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Hamilton’s HAMBRGR For chef Mike Cipollo, a desk job signals the beginning of the end for a successful restaurant concept By Bill Tremblay

the major project. It was something to do and keep us busy and have some fun with.” HAMILTON, Ont. — When chef Mike CiWithin a month, Cipollo signed a lease and pollo began scouting Hamilton for a location to created the concept for HAMBRGR, a 41-seat, open his first restaurant, he envisioned a large- 600-square-foot restaurant serving craft beer scale operation. and unique renditions of the classic hamburger Cipollo, who worked as Bier Markt’s corpo- made with local ingredients. Its doors opened in rate chef for about 12 years, planned to open a October 2015. “refined casual” restaurant with about 200 seats “We opened to a full restaurant and have in about 7,000 square feet. maintained that growth with the business and However, as he toured the city, a small va- concept,” Cipollo said. cant restaurant on King William Street nabbed Soon after opening, the space next to HAMhis attention. BRGR became available. Cipollo decided to acAPPROVAL REQUIRED “We thought it would be cool The toenclosed do aproofburger quire space is sent for your approval. We willthe not proceed with the for job untilatheseafood proof is NOT GIVE VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS. CHECK CAREFULLY! and beer place,” Cipollo said. DO “We decided, after watching an old episode Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. Alterations (other than typoerrors) will be charged extra. Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” as the case may “It was kind of a way to fill thegraphical between oftheThe Simpsons where Homer eats the blowbe,time signing your name so we may know that proof reached the proper authority.

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fish, we should open a place and call it Tasty Fish,” Cipollo said. While the original name didn’t last, the neighbouring space was transformed into FSH & CHP, which opened in June 2016. “We did the yang to yin of HAMBRGR,” Cipollo said. “Fish and chips were another thing we really love as chefs, but can’t find that’s refined.” The concern with opening a fish-focused restaurant was customers comparing their menu to a traditional fish and chips shop. “That’s dangerous waters. Everyone’s going to compare you to somebody’s grandmother’s place back in England,” Cipollo said. Continued on Page 13










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CORRECTION In the February 2017 issue of Ontario Resraurant News, a story on page 10 about the opening of La Banane in Toronto incorrectly spelled the name of the chef and partner. The correct spelling is Brandon Olsen. We regret the error.

RBI to acquire Popeyes for $1.8 billion OAKVILLE, Ont. — Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI) is adding fried chicken to its portfolio. On Feb. 21, RBI announced it plans to purchase Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. for US$1.8 billion. RBI, parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, will pay US$79 per share for the Atlanta, Ga.-based quick service chain. Founded in New Orleans in 1972, Popeyes has more than 2,600 restaurants in the United States and 25 other countries around the world, including more than 100 in Canada. According to a news release, the company’s global footprint will complement RBI’s existing portfolio of over 20,000 restaurants and more than US$24 billion in system sales. According to the jointly issued statement, Popeyes will continue to be managed indepen-

dently in the U.S. following the closing of the transaction. “Popeyes is a powerful brand with a rich Louisiana heritage that resonates with guests around the world. With this transaction, RBI is adding a brand that has a distinctive position within a compelling segment and strong U.S. and international prospects for growth,” said Daniel Schwartz, RBI chief executive officer. “As Popeyes becomes part of the RBI family we believe we can deliver growth and opportunities for all of our stakeholders including our valued employees and franchisees. “We look forward to taking an already very strong brand and accelerating its pace of growth and opening new restaurants in the U.S. and around the world.” The deal is expected to close by early April 2017.

Soon after the announcement, Cheryl Bachelder announced she will step down as chief executive officer of Popeyes. Bachelder, a former executive at KFC, joined Popeyes board of directors in 2006. The following year, she became CEO. “I am proud of the superior results the Popeyes team has delivered in recent years; they have served all stakeholders well. As Popeyes enters its 45th year, its success reflects the amazing brand entrusted to us by founder Al Copeland, Sr. and the unique high trust partnership that we enjoy with our franchise owners,” Bachelder said. Popeyes entered the Canadian market in 1984 and now has more than 100 units, predominantly in the Greater Toronto Area. The chain opened its first two locations outside of Ontario in Alberta in the fourth quarter of last year.

Prepare for slower growth says conference board OTTAWA — Increased competition paired with decreased consumer spending will slow growth in Canada’s foodservice industry, according to the Conference Board of Canada. In its recent report Canadian Industrial Outlook: Canada’s Food Service Industry, the board predicts revenue growth will be limited to 3.9 per cent in 2017. Pre-tax profit for foodservice is expected to reach $1.6 billion this year. “A lot of the tailwinds that have helped the industry in the last few years are not necessarily going to be there going forward,” said Michael Burt, director of industrial economic trends for the Conference Board of Canada. Since 2011, the number of restaurants in Canada has grown at a rate of 1.8 per cent. In the same time span, Canada’s population has grown at a rate of 1.1 per cent. “The industry has experienced healthy growth in terms of revenue and value over the last four or five years,” Burt said. “At the same time, the number of restaurants is growing almost twice as quickly as population growth.” As well, consumer spending growth is ex-

pected to drop to 1.5 to 2 per cent in the next few years, compared to previous growth of 2 to 2.5 per cent. “That’s tied to the fact that debt burdens are quite high. Income growth is going to be fairly modest so consumers are going to have to pull back a bit,” Burt said. “That means cutting back on discretionary spending, which would include restaurants.” Grocery stores will also take a bite out of revenue growth. While menu prices have increased, the cost of purchasing food from a grocery store is declining. “That makes it more attractive for people to spend their food dollar on ready-to-eat meals coming from a grocery store,” Burt said. “We’re concerned the price competitiveness of dining in versus dining out is changing.” The report also notes profit margins in the restaurant industry are low, averaging 2.3 per cent in the last 10 years. “It’s definitely below average. For a sector of that size, I’m struggling to think of one that’s comparable, in terms of a low margin,” Burt

said. “At two per cent, you’re having to rely on a lot of turnover to make a return on your investment.” The increase in competition, combined with a low margin, is contributing to “an uptick” in foodservice business bankruptcies. Nearly five out of every 1,000 businesses in the accommodations and foodservices sector will declare bankruptcy, more than three times the average for Canadian businesses. Burt noted bankruptcy statistics are a hospitality average, and restaurants are more likely to close than hotels. “We expect to see more businesses exiting the industry and a bit of a stabilization there,” Burt said. “That will coincide with some of the slower growth we expect to see in terms of revenue growth.” In the food manufacturing sector, pre-tax profit will climb four per cent to $4.2 billion this year. New trade deals, increased demand from the United States and weaker agricultural commodity prices are expected to drive growth.

COMING EVENTS March 27-30: International Pizza Expo, Las Vegas Convention Center. March 29: Gordon Food Service Show, Toronto Congress Centre. March 31-April 2: Toronto Food & Drink Market, Enercare Centre. March & April: 2017 California Wine Fair Tour, Ottawa (March 31); Toronto (April 3). April 5: Flanagan Foodservice Tradeshow, Kitchener/Owen Sound, Kitchener Auditorium Complex. April 20: OHI Gold Awards Dinner, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. April 21-23: Waterloo Region Food & Drink Show, Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex. April 26: Flanagan Foodservice Tradeshow, Garson Community Centre, Sudbury. April 23-24: Bakery Congress Trade Show & Conference, Vancouver Convention Centre. May 2-4: SIAL Canada Show, Enercare Centre, Toronto. May 24-27: CAFP National Conference 2017, Niagara Falls. May 25-29: CCFCC National Convention, Calgary. May 29: Terroir Symposium, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

March 2017 | 3



Technology isn’t everything


pps, smartphone wallets, mobile POS, digital menus, self-ordering kiosks and drone delivery — even robot servers. Restaurant owners have a lot to consider when it comes to the future of their business. For years, the foodservice and hospitality industry has tried to keep up with a rapidly evolving technology-based society. As it adopts customer-facing and operational innovations, more startups are launching new products aimed at tackling the labour crunch or helping servers understand and describe wine. At the recent RC Show, Ontario Restaurant News staff members were particularly excited by some of the tech innovations at the show, such as an interactive tabletop and an automated loose-leaf tea machine. See our picks for show floor highlights on page 18.

Restaurant tech is shiny and new, and nobody wants to be left behind, especially in an industry as competitive as ours. On page 3, coverage of the Conference Board of Canada’s recent foodservice outlook suggests sales will slow due to increased competition and decreased spending. “The industry has experienced healthy growth in terms of revenue and value over the last four or five years,” said Michael Burt, director of industrial economic trends for the Conference Board of Canada. “At the same time, the number of restaurants is growing almost twice as quickly as population growth.” Change is key to survival and technology may hold the answer to some of the challenges facing foodservice. That would be lovely. However, it is equally as important to not lose sight of what makes foodservice and hospitality a unique and engaging industry: its people. Canadians enjoy going out for a meal, and while playing games on the table or perusing

a wine list on a tablet is fun for the customers, it’s not what makes memories. These are created by interaction and outstanding experiences. “Tech works best when it’s seamlessly integrated into the experience,” Sara Monnette, vice-president of research and insights, told attendees of Restaurants Canada’s annual Breakfast with Champions. While one of her 10 rules was “make tech your friend,” Monnette focused more on less tangible guidelines, such as authenticity. A summary of her presentation is on page 16. When evaluating your restaurant’s value proposition, it should include the appropriate technology, but shouldn’t hinge on it. Starting with great ingredients, good food served with warm hospitality will always create memorable meals and loyal customers.


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Evading taxes will land you in hot water By David J. Rotfleisch


estaurants, fast food franchises and food trucks are known targets for Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audits. The restaurant business is a difficult gig fuelled by entrepreneurs’ passions and one that can be made even tougher when restaurant owners give in to the temptation of the underground economy. That’s like going from the frying pan into the fire. Yet many restauranteurs give in to the temptation and join the sophisticated underground economy in order to realize larger profits or to stay afloat longer. Electronic suppression of sales software (zapper software) is used to hide sales to evade GST and income tax. Zapper software selectively deletes or modifies transactions from the records of point of sale systems and businesses’ accounting systems. The Income Tax Act was changed on Jan. 1, 2014, making it an offence to own or supply zapper software. This offence is in addition to tax evasion charges that would normally be levied and may result in jail time for a restaurant owner. CRA estimates zapper use could account for $3.25 billion in unreported sales annually. Fighting zapper use is a priority for CRA and a major initiative in their underground economy strategy. A 2012 CRA audit of income earned by 145 wait staff at four foodservice establishments in St. Catharines, Ont., revealed $1.7 million in unreported tips. Wait staff may earn double their wages in tips, but report, at most, 10 per cent of it (and in some cases, none). Statistics Canada estimated $1.3 billion in tips went undeclared in 2008.

4 | Ontario Restaurant News

The CRA also uses indirect verification techniques for restaurants to try to find unreported income. They will look at wholesale food and beverage purchases, estimate mark ups on those purchases and compute what they think should have been sales based on those purchases. If there is a discrepancy with reported sales, the CRA will assess the difference as unreported income and will levy civil tax penalties and may also prosecute for tax evasion. While a discrepancy does not necessarily mean there was unreported income, the onus is now the restaurant owner to disprove the CRA assessment. Restaurants can successfully be defended when faced with CRA audits by using a detailed analysis of menu ingredients, including alcohol used in food preparation, to demonstrate the CRA’s assumptions were incorrect. Be forewarned: this type of audit challenge must be meticulous and is time consuming on the part of the restaurant owner and head chef, as well as by tax professionals. In Canada, the underground economy is estimated at $43 billion annually as of the latest report released in June 2016 and covering the years 1992 to 2013. Accommodation and foodservice is estimated to represent about 12 per cent of the total unreported income or about 2.4 per cent of Canada’s GDP. Statistics Canada has estimated almost $444 billion of unreported income was earned in Canada from 1992 to 2008, excluding illegal activities. This also means tax revenue shortfall of between $10 and $20 billion annually that has to be met by the taxpaying public. The CRA Underground Economy Advisory Committee includes industry part-

ners such as Restaurants Canada and was set up by the CRA to help combat tax evasion through unreported cash transactions. The committee advises the minister and the Canada Revenue Agency and collaborates with members on measures to reduce the acceptability of and participation in the underground economy with a view to making under the table cash transaction socially unacceptable. Tax audits of the cash economy remain a CRA priority. In 2014-15, according to the CRA Report to Parliament, the CRA investigated or audited almost 6,540 income tax and GST/HST underground economy files and identified more than $448 million in unpaid taxes. Canadian tax lawyers can provide income tax assistance to restaurants that have engaged in unreported cash transactions and have decided proactively to correct their back tax filings. Provided they have not been subject to a CRA tax audit or investigation, they can submit a CRA voluntary disclosure to correct unreported GST/ HST and unreported income tax. By submitting a voluntary disclosure, there will be no tax evasion prosecution nor penalties, and there may be an interest rate reduction. The key is to approach CRA before they approach you, otherwise it’s too late to qualify for the program. David J Rotfleisch is the founding tax lawyer of Rotfleisch & Samulovitch P.C., a Toronto-based boutique tax law firm. With more than 30 years of experience as both a lawyer and chartered professional accountant, he has helped businesses and corporations with their tax planning, voluntary disclosure, and tax dispute resolution including tax litigation. For more informationm, visit taxpage. com or email

MICKEY CHEREVATY Consultant, Moyer Diebel Limited JACK BATTERSBY President, Summit Food Service Distributors Inc. JORGE SOARES Director Food and Beverage Operations, Woodbine Entertainment Group TINA CHIU Chief Operating Officer, Mandarin Restaurant Franchise Corporation MARTIN KOUPRIE Chef & General Manager, The Globe Restaurant JOEL SISSON Founder and President of Crush Strategy Inc. CHRIS JEENS Partner, W. D. Colledge Co. Ltd. Joe Baker Dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial College Graham Hayes Directory of Culinary/Corporate Chef, McCormack Bourrie Sales & Marketing & French’s Food Company Canada Jody Palubiski CEO, The Charcoal Group RON WALTERS Director of Marketing - Foodservice at High Liner Foods ONTARIO RESTAURANT NEWS VOLUME 32 · NO. 2 · MArch 2017 Ontario Restaurant News ( is published 12 times a year by Ishcom Publications Ltd., 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201, Mississauga, Ont. L4X 2W1 T: (905) 206-0150 · F: (905) 206-9972 · Toll Free: 1(800)201-8596 Other publications include the Canadian Chains Directory and Buyers’ Directory as well as:



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The next step for

Frankie Fettuccine Following their five-year plan to a T, a food truck favourite in Mississauga is now heading indoors MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — When chef Frank Mazzonetto embarked on creating the concept for the Frankie Fettuccine Food Truck, he included an end goal in his five-year business plan: a brick and mortar restaurant. “The original plan for the truck was a restaurant, but restaurants are quite pricy and involved to open up,” Mazzonetto said. “We were not quite ready for that stage, so we came up with a food truck concept.” To help operate the truck, Mazzonetto partnered with fellow chef and friend Anthony Maniccia. “We met in elementary school and we’ve been very good friends for 25 years now,” Mazzonetto said. “When we were starting the food truck idea, I needed to bring someone on board that was on the same page that I could trust.” Since Frankie Fettuccine hit the road, dishes like braised veal gnocchi

poutine and their namesake fettuccine have earned numerous awards, as well as appearances on Eat Street and a wining round of Food Truck Wars. “There’s a bit of a trophy case going that we’re proud of,” Mazzonetto said. Now four and a half years since the Frankie Fettuccine truck hit the road, Mazzonetto and Maniccia are weeks away from opening Ombretta Cucina + Vino in the Port Credit neighbourhood of Mississauga. “We’re well in the parameters of our five-year plan,” Mazzonetto said. Ombretta will serve a variety of Italian sharable items, including house-made pasta and fillings. “We’re going high end with the menu,” Mazzonetto said. “It’s shorter on the main course side and classically Italian with modern technique and presentation.” The move to a full kitchen will al-

John Bil of Honest Weight.

Frank Mazzonetto (left) and Anthony Maniccia. low Mazzonetto and Maniccia to better showcase their culinary skill set. “Our truck is big and beautiful and extremely well equipped, but once we have the restaurant it will really allow us to express creatively how we feel about Italian food,” Mazzonetto said. Located at 121 Lakeshore Rd. West, Ombretta is steps from Port Credit’s marina and lighthouse. “The foot traffic is going to be

pretty heavy,” Mazzonetto said, adding he believes their food truck customers will migrate to the restaurant. “We’re fortunate enough that we’ve built a really loyal following. I think this brand extension will be a great fit for our existing fans.” The Frankie Fettuccine truck will also remain in service, and help advertise the new restaurant. “It’s also a second revenue stream,” Mazzonetto noted.

Set in a casual atmosphere, Ombretta will seat about 51 guests in a 1,700-square-foot space. The decor is a hybrid of contemporary industrial with rustic wood, including 12-foot open ceilings, a stone bar top and a bar back made from vintage wine crates. “We’re trying to do something Mississauga hasn’t seen before,” Mazzonetto said. “We think we’ve come up with that concept.”

Norman Hardie

OHI Gold Awards announced TORONTO — The Ontario Hostelry Institute has announced its 2017 Gold Awardees, who will be honoured at the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto on April 20. A&W Food Services of Canada is recognized in the foodservice chain/group operator category. Marc Lepine, chef/owner of Atelier in Ottawa, is awarded in the independent restaurateur category. Hotelier acknowledgment goes to White Oaks Resort & Spa in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. Jason Bangerter, executive chef of Langdon Hall Country House and Spa, is named chef of the year. The supplier and artisan gold awards go to John Bil, Honest Weight, and Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard, respectively. In media and publishing, Owen Roberts,

president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, is honoured. In addition, a number of industry professionals will be inducted as Fellows of the Institute: David Clanachan, chairman, RBI Canada; Clark Day, owner, Bayview Farm Restaurant; Court Desautels, president, Neighbourhood Group of Companies; Frederic Dimanche, director, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ryerson University; Duff Lampard, executive chef, Metro Toronto Convention Centre; Amanda Holmes, vice-president of global talent acquisition, AccorHotels; Jim Kyte, dean, School of Hospitality & Tourism, Algonquin College; Oliver Li, chef de cuisine, The Chef ’s House, Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, George Brown College; Andrea Mastrandrea, owner, Forno Cultura; and Steven Salm, president, Chase Hospitality Group.

March 2017 | 5

Good Earth sets sights on Ontario TORONTO — Good Earth Coffeehouse has opened its first Ontario franchise location. Created by founders Nan Eskenazi and Michael Going, the Calgary-based brand moved into the province with a corporate unit at the Ottawa airport in 2015. The first Toronto outpost — located at the corner of Jarvis and Dundas streets — opened in February and is operated by brother and sister Mohammed and Noori Khalifa. “What’s important to us is having an owner present — our brand is all about community; it’s finding people who actually live in the communities where their coffeehouses are located,” said Gerry Docherty, Good Earth president and COO. On the door of each new store, a decal reads: locally owned and operated. “We want people to come in and get to know the owner of this coffeehouse,” Docherty said. The urban location features steel elements, exposed brick and an employee’s artwork. “In the suburbs, we have a little bit softer colours, community tables — it’s to suit the community, to be a community gathering,” said Docherty. The menu, designed by corporate chef Kari Ginakos, features a selection of baked goods, breakfast items, panini and flatbreads, soups, salads and hot specials. “As a coffeehouse, what differentiates us from most of our competitors is our food,” said Docherty. Good Earth serves coffees with a focus on direct and ethical trade. “Good Earth has been around for 25 years and throughout the life of the brand, we’ve always had

Fair Trade coffee. Recently over the last few years, we realized Fair Trade didn’t cover off everything that we wanted,” Docherty said. “We moved to more of a direct trade relationship; we have representatives who actually go out and visit the farms, meet the farmers, see how they’re treating the environment, making sure they aren’t using pesticides.” Good Earth also considers how the farmer is giving back to the community and whether workers are getting a fair wage. “It’s not just, are they getting a fair price for their coffee? How, in turn, are they treating [the community]?” he said. On the other side of the business, Good Earth expects the same type of community involvement from its franchisees. “We don’t dictate what that is; everyone is going to be a little different in how they are going to support what’s going on in the community,” Docherty said. “We expect that of our coffee farmers as well, so it’s a full circle of community giving.” Good Earth, which has 46 units in five provinces, plans to open between 10 and 12 units each year, with a majority of its focus on the Ontario market. Currently, there is an Ottawa location under development as well two more Toronto establishments in the works. Docherty said Good Earth is also interested in Southwestern Ontario for future growth. West of Ontario, there are locations in the pipeline for Winnipeg and Regina. “We have some places to infill in the Vancouver market, and in Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” he said.

A&W launches new restaurant model to attract 200 new franchisees TORONTO — A&W has launched a new restaurant model as well as a growth plan aimed at recruiting 200 new franchisees by 2020 to the quick service chain. A&W currently has more than 860 locations throughout Canada and is the second largest quick service chain in the nation. With an established base of restaurants in Western Canada, the company will look to recruit its new franchise owners in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. “We’ve grown organically over the years. We’ve been opening 30 or more restaurants in the last couple of years and I think that’s industry leading in terms of new restaurant locations,” said Susan Senecal, A&W’s president and COO. “This takes it to a new level.” Yanick Morin, A&W’s national director of franchise development, explained an assessment of the Canadian market found the restaurant company could successfully open another 300 restaurants nationwide. “It’s changing everything for us. It will push our limits,” Morin said. “We’re a Canadian company — international companies can do this, it’s a little portion in their overall portfolio — for us, this is all we have: Canada. It’s pushing boundaries everywhere.” Toronto and Montreal are the main targets for growth. Overall, A&W expects to open 100 urban locations, 100 freestanding restaurants

6 | Ontario Restaurant News

Barmil Mallhi and 100 locations in small towns. “We have some areas where we already have real estate and are looking for franchisees,” Morin said. To encourage growth in smaller towns, A&W is looking to its drive-thru model restaurant, which is geared towards proximity to convenience stores or gas stations. “That’s really directed at small towns where initial sales volume might be a little lower until

the town grows into itself and its A&W,” Senecal said. “We want to have a model that allows us to go into small towns right away.” The drive-thru format is smaller than the typical A&W restaurant with more visible signage. “They’re meant to work in conjunction with a highway; the idea is we have great visibility,” Senecal said. “We’re hoping everyone in town will know where their A&W is located.”

Last year, A&W launched its urban franchise associate program. The program is designed to attract young entrepreneurs with a turnkey opportunity to learn the quick service restaurant business and to operate their own urban restaurant with an initial investment of between $125,000 and $150,000. This year, the company plans to create a similar program that caters to millennial entrepreneurs who live outside of urban areas. “In some cases, it’s the reverse of the urban franchise associate,” Senecal said. “We’ve seen young families thinking of leaving the city due to housing costs or other reasons and we want to be able to meet their needs as well.” As A&W announced its plan to recruit 200 new franchisees, it also celebrated the opening of its first urban franchise associate restaurant. Barmil Mallhi, the first young entrepreneur to complete the program’s training, opened her franchise in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto in late February. Mallhi, who moved from Winnipeg to open the franchise, said the low investment, training and assistance with location development convinced her to open an A&W. “I’ve always enjoyed working with people, so I thought a restaurant makes sense for me,” Mallhi said. “I want my Junction location to be successful, then eventually I want to open more A&W restaurants.”

Urban Bricks Pizza heads north WATERLOO, Ont. — For Abe Ibrahim, visiting a childhood friend has opened the doors to introducing a United States-based pizza chain to Ontario. After moving back to Canada from Saudi Arabia, where his family owns a 12-unit chain of pastry shops, Ibrahim travelled to Texas to visit Sammy Aldeeb, the founder of Urban Bricks Pizza. “I checked out his business, signed the papers and then flew back to Canada,” Ibrahim said. Aldeeb opened the first Urban Bricks location in San Antonio, Texas in 2015. With 10 locations open throughout Texas, Aldeed has also sold more than 125 franchises in the United States. Ibrahim, who now owns franchising rights for the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, chose Waterloo, Ont., to introduce the Urban Bricks

model to Canadian consumers. The first Ontario location opened on March 10 in University Shops Plaza, positioned between Wilfred Laurier University and Waterloo University. “It’s a beautiful city. It’s urban and there’s a lot of students,” Ibrahim said, noting he is now looking for a location in Toronto. “Basically, it was the perfect location to test the waters and see how things will go.” Urban Bricks sells personal size, 11-inch pizzas starting at $6.49. Customers select their dough, cheese, protein and vegetables in a similar fashion to a quick-service sandwich or burrito restaurant. “It’s build-your-own pizza; you pick whatever you want. It’s like Chipotle when you walk down the aisle,” Ibrahim said, adding they also offer eight pizzas with preselected toppings. To ensure quick turnaround

times, Urban Bricks imports Neapolitan pizza ovens from Italy, capable of cooking the pies in two minutes. “It’s a rotating oven, each rotation goes for 120 seconds,” Ibrahim said. “By the time you pay and fill your drink, you’re picking up your pizza.” The order is topped off at the drizzle station, where customers have the option of selecting a variety of

sauces like chipotle or ranch. Guests may also create custom salads and order pizza-style desserts such as the cinnamon pie and Nutella banana pie. In the spring, a pet-friendly patio will open at the 2,500-square-foot restaurant. With a garage-style door connecting the patio and restaurant, Ibrahim plans to install a Bottoms Up

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draft beer machine to serve guests sitting outside. The draft system reduces beer waste to about two per cent overall. “Basically, it’s a tap, but not a tap at the same time. You place the cup on the table and the glass is filled from the bottom up,” Ibrahim said. “I can’t wait to get my hands on that machine.”

Foodservice Chain Operator

A & W Food Services of Canada Inc. Paul Hollands CEO & Chairman of the Board

Independent Restaurateur

Marc Lepine Chef and Owner Atelier


White Oaks Resort & Spa

KFC Canada rolls out new design MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — KFC Canada unveiled its new restaurant design at the opening of a Mississauga location in mid-February. The 2,500-square-foot location at 6055 Creditview Rd. features “authentic, handcrafted elements,” such as reclaimed wood, tributes to Colonel Sanders and branding focused on KFC’s core menu item: fried chicken. “This brand has a lot of history in Canada and we’re really committed to moving the brand forward,” said Nivera Wallani, KFC Canada general manager. 
 The design mixes pieces of the brand’s heritage with modern elements, such as digital menu boards and updated furniture and lighting. “We wanted to come across as fresh,” said Wallani. “You’ll see we’ve got the red and white candy stripe and that goes back to the heritage of our brands; when you see the red and white candy stripe, it stands for KFC.” On a journey to revitalize stores and connect with customers, KFC Canada plans to renovate 100 locations by 2019. “There has always been from a corporate

perspective, this want to rejuvenate the brand,” Wallani said, noting KFC Canada committed to reinvesting in assets in 2015. “We are just as excited as corporate about rejuvenating the brand,” said Shehzad Janmohamed of Soul Foods, the franchise partner that manages 224 units in Canada, mainly in Ontario and British Columbia. “We’ve been franchise partners for the brand for 30 years — not in Canada, but in the U.K. — and we see that when we give the correct dining experience for our customers, it really talks a lot.” Wallani said KFC Canada has more plans in the works for the brand’s 650 units. “We’re going to focus on our famous original recipe chicken, because that’s what we do,” she said. “You’re going to see that we’re going to be very focused on investing back into the brand and looking at ways to move the brand forward.” The company has a presence in every province and Wallani sees opportunity to grow. “For KFC, 650, if you compare that to our competitors, we definitely have room to grow in Canada all across the country.”

Ameer Wakil CEO


Craig Youdale Dean Canadian Food and Wine Institute Niagara College of Applied Art and Technology

2017 Gold awards dINNEr Excellence - Passion - Achievement - Success. These words have underscored the mandate of the Ontario Hostelry Institute for more than 25 years. Each of these attributes is difficult to achieve in any industry and the Hospitality, Foodservice and Tourism industry is no exception. Every year the Ontario Hostelry Institute ensures that these attributes do not go unnoticed by acknowledging and celebrating these achievements at the Annual OHI Gold Awards Dinner. The OHI Gold Awards are awarded to members of our industry who exemplify passion, achievement, success and whose commitment to excellence enhances not only the industry but also the image of Ontario and Canada among thousands of diners, travelers and vacationers year after year. Join us to celebrate these amazing men and women on Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Partake in our continuing legacy. Tables and tickets are available for purchase at or by calling 416-363-3401. Ontario Hostelry Institute 300 Adelaide Street East #339 Toronto ON M5A 1N1 Tel: 416-363-3401 Fax: 416-363-3403

Media and Publishing

Owen Roberts

President International Federation of Agricultural Journalists


Jason Bangerter Executive Chef Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa


John Bil

Owner Honest Weight Restaurant, The Junction


Norman Hardie

Owner Norman Hardie Winery & Vineyard

March 2017 | 7

Birds of a feather

With an ever-expanding interest in where food comes from and how it is raised, there are numerous opportunities for poultry on restaurant menus. By Kristen Smith


hicken has long been a menu mainstay. Canadian consumption of chicken averaged 70 pounds per person in 2015, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Union Chicken entered the evolving chicken category — which has expanded in recent years with the advent of concepts like Flock and The Chickery — in part because of its staying power. “I think chicken is here to stay; it’s not a fad,” said Union Chicken operating partner Dan Kennedy. “Chicken is very sustainable. Almost every religion and culture across the world eats chicken, with a few exceptions. It has a wide appeal.” While red meat certainly has its place, Kennedy said Union Chicken saw an opportunity to focus on the quality of the bird and turned to organic suppliers. “Chicken is one of the only things I can eat every day and not get bored of it. There are so many different things you can do with it, flavours you can bring out,” he said. “Though it depends how you prepare it, chicken is definitely one of the healthier proteins available.”

Organics in poultry The bulk of Yorkshire Valley Farms’ business is through independent and chain retail stores. The company works with organic farms throughout Ontario and supplies a growing number of restaurants, including Union Chicken. “We’ve seen great support through those grocery retail channels,” said Krysten Cooper, director of marketing for Yorkshire Valley Farms. “If those people are making that decision to choose organic for their food preparation at home, we’d like to think that same [choice] is going to transfer into the restaurant industry.”

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Canadian Organic Standards — which must be met for a product to be labelled as such — outline specifics with respect to how livestock is housed, fed and transported. “There is a whole process of checks and balances and oversight to ensure that at each stage of the [supply] chain, the integrity of the organic standards are being upheld,” Cooper explained. “The animals are raised in lower-density flocks in open barns. There are no cages or barriers; they have the freedom to move about and express natural behaviours and have more space to do so than let’s call it a conventional system,” she said. Organic standards also mandate birds are fed a vegetarian, non-GMO diet of grains that were also grown organically. Barns must have natural light and fresh air, and birds must have seasonal access to an outdoor pasture. Cooper said she thinks the way the birds are raised is reflected in the taste of the bird. “In the organic system we don’t use antibiotics to treat the animals, so it’s really important that we keep them healthy, that we keep their immune systems robust and their stress levels down,” she said. “A big part of that is allowing them to live a stress-free life in the barns to keep their immune systems healthy, and I think that ultimately translates into the flavour that you find in the meat and the quality of the meat.”

Breeding choice In 2016, the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) launched an Artisanal Chicken Program, which allows farmers to raise between 600 and 3,000 chickens outside of the supply management system, meaning they aren’t required to own quota like a larger operation. In its first year, the program accepted about 100 applications.

Yorkshire Valley Farms In Ontario, there are about 1,200 chicken farmers who provide more than 200 million chickens a year, primarily the white rock breed, a good meat-producing and quickly-maturing bird. Michael Edmonds, director of communications and government relations for CFO, said the organization developed the program in response to a changing consumer base. “There was a demand in many cases for types of chicken that would only be grown in smaller batches with different growing methods on different types of farms,” Edmonds said. “A relationship with a smaller farmer who is growing smaller batches would allow the restaurateur to accommodate clients who are looking for a different type of chicken.” Of those licensed producers — who are required to meet the CFO’s food safety and animal care standards and use federally regulated abattoirs — many are selling their birds at farmers’ markets, while about 15 are selling directly to restaurants. Amy and Patrick Kitchen, who own Sideroad Farm in Walter Falls, Ont., joined the Artisanal Chicken Program to add to the variety of products they bring to market. Now, in addition to meeting demand at farmers’ markets, they sell their chickens directly to Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury, Ont. “We’re expecting to increase by 50 per cent this year because there are a lot of entrepreneurial farmers out there who perhaps are farming other products, but they also want to carry a few chickens for their customers,” said Edmonds. Many of the producers in the artisanal program are raising their birds outdoors as seasonal operations. “I think as the program grows, we’ll be able to track different ways of managing these smaller-flock type programs,” Edmonds said. “There are a lot of ingenious ways of raising birds that meet the needs of various consumers.” He added the program, a farmer-driven initiative, works well

for consumers seeking niche products. “We expect in the future there will be restaurateurs who see an opportunity to link more directly and initiate the startup of a new farm that will grow birds for that restaurant,” Edmonds said. David Evans, corporate chef for Gordon Food Service Ontario, has witnessed the desire for specific breeds through his trends research. “There are chefs who are looking for farmers who have preserved the heritage of the animal,” he said. “There are farmers farming very specific breeds for some chefs’ very specific needs.” On the other side of poultry, the breed is already a large factor to consider when it comes to duck, which Evans sees as a growing protein in foodservice. “If you’re talking about breed, duck is really specific, because different ducks give you very different flavour profiles and fat content,” he said.

Jive with turkey In comparison to the amount of chicken consumed, Canadians ate about nine pounds of turkey per person in 2015. According to Cooper, there are some key differences in turkey consumption in Canada and the United States. Canadians are more seasonal in turkey consumption than consumers in the United States. “In the States it is a year-round item, but we don’t have the same turkey appetite as they do,” she said. “I would love people to eat turkey throughout the year.” Evans believes is it deeply engrained in the psyche of Canadians that turkey is for Christmas and Thanksgiving. They tend to buy large quantities to for family dinners, which translates into concern they won’t be able to eat it all when there aren’t as many mouth to feed.

Now open: Union Chicken TORONTO — Chef Michael Angeloni spent almost six months developing the buttermilk fried chicken recipe for Union Chicken. The chicken-focused restaurant opened its first location at Sherway Gardens in February after plans to open in Union Station were delayed. Union Chicken was developed by Toronto restaurateur Yannick Bigourdan (Carbon Bar) who brought on three operating partners: Angeloni (Grand Electric and Splendido), Adam Teolis and Dan Kennedy. At Union Chicken, diners can watch their bird cook on a ClayOven Churrasco, a Brazilian-style rotisserie. He sources organic, free-range birds raised on Ontario farms. Angeloni selects birds that are about 2.2 to 2.4 pounds in size. “I just found the flavour in them was a lot better; when they get too big, they’re kind of watery and not packed with that nice chicken flavour,” he said. Before they hit the spit, chickens are salted, steamed and marinated in a house rub for 48 hours. They are served with a charred lemon and sauce made from fat drippings. The buttermilk fried chicken is served with hot sauce, honeymaple syrup and gravy. “Our fried chicken, I spent months and months trying and trying until I got a recipe I really loved,” said Angeloni, noting

Chef Michael Angeloni

“It’s the same for restaurateurs,” he said. “How do they get their heads around cooking 16- to 20-pound birds and then portioning that out and getting it onto a la carte, a la minute menus?” Gordon Food Service has been working with Turkey Farmers of Ontario to change that mindset. Late last year, the broadline distributor launched a fresh turkey program. “If you order turkey, on any given day, you can have fresh butchered bird in tenderloin, bone thighs, boneless, skinless breast and fresh ground,” Evans said. “We launched that a few months back and it’s been quite successful — so successful actually, that we’re extending the lineup of products we have.” Growing up in Australia, Evans said he ate fresh turkey tenderloin often and was surprised it was often a frozen or special order item in Canada. “A little turkey tenderloin is just like a chicken breast,” he said, suggesting operators can flatten it out to make a schnitzel or roll it in bacon and bread it to retain the meat’s moisture. Stacy Butler, foodservice marketing specialist for Turkey Farmers of Ontario, said many independent operators are serving scratch-made turkey burgers. The lean protein can also be used in chili, tacos or an adapted Bolognese sauce. “Whatever you can do with ground beef, you can do with ground turkey,” Butler said. Other menu ideas include curried turkey and apple pita, lemon rosemary turkey fingers, turkey osso buco or Mediterranean-style turkey scaloppini. With 185 turkey farmers in Ontario, the association is reaching out to operators with information and marketing packages as well as brining demonstrations. “I was surprised to find our how many chefs have been brining forever,” she said.

it’s battered in batches throughout the day. While the meat should sit in the batter for at least 10 minutes and can sit for up to an hour, Angeloni wants to ensure they aren’t wasting product. “I’m willing to pay somebody to stand in the back and prep fried chicken all day, which is basically what we have, if it means we have the best quality chicken that we can,” he said. With a focus on a single protein, the sharingstyle menu offers a selection of vegetable sides, such as crispy Brussels sprouts, rotisserie sweet potato and smashed and fried potatoes. “When it came to the sides, I really wanted to keep them all vegetarian or at least predominantly vegetarian,” Angeloni said. Kennedy said the Union Station plans are still in the works and construction is slated to start when Union Chicken takes possession of the space. “It’s an amazing location and such an iconic building; we definitely want to be there,” he said. There are plans to open multiple corporate-run restaurants — between two and three a year — each with unique elements, Kennedy said. “Where we want to be consistent is our food quality, our vibe, the steps of service and standards, but we want the look and feel to be a little bit different in each

Fried chicken and waffles

one so people don’t feel it’s the same experience over and over again,” he said. In addition to Union Station, another location is in the works. The plan is to grow slowly and avoid over-extension — Kennedy doesn’t expect to open a Union Chicken on every corner. “Because of the concept, I think we want to be careful; I think it would lose its uniqueness,” he said. “By going organic, it changes the price point a little bit and it puts us in a category that may not work in every neighbourhood.” Kennedy, Angeloni and Teolis are in the kitchen and on the floor, managing day-to-day operations. As the company grows, the plan is for them to move to the new store and promote managers from within. “We need to grow at a pace that makes sense for us,” Kennedy said.

March 2017 | 9

New flavour for Air Canada By Bill Tremblay TORONTO — The small kitchens onboard Air Canada’s planes will soon feature some big names in hospitality. At an event simultaneously held in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, the airline unveiled a new design for its fleet of aircraft and new uniforms for its staff. As well, Air Canada announced renowned sommelier Véronique Rivest will curate an onboard wine list to complement signature dishes created by Vancouver chef David Hawksworth for the airline’s international business class passengers. As well, Lavazza coffee will becomes the airline’s new coffee offering and Toronto-based Dufflet Pastries’ pumpkin spice loaf will be featured on flights to Europe in premium economy and economy class cabins. The new food and beverage program begins service in April. “We can compete with the best around the world, but we can’t just do that with airplanes,” said Benjamin Smith, Air Canada’s president of passenger airlines. “It’s all of it together and ensuring we come out with a brand promise that meets and exceeds the expectations of a discerning clientele.” Smith explained higher quality and a wider selection of food and beverage options is a recurring request from the airline’s clientele. “It’s really customer driven. We are raising the bar for our goals and ambitions to take our company to a much higher level,” Smith said. “Our customers are becoming more and more sophisticated in their tastes.” As Air Canada’s sommelier, Rivest will pair

old and new world wines, as well as at least one Canadian label, with seasonal recipes developed by Hawksworth. “The focus is on quality and variety, and wines that reflect the times, wines that are done in an environmentally conscious way,” she said. Space constraints, as well as a different perception of taste while flying, were taken into consideration while developing the rotating, five label wine list. Rivest explained the dry, pressurized cabin environment led to selecting wines that are well balanced with a slightly lower alcohol content. “You can’t have a 200-item wine list,” Rivest said. “We focus on their food friendliness and capacity to show well in this very specific situation and provide the guests with an overall more pleasant experience.” Hawksworth partnered with Air Canada in October 2015. For visitors travelling to Canada for the first time, engineering their first taste of Canada is “a dream come true” for the acclaimed Vancouver chef. “I love Canada. I love food and wine, and to be able to get that mark of that first impression — my life’s pretty complete at that point,” Hawksworth said. The seasonal menu, which rotates every three or four months, features Canadian ingredients like Ontario duck, smoked trout and wild salmon. “When we designed the menu, we tried to keep it light and fresh,” Hawksworth said. “When you’re sitting for a longer flight, I want to keep your taste buds alive.”

Véronique Rivest

Here’s how a family of Bobs inspired a coffee shop concept TORONTO — A childhood memory has helped name a new coffee shop concept in Davenport Village. While brainstorming names for the new business, owner Mark Bacci recalled a memory of a friend’s father’s employee. “When I was a teenager my friend’s father was a plumber and he had a man working for him named Bob, not Robert, Bob,” Bacci said. “All four of his sons were also named Bob. I never forgot it.” Bacci included the name when pitching possible business monikers to a focus group and decided to name the new business BOB COFFEE. “The only name people remembered was Bob,” Bacci said. “Bob is the everyman. It’s something people won’t forget.” BOB, located at 440 Christie St., is a new concept from Bacci, Suresh Singh and Riyaz Somani – the restaurateurs behind the Lil’ Baci Italian restaurants in Midtown and Leslieville.

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Mark Bacci “We’re kind of spontaneous and we love coffee. The space came available and we always talked about doing a coffee shop,” Bacci said. “There’s nothing else similar in the neighbourhood, so it made sense.” Alongside coffee, the 40-seat coffee shop serves pastries, sandwiches and soup, as well as local craft beer, wine and spirits from independent

distillers. Including alcohol on its menu, as well as setting operating hours from 7 a.m. to midnight, BOB aims to serve as an alternative to traditional coffee shops. “There’s families in the neighbourhood, so there are parents with their kids. One of those parents is going to want to have a drink,” Bacci said.

From 5 to 7 p.m., BOB will introduce “scavenger hour” menu pricing, where all food will be discounted by 70 per cent. “We’re not a dinner place, we’ll have people going home from work and maybe they’ll want to grab something quick,” Bacci said. “The choice is either discount the pastries or give them away. I’d rather just

pass it on to the customer.” Alongside its menu, BOB also offers a trove of vinyl records and a library of vintage board games. Bacci said he imported the board games idea from a friend’s business in Los Angeles that operates under a similar concept. “He’s been open for seven years and it’s packed all the time. That was kind of the inspiration,” Bacci said. In an effort to build community within the coffee shop, BOB also hosts a book club. The coffee shop will curate four books a month, and post the selections on its website. “We don’t want to force it on anybody; we want it to grow naturally,” Bacci said. “It is just another element for the community to come here and hang out.” Bacci’s long-term goal for BOB is to open 10 to 20 locations, varying in size, throughout Toronto. “We think we can add something to the city and not take away,” Bacci said.


Blue Point and Russell Hendrix aquire Guitech Services SEATTLE — Blue Point Capital Partners and Russell Hendrix announced on Feb. 9 the acquisition of Guitech Services. Headquartered in Montreal, Guitech provides maintenance, repair, parts and services for the foodservice equipment market throughout Quebec. For more than 40 years, Guitech has provided its customers with maintenance and repair on commercial kitchen equipment such as dishwashers, ovens and fryers, as well as refrigerated and HVAC equipment. The company also provides kitchen equipment replacements and parts, and services customers in a range of end markets, with primary focus on the commercial, institutional and catering sectors. “Upon merging Canada’s two largest foodservice equipment

dealers, Russell Food Equipment and Hendrix Hotel & Restaurant Equipment & Supplies, into Russell Hendrix in November 2016, our coast-to-coast network is strategically positioned to add Guitech’s maintenance and repair expertise in the second largest market in Canada,” said Mark Morris, a partner with Blue Point, a private equity firm. “We are excited to participate in the next phase of growth at Russell Hendrix and expand on the insight and resources we offer to our customers.” The acquisition of Guitech augments the Russell Hendrix parts and service business, and provides additional growth opportunities by leveraging Russell Hendrix’s customer network and its operational best practices. Guitech will also benefit from Russell

Hendrix’s greater purchasing scale and market leadership. “The Russell Hendrix commitment is to grow our business and maintain impeccable quality, reliability and customer service standards. The acquisition of Guitech will enhance our existing parts and services coverage and ensure our customers’ needs and expectations are exceeded,” said Larry VanderBaaren, CEO of Russell Hendrix. Russell Hendrix Foodservice Equipment, the combined company formed by the merger of Russell Food Equipment (Vancouver) and Hendrix Hotel and Restaurant Supply (Brockville, Ont.) operates out of 17 sales showrooms, four distribution centres and three manufacturing facilities located across Canada.

Manitowoc rebrands as Welbilt

Pizza Nova sources RWA proteins TORONTO — Ontario-based chain Pizza Nova recently introduced pepperoni, bacon, chicken wings, grilled chicken and smoked ham raised without antibiotics (RWA). The company’s “Puro Promise” pledges to source ingredients from farmers and producers who share Pizza Nova’s commitment to quality and taste. The company tops its pizzas with pepperoni made from beef and pork raised without antibiotics or hormones. Staying true to Pizza Nova’s 50-year-old pepperoni recipe, Pizza Nova now uses only Canadian-raised, vegetable grain-fed proteins. It’s centrecut bacon strips and smoked ham are from RWA pork. Pizza Nova’s two varieties for bone-in chicken wings and grilled chicken come from Canadian-raised chickens, which are RWA. “Our customers want quality, and they care about the ingredients in their favourite foods,” said Domenic Primucci, president

of Pizza Nova. “Pure, high-quality ingredients have always been a differentiating factor for Pizza Nova, and are the foundation of everything we serve. The Puro Promise symbolizes this commitment and it’s a promise we’re proud to keep — delivering fresh, quality ingredients from the farm, to our pizzas, to your table.” Pizza Nova began its move to source RWA proteins in June 2015 with the company’s number 1 topping, pepperoni. To make this change, Pizza Nova worked with its supplier, Maple Leaf Foods, for almost a year, Primucci said at the time. The change to its pepperoni followed the company’s introduction of trans fatfree dough, gluten-free multigrain crust and, in late 2014, Daiya mozzarella-style shreds (free of dairy, gluten, soy, lactose and non-GMO). Founded in 1963, Pizza Nova started in Toronto and has since expanded to more than 140 locations in Southern Ontario. The family-operated business serves five million pizzas annually.

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Manitowoc Foodservice recently announced it is rebranding the company, its logo and its brand identity to Welbilt. The change is part of the company’s strategic repositioning after it spun off from its former parent company, The Manitowoc Company, in March 2016. The change was rolled out at the NAFEM Show, where attendees were the first to experience the new logo and brand messaging. “We are excited to announce the changing of our name to Welbilt, which further strengthens our corporate identity as a stand-alone company,” said Hubertus M. Muehlhaeuser, president and CEO. “Welbilt reflects our promise and commitment to bringing innovation to the table. Rooted in the Hirsch brothers’ innovative stove in 1929, Welbilt developed to become the first company in the industry pursuing a complete systems approach. The name Welbilt uniquely connects our past with our vision of the future. Our primary objective is to continue offering a complete solution for the entire kitchen with high-quality products supported by excellent service that help our customers’ kitchens reach their full potential. As we continue to innovate and grow, we will always remain grounded in our long history.” Welbilt’s global portfolio of award-winning brands includes Cleveland, Convotherm, Delfield, Frymaster, Garland, Kolpak, Lincoln, Manitowoc Ice, Merco, Merrychef and Multiplex.

Products Ltd

Foodservice Equipment & Supply Est. 1963

Maple Leaf eyes meat-free market MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Maple Leaf Foods announced in February that it has signed an agreement to acquire Lightlife Foods for US$140 million. Lightlife is a manufacturer of refrigerated plant-based protein foods based in the United States. The deal is expected to close in March. “Expanding into the fast growing plant-based proteins market is one of Maple Leaf ’s strategic growth platforms and supports our commitment to become a leader in sustainability,” said Michael McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods. “Consumers are increasingly looking to diversify their protein consumption, including plant-based options. The acquisition of Lightlife provides Maple Leaf with a leading market position and brand in the United States in a category that is outpacing growth in the broader packaged foods sector. “We will expand our presence through investment in brand

building, innovation and leveraging our respective capabilities.” Lightlife reported 2016 sales of approximately US$40 million and has 38 per cent market share in the U.S. refrigerated plant proteins market. The company employs about 100 people at its facility in Turners Falls, Mass., where it manufactures more than 30 products, including plant-based tempeh, hot dogs, breakfast foods and burgers. Lightlife management will continue to lead the business, which will operate as a subsidiary of Maple Leaf. “We at Lightlife are truly excited about today’s announcement, which will allow us to accelerate our growth and broaden our reach in the fast growing plant-based protein market. Maple Leaf Foods has an industry leading commitment to sustainable protein, including a strategic focus on plant proteins, and being part of this incredible organization will enable the continued growth of our brands,” said Roy Lubetkin, president and CEO, Lightlife Foods.

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March 2017 | 1 1


A one-stop food spot for the world’s largest hardware technology hub By Bill Tremblay KITCHENER, Ont. — Chef Jonathan Gushue and Ryan Lloyd-Craig are planning to adapt the definition of restaurant to accommodate an evolving workforce. Under the Ignite Restaurant Group Canada banner, Gushue and Lloyd-Craig partnered to open The Berlin in Kitchener in 2015. Their second project is Graffiti, a 13,000-square-foot space in Catalyst137, which will be the world’s largest hardware technology hub when it opens this summer. The building is expected to house 2,200 tech employees in 475,00 square feet. Graffiti, which is expected to open in October, is tasked with providing a wide range of food options for those employees. “Essentially, by definition, it’s a restaurant, but it’s sort of restaurant meets technology,” Gushue said. “There’s always talk of a modern restaurant. We wanted to take that even further.” Alongside a modern Italian restaurant equipped with pizza ovens and wood-burning grills, Graffiti will house a bakery, craft brewery, in-house coffee roaster, café with graband-go items and a market selling a variety of local products. “It’s something for everyone. We realize now, in this day and age, you need a hell of a lot more than just a restaurant to attract people,” Gushue said. “There has to be a reason for people to come.” Up to 100 seats will be scattered throughout the establishment, eliminating a defined restaurant space. A patio will add another 80 seats. “We thought of the food halls of old and how do we bring that forward,” Gushue said. “How do we make a modern cafeteria? How do we make it cool? Cafeteria is awful; no one likes that word.” Gushue and Lloyd-Craig also plan to work with tech firms within the building to create

Chef Jonathan Gushue

a platform for online ordering. They are also eyeing logistics of delivery to offices throughout the building. “It’s an integrated restaurant where you can order from your desk. We’re trying to set up an app to eliminate the server altogether for employees at Catalyst,” Gushue said. The retail market will feature a variety of rotating, local producers, from art to charcuterie. “All of this stuff is interchangeable. One week we have a producer from Kitchener or Listowel, or Woodbridge,” Gushue said. “Next week that could be someone selling fish.” For the bakery, operations will be a reversal from traditional early morning production. “The bakery will do opposite hours. All the bread will be coming out of the oven when these guys are going home,” Gushue said. “No one’s shopping for the family anymore really.” Although the restaurant features modern Italian influence, Gushue said the menu would constantly change. “We want change. If nothing changes, nothing changes,” Gushue said. “The only thing that’s going to change is less people will come to your restaurant.” The goal is to eliminate the need for employees in the tech hub to leave the building for food and drink. “By not having to leave the building, we’re optimizing their time,” Gushue said. “Tech employees are incredibly busy, these guys all work 10 to 14 hours a day. They like to pop out and go for a beer, then back to work. It’s different from most professions I know.” He added the space wouldn’t be exclusively for employees working out of the building. With a 1,000-spot parking lot, Gushue believes Graffiti will attract diners from throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo area. “We want to be able to attract people in Kitchener on the weekends,” he said. “We want to make this a destination in Kitchener as a place to pick up products and maybe pick up a sandwich.”

TouchBistro partners with Thinking Capital to deliver data-driven financing By Bill Tremblay TORONTO — Restaurateurs are now able to apply for financing through their point of sale (POS) system, thanks to a partnership between TouchBistro and Thinking Capital. Using the TouchBistro cloud portal, Canadian restaurateurs who have been operating for more than six months, will be able to apply for a loan of $5,000 or more. “We thought it was a natural fit for our companies to work together to alleviate some of the stress or paperwork in facilitating a loan,” said Alex Barrotti, CEO and founder of TouchBistro. He added the partnership is the iPad-based POS system’s way of integrating services often required by restaurant owners. TouchBistro previously partnered with

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Shogo to integrate accounting software with its POS as well as 7shifts for staff scheduling. “The point of sale is at the centre of the nervous system of the restaurant, everything has to flow through it,” Barrotti said. “We see it as the hub of the spokes of the wheel. This is just one of the many spokes we will come out with that are complementary.” While the partnership launched a referralbased lending program, the second phase will use sales data captured by TouchBistro to determine the feasibility of the loan. “Based on the six-month business history, we can adjudicate the health of the business and provide them with the appropriate level of working capital,” said Anthony Lipschitz, chief strategy officer at Thinking Capital. “It’s really cash flow-based lending versus an asset-based approach.”

Barrotti added sharing data with Thinking Capital would require consent from the financing applicant. That data, however, provides valuable insight into whether or not the business is loanworthy. “When a restaurant tells you their cash flow or how they work, you have to rely on external verification,” Barrotti said. “This will let Thinking Capital make a better decision as to whether or not this is a good decision for an operating loan.” Thinking Capital uses proprietary data and algorithms to make lending decisions based on how well a business is run and its resulting cash flow. Its technology-driven approach means restaurant owners have an increased chance of securing financing through Thinking Capital as decisions are based on a more holistic

picture of how they manage their business rather than on personal financial and credit information. “It’s more of an assessment of the health of the business, which is why we work with a ton of restaurateurs. A partnership with TouchBistro was such a natural fit for us,” Lipschitz said. The interest rate starts at 7.99 per cent and increases based on individual performance and risk. “There are no restrictions on how the loan is used by the restaurant. “People have different needs,” Lipschitz said. “We’ve seen lots of restaurateurs looking for operating capital or capital to beef up their staff in different seasons. Renovations, expansions, you name it.”

Oh Canada! Terroir celebrates gastronomy in the Great White North By Kristen Smith TORONTO — The 11th annual Terroir Symposium is turning its focus to its native gastronomy. The Canadian-focused seminars align with Canada’s sesquicentennial, a time when the country is focusing on its strengths, achievements and diversity. “We’ve toyed with it in the past, with the idea of [focusing of Canada],” said Terroir founder Arlene Stein. “I just didn’t know if we were ready for it; this year it feels like we are ready for it.” In creating the program, Stein and the team aimed to find interesting speakers who would create the same amount of excitement for delegates as the international culinary superstars it has hosted in the past, such as René Redzepi, Noma. “How do we still include that international element, but be authentic to ourselves in telling our Canadian story?” she said. “I think we have the most dynamic content we’ve ever had.” The majority, about 80 per cent of speakers, live in Canada; the rest are connected to Canada in some way. Located at the Art Gallery of Ontario on May 29, Terroir will begin with host and MC Matty Matheson paying tribute to Canada’s First Nations and their role in establishing the country’s culinary identity. “We have Anita Stewart, who of course, is the queen of Canadian culinary, who will open the actual symposium on our main stage talking about the breadth and diversity of who we are as a Canadian culture,” said Stein. The remainder of the day will be split into

four concurrent streams made up of hour-long sessions. “The idea is to have them to be more intimate, and create more dialogue and conversation between the speaker and the audience,” Stein said. “Each of those sessions will delve a little bit deeper into a microcosm of Canadian culinary culture,” she added. “We’re going to talk about the seal hunt and how important it is to Eastern Canada and our northern communities, both as sustenance and also as a piece of economic development.” With more than 60 speakers confirmed, Terroir will feature a breadth of panels and presenters, including Susan Musgrave, who will discuss Haida Gwaii, representatives of the Canadian canola and pulse industries, and Marianne Cane, who will discuss iconic Canadian foods. “We’re going to talk to a series of chefs about what it means to be an immigrant or a new Canadian and what the development of our ethnic diversity has led to our culture, both new and new,” added Stein. “On a more practical level, we’re going to talk about the advent of food, flavour and finance.” Capping off the symposium, a plenary session will tie discussions together with three core themes: the importance of Canada’s ethnic diversity, youth and mentorship in the industry and sustainable agriculture. “In going through this process, I’ve learned a ton about what it means both on a diversity level for our culinary culture, but also that we really need to think more regionally and celebrate those regional differences as opposed to having one completely cohesive idea of who we are on a gastronomic level,” said Stein.

Clockwise from top left: Matty Matheson, Susan Musgrave, Eric Pateman and Ann Sperling join this year’s Terroir roster to help celebrate Canadian cuisine. Acting as MC this year, Matheson has participated in Terroir for a number of years as a presenter, a chef preparing the lunch and last year, as a delegate. “I’m lucky that I’ve gotten to travel a lot and I’ve gone to a fair bit of food symposium type things around the world and I think that we can just make something kind of grand, something special, something unique and represent Canada,” he said. “I think that Canada and the chefs and the farmers are really coming together. “Every time I leave, it makes me more proud of the city, of the country I come from. I think Canada is an amazing country and it has a very strong culinary scene.” That said, Matheson believes there is room

for Canada’s dining culture to grow. “We don’t have those giant fine dining restaurants that big American cities or European cities have, but we’re building them,” he said. “There is still so much room for good restaurants.” While symposiums like Terroir help foster the growth of Canada’s foodservice and hospitality industry, Matheson looks forward to seeing chefs and hospitality professionals come together from across the country. “The biggest thing that I love about food symposiums is seeing everyone and that’s the community, that’s the industry. That is the underlying thing for me; that’s why I travel to go to things like this,” he said.

HAMBRGR heads to St. Catharines Continued from cover To avoid the comparison, FSH & CHP serves seasonal and sustainable seafood that draws influence from Newfoundland to New Orleans. “We wanted our own Canadian style,” Cipollo said. With two restaurants operating side-by-side, Cipollo looked to Hamilton’s east side for his third location. He opened the second HAMBRGR location on Ottawa Street at the end of February. “We decided HAMBRGR was a concept we were in love with,” Cipollo said. The new, 2,400-square-foot, two-storey location, seats 60 on the main floor and 75 guests on the second floor. A walk-in keg fridge allows HAMBRGR to serve a variety of craft beer from across North America. “It’s brewers who don’t have as big of a presence, but make a big product,” Cipollo said. “It’s every beer with its right glass, with its right coaster and every beer poured properly at the size it should be poured.” Alongside craft beer, HAMBRGR is serving alco-

holic milkshakes and root beer floats. In addition to its hamburgers, the menu is rounded out with bacon fat popcorn, handmade jalapeño poppers and Nashville chicken strippers. To create the space and menu concept, Cipollo involved both front and back of house staff in the process. “I wanted to do it outside of the corporate mentality,” he said. “I wanted to rely on the people that work for us.” Cipollo create Local Restaurant Group as the parent company for his three restaurants. A third HAMBRGR is now in development in St. Catharines, Ont. “We’re in the design phase, working with the engineer and architect,” Cipollo said. “That will hopefully open this year.” While Cipollo plans to continue to grow his brand, he doesn’t plan on offering his concepts as franchises. “I don’t see myself getting to a point where I’m just sitting behind a desk,” he said. “To me, that is the beginning of the end for a restaurant.”

Mike Cipollo

March 2017 | 1 3


From hop farmers to brewers

Melanie Doerksen and Tim Wilson

SIMCOE, Ont. — Melanie Doerksen and Tim Wilson’s estate brewery began with a dream of operating a vineyard while visiting France. Decades later, after purchasing Wilson’s childhood farm in Norfolk County, the husband and wife team turned to hops instead of vines. The organic hops farmers have been supplying Ontario breweries for the last five years, steadily increasing their yield, and plan to enter the next phase of their business this summer with the opening of Charlotteville Brewing Company. Located south of Delhi, Ont., near the shores of Lake Erie, the 41-acre property is home to about 20 acres of Carolinian Forest. “We think it’s a really magical place in Ontario and we’re really happy that we’re able to conserve a little piece of it with our farm,” said Wilson, an anatomy professor at Western University. Doerksen recently left her position as Artisanal Culinary Arts program co-ordinator at Fanshawe College, where she worked for 13 years, to focus on opening the brewery and an onsite restaurant. The couple grows 10 varieties of hops and will be able to continue supplying brewers in Simcoe and London, Ont. “Just because we’re starting the brewery, it doesn’t mean we are not going to continue to expand the hopyard,” said Doerksen. “We will continue to expand that part of the business so we can supply ourselves, but also continue to supply the customers we currently have.” In preparation for expanding their business, the couple found two old barns from the London area, which will house Charlotteville Brewing Company when it opens on July 1. “At 150 years old, the barns are ready to celebrate their sesquicentennial alongside Canada,” said Wilson. Doerksen has homebrewing experience, but hopes to

woo a graduate of Niagara College, where the couple has been working on test batches, to teach her the trade and help scale operations. “I know what I like to taste and I know what tastes I think should go together,” Doerksen said. “I think it could be a really interesting opportunity for someone who wants to come in and be creative and teach a couple of old dogs some new tricks.” They expect the beer lineup will include IPAs as well as porters, stouts and sour beers. “I think that we will definitely have some good IPAs, those are favourites,” she explained. “We’ll have some flagship beers that will be good for everybody to try, but then we definitively want to have some one-offs or some seasonals that would really be for true craft beer lovers.” In addition to hops grown on the estate, Charlotteville Brewing Company plans to use local heritage grains and ingredients specific to the Norfolk area. “Being that all the ingredients can come within walking distance, I think, really adds a different level of locality. People can actually see what went into their beer, what went into their food and actually walk around in it before and/or after and take a look,” Wilson said. Also in the works are plans to open an onsite restaurant with about 30 seats and a small patio. “We are first and foremost a brewery and the restaurant is really just there to provide food to our customers that will complement the beers that we’re making,” Doerksen said. She plans to use spent grains from beer production to make bread and pizza dough. Local farmers will also use the grains to feed their livestock, which in turn, will be made into charcuterie for the restaurant. “One of our mantras is about sustainability and making sure we have a very small carbon footprint,” Doerksen said. “We want to be able to focus on heritage food projects that will showcase the terroir of Norfolk.”

Copperhead distillery opens in Burke’s Falls BURKE’S FALLS, Ont. — Copperhead Distillery has opened with a focus on highlighting flavours of Northern Ontario. Inspired by the bounty of local produce in their community, Sharon and Craig Ferchat opened the distillery near Burke’s Falls, Ont., in December. “It was really interesting that there were a lot of nice small businesses up here and some very nice farms,” Craig Ferchat said. “They’re growing organic crops and are really dedicated to the quality of their produce, but they didn’t have a venue to sell some of these products.” As the owners of a natural health care product business, the Ferchats began trying to incorporate local ingredients. However, they decided to create a new business better suited to the area. “We thought about how could we use them, how can we take advantage of this great local resource, and came up with a distillery,” Ferchat said.

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As their first time trying their hand at distilling, the Ferchats took a trial and error approach to fusing local ingredients with numerous recipes for spirits. “It was very much our own endeavour and trying to make product we like that we thought our neighbours would like as well,” he said. This month, the LCBO will begin carrying four of the distillery’s products: Magnetawan Rye Moonshine, Almaguin Smokin’ Guns Moonshine, Pirate Coconut Rum and Black Currant Vodka. “The rye is our best seller. It does have a pretty respectable flavour to it,” he said. The LCBO-bound brands are four of 18 spirits produced at the distillery. As well, cider and wine production will also join their beverage production in the future. “The thinking was, if we only had one or two products, it would be a tough sell to convince someone to leave the highway and

come in to where we’re located,” Ferchat said. While the sugarcane used in rum production must be imported, Copperhead purchases organic grain, corn, herbs and fruits used in its spirit production from as close to home as possible. “All of our other grains and products we try to get from within 100 miles,” Ferchat said. Situated on a 55-acre farm on Horn Lake, the distillery also plans to grow many of its own ingredients. With a rye grain harvest under their belt, the Ferchats plan to tackle corn next. “We’re a bit far north for that, but we’re going to try to grow as much as we can,” he said. While the distillery is already home to a tasting room, they plan to build a larger facility that includes a restaurant and tour of the operation. “It will become a real reason to come off the highway,” Ferchat said.

Great Lakes Brewery celebrates three decades of craft beer ETOBICOKE, Ont. —Great Lakes Brewery (GLB) is celebrating its 30th birthday by expanding its experimental brewing capabilities. Peter Bulut, owner and chief brewing officer at GLB, purchased a new seven-barrel copper pilot system and four new 15-barrel fermenters as a birthday gift for his brewery. “We’re really proud to have been able to stay alive for 30 years. There were some trying times in the past,” Bulut said. “Now it’s going really well and we have great supporters.” The new system allows GLB to expand its experimental brewing from 70 litres to a maximum of 1,400 litres, meaning more beer for its retail store as well as bars and restaurants. Overall, GLB is brewing about three million litres of beer annually, including its flagships Canuck Pale Ale and Pompous Ass English Pale Ale. “We’re still very small in the industry, but amongst our comrades, we’re on the bigger end of the small end,” Bulut said. Throughout February, the new equipment

was broken in with a series of collaborative beers. To celebrate the milestone on Feb. 10, more than 20 craft brewers from across Ontario gathered at the Etobicoke brewery to create Brewer’s IPA. “They’re basically longtime friends of Great Lakes we invited in to celebrate our 30th anniversary,” Bulut said, adding the 800-litre batch will be available at the brewery and select restaurants. “A bunch of us went into the hop room and select the hops that were used to make the beer.” When GLB first started brewing, Bulut noted organizing a Brewer’s IPA might not have been possible. “Ontario is now home to about 300 craft breweries, with 80 in the Ontario Craft Brewers Association. There’s no way I thought it would get this big,” Bulut said. “Back in the ’80s, and even the ’90s, for every brewery that opened, there were two closing.”

Peter Bulut While GLB opened its doors during a time when craft beer “wasn’t a viable industry,” Bulut explained quality was key to surviving in the industry. “Really focus on quality, don’t cut corners. It’s not easy. Quality does cost money,” Bulut said. For newcomers to the industry, Bulut sug-

gests investing in high quality brewing equipment, and focusing on their product rather than potential profits. “We don’t want the new guys tarnishing the industry or themselves,” Bulut said. “We want them to come in and have a great business and do well. “The rising tide raises all.”

Southbrook Vineyards earns Spirit of Niagara Award NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — Southbrook Vineyards was named Company of the Year in the Spirit of Niagara Awards presented by the Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce. Bill and Marilyn Redelmeier, owners and proprietors of the organic and biodynamic Niagara-based winery, accepted the award on Feb. 7 at Queen’s Landing Hotel. Presented by chamber president Rainer Hummel, the Company of the Year award recognizes a business that has made a significant impact on its industry by demonstrating outstanding growth and development.

“The Company of the Year winners for the past few years are the bedrock of the business community,” Hummel said in a news release. “Every year the committee reviews the numerous nominations and selects just one company that represents excellence, setting a new standard for corporate creativity and outstanding leadership. This year’s winner achieved their status in a different way, with a philosophy they’ve adopted in their company.” Southbrook Vineyards was the first winery in Canada to be certified by Demeter, the worldwide organization that oversees biodynamic agriculture, which involves hand work,

natural inputs, attentive vineyard care and selfsufficiency. “When they do that and then promote the wines from a LEED Gold certified building, a building that has sheep grazing in front of a stunning 200-meter-long wall attached to the hospitality pavilion, they certainly make a positive impact,” Hummel said. Southbrook Vineyards grows 60 acres of wine grapes on a 150-acre diversified farm. “We are thrilled and honoured with the Spirit of Niagara Award,” said Bill Redelmeier. “Our focus is on the importance of organic and biodynamic viticulture in the production of

great wine, something which places us on the leading edge of winemaking globally.”

Other food and hospitality winners Richard Reid, the executive director of sales and operations at White Oaks Conference Resort and Spa, was the recipient of the Celia Liu Award for Excellence in Hospitality. The Community Leadership Award was presented to Vintage Hotels and Parks Canada for its efforts to create the outdoor rink at Fort George. The President’s Company of the Year was Greaves Jams and Marmalades.

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Breakfast with Champions Foodservice corporate executives, owner/operators, suppliers, and top management gathered at Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex the morning of Feb. 28 for the annual Breakfast with Champions. Representing Technomic, keynote speaker Sara Monnette, vice-president of research and insights, discussed 10 rules for competing in a global foodservice world. Emphasize experience: Simple things like how the server interacts with guests can add to the experience. Take a stand: “Consumers want to align with brands they feel align with the greater good,” said Monnette. She referenced Sweden-based Max Burgers, a popular chain with 120 units, which displays climate impact labelling for its menu items and offsets CO2e by planting trees in Africa. Keep it local. Flex your format muscles: Meet the customer on their terms. Make tech your friend: “Tech works best when it’s seamlessly integrated into the experience,” said Monnette, who noted it has been embraced more in QSR than FSR. Make ingredients the hero: High-quality, fresh ingredients are the number 1 traffic driver, according to Technomic data. Bend the “healthy” rules: The term “real” resonates with consumers more than other descriptors. Make it personal: Monnette sees this as an opportunity for server training and engagement. “People like to talk about themselves; they like to talk about what they like,” she said. Be authentic, for real: Monnette noted authenticity falls into two camps: being genuine and using authentic ingredients and recipes in ethnic cuisine. Know your competitors: In the foodservice industry, there is increasing competition from non-traditional sources, such as HMR, delivery and meal kits. Monette closed her presentation with four keys to success: learn you customers’ value equation; determine the strategies that align with your brand identity; be genuine in your approach and ensure a clear, consistent message; and don’t try to be everything to everyone.

The new Canadian Darrell Bricker, CEO, Ipsos Public Affairs, addressed how the Canadian psyche is changing. “We’re not the people we think we are,” Bricker said. What he called “the old Canada” – mainly English and French and “very white,” rural, with big families – is giving way to “the new Canada.” Demographically, the average birth rate in Canada is 1.6, lower than the 2.1 required for sustaining a population. “You need one for you, you need one for your partner and you need a little bit for those who can’t or won’t,” he explained. A declining birthrate isn’t a Canadian trend, he said, “It’s a worldwide phenomenon.” Partnered with an increasing lifespan, Canada is looking at an aging population. “Everyone’s obsessed with these millennials,” said Bricker. “They have no money and there are not that many of them.” He suggested operators should stop thinking about appealing to kids and start considering an older group, especially since the median age is 41. Population growth in Canada is in the west, especially in Calgary, as well as in communities where people can commute to “the big city.” Canada has the fastest growing population in the G8 and three quarters of that growth is from immigration, largely from Pacific nations, noted Bricker. “Tolerance is the ultimate value in Canada – it’s what makes us work,” he said. According the Bricker, “the new Canadian” is more multicultural, urban and suburban, with smaller families, a larger proportion of females over males, less engaged with traditional institutions, and tolerant, opinionated, demanding and difficult.

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Chef Jason Bangerter plates dishes for RC Nation’s Feast with the help of Niagara College students.

RC SHOW RECAP TORONTO — While there is no shortage of challenges facing foodservice operators, Restaurants Canada is focusing on three key issues for the coming year. Restaurants Canada president Shanna Munro explained the organization is concentrating its government lobbying efforts on pending changes to marketing for youth, sodium limits and reviews of labour code. “We want to be present at the table,” Munro said. “We want to influence our policy makers, but more importantly, we want to educate them on the importance of the decisions they make.” Federal Minister of Health Jane Philpott has been mandated with introducing restrictions on commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverage products to children. Restaurants Canada is working with a food product coalition to study the economic impacts of the mandate, and highlight the “potentially unintended impact” regulatory changes could have on foodservice brands. “It’s a very broad statement. Think about the mascots that many of the brands use; they may be at risk,” Munro said. “This could be a detriment to some of the brands and how they market to youth today.” In 2010, the federal government created voluntary reduction targets in sodium for food products. Munro warns that new targets are in the works. “You can expect the name and shame for brands that exceed those targets, so beware,” she said. “Our key message is to deliver to the government the progress that has been made.” In Ontario, the provincial government is in the process of reviewing its labour code. The Changing Workplaces Review is looking at all aspects of employment, including sick pay, overtime, joining unions and employers’ responsibility to contract employees. As well, sectoral bargaining is a recurring suggestion, which would see multiple employers at different companies negotiate with one union. Munro said Alberta is hearing similar recommendations. “It’s part of a long wish list for organized labour,” Munro said. “We are working with a coalition of employer groups and lobbying both governments to prevent these provisions from being adopted in the future.”

A top-growing segment Although facing hurdles, foodservice sales in Canada are projected to reach $83.8 billion in 2017, an 85 per cent increase since 2000. “This is not only because of a strong economy, rise in dispos-

Rational chef Daryl Neamtu able income or growing population, but because more and more Canadians are relying on foodservice for their needs,” said Restaurants Canada’s senior economist Chris Elliott, who noted foodservice is a top-growing segment and employer within Canada’s economy. Elliott explained surveying Canadians has found dining out is the number 1 way consumers find time to spend with friends and family. “We also found out a lot of Canadians don’t want to cook or don’t have time to cook. There’s even a growing share saying they don’t know how to cook.”

Boost your revenue Increasing your menu prices is a balancing act, but achievable without shocking your customer base, according to Holly Sim-

Restaurants Canada AGM At the Restaurants Canada annual general meeting held on Feb. 26, five new directors joined the 33-member board: Leslie Echino, Blink Restaurant & Bar owner, Mo Jessa, Earls Kitchen + Bar president; Kelvin Lum, White Spot Hospitality chief financial officer; Steven Mastoras, Whistler’s Grille & The McNeil Room managing director; and Bill Pratt, Chef Inspired Group of Restaurants founder and chef. Board chair Bill Allen, of New-Brunswick-based Fresh Casual Restaurants, closed the meeting by outlining some of the national foodservice association’s plans for 2017. “Our goal: if you’re a member of Restaurants Canada, you’re in the know,” said Allen, noting Restaurants Canada is investing in its online systems and platforms. This year, the organization will create a young leader advisory council. “We’re reaching out to the new, rising, energetic leaders and disrupters in our industry,” said Allen. “Together we can shape a bright and prosperous future for our association, our industry and our country.” Chef Lidia Bastianich mons, consulting services director for Revenue Management Solutions (RMS). Since the company’s launch in 1994, RMS has analyzed menu pricing for more than 50,000 restaurants globally. The best approach for increasing costs is a gradual approach throughout the year. Simmons explained many operators incorporate a single increase annually. However, instead of adding $1 to all menu items, for example, she recommends adding 50 cent increases twice per year. “A once-a-year increase creates shock,” Simmons said. “Taking it more often can really alleviate some of that shock. We recommend to a lot of our customers to increase price twice a year, if not three or four times per year.” Operators should also consider when the price increase is introduced. A mandated minimum wage increase is an ideal time to boost prices. “You can instantly say, ‘It’s the government’s fault’,” she said. While an even increase across the menu may seem logical, some items are capable of bearing higher increases than others. “Identify which products people are willing to pay more for. Some things that have more brand equity,” Simmons said. Studying data retrieved from a point of sale (POS) system will explain how price increases affect sales. Increasing the cost of a menu item may increase profitability. However, the increase may alter what the customer purchases. “If someone came in and you increased the price on a standard burger they like to eat, maybe they trade up to a steak. Or maybe they’re trading down to the cheapest chicken option they can find,” Simmons said. “They may trade out of the restaurant altogether.” She added the cost of an item creates potential to boost perceived value. In some cases, low prices may actually deter customers. While restaurants may choose to compete for “value customers,” a low price also delivers a message of low quality. “Until you charge a certain amount, people don’t buy it,” Simmons said. “They don’t believe its real or even edible.”

Expanding your brand Big brand restaurants looking to explore new markets is a growing trend in foodservice, according to Sara Monnette, vicepresident of research and insight at Technomic. Last year, the top 10 brands in the United States increased their units by 1.4 per cent domestically. However, foreign growth recorded a six per cent increase. “They’re looking to grow across borders, that’s where they see the biggest opportunity,” Monnette said. “We expect to see that continue and see smaller brands come into North America as well.” Restaurants have successfully entered foreign markets by simplifying their bill of fare. A simple approach equals sourcing fewer ingredients, planning for fewer dayparts and reducing equipment needed for the back of house. “What we’ve seen successful brands do is take the core brand

Winners’ circle

Angus Cheung competes in the RC bartending championships. elements and translate those across borders, so they’re not trying to do too much,” Monnette said. Kingston, Ont.-based Pita Pit, for example, entered Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2015. While their Canadian menu included 24 items, the menu abroad was reduced to 12 options. “It’s simplifying and making it easier for the consumer to understand,” Monnette said. “You don’t want the consumer going into your location and being confused by the menu or approach.” When entering a market with a different language, menu item descriptions should be carefully translated to ensure the correct interpretation. “If you’re translating a description, translate it one way, then translate it back. Make sure it’s telling the same thing,” Monnette said. As well, how customers interpret marketing will likely change based on location. TGI Friday’s, for example, sells St. Louisbranded ribs in the United States. “In the United States, consumers generally know the regional flavours of barbecue,” Monnette said. When TGI Friday’s entered Panama, the same St. Louis ribs were rebranded as Texas ribs. “Across the globe, people understand what Texas is about, and that barbecue is related to Texas,” she said. Localizing the brand is also important. However, Monnette explained the definition of local changes from region to region. Technomic sought out the definition of local in six regions throughout the world. They discovered 75 per cent of Europeans define local as ingredients coming from within 100 miles of the restaurant. In South America and the Middle East, local was defined as a product created within the same country. “We have to understand what local means to consumers across the world,” Monnette said.

During the 2017 RC Show, Restaurants Canada recognized culinary excellence and leadership in the foodservice industry. Vancouver chef Robert Belcham was recognized for culinary excellence and his commitment to mentorship. In a recent interview with Scout Magazine, Belcham said he would like to be remembered: “Through the people I have taught to cook, and who they teach to cook.” The RC Leadership Award was presented to Mohamad Fakih, president of Paramount Fine Foods. Last year, Fakih started a hiring campaign, pledging to hire 100 Syrian refugees to work at the Ontario restaurant chain. Fakih also offered to pay for the funerals of the victims of the shooting at a Quebec mosque in January that left six dead and 19 injured as well as help pay to rebuild the centre. In the Shake & Sling Pavilion, competitions ran throughout the three-day show with finals held on Feb. 28. Adam Branczyk from Just Flair TV won both the flair and black box competitions. Dustin Costain from came out on top in the speed competition.

RC Nation’s Feast In honour of Canada’s 150 birthday, Restaurants Canada brought together chefs from across the country to create a four-course menu. Under the direction of culinary curator Charlotte Langley, the chefs highlighted regional dishes in their products. The dinner, dubbed Nation’s Feast, started with Ontario duck breast and mousse served with fresh cellared and pickled beets and Manitoba pulses created by Langley and chef Rich Francis from Seventh Fire in Saskatoon. Chefs Jesse Vergen, of Saint John Ale House in New Brunswick, and Adam Donnelly of Segovia Tapas Bar in Winnipeg, partnered on a dish highlighting Ontario fresh water trout and Manitoba lentils served with beetroot and horseradish. Fogo Island cod tongue and cheeks were the main ingredient in the third course, prepared by Renée Lavallée, The Canteen on Portland in Dartmouth, N.S., and Jason Bangerter, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Cambridge, Ont. The cod was served with celery, apple, mustard greens and flowers from the Langdon Hall garden. Vancouver chef Robert Belcham (Campagnolo) and Todd Perrin, chef/owner of Mallard Cottage, Quidi Vidi, N.L., prepared a slow-cooked plate of Canadian beef with braised collard greens and parsnip and potato dauphinoise. Students from Niagara College’s Food and Wine Institute were on hand to help build and garnished dishes for the sold out dinner for 200 foodservice industry members. “If there is one thing I know about the foodservice and hospitality industry, is we love to have a party,” said Restaurants Canada president Shanna Munro as she welcomed guests.

March 2017 | 1 7


DuraLoc by EcoLab Ecolab has launched DuraLoc, a new line of floor cleaning tools designed to outlast traditional brooms, mops and scrubbers. In addition to durability, DuraLoc tools feature an interchangeable tool head system that allows its user to easily replace heads. DuraLoc also features a 24-inch-long, snap-in storage system to securely wall mount the line of cleaning tools. “It’s very unique in terms of its durability, interchangeable tool heads and its storage rack system,” said Mike Brown, senior marketing manager at EcoLab. To avoid cross-contamination, DuraLoc includes coloured sleeves that lock over its handles to ensure cleaning equipment used in the washroom or front of house, isn’t used in the back of house or vice versa. “You want one colour to isolate each zone from contamination,” Brown said. DuraLoc’s Big Dipper accessory head is designed to reduce deck-brushing time by 70 per cent. When the deck brush is dunked into the mop bucket, the Big

Dipper automatically fills with cleaning solution. It applies and agitates the floor cleaner in one step, helping ensure proper procedures are followed. “Deck brushing is supposed to happen but it is often omitted,” Brown said. Deck brushing is required to break down and remove greasy build-up — a common contributor to workplace slip and fall incidents. The National Floor Safety Institute certified the floor care system as providing high-traction. “The number 1 reason you buy DuraLoc is for safety,” Brown said. “At the end of the day, we want to prevent slips and falls.” The cleaning system’s mop bucket includes separate compartments to keep dirty water isolated from cleaning solution and help reduce contamination. The front compartment holds 17 quarts of cleaning solution and has a curved bottom to accommodate the Big Dipper. The rear water bucket is removable to easily discard dirty water.

The Interactive dining table The IRT Table, created by Kodisoft, is like a giant tablet with legs. Powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and equipped with 4kretina display, the device allows restaurateurs to upload and edit their menus. Guests are then able to place their order by tapping on the 50-inch screen. While guests wait for their order, they’re able to use the table to watch videos, play games or browse the web. As well, the table’s Touch Technology allows all guests seated at the table to individually interact with the device. The screen is able to distinguish between fingers, elbows or plates.

At the end of the meal, the table’s built in contactless payment option lets guests tap their credit or debit card on the surface to pay for their meal. The device is also equipped with four cameras, allowing its user to take photos or participate in videoconferences. Equipped with Diamond Glass, produced using advanced lab-tested thermal/chemical treatments, the table is nearly indestructible and able to withstand spills or an adult standing on its surface.

Fornoteca Duetto

Le Verre de Vin

Available this spring, the Fornoteca Duetto cooks Neapolitan-style pizza in a smaller footprint than a traditional wood-burning oven. Distributed exclusively by Quebec-based Food Supplies, the oven cooks a pizza in 90 seconds using a rotating 16-inch ceramic stone and high-temperature dual burner. Available in propane or natural gas, the oven detaches from its stand for counter-top use. Fornoteca received the RC Product Innovation Award at Restaurants Canada’s 2017 trade show.

Le Verre de Vin reseals open wine bottles allowing operators to create and maintain a wine-by-the-glass cabinet. The device will preserve once open bottles of wine for up to 21 days. For still wine, the vacuum resealing process removes controlled levels of oxygen. For sparkling wine, pressurization of the bottle with carbon dioxide prevents the natural fizz in the product from being released. Any issue of oxidation is also eliminated. Le Verre de Vin Tower can be configured to fit in virtually any bar operation.

Grand Trunk


Grand Trunk, produced by Stonetown Cheese in St. Mary’s, Ont., placed first in the firm Cheese and Butter Competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair 2016. Similar to Gruyere, Grand Trunk is aged with a three-month ripening process for a milder cheese as well as a stronger version aged six to nine months. Due to its “historic look,” the cheese was named after an old rail bridge of the former Grand Trunk Railway in its home town.

The Toronto-based startup teaBOT is creating a retail platform for customized grab-and-go tea — without the need for a dedicated employee. The robotic kiosk allows customers to order a cup of loose-leaf tea via the teaBOT’s touch screen interface or a personal smartphone. With 18 ingredients to choose from, customers are able to create their own tea blends (or select from a list of popular blends) and select their desired water temperature. The teaBOT is then able to prepare the beverage in less than a minute.

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Ontario Restaurant News March 2017  
Ontario Restaurant News March 2017