Mongolian Concepts is hitting the refresh button on its three create-your-own bowl brands. Genghis Grill is getting a signature, chef-crafted line for a limited time. FlatTop Grill will introduce poké and other “adventurous eating” menu items. And Bd’s Mongolian Grill is revamping its whole menu to include “more authentic, more unique and bold flavors than what we’ve done before,” said Becca McIntyre, promoted in January to vice president of culinary and supply chain at Mongolian Concepts.
“We’ve done a lot of different things over the years. Some things have worked, some haven’t, but because we’re so small and agile, we can respond rapidly,” said McIntyre of the company with 75-plus restaurants. “That had a lot of appeal to me. Sometimes with the bigger companies, there’s a lot more red tape and it takes longer to do anything.”
McIntyre was a general kitchen manager at TGI Fridays and moved around to large chains before joining Mongolian Concepts in 2015. Those experiences in operations helped expand her foodservice knowledge, but she still had a lot to learn about supply chains.
“It’s a whole different world and language, but it’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “Then it’s how do you pair those two. They’re very intertwined, but very different. People ask me, what hat are you wearing today? You have to balance it. It’s been a fun war between the two jobs to make sure there’s a perfect balance.”
Mongolian Concepts hasn’t been as deeply impacted from supply chain shortages as other brands. “We’re in a better position because we’re build-your-own, primarily, so we’re not 86ing items” when they run out of stock, “it’s just not on the line,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre was heavily involved in the researching and testing process for new menu items, which meant reading industry news and, because of the pandemic, dining out locally instead of internationally to inspire ideas. When crafting new menus and selecting ingredients, supply chain challenges were top of mind.
“Having a dual role was somewhat helpful. Starting down the path of development, I’d love an idea, then checking with vendors, they’d say I can’t get this right now, it’s an import item so even though we could hit deadline, we don’t know how long it’ll sit in the port,” McIntyre said. Sometimes the solution was delaying a rollout or splitting cases of products between stores because of delays, and building out as much lead time as possible when rolling new menu items out to new locations.