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Mellow Mushroom Beefs Up Its Beverage Program

It might be the originator of hand-tossed, stone-baked southern pizza however Mellow Mushroom is about a lot greater than the pie. Mellow is “a mind-set, a tradition, a means of being,” in line with the informal restaurant chain’s meals philosophy. And to raised fulfill its mission to offer scrumptious meals in a enjoyable and artistic surroundings, Mellow Mushroom rolled out a brand new beverage program this previous spring and employed a brand new beverage director this summer season.

The restaurant model usually updates its program yearly, says Nick Arenas, who joined as director of beverage this previous August. Mellow Mushroom will request proposals from the availability accomplice group, consider the proposed gadgets towards its objectives, take a look at each merchandise after which launch every program in Might.

“This permits us to remain on pattern, be fashionable when and the place mandatory, but additionally maintain our choices in place lengthy sufficient to get an correct learn on its impact on our enterprise and, most significantly, our company,” Arenas says.

Arenas, whose beverage expertise contains stints at Levy Eating places, Logan’s Roadhouse and William Grant & Sons, oversees the Mellow Mushroom program with Kynyetta Lester, affiliate director of beverage. Lester has been the corporate for greater than 10 years, serving within the operations and beverage departments, and beforehand labored as a part of the coaching staff for Hooters.

Magical Margs and extra

Mellow Mushroom’s new beverage menu affords a choice of up to date sangrias, wines, “Liquid Karma” cocktails and signature Mystic Margaritas. The Liquid Karma cocktail class contains a number of in style signature sips, such because the Sundown in Paradise (with Bacardi Superior rum, coconut, pineapple, pomegranate and recent bitter); Golden Goose (Gray Goose vodka, recent lemon, pineapple, turmeric and Fever Tree ginger beer); and the Peach Buzz (Jameson Irish whiskey, peach and recent lime).

The Lemon Submarine, with Woodford Reserve bourbon, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, freshly brewed iced tea, rosemary and recent bitter combine, is a brand new addition to the lineup. So is Mule the World, which builds on the traditional Mule recipe. With Fever-Tree ginger beer and house-made lime syrup, company can choose from their selection of premium spirits, together with Ketel One vodka, Don Julio Blanco tequila, Bulleit Frontier bourbon, Crown Royal Canadian whisky, or Captain Morgan spiced rum.


Nick Arenas, Mellow Mushroom’s director of beverage, and associate director of beverage Kynyetta Lester.
Nick Arenas, Mellow Mushroom’s director of beverage, and affiliate director of beverage Kynyetta Lester.

The Mystic Margaritas part of the menu highlights the best-selling RB Margarita (made with Casamigos blanco tequila, Bauchant orange liqueur, home agave bitter), the Made Wild Margarita model (with Casamigos reposado tequila) and the Gone Feral Margarita (Casamigos anejo tequila). The picks give company the chance to expertise completely different tequila expressions.

The Campfire Peach Margarita, introduced again in June by in style demand, will get its smoky taste comes from the mixture of Casamigos blanco tequila and Casamigos joven mezcal, together with peach puree, jalapeno and house-made agave bitter. Mellow Mushroom cocktails are priced at round $9 every.

“We’ll proceed innovating shifting ahead to carry cocktails utilizing solely premium substances, with superior service and guest-first execution,” Arenas says.

Sassy sangrias and tremendous wines

A brilliant-premium tackle the traditional, Mellow Mushroom’s new sangrias characteristic recent fruit and Hennessy V.S. Cognac. Every sangria is made recent to order, from all-natural substances.

The Rotating Alternatives sangria possibility on the menu will change twice per yr to herald new flavors. As an example, the Purple Reign summer season sangria mixed Hennessy VS Cognac, Bonanza cabernet sauvignon, black cherry puree and Price Brothers rhubarb bitters.

The Mystic Margaritas let company expertise completely different tequila expressions.

Wines on the listing embody picks from famend wineries just like the Wagner Household, and the winemakers behind Caymus, Jackson Household, Kim Crawford and La Marca. “We search to supply solely premium-quality wines that company acknowledge each on- and off-premise,” Arenas says.

“Wine is a particular class for us, in that almost all don’t affiliate wine and pizza,” he notes. “Our outlook is that wine goes effectively with something, so long as paired correctly. We search to have wines that provide not solely distinctive high quality, however are really a match with our enjoyable and distinctive model.”

What’s extra, Mellow Mushroom company can now take pleasure in wine in a wide range of pour sizes, together with a 6-oz. glass, a 9-oz. glass or a bottle. Costs differ by market however common about $7 for the 6-oz. glass, $9 for the 9-oz. and $29 a bottle. The numerous pour sizes allow company to attempt a number of completely different wines or indulge of their favorites.

The restaurant has seen a substantial rise within the wine class as an entire since introducing the 9-oz. pour providing, says Arenas. “We really feel fairly good about this extra possibility for Mellow company.”

Maybe not stunning for a pizza idea, beer is the main alcoholic beverage at Mellow Mushroom. Beer presently hovers round 12% as a share of general meals and beverage, with spirits at 9% and wine at 3%.

Beer Right here

The corporate has mandates specifying core beers — in each draft and package deal — which might be class and market leaders of their respective types. These beers drive the vast majority of beer gross sales, Area says.

Oberon, a citrusy wheat ale from Kalamazoo, MI-based Bell's Brewery
Oberon, a citrusy wheat ale from Kalamazoo, MI-based Bell’s Brewery, was a summer season craft beer choice.

“We even have created a beer optimization framework for our operators to have the ability to decide the appropriate variety of faucets for his or her particular market,” he provides. “These faucets are largely out there for native and regional craft beers.”

Oberon, a citrusy wheat ale from Kalamazoo, MI-based Bell’s Brewery, was a summer season craft beer choice.

Whats up Mellow

Based in 1974 in Atlanta, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers was “born out of the free-wheelin’ hippy tradition of the Seventies,” in line with the corporate’s mission assertion. The Mellow Mushroom franchise operates underneath Dwelling-Grown Industries of Georgia and presently has 169 areas throughout 20 states, primarily within the Southeast.

The model clearly goals to place the enjoyable in fungus: Every Mellow is regionally owned and operated and gives a singular really feel targeted round customer support and high-quality meals in an eclectic, art-filled and family-friendly surroundings.

In reality, a number of “Shroomville” cartoon characters impressed by the meals have popped up through the years, together with Mel. O Mushroom, The Funguys and Esperanza. The Mellow characters have appeared in shops, calendars and their very own caricature.

Along with its signature pies, made with a singular spring-water crust, Mellow Mushroom serves up calzones, sandwiches and burgers, plus salads and munchies, with loads of gluten-free and vegan choices. Servers and bartenders will counsel particular meals pairings to company.

“This has confirmed to be a good way for servers and bartenders to attach with our company,” Arenas says. “We see solutions have a bit extra sincerity when the staff member makes a private advice.”

The model has expanded as far west as Mesa, AZ (opened in 2016), and as far north as Tom’s River, NJ (opened in 2017). “We proceed to have a look at new markets that might be an awesome new residence of Mellow Mushroom,” Area says.

“Our tradition is really particular and distinctive, so we participate in each opening we do to unfold our contagious tradition from Day 1. Every member of our staff ‘catches the fever’ from their first second, as a result of that’s what Mellow is all about!”

Like many corporations right this moment, Mellow Mushroom has had hiring challenges and appears for brand new methods to draw expertise. This summer season it partnered with social media knowledgeable Drew Talbert on a video marketing campaign to search out candidates for the “operations coach” place. Area says that Mellow Mushroom noticed a 200% enhance within the variety of functions through LinkedIn on account of the marketing campaign.

Shroom to develop

Mellow Mushroom expects to see development in craft cocktails and non-alcoholic mocktails. A brand new drink known as Pineapple Categorical, a mix of pineapple, coconut, turmeric spice and house-made agave bitter, is obtainable spiked with Flor de Caña seven-year-aged rum for a further cost or as an alcohol-free mocktail. Company also can add their favourite spirit to the brand new Cherry Springer mocktail, with black cherry, recent bitter and soda.

The chain had provided some non-alcoholic drinks up to now, “however not with the main target and innovation as we provide now,” Area says. “Nonalcoholic choices are particularly persevering with to develop in reputation and choice,” significantly with GenZ and Millennial company, he notes. “Our aim is to be on pattern with these initiatives and choices.”

Pineapple Express
The brand new Pineapple Categorical is obtainable with out alcohol or spiked with rum.

A brand new “Native to Your Mellow” cocktail part contains previous favorites or drink creations particular to every location. Simply as no two eating places look the identical, “this ‘Native To Your Mellow’ part permits Mellow house owners to have personalize beverage gadgets and supply really distinctive gadgets at each Mellow Mushroom restaurant,” Arenas says.

What’s on deck for Mellow Mushroom within the subsequent yr? It’s been studying to handle the rise in on-line ordering, for one factor.

Heading into the pandemic, Mellow Mushroom had already invested in off-premise know-how and new packaging. “That positioned us effectively for 2020 and 2021,” Arenas says.

On-line orders are double pre-pandemic ranges, he provides. “We’re within the means of launching an intranet web site for Mellow franchisees and planning for an internet site rebuild within the subsequent few months.”

Basically, “We’re taking a look at inside techniques and processes and the way we will proceed to ship an distinctive visitor expertise whereas streamlining operations, each on the bar and within the kitchen,” Arenas says.

“Delivering a high quality pizza has been the guiding focus for Mellow Mushroom over the previous 5 many years and will likely be what continues to gas our success as we head into our fiftieth yr in 2024.”


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