Dick Portillo opened the The Dog House hot dog stand in Chicago in 1963 with $1,100 and built it into Portillo's, an iconic Windy City chain. He shares his story and explains the reasons behind his decision to sell to Berkshire Partners five years ago.
Most Americans who eat chicken wings favor the traditional Buffalo-style wings, but Asian-style chefs and restaurants offer different takes on the traditional bar snack. At The Flying Cock, chefs serve Korean-inspired wings made with spices like chili paste and ginger, and Chicago chef Thai Dang offers wings made with Vietnamese flavors at Haisous.
Sales of organic foods in the US hit $47.9 billion last year, representing 6% of all food sold in the country, according to a survey by the Organic Trade Association. Overall organic product sales topped $50 billion for the first time, thanks in part to growth in nonfood markets like household items, personal care products and pet food.
UK-based restaurant delivery service Deliveroo has raised $575 million in a new investment round led by Amazon. The company, which operates in 14 global markets and opened its first restaurant in Hong Kong last year, will use the funds to add more London-based engineers and expand to new customers.
Sonic Drive-In will start testing ordering kiosks powered by artificial intelligence from Mastercard and tech vendor Zivelo. The self-serve kiosks will feature a voice assistant that will have the ability to make personalized recommendations based on past orders.
McDonald's recent acquisition of tech firm Dynamic Yield will give the chain the ability to create drive-thru menu boards that can be changed in real time. The boards will be able to make recommendations based on popular orders by other customers, and McDonald's will integrate the technology with its mobile app and other digital channels to further personalize the experience.
Bear Robotics has made the first set of changes to Penny, its robotic restaurant worker that moves food and dishes between the kitchen and dining room. Penny 2.0, which was on display at the National Restaurant Association Show, can carry more than the original and can be configured to carry different items at different times.
New tools from Google and Yelp give consumers access to more online information about restaurants. Yelp launched its Green Practices Initiative to allow reviewers to incorporate information about single-use plastic and other sustainability concerns, and the soon-to-launch Google Lens will allow patrons to interact with restaurant menus using their smartphones.
Plant-based seafood maker Ocean Hugger Foods is unveiling its new vegan eel sushi at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago this week. The product, dubbed unami, is made from eggplant and joins the company's first product, a tomato-based alternative to raw tuna called ahimi.
The Honest Company is launching a 20-episode series of videos called "I Never Expected" to help expectant mothers handle the challenges of pregnancy, says founder Jessica Alba. "Our consumer likes having a one-on-one relationship," she says of the decision to speak directly to fans of the brand.