If you’re looking for a delicious new way to enjoy Impossible™ Burger Made From Plants, have we got a dish for you! The internationally renowned Taiwanese bakery chain, 85°C Bakery Cafe(opens in a new tab), just launched a new Impossible™ BBQ Bun and it is nothing short of spectacular. We caught up with Dave Lazaro, 85°C’s Marketing Director, to discuss their launch, how customers are reacting, and the #1 tip any foodservice operator must know before adding Impossible™ items to the menu.
IF: Why did you decide to launch a new bun with Impossible™ Meat made from plants?
Dave Lazaro: I come from the natural foods industry and know the major plant-based meat players. From the beginning, I wanted to go with Impossible Foods because Beyond Meat is a little off to my palate. Impossible meat made from plants hits the spot in terms of texture and mouthfeel. I’ve also tried Impossible Burger at other restaurant chains and they really do taste like meat!
How did you come up with the recipe for your Impossible BBQ Bun?
We have a large Asian customer base, so we wanted to create a traditional Chinese pork bun, but with Impossible Burger. We also wanted to develop a menu item that was completely different from what others in the market are offering.
After building our bun, we tested it and everyone loved it. But as we moved to product development, we realized that we were introducing a new concept AND a new bread, which might be too much innovation for some customers. So we decided to keep things simple and use a bread our guests already know and love, with the addition of Impossible meat.
Impossible™ BBQ Bun at 85°C Bakery Cafe
What was your experience like working with the team at Impossible Foods?
The Impossible Foods team was incredible to work with. From menu ideation to promotion, they really understood our business and helped us deliver a perfect launch. They also gave us all the samples we needed to develop recipes, which we really appreciated. Companies have been very tight with their inventory, so the fact that they were willing to ship 5 LB bricks to our chefs so they could play with it really resonated with us.
What promotional tactics have been successful?
We’ve been implementing a mix of online & in-store campaigns. We leveraged our Instagram Stories & Feed to tease the launch with a countdown and reveal, then replicated that strategy across Facebook & Twitter. The engagement was great as followers tried to guess what the new product would be. When we launched, we got a ton of positive feedback like ‘I can’t wait to try it’ and emojis. We also sent a blast to our customer list -- that drove a lot of traffic to our stores.
My goal is to reach new customers that love Impossible™ products and get them to try a new option at our bakeries.
For in-store promotions, we placed the Impossible™ branded table tents, flags, flyers and stickers your team sent us in strategic locations to capture guests’ attention. The bright green color really popped and highlighted the products beautifully. Since COVID-19, we’ve been individually wrapping each item, so the Impossible™ stickers are great. People really gravitate towards them and their curiosity makes them want to try it.
How are customers responding to the launch?
So far we’ve had a lot of success. Sales vastly exceeded expectations, even by up to 125% in certain regions! We aren’t sure yet if the sales are driven by new customers in store who see the Impossible™ signage and want to give it a try, or if it’s traffic from our emails & social posts, but either way we’re happy! Our parent brand in Taiwan is also watching this launch closely to see how successful we are before scaling. We definitely see this as an opportunity to springboard into international waters.
Sales vastly exceeded expectations, even by up to 125% in certain regions.
Image source: 85C Bakery's Instagram(opens in a new tab)
What advice would you offer to other restaurants who want to add Impossible™ items to the menu?
Stick to your strengths, don’t force the recipe and always be willing to walk away. When we launched, our goal wasn’t to create a vegan product. We wanted to make a great product in our niche, and see how Impossible meat fit in the build. We knew that we weren’t going to use a meat alternative if it didn't work, we weren’t going to use it. We didn’t want to force the idea or create a product we’re not familiar with just to capture a market that’s looking for meat alternatives. Luckily for us, it worked out really well!