initiatives in the works," he says.

Fast Facts

  • Year founded: 1995
  • Headquarters: Boston
  • Menu specialties: Burritos, tacos, quesadillas, Mexican plates
  • Service model: Quick service
  • Units: Six
  • Typical location: Urban, in proximity to public transit
  • Average unit size: Varies by location

Key Players

  • Founder and Owner: Mike Kamio
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