Executive Chat with Rebecca Patt
Featuring Benjamin Nasberg, President & CEO, Carbone Restaurant Group
Benjamin Nasberg is the President & CEO of Carbone Restaurant Group, a multi-faceted food service start-up based in Winnipeg, Canada. CRG is the franchisor of QSR pizza concept Fast Fired, which has three locations open in Canada and several more coming soon. CRG is currently developing self-serve pizza and ice cream robotic vending units. Yep, that’s right: pizza and ice cream robots! They are also the developer of a ghost kitchen program in partnership with Reef Technologies. The company has a focus on sustainability and providing plant-based options.
Tell us about the pizza and ice cream robotics. What are they, when will they be ready, and where will we find them?
The robotics sector for food service is heating up and chilling out! CRG is rolling out a line of FAST FIRED Pizza Pods and FAST FROZEN Ice cream Pods as early as Q4 2021. The machines are fully contactless and allow for a fun and exciting way for customers to order custom pies and treats. The Pizza Pods developed by California based Piestro, hold 90 hand stretched doughs, freshly made sauce, cheese and a variety of freshly stocked toppings. Upon a customer ordering, the robot sauces, cheeses, and tops the pizza right in front of the customers eyes via a window seeing the process "unfold". The pizza then cooks in a ventless electric oven in under 3 minutes. The bots are 24/7, 100% ventless, and equipped with facial recognition software for payment processing. These bots are ready to roll out in colleges, hospitals, convenience stores, airports, the list goes on!
Tell us about the Fast Fired pizza franchise concept and what sets it apart? What are your development plans for Fast Fired?
FAST FIRED focuses on partnering with great people to serve great people. Pizza is not going anywhere, how it is being served is forever changing. Customers demand customization, quality, and consistently. We focus on using a variety of locally sourced and premium products, menu transparency for our recipes, and partner with great people to drivers our success. FAST to us means, Fresh ingredients, Authentic Recipes, Sustainable Practices, and Tailor-made pizzas as unique as each of our customers. We do not cut corners on quality or sustainability. We are a group of like-minded individuals that are pro-plant and pro-pizza, looking to change the world one slice at a time.
Tell us about your ghost kitchen program in partnership with Reef Technologies?
CRG has over 10 ghost kitchen brands in the incubator as we speak, with the majority focused heavily on premium plant-based concepts. From Plant-Based Sushi to Plant-Based Fried chicken, we are working on it in a big way to roll out with REEF technologies across their parking lots in North America. The brands will also be available to support revenue streams in locally owned restaurants that align with the various menu offerings.
Tell us about your focus on sustainability and plant-based eating, and how that is realized at CRG?
My focus is on the continued drive to implement sustainability in the restaurants space in every new concept we create. From a line of Plant-Based sushi concepts to using sugar paper as packing, I believe that sustainable concepts need to be mainstream. Sustainability in everything we do is a must in the restaurant industry, and we are ensuring we are at the forefront. From the food we source, to the ways we cook, to the power we use, we must be mindful of it all. We at CRG understand many are not willing to make the switch to plant-based, or at least a full switch at this time, we will continue to develop our various concepts with a goal to have all our concepts 100% plant-based by 2023.
What is an interesting and little-known fact about you personally that you are proud to share?
I have been vegan for over six years, alongside my amazing wife! At the time that I went vegan, it was for no other reason than to try out a new way to lose a few lbs. Next thing I knew only two weeks later I was fully emersed in the lifestyle and the benefits it brought me. Not only did I lose some weight, but I also felt more energetic, woke up earlier ever week that passed (capped at 4:30 am no problem), and had my doctor tell me my cholesterol and blood pressure was measuring in line with an Olympic athlete (and I did not work out). This was before the environmental understanding of how critical adopting a plant-based lifestyle is for the environment, and I have never looked back since!
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