How to make local more than a buzzword in the restaurant business

Consumers are more insistent than ever that purveyors are transparent about their source of goods and manufacturing practices. This trend.

Consumers are more insistent than ever that purveyors are transparent about their source of goods and manufacturing practices. This trend has hit the fast food and casual dining industry and restaurants are responding.

From A&W becoming the first national fast food chain serving antibiotic free chicken to Panera having a no artificial preservatives, sweeteners or flavors policy, restaurant chains understand that their diners are now pickier than ever about whats in their food.

Restaurant chain b.good isn’t just focused on natural locally-sourced foods, but also using the word local as the focus for which all aspects of their business is based. The ingredients for most dishes are sourced within 100 kilometres of Toronto, each location has a community partner on a neighbourhood level and they even employ local musicians to perform during dinner hours. The fluctuating costs of produce, transportation and operational overhead make running a restaurant chain an endeavor that is neither a cheap nor for the faint of heart. While many of the most successful chains out there are cutting corners through minimum wages and heavily processed food, b.good is determined to offer an alternative vision:

b.good is many things but preachy is not one of them. The company strives to maintain a welcoming environment thats accessible to all customers. While theyre taking a local-first stance, its never something used to knock competing chains or dietary choices. Its guiding principle, Food Made by People not Factories, (a slogan that is printed throughout each restaurant and their website) conveys who they are and, in the same breath, invites you to the give them a try.

Each b.good location is mandated to have a community partner that serves the specific needs of that neighbourhood. Prior to the opening of a store, management meets with stakeholders to determine what the immediate needs are and how b.good can play a role to make the most impact.

b.goods Front Street location supports the Regent Park Community Food Centre, which creates access to healthy food for low-income residents. Their Queen Street location supports the 20-year-old, arts-based charity VIBE Arts, which provides youth with top-notch arts education. And the Oakville location supports the Kerr Street Mission, which helps low-income and at-risk families with immediate food support.

Mobile ordering is a large part of b.goods business and this has endeared them with millennials. The b.good app has become an integral part of their fast-casual business because it not only allows guests to order ahead, but also gift meals to friends, donate meals to community partners and see detailed nutritional information of each menu item.

It’s easy to fall prey to food trends, but b.good stays within their wheelhouse to offer nourishing, filling and flavourful salads, soups, chilli, burgers, smoothies and sandwiches. The produce is even grown to order meaning, they work with farmers to determine how much of a crop they will need and buy just that. This ensures that the farmer isnt overextended and b.good wont waste food. Now thats being true to self.

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