Food With Roots: 5 Questions With B.GOOD CMO Kim Cerato

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B.GOOD summer salad

B.GOOD says it helped pioneer the fast casual restaurant experience in the U.S. in 2004 and has continued disrupting the space ever since. Known for its kale and grain bowls, excellent customer service and local food, the brand continues to grow exponentially—it has opened more than 60 stores in the U.S., Canada and parts of Europe, with four restaurants in Switzerland and one in Germany.

B.GOOD salad

B.GOOD Food With Roots new logoThe Boston-based chain has been serving locally sourced, healthy, scrumptious food in a quick-serve model for nearly 15 years, but its new positioning and branding campaign aims to establish appreciation for its mission—source sustainably, cook seasonally, support its communities, stay fresh and balanced— at a whole new level.

Cue “Food with Roots,” a targeted digital advertising and point-of-sale branding campaign, one that also involves a new visual identity and logo, refreshing stores and employee messaging.

The international chain is celebrating each link in the supply chain, from end to end, beginning with the local farmers who sustainably grow natural ingredients on farms near its restaurants. It  continues with the employees who prepare and serve the food, because happy employees means happy customers; rewarding customers through its mobile app and loyalty program; and in giving back to others in the community who help, such as the kids below who worked at its Hannah Farm last summer.

“‘Food with Roots’ celebrates everyone who contributes to having sustainable, local, fresh, clean food find its way onto our customers’ tables,” stated Antony Ackil, co-founder and CEO. One important feature of B.GOOD is that its menu is seasonal, including, this fall, Avocado Toast (despite soaring avocado prices), vegetarian Zucchini Spaghetti and Eggplant Meatballs.

And just as Starbucks and competitors are chasing pumpkins this time of year, pumpkin and butternut also star on B.GOOD’s fall menu, but without any gimmicks other than farm-fresh goodness and delicious recipes. Reinforcing that authenticity, B.GOOD’s seasonal ingredients—along with year-round ingredients such as beef, milk and eggs—are noted on its website and app.

B.GOOD operates more than 60 locations in the US along with Canada (four), Switzerland (four) and Germany (one) with a menu including kale and grain bowls, salads, all-natural burgers, crisp veggies, oven-finished fries, smoothies and kids’ meals.

B.Good CMO Kim Cerato For more insights into the purpose-driven brand, we spoke with B.GOOD Chief Marketing Officer Kim Cerato about the chain’s mission and its new campaign:

What was the inspiration behind your new branding campaign?

The previous tagline was “Real Food, Fast.” We’re just changing how we communicate it. “Food with Roots” isn’t just what we serve but how we operate in the communities we serve. It talks about the roots we have in communities we operate in as well as the food we’re serving and knowing the roots of the food that we serve and where it comes from.

And as far as the brand, “Food with Roots” lets us talk about our philosophy and how we serve food, and how our founders grew up and that the food is inspired by family tradition and home cooking. It addresses all aspects of our business and our brand and allows us to speak to all of that.

When it comes to the company and its business model, how do you create authentic food supply networks in each community, especially when you’re doing it in Europe as well as North America?

It is complicated but it’s really important to us. We’re founded on relationships with customers, communities and farmers. Wherever possible we source with local farmers, in Boston, North Carolina and Virginia. Our philosophy is making an impact wherever we’re operating. Sourcing with local farmers is a challenge because our commitment to our customers is bringing them fresh food and giving them the best possible product. It’s not practically possible to source everything locally.

It’s making sure that we and our supply chain are really involved as we’re going into new markets to figure out the best sourcing practices. Our supply chain is right at the beginning of these decisions and we’re working to build up these supply chains so we’re ready to go when we’re opening up.

But we want to maintain a fairly consistent menu across our locations. There are some situations where we want to bring the best products to our customers, and at the end of the day our commitment is to them and the quality that we serve. One of our other commitments is to cook seasonally when we can. These items are featured and highlighted on our menu.

How important is the origins of the food to your customers versus other aspects of the brand?

It’s really important to our customers. They always ask about it. It’s a piece of our communications. You’ll see pictures of the farmers we work with and customers are interested. The quality of the food, and the dishes we serve, are what’s getting them in the door—but to keep them, a big part of our loyalty strategy is for them to know that our sourcing practices are ethical and for them to know we’re helping their communities.

What kinds of community things do you do?

A big part of our (mobile) app, our loyalty program, is community partners and donations. When a member of our loyalty program gets a free smoothie or meal they can redeem it in stores or share it with a friend or donate it. Twice a year with all the donated food we give back to our community  partners. Customers can choose the community partner to support.

What are your plans for expansion in the U.S. and beyond?

We have big ambitions for growth. One piece that is important to us to maintain is carefully selecting commuity markets that we’re entering. We will maintain the promise to our customers to be supporting the communities that we we enter. That’s a key thing we evaluate. It is a challenge but it’s something we’re committed to continuing as we scale and grow.


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