It’s a dream-big startup led by an eager entrepreneur trying to do what few, if any, ever have attempted before.
Sound like a Silicon Valley tech venture?
It’s actually a “full-scale foodservice transformation” venture located in a western suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
If you’re intrigued by agricultural and food trends and how they relate to the future of food, we direct your attention to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. There, Executive Chef Justin Johnson recently launched Sustainable Kitchens with the ambitious goal of helping foodservice institutions feed large groups in anything-but-institutional ways.
Think mashed potatoes from the garden out back instead of a box on some backroom shelf.
Johnson is preaching what he’s already put into practice. Until this past February, he led Harvest Market, a critically acclaimed restaurant that happens to be onsite at Watertown Regional Medical Center in the rural community of Watertown, Wisconsin.
Johnson created Harvest Market the same way he created its menu offerings—from scratch. With an emphasis on fresh, healthful alternatives, he worked with the medical center to establish its “food is medicine” brand promise. To deliver on that promise, the entire staff took a 26-week culinary course. Currently, they also take turns tending the 11,000-square-foot garden on the medical center campus that provides fresh, seasonal menu ingredients.
In Johnson’s opinion, the Harvest Market success story is worth repeating. And his new venture, Sustainable Kitchens, aims to do just that, helping other foodservice institutions revamp their offerings in similar ways. While it’s too soon to predict long-term success for this ambitious startup, he has been able to attract a significant number of interest—and clients—from day one.
Do you have questions about this trend toward putting great restaurants in places that haven’t traditionally had them? Comment below and we’ll include Justin Johnson’s responses in a follow-up post.
Bill Stadick is the founder of Page 17, Inc., which provides writing and branding services.
Our team of subject matter experts focuses on food and agriculture—farm field to processing to entrée on a plate. We can help you build a new brand, protect an old one or target customers to foster sales. Let’s talk when the time is right to handle your next strategic marketing and communications challenge: Marcy Tessmann, firstname.lastname@example.org.
World hunger affects nearly 10% of people globally. From 2019 to 2022, the number of undernourished people grew by as many as 150 million, exacerbated by conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the