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.

Published On: March 13th, 2015Categories: Brand Strategy and Development

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