SOURCE: Earls Restaurants Ltd

Earls Restaurants Ltd

April 26, 2016 08:43 ET

Canadian Restaurant Group Breaks Ground in Ethical Sourcing

Earls First Restaurant Chain in North America to Be Awarded as Certified Humane®

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - April 26, 2016) - Earls Kitchen + Bar, one of North America's most successful family-owned and operated restaurant groups, announced today that after months of stringent certification, they have become the first restaurant chain in North America to serve 100% Certified Humane Beef®, raised without the use of antibiotics or steroids and no added hormones. A fiercely rigorous certification process, Earls has been working toward this humane designation for some time as part of the company's overall Commitment to Conscious Sourcing.

With 66 locations, 59 in Canada and 7 in the US, Earls set a goal some years ago to make a long term Commitment to Conscious Sourcing, then more recently, "I recall the moment three years ago as we were first developing a new restaurant concept for Calgary," said Earls President, Mo Jessa. "It was being designed as a single, unique location, not part of the chain. We asked ourselves could we be 100% Consciously Sourced; Certified Humane; antibiotic free, steroid free, local, even organic? Could we know what the conditions were on the farms and fisheries we were dealing with, where our garbage and food waste went, where our water came from?

"We took a step back and fully realized the positive impact we could make within our industry by not only having one restaurant follow these principles, but by having our entire company follow these principles." 

Earls had the resources to evolve their business practices and take a closer look at their relationships and knew they could get that same commitment from their suppliers. "It meant we all needed to change and shift practices," said Claudia Vorlaufer, VP of Procurement & Logistics. "We would be guided by what Earls wanted to commit to our guests and staff, not by profits, convenience and volume."

Earls stood firmly that their beef, the biggest selling volume of their menus from hamburgers and steaks, had to come from not only Certified Humane ranches, where animals were treated with care, respect and dignity from birth to pasture, but Certified Humane abattoirs, designed by Dr. Temple Grandin*, a world renowned Dr. of Animal Behavior, who specialized in designing calm, low-stress environments. 

Earls went to their suppliers already raising fresh, free-run, cage free chicken and eggs for them and asked that they expand their productions to meet their demand. Suppliers were asked to know, unequivocally, the conditions at the source of where their ingredients came from and Earls' chefs and procurement team, in turn, traveled to those sources to see conditions for themselves.

It didn't happen all at once. At first it was one restaurant, Earls Test Kitchen in Vancouver. From there the chefs headed out to see the ranches and the butchering facilities for themselves. They filled their water bottles up from the cows' water sources and tasted the feed, a mix of naturally ranch-grown grains & grasses and the spent grains from the local brewery. They met with Dr. Temple Grandin* and she came to Vancouver to see their Test Kitchen. They met with the largest certifying organization in North America and looked at what it would take to certify not just one restaurant, but every one.

Last year, as they continued to source more certified humane beef, they moved to serving it in their flagships -- nine busy downtown urban locations, then it was all their US locations; Bellevue, Washington; Chicago; Tysons Corner (DC); Boston; Miami and Denver.

And now, effective April 27th, all 66 locations will serve 100% Certified Humane® beef, making them the first restaurant in North America, both US and Canada, to do so. 

Mo Jessa, President Earls Restaurants Ltd, said, "Earls can definitely effect change because of our decision to take on the initiative to do more with our ingredients, to find a cleaner source. The entire industry changes because of it...and not only does it match the expectations of our staff, it matches their values. It's a proud day for all of us."

The team behind the scenes: The team that made this come together was a combination of some dedicated purchasing people behind the scenes, namely Earls' meat and fish buyer, Dave Bursey, and the Chef Collective, a core team of Earls' award-winning, Vancouver based Test Kitchen chefs. Earls Chef Collective members include Bocuse d'Or finalist Chef Ryan Stone; Bocuse d'Or and World Culinary Olympics competitor Chef David Wong; Gold Medal Plates winner Chef Brian Skinner, who also serves as Earls' vegetarian specialist, and World Culinary Olympics gold medal winner Hamid Salimian. Two consulting chefs, Jeff McInnis, based in New York and Miami, and Colin Bedford, based in North Carolina, contribute their specialties to the menu.

WHAT EARLS HAS COMMITTED TO:

On the plate: Free-run chicken, raised humanely, and eggs that are cage free. Seafood that is not only sustainable, approved by both Oceanwise and the Marine Stewardship Association, but with a knowledge of the people catching and processing the fish -- and Certified Humane® beef, raised from birth, to pasture to harvest without antibiotics, steroids or added hormones; A commitment to their Quebec organic maple syrup supplier and BC & Ontario organic vegetable suppliers to grow the way they want, from a single farm, knowing Earls would take 100% of their crop. 

On the shelves: Recyclable, compostable and environmental products, packaging and cleaning products sourced for their low carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

In their practices: Recycling and composting -- in cities where it's not mandated and in cities where it is, decades before.

In their design: Re-purpose, reuse and low impact are the trademarks of Earls stunning design and unique construction projects with LEED gold standards as their goal.

About Dr. Temple Grandin: Dr. Grandin* has a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Animal Science. She teaches courses on animal behavior and consults with the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling and animal welfare. She has authored over 400 articles on animal welfare and written numerous books. Her books Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human were both on the New York Times best seller list. Her life has been documented in both a full length documentary and a bio pic, starring Claire Danes.

ABOUT EARLS KITCHEN + BAR

The Vancouver, Canada-based Earls Restaurants Ltd. and the Fuller Group is a non-franchised, family-owned company founded by Leroy Earl (Bus) Fuller and his son, Stanley, Earl Fuller in 1982. From humble beginnings as a laid-back beer and burger joint created as local hang out in Edmonton, Alberta, Earls grew to multiple locations across the North America with the concept maturing to become the 66 location upscale-casual iconic brand it now is, copied by a whole generation of restaurants. Bus and his four sons own Earls Kitchen + Bar, operated by eldest son Stan Fuller, along with other restaurants throughout Canada and the U.S. Awarded as the Best Employer in Canada this past year, Earls Kitchen + Bar has 7,000 employees. For more information visit earls.ca.

Further information and resources on request include:

Images of the chefs and purchasers with cattle at ranch, pastures and at abattoir facilities

Images of Dr. Grandin at Earls Test Kitchen in Vancouver

Images of Earls Chef Collective, Test Kitchen; interior & exteriors of locations

Images of beef dishes and vegetarian dishes

Video of Earls President, Mo Jessa

Video of Chef Ryan Stone preparing the perfect steak

Video (s) of Dave Bursey speaking on Certified Humane standards and our antibiotic free program

Video of an Earls server speaking on what it means to the staff to serve Consciously Sourced ingredients

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Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Cate Simpson
    Communications
    Earls Restaurants North America
    csimpson@earls.ca 
    604-719-8953