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WHY ONE NATIONAL RESTAURANT CHAIN IS GOING LOCAL -Fast Company

 

CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN ONCE INNOVATED BY PUTTING BARBECUE CHICKEN ON A PIE. NOW IT HAS FRESH IDEAS.

For the restaurant chain that brought barbecue pizza to the world in the 1980s, the last few years haven’t been easy.

In 2011, following years of declining sales, California Pizza Kitchen was purchased by a private equity firm and delisted from NASDAQ. Like many other restaurant chains, it had suffered immensely from the economic crisis. And it hadn't done a great job of keeping up with the organic, locally sourced, artisanal Joneses. Now the company is trying something new: using local ingredients as part of a larger rebranding. Will consumers bite?

Rolling out restaurant by restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen is making drastic menu changes, shedding many menu items, and, along with the hipster-friendly local ingredients, emphasizing high-margin alcoholic drinks designed to encourage guests to stay longer.

Brian Sullivan, the company’s senior vice president of culinary innovation, tells Fast Company that regional operators are sourcing vegetables from local farms when in season. On the West Coast, for instance, lettuce, arugula, spinach, baby kale, and scallions are sourced from regional supplier Church Brothers and olive oil comes from California Olive Ranch. The chain says local farms are used whenever seasonably possible to supply restaurants.

CLICK HERE for full article in Fast Company

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