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No Redstone unturned By Kristen Smith, Associate Editor BEAMSVILLE, Ont. — At Niagara Peninsula’s Redstone, the winemaker and executive chef work independently, but share the same ideals with respect to organic and biodynamic growing and farming. Under the ownership of Moray Tawse, Redstone’s hospitality centre and restaurant opened this summer in the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation. Tawse purchased the former Thomas and Vaughan property in 2009. The first vintages were made in 2010 and licensee-direct sales started in May with a handful of wines in the LCBO over the last year. Australia-born Rene Van Ede joined Tawse Winery about eight years ago and worked under Paul Pender before moving Redstone chef David Snider (left) and winemaker Rene Van Ede. over to its sister winery Redstone as winemaker. An average check for lunch is about $40 and $95 for dinner. “Behind the scenes, we share a lot between the two wineries; a ray Taswe and Pascal Marchand. “Between all those, you’d be very similar core of viticulture,” said Van Ede, noting both Tawse hard-pressed to put something on the menu that can’t find a mate The varied menu, which ranges from a $15 pizza to a $120 ninecourse tasting menu, allows the diner to come in for a quick meal on the wine list,” said Snider. and Redstone are organic and biodynamic. At lunch, the menu is what Snider calls “terrace-friendly” and and spend less than average. The 38-acre property was named for its soil. Redstone’s local sourcing philosophy also applies to items out“If you take a walk around outside, you’ll see this red, heavy casual with burgers and fish and chips making an appearance. “Dinner is where we really try to match in terms of our ideals side of the kitchen such as plates, wine stands and handmade clay and then there are round stones that have been brought here through glacial work and erosion from the top of the escarp- and in terms of our food quality, with the wines here as well as the leather billfolds and coasters. “We really try to get everything locally, not just the things that are immediately obvious,” said wines at Tawse,” said Snider. ment,” Van Ede explained. “We really make an effort to source almost everything locally. Snider. With 19 acres under vine, Redstone varietals include Merlot, Future plans call for 150 seats on the patio and an onsite aniCabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Gris. We use Ontario-milled flour, we switched over to Ontario fryer Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay from its Limestone oil. Olive oil has never stepped foot through the door — we use a mal barn (for vineyard biodynamics) and a vegetable garden. “What we really want to see in the garden, first and foremost, cold-pressed canola oil,” said Snider. Vineyard in Twenty Mile Bench round out the portfolio. He supplies product directly from about a half-dozen inde- are things you can’t find elsewhere. I don’t need more beets, for Vineland native David Snider heads up the kitchen at the onAPPROVAL REQUIRED site restaurant. With 88 seats, a private dining room for 20 and pendent farmers as well as through local food distribution com- example. Any one of the farmers that I deal with can sort me out the enclosed proof is sent for your approval. We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. DO NOT GIVEseasonal VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS. CAREFULLY! pany 100km Foods Inc. “Our menu changes virtually weekly. with beautiful beets,” said Snider. “For example, strawberries I a patio with 60 seats, the restaurant pairs and locally-CHECK Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. alterations (other than typographical errors) will be chargedand extra. Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” asnecessarily the case may Not in its entirety, but based on what we have,” said can find anywhere, but try asking a strawberry farmer to pick you sourced dishes with wines from Redstone, Tawse Marchandbe, signing your name so we may know that the proof reached the proper authority. his flowers. They’re not particularly thrilled with that.” Tawse, a joint venture in Nuits St. Georges, France, between Mo- Snider, adding Redstone has a large preserving program.

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Miss Thing’s brings a touch of tiki to Toronto TORONTO – While travelling to destinations like Tahiti and Bora Bora, Nav Sangha was inspired to bring part of the Polynesian islands home to Toronto. After about eight years of operating Wrongbar at 1279 Queen St. West, Sangha decided to reinvent the location as Miss Thing’s, a tikithemed, Polynesian-inspired restaurant. “The tricks get a little tired and I was losing that bounce in my step,” Sangha said. “I needed something to be excited about and somewhere I wanted to hang out. This has done that for me.” Although tiki-inspired, Miss Thing’s isn’t littered with torches and masks. Sangha recruited Ian Rydberg of Solid Design Build to create a theme mixing Polynesian culture with retro, mid-1900s hotel lobby bars. Sangha said the design aims to genuinely represent the culture, rather than follow the “campy caricature” often associated with tiki themes. “I wanted to do something authentic to true Polynesian and Hawaiian culture. It’s more interesting this way, without resting on the conventions of tiki culture and tiki statues,” Sangha said. “I think it represents more of a challenge for our cocktail bartenders and our chefs.” To create the menu, Sangha enlisted chef Jasper Wu, formerly of Bent, and sous chef Paul Hardian, formerly of Momofuku. General manager Adrian Stein, formerly of Mistura and Rock Lobster, and bar manager Reed Pettit,

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Miss Thing’s owner Nav Sangha. formerly of Miller Tavern, have also joined the Miss Thing’s team. “They’re taking dishes from Hawaii, French Polynesian, and elevating them for our restaurant,” Sangha said. “It’s less fusion and more inspired by. It’s definitely not strictly Polynesian.” Sangha explained the menu aims to explore how pan-Asian food has evolved on the Polynesian islands. “We’re thinking let’s go a bit deeper, and get to the roots of how the cuisine changed,” he said. Since Miss Thing’s opened in July, the pineapple fried rice has emerged as the restaurant’s signature dish, a combination of brown rice,

TTS Sales 905-677-2900 www.chrisbrothers.ca FEDERALLY INSPECTED toasted cashews, Sriracha mayo served on a half pineapple with a choice of braised pork belly or sweet and sour jackfruit. “I think presentation has a lot to do with it,” Sangha said. The average check is about $40 to $50 per person. Alongside the 1,500-square-foot, 60seat, restaurant, Sangha plans to open the Coconut Room in September, a 2,500-square-foot event space adjacent to Miss Thing’s. Sangha said establishments with genuine Polynesian culture are difficult to find in North America. “Maybe no one is crazy enough to make a run for it. I’m motivated by things I’m into,” Sangha said. “(Polynesia) really had an impact on my wife and I. This made sense for us.”

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Understanding TPH’s GastroBusters pilot program TORONTO — When Toronto Public Health (TPH) announced the launch of GastoBusters in July, the online food poisoning reporting system created concern about false claims among Toronto restaurateurs. ORN asked Dr. Michael Finkelstein, associate medical officer of health, how the pilot program works. The website collects information on demographics, signs and symptoms and asks what the user has eaten in the last three days. If contact information is provided, TPH follows up with the complainant about their food history to identify potential sources of illness. “I think common understanding in the public is that if you eat something and then get sick afterwards, that it must have been what you just ate that made you sick,” said Finkelstein.

“That’s not necessarily true because of the variable incubation periods for things that might make you sick.” Finkelstein noted TPH has always received anonymous complaints though its DineSafe website and by phone. Last year, TPH received about 6,900 complaints, 632 were deemed illnesses and, of those, 110 were anonymous. If contact information is not provided, TPH uses the information provided in the GastroBusters report. “That information is sent to our Healthy Environments program, the food safety people, and they are going to look at [whether] there are enough details provided in the complaint to allow us to conduct an investigation,” Finkelstein said.

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O N T A R I O

EDITORIAL

or Ontario craft cider and spirits to continue to grow, the province must pave the way for these small businesses to flourish. Craft cider is a quickly growing category both in popularity and scope. In 2008, there was one craft cidery in the province. Now, there are 22. According to the Ontario Craft Cider Association, there are about 200 jobs in the cider industry and this is expected to grow to 350 positions by 2018 with projected sales of $35 million. This growth might not be possible if Ontario cider producers can’t enjoy the same playing field as the province’s craft breweries. Craft cideries pay a 40 per cent markup to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario on beverages sold in LCBO stores and those sold directly to restaurants and pubs. Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones and Beaches-East York MPP Arthur Potts put forth an amendment to the Liquor Control Act in an attempt to encourage the bourgeoning industry by limiting the markup of Ontario cider to that imposed on the sale of beer.

The first reading of the Growing Ontario’s Craft Cider Industry Act was on June 2. With two cider producers in her region — Southern Cliff Brands which produces Pommies Dry Cider and Spirit Tree Estate Cidery — Jones heard the need for a similar system of taxation as beer producers, one based on volume. “The craft cider industry is where the craft beer industry was 10 or 15 years ago and at that point, the province of Ontario made some changes to the taxation system for craft beer that allowed, basically, locally manufactured craft beer to be taxed at a lower rate,” said Jones. She explained taxation is based on litres produced, with large companies being taxed more than small producers, who are taxed about 40 per cent less. “Instead of trying to rework the wheel and come up with a totally different model, the consensus was it worked with craft beer; why don’t we look at duplicating that taxation model with craft cider,” she said. Ontario’s craft distiller segment is also hoping for change. With about a half dozen businesses joining forces in March to “raise Ontario’s spirits,” the Ontario Craft Distillers Association plans to lobby for the same duty levels as craft brewers.

One distiller has gone so far as to call the markup taken from onsite retail and direct sales “unconstitutional.” The Toronto Distillery Company has filed a lawsuit against the LCBO. (Story on page 16.) One of the company’s founders Charles Benoit called it “a life or death issue for every small distillery in Ontario.” One that can’t wait for the province to “turn its attention to this some point down the road.” According to the lawsuit, when the distillery sells a bottle of gin from their retail store, they must pay the LCBO $12.44 as well as $3.07 in HST and a $3.50 federal excise tax, the same amount paid if the bottle is sold from LCBO shelves. Since Ontario does not have a spirits tax, Benoit argues the LCBO levy is unconstitutional. It’s a bold move and perhaps one that will yield its desired consequences. Maybe it will make someone like Jones stand up and put forth an act to help Ontario’s craft spirits industry grow. Either way, the strength and success of the foodservice industry is linked to the strength and success of its suppliers.

MONTREAL — MTY Food Group Inc., franchisor and operator of multiple quick service restaurant concepts, announced on Aug. 19 that it will acquire 60 per cent of Big Smoke Burger for $3 million. Founded in 2007 in Toronto, there are 17 Big Smoke locations including nine stores in Canada, four of which are corporately-owned, and eight stores in the United States and overseas. The majority of Canadian locations are in Ontario with the first British Columbia location opening in late July. According to MTY Group chief financial officer Eric Lefebvre, plans are to accelerate Big Smoke’s growth in Canada and abroad in the future. During the last 12 months, the network of Big Smoke has generated sales of more than $14 million. Mustafa Yusuf, the current owner and president of Big Smoke, will retain 40 per cent of the company and will continue in his functions following the conclusion of the transaction. Following the deal’s closing, operations will be relocated to MTY’s offices in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Glengarry cheese awarded PROVIDENCE, R.I. — At the American Cheese Society awards in early August, a Canadian entry took home the top prize for the first time in the contest’s 20-year history. Glengarry Fine Cheese in Lancaster,

4 | Ontario Restaurant News

Ont., was awarded the 2015 Best in Show for its Celtic Blue Reserve by cheesemakers Wilma Klein-Swormink and Margaret Peters-Morris.

Pan Am Games equalled profit TORONTO – The Pan Am Games have proven profitable for restaurants, according to payment processor Moneris Solutions Corporation. Overall spending in downtown Toronto increased 7.71 per cent during the games when compared to the same period the previous year. Spending at quick service restaurants increased 22.14 per cent while full service restaurants recorded an increase of 5.58 per cent. Spending at hotels climbed 8.2 per cent.

STK to open in Yorkville Plaza NEW YORK — The ONE Group Hospitality announced plans in mid-August to open an STK in Toronto — marking the company’s first location in Canada. Slated to open in 2016, the restaurant will be located in in the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood. “We think Toronto is an ideal international city for an STK location,” Jonathan Segal, chief executive officer of The ONE Group, said in a press release. “We are especially pleased to have found a location that fits the vibe and energy of STK in Toronto. We remain focused on the growth of our company and look forward to the several upcoming openings we have planned in cities across North America.”

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NEWS BRIEFS MTY Food Group to acquire majority of Big Smoke Burger

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The 8,880-square-foot eatery will be located at 155 Yorkville Ave. The ONE Group’s primary restaurant brand is STK, a modern twist on the American steakhouse concept with 11 locations in major cities throughout the United States and Europe.

Grow for The Stop nets $65,000 CREEMORE, Ont. — The New Farm’s eighth annual Grow for The Stop hosted more than 900 people at the Creemore, Ont. farm to raise funds for accessible healthy food. More than 100 sponsors, restaurants, partners and volunteers came together to raise raise $65,000 to support The Stop and Regent Park Community Food Centres, and food banks in the south Georgian Bay area. “We’re thrilled to surpass our fundraising goal and are so proud, grateful and honoured by the support shown from all over Ontario, for what started as a humble event,” said Gillian Flies, co-owner of The New Farm. Funds raised are 100 per cent earmarked to purchase local, organic produce from Ontario farms. “Grow for The Stop means that we get fabulous, local, organic produce for our community meals and food bank hampers ... We are really committed to getting the best food possible into the hands of people who are most food insecure and we love putting our purchasing power in the right places, like with The New Farm,”
 said Rachel Gray, executive director of The Stop.

MICKEY CHEREVATY Consultant, Moyer Diebel Limited MARVIN GREENBERG Consultant JACK BATTERSBY President, Summit Food Service Distributors Inc. BARNEY STRASSBURGER JR. President, TwinCorp PAUL LECLERC Partner, Serve-Canada Food Equipment Ltd. PAUL MANCINI Director of Retail, Inventory and Wholesale, LCBO JORGE SOARES Director Food and Beverage Operations, Woodbine Entertainment Group ADAM COLQUHOUN President, Oyster Boy JOHN CRAWFORD Director of Sales-Canada, Lamb Weston TINA CHIU Chief Operating Officer, Mandarin Restaurant Franchise Corporation MARTIN KOUPRIE Chef/Owner, Pangaea Restaurant JOEL SISSON Founder and president of Crush Strategy Inc. LESLIE WILSON Vice-president of Business Excellence, Compass Group Canada CHRIS JEENS Partner, W. D. Colledge Co. Ltd.

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Big Bone BBQ is growing bigger and bigger

By Bill Tremblay, Assistant Editor NEWMARKET, Ont. – A black box guarded by two burly gentlemen piqued the curiosity of Big Bone BBQ chain president Tim Rombos in barbecue. While visiting a foodservice tradeshow in the early ’90s, Rombos stumbled across the southern-style barbecue smoker and decided to investigate. “Tucked away in the corner were these two big boys wearing overalls. … They popped this box open and smoke was billowing out,” Rombos said. “I tried a rib right out of the smoker, no sauce or anything. It was incredible.” Rombos continued his research into southern barbecue. After 15 years of operating restaurants and nightclubs in Toronto, Rombos decided to leave the city. He opened the Purple Pig in Aurora, Ont., in 1993, which featured a southern barbecue section on its menu. The Purple Pig would earn an invitation to the Burlington Ribfest, the largest event of its kind in Canada. “I got sandwiched in between these two big American rigs that looked like the CN Tower. I was in a pop up tent,” Rombos said. Although his tent lacked the bells and whistles of his neighbours, Rombos was awarded the People’s Choice award for best ribs. In the

last two decades, Rombos’ barbecue formula has continued to earn accolades at ribfests with more than 50 first place awards. “It put my company on the map,” Rombos said. Eventually, Rombos opened his first barbecue restaurant in Woodbridge, Ont., in the former home of a busy burger joint. Under the name Memphis BBQ , Rombos maintained the popularity enjoyed by the location’s predecessor. “It kind of blew our mind how busy we could be with a place that had six tables,” Rombos said. “It changed our perception of the industry. We’d always been running restaurants with a minimum of 150 seats.” With success at Memphis BBQ , Rombos opened Big Bone BBQ in Newmarket, Ont. The Ontario brands grew to include a Memphis BBQ in Milton and Big Bone locations in Barrie, Keswick, Maple, Markham and most recently, Ottawa. “It’s nice to have some diversity,” Rombos said of the two brands. The restaurants’ decor is also distinct, as each of the eight stores has its own look. “We don’t open big box stores,” Rombos said. “We look for off-the-beaten-track spots and customize our stores around what’s existing.” While scouting locations for a new Big Bone BBQ , Rombos looks for existing restaurants

Big Bone BBQ president Tim Rombos. with bathrooms, exhaust and with required zoning already in place. “From an economic point of view, we try to find competitive rents where we give our ownership a chance to make some money. Our biggest priority is having some parking,” Rombos said. “Our reputation is strong enough to draw people regardless of where we are.” With a sweet and tangy flavour, Big Bone is similar to South Carolina-style barbecue. However, Rombos said he’s developed his own style. “A lot of our cooking techniques were developed early on through our dealings with Americans on the ribfest circuit,” Rombos said. “We’ve sort of developed our own style of cooking. It’s not a duplicate or replicate of anything

we’ve come across.” With eight stores now in the chain, Rombos plans to expand outside of Ontario, looking east to Quebec or the Atlantic provinces. “We think our concept would do well, especially with the amount of American tourism that flows into those provinces,” Rombos said. The franchise fee for Big Bone BBQ costs $25,000 as well as a $5,000 to $25,000 development fee, depending on the amount of work required. As well, operators pay a five per cent royalty fee and one per cent advertising fee. “A lot of people do their own smoking, so they like to talk shop,” Rombos said. “Our operators) can’t just talk the talk. They have to walk the walk.”

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GO Transit and PRESTO, divisions of Metrolinx, are continuing to improve and transform the way people experience travel across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. We are inviting food & beverage, retail, and grocery organizations to contribute in an Expression of Interest for food and retail experiences across the GO Transit network of stations. Additionally, we are inviting retail and financial services organizations to contribute by participating in an Expression of Interest for a payment/experience across the PRESTO system. If interested, please email your company information to dkincaid@level5strategy.com by August 16th, 2015 to obtain further information. If desired, a one on one meeting between your company and Metrolinx can be arranged beginning the week of August 17th, 2015.

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BeaverTails surpasses 100 units, plans for 250 MONTREAL — Throughout BeaverTails’ 35year history, its hallmark pastry treat, resembling the tail of Canada’s national animal, has spread across the country and spilled over borders. With more than 100 Canadian BeaverTails units in eight provinces, the Montreal-based company opened its 100th store in early August at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, one of three units in the United States. There are international distribution agreements in Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. The company started as a kiosk in 1978 serving BeaverTails at a festival in the town of Killaloe, Ont., where founders Pam and Grant Hooker lived. The first restaurant opened in 1980 in Ottawa’s Byward Market. The company is now owned and operated by twin brothers Pino and Anthony Di Ioia, along with Pino’s wife Tina Serrao. Chief executive officer Pino Di Ioia said there are plans to open BeaverTails in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the two remaining provincial markets. Di Ioia noted the warm pastry sells well in the winter, but the company prefers to open new locations in March to capitalize on busy summer traffic. “We do really well when people are having fun and most Canadians are having fun in the summer because it’s just too darn cold in the winter,” Di Ioia said. “So our sales are actually higher in summer even through we are a warm product, because the amusement parks, the zoos and the water

BeaverTails opened its 100th unit in early August at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. parks are seasonal summer [destinations],” he said. Di Ioia said the next goal is 250 stores in Canada and the United States within five years. Currently, BeaverTails is growing at a rate of between 15 and 20 stores annually and will need to increase that to 30 stores a year to hit the 250-store mark in that timeframe. However, it’s important not to over-extend. Di Ioia has heard stories of proposals at Beaver-

Executive chef Dhruba Bastakoti.

Tails locations and of a husband driving from Toronto to Ottawa to fetch one for his pregnant wife. “It’s those stories, that for us, are the magic of the product ... We don’t want to have a BeaverTails everywhere to reduce that magic,” said Di Ioia. “We want to continue being really in those special places and operating alongside people who feel as magically about the products as these amazing clients do.”

About one-third of BreaverTails locations are owned by foodservice partners, such as the Toronto and Calgary zoos or Fernie Alpine Resort in British Columbia. “That’s a big part of our business, because we are a fair food and because the fair industry often controls its own food and beverage,” said Di Ioia. The flexible footprint comes in a number of formats: food truck, small and large trailers, refurbished shipping containers and brick-andmortar stores, which range in size from about 750 to 1,200 square feet. “It always depends on where we want to be. If we want to serve the festival market, which is an old mainstay of our product, that’s when we call our treat fleet in to service,” said Di Ioia. He notes there are different degrees of mobility for each format, something that became important to the brand due to its success at fairs. “The food truck, of course, you put the key in and you go. The trailers take a couple of hours to unhook and go, whereas the container would be maybe four or five hours, a little bit more preparation but you’re still ultimately mobile,” he said. Its strong roots at fairs and amusement parks may also influence which new products have been successful: ice cream, smoothies, hot chocolate, poutine and BeaverDogs, a Nathan’s hot dog wrapped in a BeaverTail pastry. “Certainly, there’s a little bit of Canadiana,” said Di Ioia, and they fall into the hand-held category, but, “What it comes down to is fun food.”

Aqua Restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Kitchener-Waterloo.

Aqua an upscale option for downtown Kitchener KITCHENER, Ont. — The former Delta in downtown Kitchener has undergone a multimillion dollar transformation over the past two years. Deflagged as a Delta in May 2013, it operated as an independent brand for a year while undergoing the renovations required to reflag as an IHG Crowne Plaza in April 2014. Now, the last of the renos, the icing on the cake, is Aqua Restaurant,

which held its grand opening June 19. “There are not a lot of seafood restaurants in the area,” said Yari Khan, Crowne Plaza general manager. “We wanted to be a niche seafood restaurant — we even have a fish in our logo.” But Aqua serves continental items as well as seafood. Just under 2,000 square feet with 90 seats, Aqua replaces the former

Botanica Restaurant and Centre Point Lounge, a breakfast and lunch outlet. The space was completely gutted. Jolanta Lukas of Royal Design used vibrant, strong colour themes. “This hotel belongs in the community because business is demanding an upscale brand,” said Khan. Aqua is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Executive chef Dhruba Bastakoti

came to Aqua from the Four Seasons Toronto. He was the sous chef at the Crowne Plaza until his promotion earlier this year. The restaurant serves continental and full breakfasts, and the buffet design showcases the menu items. “There are traditional eggs, egg wraps, egg quiches — not just your traditional scrambled eggs,” Khan said. Lunch includes a build your own

special for $9.99, with tacos, soup and salad as options. The clientele includes the local business community., as the Crowne Plaza is close to the court house, city hall and an array of other companies and corporations. “One really popular item is red curry seafood soup,” Khan added. The hotel has 15,000 square feet of conference facilities, including a ballroom for up to 450 people, and 201 rooms.

September 2015 | 7


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7/28/15

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Pinkberry, the California-based frozen yogurt purveyor, has opened its first Ontario location. The froyo chain opened its doors at Mississauga’s Square One Shopping Centre on Aug. 20, the first Canadian location east of Alberta. “There has been no expansion eastwards in Canada. This is the first foray for Pinkberry in Ontario,” said Dina Vieira, the brand’s spokesperson. The second Ontario location is expected to open at Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke, Ont., this fall. “There are a few more GTA locations that are slated to open PM to the new year,” Vieira said. up1:44 closer Pinkberry was created in Los Angeles, Calif. in 2005. In the last decade, the brand has opened about 100 stores in 21 countries on five continents. Pinkberry entered the Canadian market in 2011, opening a store in Vancouver, followed by a second franchise in Edmonton. At the Square One location, Pinkberry will serve the original tart flavour, as well as pomegranate, chocolate hazelnut, dairyfree tropical mango, green tea and salted caramel. “It’s geared towards the market. Each market selects flavours

that are in line with the demographics and taste from that region,” Vieira said. The yogurt is made in-store daily from low fat or no fat milk, and the fruit toppings are prepared daily. “All the fruit is hand cut. It’s not served again the next day,” Vieira said. “It’s a premium yogurt experience.” As its Ontario flagship store, Matthew Maida, director of operations for Pinkberry GTA, explained the location will highlight “the very best we have to offer” as a brand. “Each element of our store, from music to design, is carefully thought out and together creates a modern and cool atmosphere,” Maida said. “We’ve taken creative steps in store design because one of our core values, in addition to service and product, is to create inspirational environments.” Maida added Mississauga was strategically selected as the first Ontario location. “Mississauga has been growing for the past decade at a tremendous pace and the Square One Shopping Centre has been reinventing itself,” Maida said. “Mississauga has been a worldclass city for a long time without receiving the credit it deserves and we wanted to be a part of the story.”

Good Earth lands at Ottawa airport OTTAWA — Good Earth Coffeehouse opened its first Ontario location in the Ottawa International Airport in late July. Nan Eskenazi and Michael Going co-founded the company in 1991 with a single Calgary location. Now, there are more than 45 coffeehouses in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario. “Ottawa was a natural landing point for the Good Earth brand,” said Gerry Docherty, president and chief operating officer. “Ottawa is a city with strong positive growth. They have a very sophisticated coffee culture already in Ottawa and our unique brand offering is natural fit for this market,” Docherty said. The Ottawa location also marks the company’s first foray into airport foodservice, which Docherty said is the perfect venue to introduce Good Earth to both Ottawa residents and visitors. “The airport location provides just the right exposure for our brand to expand into the core of Ottawa and progress across Ontario from there,” he added. Good Earth has multiple franchises available within the province, both to multi- and single-unit operators in Ottawa and the Greater Toronto Area. A location on Yonge Street near the Davisville Station has been secured and franchised. “Our goal is to target all the major centres in Ontario as well as some of the smaller markets with universities and hospitals. Our goal is to open 10 to 12 locations a year,” said Docherty. The brand is also looking to move into Manitoba with three Winnipeg units. “We have locations tied up and we are actively looking for the right franchise partners to bring our brand into that market,” Docherty said. While the company is considering moving further east as part of Good Earth’s national expansion plans, Docherty said its immediate focus is on the Ontario market.

The average footprint for urban and suburban locations ranges between 1,800 and 2,000 square feet and up to 60 seats, and non-traditional kiosk locations in hospitals, universities and now airports can be anywhere from 400 to 1,000 square feet. Docherty described the environment as warm and laid-back. “The décor changes to suit the environment where [the location] is. Good Earth is not a chain-like, cookie cutter type of brand,” said Docherty. “Although the brand and the layout of our counter stays the same, there will always be elements that are unique to the neighbourhood that it’s in.” With a handful of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees, Docherty said Good Earth takes social and environmental responsibility seriously. “We source our coffee though a direct trade approach that ensures all our coffee growers are supporting the environment as well as giving back to the communities in which they operate,” he said. “We also expect our franchise partners to give back into the communities where they own their locations. On a national level, we partner with Habitat for Humanity and the Nature Conservancy of Canada,” Docherty added. Other environmental efforts include supporting wind power and using compostable packaging, according to Docherty. He said Good Earth’s food program — which represents 40 to 45 per cent of sales — is also a differentiator, with baked goods, breakfasts, soups, stews and sandwiches made daily on site. “All of this combined, the Good Earth brand offers consumers a choice. A choice to do good, whether that good is that they feel good about supporting a coffee brand that has strong social and environmental initiatives or be able to enjoy a tasty and wholesome food product with their great cup of coffee. That’s really been the key to our success and growth over the last 24 years,” Docherty said.


D E C O D I N G T H E D ATA

Raising the bar at full service restaurants By Scott Stewart Traditionally, full service restaurants (FSRs) have been lunch and supper destinations. According to The NPD Group, three-quarters of all FSR visits are for lunch and supper. With such a large part of the segment’s business coming from those two dayparts, it is understandable there is less focus on other types of occasions; but that doesn’t mean other dayparts are not viable growth strategies for operators. Specifically, the bar occasion presents a sizable opportunity for restaurants to grow their business outside of lunch and supper. In the last year, Canadians made a total of 60 million visits to FSRs between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. The sales from those occasions surpassed $950 million. While these figures may pale in comparison to the size of lunch and supper, FSR bar visits represent a prime opportunity for operators to grow traffic and dollars on top of what they already make at the traditional main meals. Attracting consumers at this daypart can leverage FSR advantages to compete with traditional bars, pubs and clubs, which expands the revenue potential of a restaurant.

More than just a dining room According to The NPD Group, 54 per cent of Canadian adults have visited a full service

restaurant to have drinks or socialize in the bar area. This is relatively high penetration since the bar area of many restaurants is usually a secondary consideration, often utilized for overflow from the dining room. However, Canadians are actually using FSR bars as a destination. The most common bar occasion at FSR is an informal hangout, followed by date nights and girls/guys nights out. The common theme throughout these occasions is the social nature of the visit; people want to use the bar to interact with the other guests at the table. This demand for socializing is reflected in the reasons consumers choose an FSR bar over a pub or nightclub. The ability to talk comfortably and sit comfortably are among the top three reasons customers choose an FSR bar over other nightlife options. The FSR bar creates an atmosphere conducive to socializing and restaurateurs should leverage that advantage to steal occasions from bars, pubs and nightclubs. Interestingly, there is a slight gender difference in the motivations behind these FSR bar visits. While comfortable atmosphere is a leading driver for both sexes, women are 38 per cent more likely to say they visited because they wanted to be able to talk comfortably, and 19

per cent are more likely to visit for more comfortable seating. On the other hand, men are about 20 per cent more likely to visit because of better service and the greater ease of ordering drinks compared to bars and clubs. With this in mind, operators can tweak their strategy depending on their target demographic — restaurants that cater more to women should create a comfortable atmosphere to allow for socializing, while restaurants that skew toward men would benefit from a focus on great service and responsive servers.

FSR’s competitive advantage Beyond the atmosphere and service an FSR can provide in its bar area, there is one more key ingredient these restaurants can use to battle pubs and clubs: food. While two out of the top three reasons for choosing an FSR bar over a traditional pub or club relate to atmosphere, the number one reason is the person wanted to have dinner. Rounding out the top five reasons are better tasting food and wider variety of food, making the importance of food evident at FSR bars. This importance is reflected when speaking to consumers about what they ordered at the FSR bar occasion; almost 90 per cent of people who visit an FSR bar order food. With that in mind, it is clear the food offer-

ings at FSRs, which are the focus of the main lunch and supper occasions, are a key advantage these operators have over pubs and clubs.

Winning the bar visit In a flat FSR market with no indication of organic growth in the near future, it is important for operators to explore new opportunities to increase traffic and revenue. Bar occasions at the restaurant present an opportunity to grow traffic without affecting the core daypart business. To do this, operators must highlight the benefits of their restaurant compared to other nightlife options. Great food options that cater to social situations, as well as comfortable noise levels and seating, is what will bring more Canadians into the bar at FSRs. Communicating these benefits to customers will resonate with what they look for in a bar visit, and make your restaurant top of mind next time they’re out with friends, going on a date or having a night out on the town. Scott Stewart is an account manager, foodservice Canada for The NPD Group. The NPD Group has more than 25 years of experience providing reliable and comprehensive consumer-based market information to leaders in the foodservice industry. For more information, visit www.npd.com or contact him at scott.stewart@npd.com.

Toronto restaurateurs launch foodservice-centric podcast TORONTO – Restaurateurs in Toronto now have an outlet to share their taste in music. Ian McGrenaghan and Colin Tooke, owners of Grand Electric and Electric Mud in Toronto, have launched a restaurant-based podcast. Dubbed Electric Radio, the podcast features restaurateurs and bartenders playing, and talking about, their favourite genres of music. “It’s a playlist curated by them, whether it’s stuff they listen to or a certain genre they’re into,” Tooke said. “We’ve kind of always wanted a cool format to play what we like.” McGrenaghan explained music is an important element of creating a restaurant’s atmosphere. “Food is the reason people go to restaurants, but the memories they take with them, whether they realize it or not, are profoundly affected by a lot of things,” McGrenaghan said. “Music is one of them.” However, the music featured in the podcast isn’t necessarily linked to cuisine or the foodservice industry. “It might be stuff they play in the restaurant as well. There’s a variety of different back stories to each episode,” McGrenaghan said. The first episode of the podcast, which was recorded in Tooke’s shed, featured Parts & Labour chef Matty Matheson. Michael Webster from Bar Raval, Geoff Hopgood of Hopgood’s Foodliner, Adrian Ravinsky from 416 Snack Bar and Chris Harp-

er of Pharmacy are also scheduled to appear on the show. “We have others lined up as well,” Tooke said. “Hopefully, we start to get more people involved.” McGrenaghan and Tooke will deliver their own episode of Electric Radio featuring ’70s funk. “To us, it’s pretty important. At all of our restaurants, we put a lot of thought into the tunes we play,” McGrenaghan said. “It’s not a random playlist, by any means. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not what we’re about.” Alongside promoting music, the podcast includes mention of The Stop Community Food Centre as a way to raise awareness for the organization. “They’re, I would consider, one of the more well-known and better run food-based charities in the city,” McGrenaghan said. “In addition to playing cool music and getting everyone a little bit of PR, we wanted to do something good.” The podcast is available on Grand Electric’s website at grandelectrictoronto.com/radio. Podcasts are recorded at least every other week. “Whenever we get the chance to pull ourselves and our friends away from our businesses,” Tooke said. “Hopefully, it does turn into something bigger. Right now, it’s just something that can help raise money for The Stop and we can have fun doing it.”

September 2015 | 9


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your kitchen

Make the Most of

Redesigning a kitchen with space, energy and labour efficiency in mind.

By B i ll Tr e m Bl ay

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he Metro Toronto Convention Centre has nearly doubled the number of plates it’s capable of producing without increasing the kitchen’s floor space. Following a $6 million renovation, the centre has grown its hourly meal production to 1,000 plates, up from about 550 plates before the redesign. “As our business grew, the capacity for what we were trying to achieve did not,” said Richard Willett, the centre’s vice-president of food and beverage. “We had the original technology in there. We were still running with French service style.”

1 2 | Ontario Restaurant News


When the time came to renovate, planning played a major role in reinventing the 30-yearold kitchen. Before announcing completion of the project in late 2013, convention centre staff spent three years planning and researching kitchen design. “Part of that three-year planning stage was exploratory. We took a look at the best in class around North America,” Willett said. “It was also education. We needed to understand what was happening and be ready for future trends, as well as have the capacity to make changes.” To help determine the direction of the renovation, staff gathered input from stakeholders at the convention centre to determine what is expected from the kitchen, an interesting task considering its clients range from black tie to the cosplay crowd at Fanexpo. Kitchen staff also had an opportunity to share how the kitchen could improve. “I think consultation of all the stakeholders is the most important component of all of this,” Willett said. “We talked to all of our different markets, and we’re pretty diverse. You need to be able to cater to all of those demographics and palates.” To plan the redesign, the convention centre worked with consulting firm William Caruso & Associates. William Caruso, the namesake of the company, explained they were able to maximize each square foot of the kitchen by building upwards. “Instead of spreading out and creating larger spaces, we’ll tend to build up a little bit if we can,” Caruso said. He added equipment capable of accomplishing various tasks, like a combi oven, is a vital component of a successful kitchen. “The combination of conserving on space and making really sure you have multi-functional equipment that is space saving and labour saving is really critical to the overall health of a foodservice facility,” Caruso said. Willett and staff decided to install 13 combi ovens capable of steaming, baking and roasting. Blast chillers were also added to quickly reduce food temperatures ensuring safe storage and quality, and a conveyor belt was installed to increase speed in plating meals. “From where we were three or four years ago to where we are now is like night and day,” Willett said. Ergonomics played a role in how the convention centre would revamp its kitchen. Willett explained low turnover in staff equals an aging workforce. “It’s great that we have a very engaged employee base, but with that comes opportunities as that employee base ages,” Willett said. “Everything was thought through with that in mind.” Soup kettles with automatic stir and pour features were installed, making it easier and safer for kitchen staff. As well, the dishwashing area was revamped to eliminate the need for staff to lift dish racks above their chests. “We put in blast washers in the pot washing area, it’s almost like a car wash. The pots and pans go straight in, they’re pressure washed on each side,” Willett said. “The previous model was hand washing.” The test kitchen at Hendrix Restaurant Equipment & Supplies is designed to show how maximizing space benefits the operator. Rob Vass, the Ontario sales manager for Hendrix, explained proper placement of appliances helps reduce the number of employee hours required. For example, in the test kitchen, re-

frigeration is placed below prep areas to reduce the overall work area and time needed. “The less leg traffic, the more efficient they are right at the space, it’s less labour intensive,” Vass said. “It creates a more efficient space for the number of people required to operate a kitchen.” Energy efficiency and extended equipment life is the popular focus of Hendrix’s clientele looking to build or renovate a kitchen. “The trend right now is people are looking at better quality product that is more efficient because of the cost of energy today,” Voss said. While the upfront cost for an energy-efficient appliance is likely more, the savings will eventually exceed the price difference. “If you’re in it for the long haul and you maintain your equipment effectively, it’s worth that investment,” Vass said. Energy efficiency is also a priority for Caruso when planning a kitchen. One conservation method is to install a utility distribution centre, which allows staff to use less energy. “Years ago, in some of the old kitchens, the chef would arrive in the morning and throw 50 switches and each piece of equipment would start warming up,” Caruso said. “The energy surge would be fabulous. It would go through the roof.” Today, a utility distribution centre allows preprogramming through a centralized computer. “You program each piece of equipment at the computer centre and one piece goes on at 6 a.m., another at 10 a.m.,” Caruso said. “You conserve energy and use each piece of equipment only when you need it.” Heat generated from kitchen refrigerators may be redirected into the establishment’s heating system. “If you’re channelling that super-heated air, you’re taking it out of the super-hot kitchens,” Caruso said. “You’re creating better work environments as well.” In Hendrix’s test kitchen, each appliance displays innovations in energy conservation. The right ventilation system, for example, could help an operator save cash. Vass explained advancements in kitchen exhaust use sensors to determine how hard the unit needs to work rather than constantly operating at full capacity. “Depending on the type of cooking you’re doing underneath the hood, it has different sensors built into it to recognize that,” Vass said. “The hood reacts and responds to the cooking taking place under the hood.”

Rob Vass, Ontario sales manager for Hendrix Restaurant Equipment & Supply. The intelligent exhaust systems save energy by reducing the amount of power required by the fan, as well as reducing the load on heating or air conditioning systems as less air is forced out of the building. “The return on the upgrade cost compared to traditional equipment pays off within a year in energy savings,” Vass said. A high temperature dishwasher, such as the Energy Star model installed in the Hendrix test kitchen, will save on energy as well as water costs. “You don’t have to use as much water because it’s recapturing some of the wash water in the form of condensation, which is clean, and then it goes back into the rinse cycle,” Vass said, noting the heat from the steam is also reused. Removing steam is also a benefit to the employee using the appliance. “When you open it up, there’s not as much steam, you’re not blasting yourself in the face or adding heat to the environment,” Vass said. For refrigeration, oversized compressors and improved insulation will increase a kitchen’s en-

ergy efficiency. “It uses less energy because it takes the heat out of the product quicker and doesn’t need to run as long,” Vass said. While a redesign aims to improve a workspace, Caruso says to beware of the phrase “value engineering,” a term pitched by contractors as a positive avenue to cost savings. “Sometimes the rush to get things done, and the rush to save money is a dual-headed monster at the end of a job,” Caruso said. “We see it all the time.” Although construction cost may go down, value engineering isn’t cheaper in the long run, according to Caruso. He explained a higher utility cost alone from a less efficient appliance would add up over a few years. “There’s equipment contractors who would rather substitute certain equipment we design in, and tell an owner ‘we’re saving you $20,000,’” Caruso said. “You take something out and you cheap it down. Ultimately, the client and the guest is the loser.”

Get by on your own supply The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) didn’t stop at renovating its kitchen. It also changed how it sources some of its ingredients. Included in the redevelopment was a rooftop herb garden, which staff is already planning to double in size. “We’re drying our own herbs. We’re pickling a lot of our own things,” Willett said. For kitchens without an available rooftop, Hendrix suggests a solution. The Urban Cultivator allows restaurateurs to grow their own organic herbs indoors in a reasonably compact space. “If they’re using a lot of greens in a sandwich place or juice bars, they’re producing all

the kale and sprouts and cilantro,” Vass said. He added the indoor, hydroponic garden is able to produce cilantro for about a quarter of its purchase price. “The return on investment over time is pretty darn quick with these, in a high-need area,” Vass said. As well, the MTCC has recently started aging its own meat. After importing protein fridges from Italy, Willett said they are now able to age meat for dinner services with 2,000 guests. They plan to expand the program. “We’re the first convention centre, that I’m aware of in North America, that is aging our own meat,” he said.

The do-it-yourself approach to ingredients and menu items helps reduce costs and market the kitchen’s services. “It gives us a competitive edge just in terms of the story we’re telling,” Willett said, adding the centre is looking into its own cheese caves. “If we can reduce our pricing, we can remain more competitive. The pricing on meat right now is ridiculous.” During the redesign, MTCC also doubled the size of its pastry kitchen. The convention centre is now producing 95 per cent of its pastries. “We used to purchase 90 per cent,” Willett said. “We’re doing everything from scratch.”

September 2015 | 1 3


Charoen Pokphand opens new office in Markham

Pichan Tantanaseekun, vice-president of operations and Ted Takounseun, president of CPF Canada in Markham, Ont.

MARKHAM, Ont. —The Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), Thailand’s largest private company, and one of Asia’s largest conglomerates, recently set up shop in Markham, Ont. The group consists of three core businesses that operate in the agribusiness and food, retail and distribution, and the telecommunications industries, with investment in 16 countries. Founded in 1921, the CP Group currently employs more than 300,000 people, with offices and factories located worldwide. A fully integrated agribusiness, CP today has become the world’s largest producer of animal feed and shrimp,

and a leading producer of poultry. Charoen Pokphand Foods Canada Inc. now has an office located at 7030 Woodbine Ave. in Markham. There they deal mainly with chicken products, both retail and foodservice, but they also deal with shrimp, said Ted Takounseun, president. One of the things they are trying to promote is head-on shrimp. “Outside of North America, everyone eats shrimp head on,” Takounseun noted. Shrimp with the head and shell on can’t be soaked in salt and chemicals the way head-off, peeled and deveined shrimp can be. “You cannot mask the freshness,”

he said. “We are the only company in Thailand with a processing plant a couple of hours from the farm.” He added that CP’s shrimp mortality rate is very low, more fresh and more “bouncy.” Since CP’s operations are fully integrated with company farms, feed, hatcheries and processing, it’s easier to trace the origin of any problems. Ontario Restaurant News recently had a chance to see first hand how CP integrates its products and processes, as they toured the company’s Roiphet shrimp facility and CPF Klaeng shrimp processing facility on a recent trip to Thailand.

CP’s closed system boosts Thai shrimp production TRAT, Thailand — In Southeast Thailand, at the Roiphet facility not far from the Cambodian border, CP (Charoen Pokphand), Thailand’s largest privately-held company and one of the world’s largest conglomerates, is studying a closed system to grow shrimp that has quick growth, better survival rate and higher density than From left: Shrimp at the Roiphet hatchery; Steve and Colleen Isherwood with Pairapong Chartraditional operations. leowsak at Klaeng; Roiphet host Somrat Chamnankit with Natapong Suthanarugh and Juthamart It’s a biosecure system to prevent Dansermsuk of CP. pathogens. Water is constantly rotated, recycled and recirculated. The reducing the time to grow to matu- one-quarter to one-third of the labour shrimp is mostly 50 to 60 per kilogram. Compared to conventional water for the facility comes from a nat- rity from 100 days to 40, says Somrat of a conventional shrimp farm. CP has 188 farms in Thailand, farming, they can produce 10 times ural canal, and is a mix of sea water Chamnankit, assistant managing dimostly in the southeast. There are more shrimp in the same area. rector for the facility. and fresh water. At the shrimp processing facility The fry start out in a nursery; then plans to enclose what is now a tradiThe facility features automatic systems for feeding oxygen, ventilation, graduate to intermediate and mature tional shrimp culture facility on the in Klaeng, Pairapong Charleowsak, senior vice-president, explained that and the water temperature is kept con- tanks. This enables the plant to pro- Roiphet property in the future. From here, the shrimp go to the the facility processes white shrimp into stant at 30-32 C. It meets both ISO duce six to seven crops rather than two to three under the old system. Shrimp CP processing plant at CPF Klaeng, shrimp wonton and shrimp wonton 14001 and OSH 18001 certification. The Roiphet operation can raise are harvested 15 to 20 times a month located partway between Bang- noodles. 50426_cp_ORN 3.25x5 Ad_MSchut_ReadyWhen_CA.pdf 1 7/28/15 1:43 PM The shrimp processing facility three generations of shrimp at once, using a fully-automated process. The kok and Trat. The total amount of facility shrimp produced here each year is must be located not more than 50 kilorequires 4,800 metric tonnes. The size of the metres from the farm for quality con-

trol, he said. The factory provides five inspections for peeling, sorting, cleaning, soup and seasoning. The only part of the factory that can’t be mechanized is wrapping of the shrimp in the wonton noodles — they are wrapped by hand. “It’s labour intensive,” Charleowsak said. “We tried to wrap wontons via machine, but it didn’t work out. The best labourer can wrap 800 wontons per hour.” For the Authentic Asia wonton noodle soup product, there is an Xray machine, a metal detector and the product is packed by line robots. Plant capacity is 200,000 bowls per day. The biggest markets are the U.S. and Canada, more retail than foodservice. CP uses the raw wonton format with a sachet so that consumers can boil water, add the soup and add the wonton. “It’s quite specialized, with soup noodles and fish all in one bowl,” Charleowsak said.

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1 4 | Ontario Restaurant News

PHUKET, Thailand — Cashew nuts are the seeds of the tropical evergreen cashew tree. They grow on the end of the cashew apple. In Thailand, farmers usually throw away the fruit. Supphaluck (Lucky) Suhirunyawanich, president of The Cashewy Phuket Co. Ltd., and Sri Supphaluck Orchid, has found a way to use that discarded fruit. Suhirunyawanich is the third generation in her family to run the cashew operation. About 15 years ago, a professor from Israel toured her plant in Phuket, Thailand and asked why she wasn’t producing cashew juice from the apples. Suhirunyawanich thought back to her early teens when her grandfather gave her a taste of the fruit straight from the tree and she puckered up. But then he took the fruit, sliced it, pressed the juice, and added sugar and chili — and it tasted good. In 2001, the company, in co-opera-

Supphaluck (Lucky) Suhirunyawanich. tion with the Thai Department of Industrial Promotion, started researching cashew apple juice with the help of faculty members at Prince of Songkla University, in Southern Thailand. In 2002, the “cashewy” brand of cashew apple juice was introduced to the Thai herbal drinks market. That year, when the professor returned, Suhirunyawanich had successfully processed the cashew fruit into a

drink, to the delight of her visitor. “It [treats] the cough, the common cold and helps with sleep,” Suhirunyawanich told ORN. “It is also good for old people.” Cashewy Juice is sold at her factory/ retail outlet in Phuket, and at the Phuket airport in a syrup or concentrate, or combined with soda as a stand-alone beverage. It can also be used in cocktails and mocktails.


S U P P LY New company logo following the completed merger of Kraft and Heinz.

Kraft Heinz to cut 2,500 jobs NORTHFIELD, Ill. — Following the merger of two large food manufacturers in early July, The Kraft Heinz Company announced it would eliminate about 2,500 positions across Canada and the United States. The layoffs include about 700 employees from the Kraft Heinz headquarters in Northfield Ill., according to an Aug. 12 statement by Michael Mullen, senior vice-president of corporate and government affairs for The Kraft Heinz Company. The company would not specify where the remaining 1,800 cuts would take place but told the Associated Press all would be salaried positions and none would involve factory workers. The merger of Kraft and Heinz was backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capitol. Heinz was taken over in 2013 by a partnership between Berkshire and 3G. Bernando Hees, a 3G partner and chief executive officer of Kraft Heinz, oversaw cost-cutting at the ketchup company following the acquisition, which included eliminating 600 office jobs in Canada and the United States. In the Aug. 12 statement, Mullen said the process of integrating the two companies and “designing our new organization is well underway.” He said the leadership team has examined Kraft Heinz’s operations to find efficiencies. “We have developed a new streamlined structure for our organization to simplify, strengthen and leverage the company’s scale. This new structure eliminates duplication to enable faster decision-making, increased accountability and accelerated growth,” said Mullen. The company is offering at least six months severance and outplacement services. According to Kraft Heinz’s second quarter results report, the company is confident it will meet its initial financial expectations for the merger, including runrate cost savings of $1.5 billion by the end of 2017.

Ardent Mills to acquire flour mill DENVER — Flour milling and ingredient company Ardent Mills announced in late August plans to acquire the Mondelez Canada flour mill located in Mississauga, Ont. The mill produces hard and soft wheat flour for Canadian bakeries and a number of food manufacturing customers. Details of the transaction, which is expected to close in September, were not disclosed. According to Ardent Mills, the Mississauga mill will add to its capabilities to serve food manufacturers across Canada. The more than 30 existing team members are expected to join Ardent Mills when the transaction closes. “They have a strong team in place at the mill, with a passion for the craft of milling,” Dan Dye, Ardent Mills chief executive officer, said in a news release. Ardent Mills also has milling operations in Saskatoon and Montreal, as well as a bakery-mix facility in Burlington, Ont. and an administrative/sales office in Brampton, Ont.

COMING EVENTS Sept. 17-20: P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival, Charlottetown Festival Grounds, Charlottetown. peishellfish.com

Oct. 21: Restaurants for Change. restaurantsforchange.ca

Sept. 18-20: Toronto Food & Wine, Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto. torontofoodandwine.com

Oct. 24: Canadian Hospitality Foundation Ball, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto. thechf.ca

Oct. 4-5: Canadian Coffee & Tea Show, Vancouver Convention Centre East. coffeeteashow.ca

Oct. 25-27: Natures Expo Virtual Trade Show. naturesexpo.com

Oct 18-19: Connect Food + Lodging + Drink, Vancouver Convention Centre West. connectshow.com

Nov. 19-22: Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto. oodandwineexpo.ca

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BEVERAGE NEWS

Charles Benoit, The Toronto Distillery Company founder.

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Toronto distillery sues LCBO TORONTO – A Toronto-based distillery is asking the Superior Court to take a sober look at the provincial markup Ontario spirit producers must pay per bottle. In July, The Toronto Distillery Company filed a lawsuit against the LCBO claiming the liquor control board is taking an unconstitutional cut of sales on bottles sold at independent retail stores. “The revenue collection is so overkill. This is a life or death issue for every small distillery in Ontario,” said Charles Benoit, one of the company’s founders. “Hoping the government would turn its attention to this some point down the road was not an option.” The Toronto Distillery Company makes organic whisky, gin and beet spirit in The Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. According to the lawsuit, when the distillery sells a bottle from their retail store, they are required to pay nearly half of the price to the LCBO. When the distillery sells a $26.85 bottle of gin from their retail store, they must pay the LCBO $12.44 as well as $3.07 in HST and a $3.50 federal excise tax. Since Ontario does not have a spirits tax, Benoit argues the LCBO levy is unconstitutional. The distillery will be self-represented in court. Benoit, who once worked as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., has also asked the court for an injunction on the distillery’s payments to the LCBO. “The constitution requires that taxes are legislated.

That means all members of provincial parliament are responsible for all taxes in the province,” Benoit said, adding spirits do not fall under the same tax as beer and wine. Christine Bujold, a spokesperson for the LCBO, said she is unable to comment as The Toronto Distillery Company is currently in the midst of a contract dispute with LCBO. “As this is an ongoing matter, it would be inappropriate for the LCBO to comment further on the specifics of the dispute,” Bujold said in an email to ORN. The amount of money collected per bottle does not differ whether it is sold at the distillery’s retail store or an LCBO location. Benoit said the amount collected is reasonable for a bottle sold at the LCBO, as it is responsible for distribution and retail costs. “Those two activities are very expensive,” he said. “But to apply the same thing to our retail store is too much.” To raise funds needed for the legal fight, the distillery created what it has dubbed the Constitutional Defenders Wall. Anyone who donates to the court challenge will have their name posted on a wall in the distillery. So far, about 50 names have been posted to the wall. “We didn’t know if it would be popular or not, but it has been,” Benoit said. “We certainly believe this is a concrete step likely to improve the climate for small scale distilling in Ontario.”

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Nobilo winemaker Dave Edmonds.

1 6 | Ontario Restaurant News

TORONTO – Nobilo winemaker Dave Edmonds paid a visit to Oliver & Bonacini at 33 Yonge St. in Toronto to provide an advanced tasting of the 2015 Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc on Aug. 19. The New Zealand-made Sauvignon Blanc was recently introduced to Ontario alongside the winery’s award winning Pinot Noir. Nobilo wines are sourced from vineyards within the Marlborough region of New Zealand – the premier region for cool climate varieties. Nikola Nobilo, a Croatian immigrant, founded the winery in 1943 after the threat of the Second World War prompted his family to leave Europe. The Nobilo family brought 300 years of winemaking tradition with them when they immigrated to New Zealand.


BEVERAGE NEWS

New Ontario Brewing Company is reborn NORTH BAY, Ont. – More than a century has passed since beer was brewed in North Bay, Ont. For about eight years in the early 1900s, the New Ontario Brewing Company served as the city’s source of local suds. However, in 1915, the waterfront brewery was destroyed by fire. Now, Ron Clancy, Dan Delorme and Mike Harrison are resurrecting the New Ontario Brewing Company, at least in name. “With the craft brewing revolution in the last 15 or 20 years, we thought the time was right to bring it back,” said Harrison, who is brewmaster for the company. The revived New Ontario Brewing Company, which is expected to open by the end of summer, aims to pay tribute to its predecessor as well as the city’s heritage. “With war rationing, and the fact it mostly brewed German styles of beer, the funding wasn’t there to rebuild,” Harrison said. “We’ve decided to bring that back to the north.” The craft brewery, located at 1881 Cassells St., will brew a variety of beer with a focus on ale. An English pale ale and American blonde will serve as the brewery’s flagship brands. “I don’t want to pigeonhole us into one type,” Harrison said. “When people come in there will

be the staples they can get time and time again, but we also want them to come in to try the new distinct creative beer.” Before moving to commercial beer sales, Harrison created his own home brews for about a decade. Clancy and Delorme also crafted their own beer from home for about five years. Now the trio will operate a brewery capable of producing 40,000 litres of beer per month. The brewery will sell its products in 500-millilitre bottles as well as growlers. Alongside a retail store, the brewery features a seating area where customers are able to sample beer. Harrison added they plan to sell kegs to local bars and restaurants. However, the brewery isn’t allowed to solicit business before it opens. “I don’t expect it to be an issue with the support we’ve got from local business and population,” Harrison said. “I expect we’ll be on tap in a lot of bars and restaurants.” While Northern Ontario hasn’t embraced craft beer with the same fanfare as the southern end of the province, Harrison said breweries are popping up in the region. “It’s not as big as it is in Toronto, but you can tell the north is ready for it,” Harrison said. “We’ve got nothing but support from the community.”

Waterloo Brewing Co. staff and local dignitaries officially open the new brewhouse.

Waterloo Brewing Co. opens brewhouse KITCHENER, Ont. – A new brewhouse is allowing the Waterloo Brewing Co. to reduce its environmental footprint while increasing its presence in the craft beer market. Waterloo, the craft division of Brick Brewing Co., unveiled its new home at 400 Bingemans Centre Dr. in Kitchener, Ont., on Aug. 13. After 10 months of construction, the $9.3-million brewery and retail store is operational about two months ahead of schedule. The brewhouse will produce all products under the Waterloo label, including the new seasonal smallbatch Smoked Applewood Roggenbier launching this fall. “It’s extremely exciting,” said brewmaster Bill Henry. “The technology inside this brewhouse is fabulous. The control it gives us and the energy efficiency it provides us is really good.”

The brewhouse is three times the size and 60 per cent faster than the brewery’s previous home in Waterloo, Ont. The brewery is now capable of producing 216,000 litres per day, a 174,000-litre increase compared to its previous location. While capacity is increased, Henry said the brewery is still able to handcraft its beer, as well as create small batch, seasonal beers. “There are still hands-on sections of it and we’re able to be flexible and do some of the creative brewing we like to do,” Henry said. Luigi Fantin, director of engineering and maintenance, added the removal of steam in favour of hot water from most aspects of the brewing process increases the quality of Waterloo’s products. “You end up with less thermal impact,” Fantin said. “It leads to stability of the end product.”

George Croft, president and chief executive officer of Brick Brewing, explained the expansion coincides with a growing interest in craft beer as well as the province’s plan to introduce beer into grocery stores. “We believe the expansion is well timed and will address the opportunities in front of us,” Croft said. Alongside capacity, Waterloo also improved upon its ecological footprint. The brewhouse uses 50 per cent less natural gas and 40 per cent less electricity compared to the former location. As well, the facility uses 10 per cent less brewing materials and produces half of the wastewater of the previous brewery. “We ensured the new brewhouse is environmentally state of the art,” said Stan Dunford, a Brick Brewing Co. board member and largest shareholder in the company.

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September 2015 | 1 7


PEOPLE Fine wine director at Willowpark Wines and Spirits in Calgary Peter Smolarz has been selected to represent Canada at La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs International Jeunes Sommeliers Competition in Adelaide, Australia on Sept. 25, 2015. Entering his 10th year in the wine industry, Smolarz’s prior experience includes cellar master at Ranahans Member Restaurant in Calgary and travelling to winemaking regions to understand the methodology of wine production. In 2006, he worked a harvest in Chianti, Tuscany at Tolaini Estate Winery. The young sommeliers competition is open to professionals between the ages of 21 and 30. International participants are chosen through a competition in their home country.

Peter Smolarz

Competitors will be tested in theory, service and blind tasting and judged by an international panel, including Master Sommeliers. The blind tasting requires assessment by sight, nose and palate of wine colour, age, alcohol content, country of origin and appellation of wines, spirits, beers, ales, ciders, ports and sherries.

Emma National Wine Garner Award winners

WineAlign announced its 2015 National Wine Awards of Canada in late July. Mission Hill Family Estate in Kelowna, B.C., picked up its fourth Canadian Winery of the Year award. The Okanagan Valley winery brought home one platinum, four gold, six silver and 10 bronze medals under John Simes, who was chief winemaker for the corresponding 2012 to 2014 vintages and recently announced a shift from his role to focus on the von Mandl Family Estates’ collection of vineyards. The inaugural award for Best Small Winery (producing 10,000 cases or less) went to Thirty Bench Wine Makers in Beamsville,

Ont. The winery picked up one platinum, two gold, six silver and three bronze awards. Thirty Bench’s Emma Garner was also recently awarded Winemaker of the Year at the 2015 Ontario Wine Awards this past spring. The 15th annual awards saw 1,408 wines from 205 wineries enter the competition, including 60 new wineries involved for the first time. A record number of awards were handed out with 14 platinum, 101 gold, 263 silver and 375 bronze medals. Among the list of 14 platinum winners, which represent the top one per cent of Canadian wines, there were three gamays from British Columbia and Ontario, three Rhone/ syrah-inspired reds and one Rhone-inspired white from B.C., two cabernet francs from Ontario and one merlot-based blend from B.C., two chardonnays from Norman Hardie in Prince Edward County, a Ontario Niagara-area riesling and a vidal icewine from the Okanagan Valley, B.C.

PRODUCTS

Libby crafts beer glasses With craft beer continuing to soar in popularity, Libbey Foodservice released a line of glassware specific to the beverage segment. “Having the right glass for the right beer is good for business,” said Susan J. Dountas, director of foodservice marketing for Libbey Inc. “Beerspecific glassware maximizes the aromas and flavours of craft beer while also enhancing perceived value, which drives increased profit per serving.” Libbey’s craft beer glass was designed to highlight the attributes of many beer styles from an IPA to a stout. Its wheat beer glass features a rounded top to release the fruity, spicy aromas of the style. Mimicking the shape of an apple, the hard cider taster is designed to optimize the palate for the growing beverage sector. libbey.com

High Liner gets spicy High Liner Foodservice introduced two Sriracha-inspired products. High Liner’s Dip & Dusted Sriracha Cod Strips are two ounces and dipped in Sriracha-flavoured, southern-style coating. Ready to cook in the oven or fryer, the cod strips look like they were made in house. The Spicy Sriracha Cheddar Bites combine cheese with the sauce’s spicy garlic and chili flavours balanced with a hint of sweetness and are coated in southern-style crispy breading. They can be oven-baked or deep-fried from frozen in less than five minutes. highlinerfoodservice.com

1 8 | Ontario Restaurant News

Susan Senecal A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. announced several management changes on Aug. 18. Susan Senecal has been promoted to the newly created position of president and chief operating officer of A&W Food Services. She has 23 years experience with the quick service restaurant chain, most recently as chief marketing officer. The appointment recognizes Senecal’s experience in all areas of the business including marketing, operations, franchising and real estate.

James Quincey Muhtar Kent

&

Paul Hollands will transition from his current position as president and chief executive officer, retaining the CEO title and adding the role of chair. Hollands will also continue to hold his position as CEO of A&W Revenue Royalties Income Fund. The current chair, Jeff Mooney, will continue to serve as chairman emeritus and a director of A&W Food Services. He will also remain as a director of A&W Trade Marks Inc. A&W has more than 830 restaurants from coast-to-coast. James Quincey was been named president and chief operating officer of the Coca-Cola company, effective Aug. 13. Quincey has responsibility for all of the company’s operating units worldwide and reports directly to chairman and chief executive officer Muhtar Kent. Quincey is a 19-year veteran of Coca-Cola and since 2013, served as president of CocaCola’s Europe group, which is comprised of 38 countries. Concurrent to Quincey’s appointment, Ahmet Bozer, executive vice-president and president of Coca-Cola International, will retire after a 25-year career with the company. Bozer will stay with Coca-Cola until March 2016, to ensure a smooth transition. Bozer began his career with Coca-Cola in 1990 as a financial controller manager in Atlanta, and has advanced to serve in numerous leadership roles throughout the Coca-Cola system. He was named president of Coca-Cola International in 2012.

Pearls of any food Montreal-based Imperial Caviar & Seafood, which manufactures seaweed-based caviar substitute Kelp Caviar, launched a culinary device enabling chefs and bartenders to turn any food product into caviar-like shaped pearls. The Spherificator is a hand-held automatic pearl forming device. From breakfast to dinner, dessert and drinks the Spherificator transforms any meal (in minutes) into a culinary masterpiece. The Spherificator was launched on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and raised more than double its goal of $80,000. spherificator.com

Ketchup and mustard In July, French’s Food Company announced its new ketchup is made from only Canadian-grown tomatoes and its classic yellow mustard with 100 per cent Canadian mustard seed. According to the company, French’s Tomato Ketchup has no preservatives, no artificial colours or flavours, no allergens, no trans fats, is gluten-free and uses sugar, not corn syrup. frenchsfoodservice.com


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