The 40/40 List for 2019: America’s Hottest Startup Fast Casuals

Riding the global flavors trend that has swept the U.S. the last couple of years, Bibigo offers healthy and fresh Korean bibimbap bowls. The brand - which grew out of a successful Korean packaged foods business - has expanded its model from mall locations to brick-and-mortar units and continues to innovate and grow. This year, Bibigo is enhancing its brand image with a new prototype rolling out in 2019 that includes an updated menu and improved dining experience.

Fast-Casual Korean Eatery Expanding to Fashion Valley

Currently on track to open 50 new branches in the next 5 years, Bibigo is building an outpost in Fashion Valley Mall. The stand-alone Fashion Valley eatery will be part of the River Plaza section of the mall and will have a more upmarket and elevated feel. Scheduled to debut in early 2019, it’ll still serve the hot stone bibimbap bowls that it’s known for, but the Bibigo 2.0 menu will be enhanced with more grilled meat options, small plates, and other chef-created dishes as well as a new mandu (Korean dumpling) bar.

With Automation, Korean Dumplings Go Global

South Korea's largest food company is making a multimillion-dollar bet on "mandu," developing its own machines to automate the normally labor-intensive production of the Korean dumpling and building factories around the world. The nearly 4-year-old effort is an example of how technology is transforming the food industry, in this case making over the image of frozen dumplings as a cheap and unhealthy product made by small companies. CJ recently opened a factory in New Jersey, its third in the U.S., and has expanded production lines in China and snapped up local companies in Vietnam and Russia.