Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sweetriot in the news

A recent article in New York Daily news about our friends at SweetRiot. Sarah Endline, the ex yahoo marketing exec and founder of sweetriot continues to be on a crusade to do something good. Congrats to their team on the article and the fundraising!

We love to see our partners in the news. So if you have something to share please send it along!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Portland Choc and Awe: Day 2

Elliot and I are down in Portland dropping off these wonderful boxes (see picture) to about 50 retailers.

So far the response has been extremely positive. One retailer told me they had never seen so many beautiful packages together and another told me this was "a very promising program". Already we have heard interest in requesting boxes for categories other than chocolate.

So what is Choc and Awe? Essentially Choc and Awe is the first category specific sampling program of it's kind. In a nut shell Findood delivers boxes of 20 -25 products to a slew of retailers in a given region. In Seattle it was about 50 stores. It turned out to be almost as many in Portland. Our Launch Partners send us the samples and we market and display their products in a gorgeous box that allows Retailers to see and taste products they might never have found otherwise.

Stay tuned for another update on the Portland drop where I will profile some of my favorite retailers I've met and some fun anecdotes. For now I'm gonna go sit in the hot tub and get ready for another day tomorrow.



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Water 1st - Beer 2nd (Fun)draiser at South Lake Union

I definitely love me some beer. In fact, whenever the sun begins to show it's bald little head in the sky, I can often be found on the patio of some fine establishment with a beer in one hand and the laptop in the other.

But sometimes beer goes so much better with a cause, and I think clean water for the world is a worthy cause to drink to. Fortunately, at the fifth annual Water 1st - Beer 2nd (Fun)draiser you can enjoy your first- or second-favorite beverages, chow down, enter to win a trip to Hawaii, and hit the dance floor with live music from the ElektraLytes. While you're enjoying all this merriment, you'll also be raising much-needed funds to help solve the global water crisis. Gotta hoist a glass to that, wouldn't you say?

5th Annual Water 1st - Beer 2nd (Fun)draiser Visit site
$35 per person
Fri., Mar. 5, 7:00 p.m.
Lake Union Park Armory
860 Terry Ave. N. Map it

Monday, January 4, 2010

Skagit River Ranch: Seattle's Locally-raised Meat

Best laid plans... etc. You start to pick up around the house and the next thing you know you are arranging the photos on the fridge in chronological order.

So it happened on Saturday that Sarah and I had wanted to get out to the u-district farmers market to pick up some good grass-fed meat, but instead ended up making the trek all the way to the homestead...that is to the farm in Sedro-Wooley, WA. It was the best decision ever!

The resident chef, and all-around sweeter-than-a-pumpkin-pie hostess, Betty, showed us around and helped us make a decision as we tried to decide what to buy from the slew of meats and cuts they had to offer. From italian pork sausage, to beef roasts, to whole chickens, it was a hard decision.

In the end we ended up rifling through Betty's recipe box to see what caught our eye and then picking the meat based on that.

The best thing about visiting the Ranch instead of just the booth at the Market, was the strong sense of being where the food is. It's not hard to imagine these animals living near-perfect lives as you arrive at Skagit River Ranch. Just outside the farm store, which sits in the gorgeous Skagit Valley, mountains loom over the flat lands making a quite-epic backdrop to the intentionally quaint farmhouse where Betty sits cooking. It is a beautiful scene and it makes enjoying the meat that much more enjoyable to imagine the grazing cattle waking up here everyday. Happy cows indeed.

In the end, we ended up getting the staples. Ground beef, since we are going to stop eating ground beef unless we know who made it. A whole chicken, which Sarah is going to butcher, because we saw the chickens outside the store and it's hard to imagine a better living environment. We got bacon ends for stocks, soups and general deliciousness. And finally we picked up some special eggs, a dozen hand-picked "odd balls" as Betty put it. These are the eggs that were oddly shaped, too small, too big or just plain weird... and boy are they delicious!

If you want to visit the ranch in Sedro-Wooley, the store is open monday-sat 10 - 6. SRR also appear weekly on Saturdays for the U-District Farmer's Market and Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market. For more information go to

Happy Eating!


Thursday, October 15, 2009

We won the NWEN First Look Forum!

Amidst a room of 50 - 60 of the Northwest's best Angel networks and VC firms, Jamen knocked it out of the park with two great presentations yesterday!

The format was this. After getting accepted into the First Look Forum, an annual group screening put on by the Northwest Entrepenuers Network (NWEN), 50 companies were screened and whittled down to a burly 12 company group. These 12 would then get whittled down to 5 companies and then of course one holy winner ;).

This group of 12 got further screening and then yesterday all of the companies got a chance to give a 3 minute presentation to the room. This was a pretty awesome thing to see. All of the companies there had great presentations that were concise, well thought and were addressing a serious problem. But after seeing Jamen give his energetic and beautiful presentation (ahem grossly obvious self pat on my back), I was confident we would get through to the final 5.

Sure enough, we got the chance to give our 10 minute presentation and this is where things got hairy. Jamen did a fine job of speaking to all of the slides he got through but ended up leaving a few slides unseen. But even without those slides, the Investors thought that Findood had the most compelling problem and awarded us the winner!

So what did we win? By far the coolest thing we got from this experience was exposure to all of these awesome Investors. But aside from that we get a whole bunch of services, free screenings to Alliance of Angels, Kerietsu and Zino Society. And to top it, off we get a free year of office space and some awesome furniture from WRF Capital and Working Spaces.

After a long year of ups and downs Findood has finally been recognized for all of it's hard work. It is a long road forward, but this is quite a nice pit stop.

Thanks to NWEN for this experience and all of the people who voted for us. Also thanks to TechFlash for the nice article here.

Back to work!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

NRA Show Recap

By Matthew Wall

Buzz around the NRA (National Restaurant Association) Show this year is mounting. In tracking hits on Twitter under 'NRA Show' we've counted over 650 Tweets in the last week. This speaks to the growing influence social media will continue to have on trade shows.

I love these shows and the people you encounter, the trends you witness. It is energizing to witness the way the industry comes alive. It is also important to note the way business is evolving in these economic times of strife.

My position with has been allowing me the opportunity to connect with so many facets of the industry and literally connect with the heartbeat of the industry. I am continually enthralled at everything that is progressing and developing and I am surprised at how often undercurrents and trends in the industry will just jump to life and into the mainstream.

That said, below is our recap of the buzz, trends and news around the show. I've broken it into three categories (Social Media, Economy, Innovation/ Trends) for easy reference. Please comment below as well with thoughts and ideas, or things we may have missed.


Twitter and Blog Stats

As I stated earlier we have tracked over 650 Tweets on Twitter over the last week regarding the show. Also worth mentioning is the fact that over 3,500 blogs have been published about the show in the last week alone.

Social Media Marketing Presentation

Among the 65 presentations at the show, there was one that caught our eye, "Word of Mouth Marketing for Chains and Multi-Concept Operators." Although Findood could not be there, some others were. You can find a great review of what was covered done by here.

Web 2010 and Social Media Ideas

I have personally found Robert Scoble to have some valuable insight on where we are heading with integration of social media in a companies web presence. He is starting a company called 'Building 43' which is for people who love the internet and the way technology is evolving. I am personally excited at the potential for him to give us great examples and insight into how mainstreet businesses will be able to generate business and customer loyalty through social media. He has written a great blog about the Web 2010 here.

He includes a great example of a yogurt shop right around the corner from the Facebook office called Fraiche, where tons of Facebook people go, and yet they have no social media presence to generate excitement among the people who frequent their shop the most. Give the blog a read, it is worthwhile.

Food Channel Blogs and Tweets Show

The has extensive coverage of the show on its website. It is actually an incredible amount of material and is done very well. Included below are links to several of their best pieces.

Top Ten Things Seen on Saturday
Top Ten Things Seen on Sunday
The Power of Viral Marketing (Blendtec)
Food Channel and NRA Show on Facebook


I was interested to see how the show would address the state of the economy and the impact on business. It was front and center during the Sunday Keynote session. Read about the session here.

Nations Restaurant News has also been covering this and you can see their article on the keynote here.

The move to online management and resources continued at the show. It seems that the newest technology out there has been online schedule management. One that caught our eye was Schedulefly.

Also take a read of this article by the Gourmet Retailer titled 'Coping with the Economy'.



Crocs was out showing their newest styles of work shoes, highlighting the ergonomic fit, comfort and slip resistance of the Crocslite material. They are also easy to clean. Find the article here.

Distilled Spirits:

One of the fasting growing trends (according to the NRA's What's Hot Survey) is definitely distilled spirits. More to come on this in some upcoming blogs as New York just formed a Distillers Guild this year. Findood has the privelege of being in close proximity to one of the hearts of this movement (Oregon now has over 20 Distilleries and Washington State will grow from 3 to 7 this year alone). The growth is quick and local distributors are beginning to carry West Coast Distilled products. Costco is also carrying (or will be soon) local distillers in Oregon and California which his sure to follow the path that wine has carved. Need Proof? Head down to the SE side of Portland next time you are there. 11 Distilleries within a 10 minute drive of eachother with bars like the Green Dragon exemplifying the value of offering local drinks to its customers.

What did we miss? Have comments on what we shared? Please comment below.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Jones Soda GABA gets back to Guerilla Marketing

By Matthew Wall

Jones Soda Co. launched its latest product in February of this year at the Expo West. Made with PharmaGABA, Jones GABA is set to extend its positioning with this healthy energy drink. Said to increase Focus and Clarity, GABA has become incredibly popular in Japan in the last decade. (

“Jones GABA is a revolutionary, great-tasting beverage,” said Joth Ricci, chief operating officer of Jones Soda in an official statement. “It has a rare distinction in the functional beverage marketplace. Its benefits can be felt within five minutes and have been shown to last for hours. Jones GABA helps people feel more relaxed and focused, allowing them to perform at their peak.”

Health Mad describes the benefits this way: “As any psychology major knows, GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a key neurotransmitter that regulates brain functionality. Among other things, GABA is a natural calming agent.” (Health Mad:

Having proven its success in Japan, Jones Soda is set to capitalize on the North American Market with its exclusive rights to PharmaGABA in drink form. Between 2004 and 2006, sales increased five fold in Japan reaching total sales of $122 Million US in 2006. (BevNet:

This is good news for Jones Soda Co. who reported year over year revenue decrease of 25% in Q1 of 2009. Promotion allowances and slotting fees increased slightly by roughly $150,000 and finished product case sales declined by 30% offset only slightly by the release of JonesGABA. (Food Biz Daily:

Jones Soda is well positioned to see GABA through and see large success. With the economy bearing down, carving out budget for new product promotions is difficult enough. But Jones has the leg up with their experience in Guerilla Marketing.

Here are a few things Jones is doing right:

Targeted Rollout: Pilots are beginning early spring on about 5 University Campuses to promote the benefits of Jones GABA in study, focus and clarity. Jones plans a product rollout at up to 40 campuses this year alone timing promotions around finals.

Brand Ambassadors: Jones has always had a particular knowledge of how to transform dedicated customers into Ambassadors. Students on University Campuses may be given samples to hand out. Also Jones Soda has already run a contest with Zooppa to spark viral videos featuring Jones GABA (view the winning ad here: Finally with people like the producers at Fallon shamelessly shouting the benefits of Jones GABA, there is no way the product will find its niche (Follow the Fallon Blog here:

Rollout in Canada is expected later this year. Currently the product is available at Metropolitan Market in Seattle. Make sure to try this product when you can. I enjoyed it, particularly the apple.