December 12, 2023

Enhancing Fresh Food Management in the Restaurant Industry: The Role of Innovative Technology

From Challenges to Transformation. Evigence Strives to Revolutionize Fresh Food Management Across the Supply Chain

In the fast-paced and dynamic world of the food service industry, restaurant owners and managers face a myriad of challenges when it comes to the management of fresh food deliveries from distributors. The demand for high-quality, fresh ingredients, combined with the complexities of supply chain logistics, can lead to significant hurdles. In a candid conversation with Dan McGowan, COO, Cornerstone Restaurant Group a seasoned industry expert with over 30 years of experience, we delve into the critical issues faced by restaurants and how innovative technology, such as Evigence’s freshness monitoring solution, is revolutionizing the way restaurants handle their fresh food management and inventory.

Selecting the Right Partners:

The conversation begins with the importance of establishing strong partnerships with reliable distributors. McGowan emphasizes the significance of trust in these relationships, highlighting the critical role distributors play in maintaining the quality and freshness of the products that come through the backdoor of a restaurant. While larger distributors like US Foods, Sysco, and Gordon Food Service are often preferred for their reputation, he emphasizes that personal relationships with sales representatives can be equally valuable in ensuring a smooth supply chain.

“You have a relationship and you assume the relationship’s good, and 95% of the time they want to take care of you because they want the relationship. Whether it’s a broadliner, your seafood company, your produce company, they don’t want any harm or they don’t want things to go wrong. But if they add a product like Evigence to what’s happening, that’s another level of assurance for me at the restaurant level that says, okay, they’re really trying to put their money where their mouth is,” McGowan explains.

Assurance and Advancement through Innovative Technology:

Evigence’s freshness monitoring solution acts as a complementary layer of assurance for restaurants and their distributors. Technology has advanced and come a long way over the past several years and having a solution like Evigence provides an additional level of confidence in the quality and freshness of the products received. McGowan noted that, “Restaurants have gotten so much better from when I started 30 years ago in terms of receptiveness to and utilization of technology.

From inventory management to more granular daily and hourly usage rates, teams are much more efficient, and the waste quotient has gone down significantly.” By placing sensors on the products, restaurants can quickly assess the condition of the items based on color indicators, allowing for informed decision-making regarding usage and storage.

”By placing sensors on the products, restaurants can quickly assess the condition of the items based on color indicators, allowing for informed decision-making regarding usage and storage.”
Addressing Industry Challenges:

McGowan acknowledges that the restaurant industry has undergone significant changes due to factors like the COVID-19 pandemic and a shifting talent pool. He explains how the Evigence solution can serve as an educational tool, particularly for less experienced staff, by providing insights into product quality and shelf life. Moreover, the technology aids in reducing waste, optimizing ordering practices, and streamlining inventory management. This is especially crucial in an industry where every small percentage of improvement can have a significant impact on the bottom line.

Impact of Seasonal Trends and Variability:

The conversation extends to the role of Evigence’s freshness monitoring solution in navigating seasonal trends and variability. McGowan discusses how the technology can be particularly helpful during unexpected events, such as blizzards or power outages, which can compromise product quality and safety. By providing real-time data, the solution helps restaurants make informed decisions about the usability of their inventory, especially during adverse conditions.

Value Proposition and Pricing:

Finally, the discussion centers on the potential costs and benefits associated with implementing such innovative technology. McGowan suggests that a reasonable price could be well-justified for the added confidence, efficiency, and reduced waste that the Evigence solution offers. “We are a pennies business, so every percent, every quarter of a percent matters. Anything you can do to mitigate that cost, that will be important.” He also mentions that a shared cost model between distributors and restaurants could make the technology more accessible and cost-effective for all parties involved.

We are a pennies business, so every percent, every quarter of a percent matters. Anything you can do to mitigate that cost, that will be important.”

The challenges posed by the monitoring and management of fresh food deliveries in the restaurant industry throughout the entire supply chain are significant and multifaceted. Through this insightful conversation with McGowan, we gained a deeper understanding of the complexities that restaurants face and how innovative solutions like Evigence’s freshness monitoring technology can bring about positive change.

By enhancing trust, optimizing operations, and reducing waste, this technology empowers restaurants to provide their customers with the freshest, highest-quality dining experience while improving their bottom line. As the food service industry continues to evolve, solutions like Evigence’s are paving the way for a more efficient and sustainable future.

To learn more about Evigence’s End-To-End Freshness Management Solution click here. →

About Dan McGowan

Industry leader Danny McGowan joined Cornerstone in 2017 as Vice President of Operations. Prior to joining Cornerstone Restaurant Group, McGowan served as a partner for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises for more than 30 years, before founding his own consulting firm in 2015. His extensive background includes advising on notable brands such as Big Bowl, as well as creating retail product lines, expanding concepts across platforms and growing profits.

Aiming to drive continued growth and development within Cornerstone, McGowan helps to oversee the group’s entire portfolio including belly concepts (Ramen Bar, urbanbelly), multiple Michael Jordan concepts around the country, the Table at Crate in collaboration with Crate & Barrel, and the upcoming Cornerstone international expansion into South Korea.

About Cornerstone Restaurant Group

Cornerstone Restaurant Group and affiliate Jump Higher, L.L.C., led by restaurateurs David Zadikoff and Josh Zadikoff, in partnership with Michael Jordan, oversee all Michael Jordan-brand restaurants, including Michael Jordan’s Steak Houses (Chicago, Connecticut, Oak Brook, Portland), MJ23 Sports Bar & Grill (Connecticut), and SolToro Restaurant (Connecticut). Cornerstone’s growing Asian ventures with Chef Bill Kim include fast-casual urbanbelly in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood and Chef Bill Kim’s Ramen Bar at Time Out Market in Chicago’s Fulton Market.

In 2019, Cornerstone partnered with retailer Crate & Barrel to open a full-service restaurant, The Table at Crate, in its Oakbrook Center location, with Kim leading the menu development. Cornerstone opened a five-concept restaurant development in 2022 at Purdue University featuring urbanbelly, Chef Bill Kim’s Pizza & Parm Shop, SolToro, Fresh Fare, and Burger 101. In 2023, Cornerstone expanded into South Korea with Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, MJ23 Sports Bar & Grill, Hi-Fi Chicken & Beer, and Brasserie 1783. For more information, visit

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