Nov. 15, 2016 | by Shelly Whitehead

There's a new concept opening in the upscale South Florida community of Boca Raton that should be a fun one to watch in the coming days. The new QSR brand was created by the co-owners of the already existing dine-in concept, Farmer's Table in South Florida, according to a news release. 

The new restaurant, Farmer's Table Express, is what the owners call "slow food fast take-away" and it has all the features that reams of food market research over the last year has shown today's diners want, from the fact that it's ready-to-eat and quick service, to those increasing important qualities of freshness, lack of additives and artificial ingredients, as well as options for vegans, vegetarians and other more selective diners. 

"Fast food became popular because it was convenient," said co-owner Mitchell Robbins. "We are now making healthy convenient with this concept. Customers in our restaurant will be able to order Express meals from their table and have their take-out orders brought to their table before they leave." 

Robbins and co-owner Joey Giannuzzi are actually opening the first location of their Express concept right next to their existing casual dining concept, Farmer's Table. The nearby Express location is designed to give guests another more time-sensitive choice that allows them to purchase from a selection of fresh, ready-to-go sandwiches, salads and snacks, as well as components of Farmer's Table dishes and other offerings that can be prepared at home. 

The express location also offers a selection of organic cold-pressed juices, and vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. In fact, many of the items on the express menu come vacuum-sealed to maintain freshness, retain nutrients and give customers a way to pick up meals for the week, even if they're pushed for time or traveling out of the area. 

"After testing every type of method for delivering the quality of food we provide, we settled on vacuum-sealing our meals," said co-owner Joey Giannuzzi in the release. "This is the freshest and easiest way to recreate a restaurant-cooked meal at home. All our dishes will be as vibrant as if you were to prepare them from scratch the same day. It's absolutely amazing how fresh and delicious the food is using this method."

The Express concept also veers relatively far away from the traditional burger, chicken and pizza offerings of most QSRs. For instance, some of the Farmer's Table Express options include: 

  • "Spasta" and Meatballs featuring spaghetti squash in place of pasta, with either chicken or quinoa meatballs.
  • Hand-carved smoked turkey club.
  • Short ribs with mushroom Bordelaise, mashed sweet potatoes and caramelized Brussel sprouts. 
  • Healthy snacks like almond butter oat date bites, chia pudding parfait and spicy eggplant dip. 

"Our Farmer's Table guests have been impressed with our "never ever" menu, meaning all food and ingredients are sourced cleanly and responsibly," Giannuzzi said. "You will know that you are eating the best our planet has to offer. We work hard to make sure chemicals, hormones, pesticides and antibiotics are never ever in a prepared meal."

Somewhat akin to the so-called "luxury QSR" concept, Starbird opened earlier this year on the West Coast. This "slow food fast" option appears to check all the boxes that diners today are telling pollsters they now demand. This option, with its vacuum-sealed offerings for take-home and travel, also goes a step further to fulfill diners' growing demands for all that is fresh and natural. Whether this is something that can catch hold or even make money with a mainstream audience will be worth watching strictly for the lessons learned in the process. 

 


Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Customer Service / Experience, Food & Beverage, Going Green, Health & Nutrition, Hot Products


Shelly Whitehead / Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.

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