Archive for June, 2018

Cheesecake Factory to Debut Fast-Casual Social Monk Asian Kitchen

Monday, June 25th, 2018

Cheesecake Factory Inc. said Friday it will open the first location of Social Monk Asian Kitchen, a pan-Asian fast-casual concept, this fall, offering new details on a spinoff the company had discussed — but remained tight-lipped on — for over a year.

The restaurant, which will open in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is the Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based company’s second foray into Asian cuisine. Its first, RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen, currently has two locations.

Social Monk’s name, according to a spokeswoman for the brand, “is a playful but intentional juxtaposition of the concept’s social appeal and its warm, understated charm.”

Mohan Ismail, RockSugar’s Singapore-raised chef, created the Social Monk menu and will lead its culinary operations. But the new concept will “stand apart from any comparisons to its parent company,” the company said.

The menu “span across several Asian countries” with dishes like salads, sandwiches, rice and noodle bowls, and frozen custard.

The concept will embrace the “fast fine” model of service — guests will order at the counter and be served at their table.

“Social Monk is designed to appeal to busy, active guests seeking a unique and authentic restaurant experience in a fast-casual setting,” a company spokesman said in an e-mail.

The concept will open at the Promenade at Westlake in Thousand Oaks, Calif. this fall.

McDonald’s to Phase Out Plastic Straws in UK and Ireland

Monday, June 18th, 2018

McDonald’s will start phasing out plastic straws in about 1,300 restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the company said Friday, replacing them with paper straws in restaurants starting in September.

The transition to alternative straws in those countries should be complete in 2019. Belgian restaurants are also testing straw alternatives, with more trials planned for select restaurants in the U.S., France, Sweden, Malaysia, Norway and Australia later this year, McDonald’s said.

Francesca DeBiase, executive vice president of global supply chain and sustainability, said McDonald’s is testing straw alternatives in other countries “to provide the best experience for our customers.”

“We hope this work will support industry-wide change and bring sustainable solutions to scale,” she said in a statement.

The company said it would also experiment with offering straws on request only in some global markets.

“We are eager to learn from these tests around the world to develop solutions that are scalable across the globe,” the company said.

The announcement follows several planet-friendly goals made by McDonald’s in recent months. One goal is to source 100-percent of guest packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025, the company said.

In March, the Chicago-based chain set an ambitious goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions 36 percent by 2030.

The burger giant, which recently relocated its headquarters to a nine-story LEED certified building in Chicago, said it will reach its emissions reduction target by adding innovative and energy-efficient technologies at its restaurants, including energy-efficient kitchen equipment, sustainable packaging and recycling.