1111 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
By Richard Pitman
Where does great food come from? Ingredient restaurant says it in its name. Fresh ingredients and a fresh approach on how to serve them are fueling the growth of a soon-to-be 5-unit concept that debuted in 2007.
The idea may seem simple but it takes a lot of dedication and flexibility.
Consistent quality is maintained from location to location while also allowing each operation to customize their menu to meet the demands of a local crowd.
Steve Kerner, Chief Tasting Officer/Managing Partner, explains the concept this way, â€˜We’re a salad-forward concept and nothing on our menu is over $11. In addition to the 6 salad green options on our menu, we also have 85 ingredients for customizing a salad. And there are 17 dressings made from scratch. We have a brick-oven pizza with another 40 or so ingredient options, so you can build your own.â€™
Ingredient also offers 11 gourmet sandwiches and wraps, featuring salmon and other better-for-you ingredients such as curry-marinated chicken, mahi-mahi and tofu. Four made-from-scratch soups change daily. Each Ingredient location offers takeout, online ordering and catering, which together account for 15-20% of total restaurant sales.
At Ingredient, the â€˜greenâ€™ concept starts with the salad bar and extends to the whole operation.
Monogram Sustainâ„¢ takeout packaging plays a prominent role in the overall green image of the restaurant. The environmentally friendly activity is promoted to customers on everything from their on-hold phone messages to the recycle stations within the restaurant. Wait staff is encouraged to mention the packaging is eco-friendly when bringing â€˜doggie bagsâ€™ to the table or when customers pick up orders at the register.
Although Chef Kerner reports they are not yet 100% green, the Monogram Sustain logo and its biodegradable message is a big part of their push. Along with recycling fryer grease, he’s always looking for new ways to show patrons how eco-conscious they are. He says he gets a welcome response from customers about the Monogram Sustain packaging and is personally satisfied with how the product performs versus conventional takeout packaging.
A â€˜no-tippingâ€™ policy is another ingredient to the restaurant’s success.
As a response to the economy and how people are looking to save, this statement appears on every Ingredient restaurant menu. â€˜In order to maximize the value you receive from your visit to Ingredient, we do not allow tipping. Instead of tipping, should you feel the need, we recommend one of the following: Give a few dollars to charity…Say Hello to a stranger…Pet a dog…Perform a random act of kindness…Put a quarter in a parking meter you see that is expired…Do something nice for yourself!â€™
What a great way to let customers know they appreciate their businessâ€”and a nice way to add to community spirit.