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热刺主场: 無肉漢堡正在興起,但這家快餐公司不打算賣

热刺贝尔 www.gyplwd.com.cn Laura Stampler 2019年05月30日

Arby’s并不相信植物性蛋白能滿足顧客對肉食的需求。

5月22日早上,快餐連鎖店運營商Arby’s的總裁羅伯·林奇在看新聞時突然看到一個標題,他還以為自己吃肉出汗過多結果做了噩夢。一家自稱“素食終極來源”的網站聲稱,以“我們有肉”(we have the meats)為口號的連鎖店Arby’s正在與素食漢堡初創公司Impossible Foods談判,菜單上可能增加植物漢堡。

在過去兩個月里,肉食者熱愛的多家快餐巨頭,包括漢堡王和Little Casars(該公司最暢銷的比薩裹著約1.06米長的培根)都與Impossible Foods達成了合作,但Arby’s并不打算跟風效仿。

“只要我還掌管公司,就不會有這種事情?!繃制嫦頡恫聘弧吩又舅檔??!俺俏乙蛭裁叢蟣懷戳瞬龐鋅贍??!?/p>

林奇回憶稱,他在讀到失實報道后驚慌了一陣?!鞍萃?,拜托,拜托告訴我這不是真的!”他迅速詢問了同事們,大家都向他保證沒有人在研究植物食品。

接下來的事情是,這家快餐連鎖店的公關團隊高呼著“Arby’s沒有非肉食品”,一邊向記者發起攻擊。

林奇表示,如果Arby’s也迎合非肉食品的熱潮,餐廳“只提供肉食”的形象將會模糊,而該形象是公司業績增長的基礎。

“一定要有明確的立場?!繃制嫠檔?,充滿了對動物食品的熱愛之情?!拔頤薔褪強烤藪?、高質量、充滿肉香料又足的三明治幫助品牌實現了復蘇。肉食是我們的核心業務?!?/p>

對于Arby’s正在就合作事宜與Impossible Food接洽的報道,Impossible Foods的一名發言人拒絕置評。該發言人向《財富》雜志表示,素食初創公司Impossible Foods “主要在擴大業務規模,滿足對公司產品不斷增長的需求,目前從個體餐廳到全國連鎖餐廳,共7000多家均有售?!?/p>

Arby’s以肉為本的增長之路

2010年,摩根大通的一位分析師稱,Arby’s的業績“在現代餐廳史上屬于最糟糕之列”。當年一季度,該連鎖店銷售額下降了11.2%,之前的2009年和2008年已經分別下滑了8.2%和5.8%。

據CNBC報道,在2013年保羅·布朗出任首席執行官,林奇擔任首席營銷官和品牌總裁以后,Arby’s推出了牛胸肉三明治,后來成了最成功的產品,經營狀況也開始好轉。當時公司還開始轉向肉食市?。?014年首次推出熱愛肉食的口號,現由深沉男低音文·瑞姆斯口述),幽默感也有所提升,代價是放棄了素食主義者。

2015年,Arby’s推出“素食者幫助熱線”,專門播放油煎培根的聲音,希望能夠改變來電素食者的立場。2016年的閏日(2月29日),餐廳提供了全素食菜單,不過只是把三明治里的肉取出來,沒有換上替代食材。

“烤牛肉三明治變成了烤芝麻面包,上面什么也沒有?!繃制嫠?。在他的領導下,Arby’s的凈銷售額從2015年的35億美元增加到了2018年的39億美元,全球有3300多家門店?!拔頤欽餿髦紊鮮卟吮缺鵂葉忌?,而且很驕傲?!?/p>

Arby’s每年銷售1.6億磅(72574噸)肉食,提供各種動物食品,菜單上有烤牛肉、胸脯肉、火雞、火腿、雞肉、羊肉、鴨肉、魚肉、鹿肉和麋鹿肉等。林奇非常在意提供真實的肉類食品(盡管Arby’s也提供一些摻有家禽肉的沙拉),他認為將植物蛋白貼上肉的標簽“有點誤導”。美國養牛人協會最近發起的一項請愿觀點與此相同,該協會請求美國農業部禁止給素食貼標簽時出現肉類字樣。

Impossible Foods及其競爭對手Beyond Meat則不認同此種觀點,Beyond Meat已經與Del Taco、TGI Fridays和Carl’s Jr.等連鎖店建立了合作伙伴關系。

“肉是一種由氨基酸組成的食品,可以產生蛋白質,如果我們能復制其營養特性,為什么不能叫做肉呢?”Beyond Mate的執行董事長塞思·戈德曼向《財富》雜志說道?!罷獠皇橋I砩系娜?,我們也不會叫牛肉。但稱之為肉沒問題?!?/p>

Impossible Foods聲稱其無肉產品幾乎跟肉沒有區別,因為同樣含有牛體內和植物中能夠找到的富含鐵元素的分子血紅素?!捌涫?,我們認為如果沒有血紅素,牛身上的肉也不會如此美味?!北駒略縲┦焙?,公司的首席財務官大衛·李向《財富》雜志說道,當時該公司剛完成一筆3億美元的融資。Impossible Foods擁有跟植物性血紅素生產相關的專利。

雖然植物性蛋白質的目標是滿足肉食者的需求,但Arby’s并不相信。

“這就像我把烤牛肉三明治叫做西蘭花三明治一樣?!繃制嫠檔?,他在加入Arby’s前曾經擔任塔可鐘快餐連鎖店的營銷副總裁?!案靜皇欽嫻??!保ú聘恢形耐?/p>

譯者:Charlie

審校:夏林

When Arby’s president Rob Lynch looked at his newsfeed on May 22nd morning, he saw a headline that made him wonder if he was having a meat-sweats inducing nightmare. A website priding itself on being the “ultimate source for all things vegan” claimed the chain, whose slogan is “we have the meats,” was in talks with Impossible Foods to add a plant-based burger to the menu.

Although carnivore-loving fast food giants like Burger King, and Little Caesars (which has a best-selling pizza that’s wrapped in 3.5 feet of bacon) have embraced Impossible partnerships in the last two months, Arby’s has no intention of following suit.

“It won’t happen on my watch,” Lynch tells Fortune. “The only way would be if I got fired for some reason.”

Lynch recalled his momentary panic after reading the misreport. “Please, please, please say it isn’t so!” he quickly queried colleagues, who reassured their boss no one was exploring plant-based options.

The next step: the fast food chain’s PR team barraged journalists with Arby’s no-meatless-at-Arby’s gospel.

Lynch said Arby’s embracing the meatless craze would muddy the restaurant’s all-about-the-meat image, which has been fundamental to its financial upswing.

“You have to stand for something,” Lynch said, with animal-byproduct patriotism. ” We’ve turned this brand around by making big, high quality, meaty, abundant sandwiches. That’s who we are.”

An Impossible Foods spokesperson declined to speak to media reports of Arby’s approaching them about a partnership, telling Fortune the meatless startup is “currently focused on scaling operations to meet the growing demand for its products at the more than 7,000 restaurants where it is currently sold, from single-unit restaurants to national chains.”

Arby’s Meat-Forward Ascension

In 2010, a J.P. Morgan analyst called Arby’s performance “amongst the worst in modern restaurant history” after the chain’s sales dropped 11.2% in the first quarter of that year—following its already downward tumble of 8.2% in 2009 and 5.8% the year before.

Things started picking up in 2013 after Paul Brown joined as CEO, Lynch as CMO and brand president, and the brisket sandwich was launched, which would become Arby’s most successful product, according to CNBC. The company also began to lean into the meat market (debuting its motto in 2014, now intoned by Ving Rhames’ basso profundo) and its sense of humor, which often came at the expense of vegetarians.

Arby’s launched a “vegetarian help line” in 2015 that tried turning herbivore callers by playing the sound of sizzling bacon as the ultimate gateway meat. It also served a one-day, all-vegetarian menu on Leap Day 2016 that simply extracted all the meat out of its existing sandwiches without offering any replacements.

“Our roast beef sandwich turned into a roasted sesame bun with nothing on it,” says Lynch, who has seen net sales increase to $3.9 billion in 2018 from $3.5 billion in 2015, with more than 3,300 locations worldwide. “We proudly put less vegetables on our sandwiches than anyone.”

Arby’s sells 160 million pounds of meat a year and is an equal-opportunity animal purveyor, having served roast beef, brisket, turkey, ham, chicken, lamb, duck, fish, deer, elk, and more on its menu. With such fealty to meat (albeit with a handful of poultry-accented salads), Lynch considers it “a bit misleading” to label plant-based proteins as meat—agreeing with a recent petition by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to bar such companies from using the word in any form when labeling their vegetarian products.

Impossible Foods and rival Beyond Meat, which has partnered with chains including Del Taco, TGI Fridays, and Carl’s Jr., disagree.

“Meat is an assembly of amino acids that create the protein, so if we are able to replicate the nutritional properties, why wouldn’t that be meat?” Seth Goldman, Beyond Meat’s executive chairman, tells Fortune. “It’s not meat from a cow and we wouldn’t claim that. But it is meat.”

Impossible Foods touts their meatless products as being almost like meat since they contain heme, an iron-rich molecule found in cows and plants. “In fact, we think the cow can’t turn itself into delicious beef without the heme,” CFO David Lee told Fortune earlier this month after the closing of the company’s $300 million funding round. Impossible has a patent on the plant-based heme process.

Although plant-based proteins aim to satiate carnivores, Arby’s is far from convinced.

“It would be like if I called my roast beef sandwich a broccoli sandwich,” says Lynch, who was Taco Bell’s VP of Marketing before joining Arby’s. “It’s just not the real thing.”

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