The National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show has come and gone to much fanfare. From what I saw and read, the participation was phenomenal. We were able to bring our full consulting team from all of our offices and even made time to break some bread together. This year, I also participated in a panel discussion that explored unit economics and was moderated by Steve Romaniello, managing director of Roark Capital.Read more...
Restaurant sales showed solid growth in May. New study shows all consumer income groups devote about the same percentage of their day-to-day spending at restaurants. Prices consumers pay for food away from home continues to rise faster than food at home prices. Johnny Rocket’s opened their first drive thru location. The Ricker’s C-store chain has expanded their foodservice menu extensively. These stories and a whole lot more This Week in Foodservice.Read more...
When a chain restaurant with a healthy concept seeks out non-traditional locations, the result is a win-win. At least this is the case with Newton, Mass.-based UFood Grill, which has four company-owned locations and four franchised sites.
The chain has found success in its non-traditional outlets, which include two locations in Boston's Logan Airport, one site each in the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport and Ohio's Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, along with an operation in a Ft. Myers, Fla. Omni Club fitness facility. Most recently, UFood Grill partnered with the U.S. military, forming an alliance focusing on food, health and wellness.
"We were invited to Dallas and met with Air Force and Army commanders, including generals and admirals, to discuss our food," Nadoff says. "They asked us to create locations in three Aberdeen, Md., military units."
Along with a thriving location at Dallas' Parkland Memorial Hospital, there will soon be two UFood Grill locations in Salt Lake City International Airport. "We currently have 22 applications for airport sites," Nadoff says.
Under a recently signed major licensing agreement, UFood Grill will be a part of Hudson News, an airport newsstand, in 10 East Coast airports. "These are dramatic developments for a young startup like us," Nadoff says.
When other chains were just beginning to talk about adding healthier selections to menus, UFood Grill was creating more nutritious items from every day food. Its focus on healthier ingredients and preparation has given this chain an edge. UFood Grill's menu centers around its lean bison burger, which is served on a whole wheat bun alongside "unfries."
"We don't have a fryer in our stores, so our fries are baked," Nadoff says. "We only steam, bake and grill."
Nadoff's goal is to make the chain's healthier fare more accessible by installing a UFood Grill in every college, casino and airport in the country.
"I'm 81 years old and people ask why I'm still in this business," Nadoff says. "I'm having the most fun I've ever had in my life!"