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O N T A R I O February 2016 | Vol. 31 | No. 1
N AT I O N A L
A&W CALLS FOR MILLENNIAL OWNERS
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Fusing old & new
at Belsito Trattoria-Vino Chef Gino Guercio has returned to Ontario from Tokyo with a menu of old world Italian receipes village of less than 5,000 people and home to about 10 eateries. “It’s night and day. It’s a concrete KLEINBURG, Ont. – Chef Gino jungle in Tokyo and a beautiful vilGuercio has left the hectic culinary lage here,” Guercio said. “This is my home. I love to travel world of Tokyo to return to his roots and I love to be an expat, but it was in Kleinburg, Ont. In January, Guercio opened Bel- time to come home and time to do sito Trattoria-Vino – a 76-seat res- my own thing.” With a few contemporary twists, taurant serving traditional southern Italian fare on Islington Avenue in the Guercio has created a menu for Belsito Trattoria-Vino based on recipes Village of Kleinburg. “I was always looking for a res- he learned in the kitchen from his taurant that had not only character mother and grandmother. “My menu is southern Italian within, but character outside,” Guerfare. I’m going back to my roots. cio said. “I have always loved this heritage I’m bringing back the flavours from where I grew up,” he said. village.” “My menu really embraces all of Kleinburg is a far cry from Guercio’s more than seven-year career in my culinary skills at home, not in the culinary world. It’s different.” Tokyo. Guercio predicts Baccala fritto In Japan, Guercio served as director of food and beverage for the In- alla belsitese (salted cod with a warm terContinental Hotel, which is home tomato, caper and chive salsa) and APPROVAL Trippa REQUIRED con fagioli bianchi alla parto 12 foodservice locations — includThe enclosed proof is sent for your approval. We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. migiana and cannellini beans, ing a two-Michelin Star restaurantDO— NOT GIVE VERBAL (tripe INSTRUCTIONS. CHECK CAREFULLY! Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. Alterations (other than typographical errors)tomatoes will be charged extra.and Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” as will the case may grana padano) bewhich served more than 12,000 meals be, signing your name so we may know that the proof reached the proper authority. come his signature dishes at Belsito per day. DATE Trattoria-Vino. Kleinburg, on the other hand,SIGNATURE is a OF APPROVAL
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Chef Gino Guercio. “Those are true southern Italian dishes,” Guercio said, noting the average dinner check costs about $50 to $60 per person. Like the menu, the decor also melds old with new. The 76-seat restaurant, also equipped with a 36-seat patio, features a rustic, yet contemporary de-
sign using reclaimed wood and natural stone. “I guess the right term would be ‘urban old world’,” Guercio said. “It’s has a very warm feel,” he added. The restaurant’s name also pays homage to the old world. Belsito is the name of Guercio’s ancestral
hometown in the province of Cosenza, Italy. Guercio was able to visit the town this summer before opening his restaurant. “I decided to bring a little bit of my past here to this restaurant,” Guercio said. “It’s to pay tribute to my parents who passed away many years ago.”
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A&W issues call to recruit millennial franchisees By Bill Tremblay TORONTO – When A&W took a close look at its successful urban franchises, the company discovered a recurring theme. The success of the restaurant chain’s urban concept was tied to millennials in senior leadership positions. “They really understood what the urban guests were looking for. We saw plus signs next to the success of those restaurants,” said Susan Senecal, president and chief operating officer of A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. “We found we were learning a lot from those millennials.” To help capitalize on its research, A&W has launched a recruitment drive to attract more millennials to franchise ownership. As an enticement, A&W is offering its urban franchise stores for about $125,000 to $150,000. In comparison, the classic version of the restaurant costs about $300,000 to $400,000. “It’s still a lot of money, but the millennials we’ve talked to feel it more of an accessible amount of money for them to raise,” Senecal said. “It’s an accessible barrier that doesn’t preclude them from being able to operate their own business.” As well, the company has created a training program to provide young franchisees with professional development and restaurant management training. A work experience program also provides the opportunity for new franchisees to
Susan Senecal earn a salary and learn the business while their restaurant is constructed. The training process takes about nine to 12 months. “Many of them come to us without a lot of business experience or no business experience,” Senecal said. “We really need to not only show them the ropes of running an A&W, but also basic business skills.” The first urban A&W store opened in Vancouver in 2010. Now, the company has 24 urban stores throughout Canada. By 2020, A&W plans to open 75 new urban locations with 25 owned by millennial franchisees.
The restaurant concept is designed for densely populated areas with high pedestrian traffic. Each urban concept is open 24 hours a day, requires 1,500 to 2,000 square feet and seats about 45 guests. “It’s more driven by people in the area. Convenience is really desirable. “We see more people taking orders out,” Senecal said. With a younger demographic moving into high-density areas, matching franchise owners with their guests is ideal for A&W. “Who we have in our restaurants are a lot of millennial guests. Certainly in urban areas, when you think about condo development, that’s who is moving in,” Senecal said. “They’ll have that little bit more insight, be a little bit more leading edge.” Several changes at A&W are already millennial driven. Opening 24 hours a day was an idea pitched by one of the brand’s young franchisees. As well, the moves to source beef raised without hormones or steroids, antibiotic-free chicken and Canadian-farmed eggs were influenced by input from A&W’s younger customers. “They really reinforce and bring new ideas and success to the formula,” Senecal said. “We think it will be a win on the side of having a brand new opportunity for people who are out there looking for entrepreneurial opportunities.”
Young brothers tackle restaurant ownership WINDSOR, Ont. — Riviera Pizza is older than its new owners. David, 22, and Jacob Dunn, 17, took ownership of the Windsor, Ont., pizzeria on Ottawa Street last June. They started working there in late March to learn the ropes from former owners Onofrio and Maria Serra, who operated the restaurant since 1989. “We learned everything. We learned, obviously, about how to make pizza,” said David. “Pizza, it looks like one of the easiest things to do and it’s not, not at all.” In addition to the art and science behind making pizza, they learned how having everything in its place helps things run smoothly in the 16-seat eatery. Perhaps most importantly the Sicilian couple taught them about authenticity — how to know when it’s time to take a pizza out of the oven, “you’ve got to watch it, you’ve got to learn, you’ve got the feel when it’s ready,” and how to make sauce with “a handful of this and a handful of that,” said David. “We’re not Italian, so we had to learn that way.” David and Jacob, who attends F. J. Brennan Catholic High School, couldn’t learn from school the lessons imparted by the Serras. “Even though, obviously this is a business, the way they taught us to do it is, this is something that you’re sharing with everybody else,” said David. “We’re here having a good time every day.” The Serras also passed on their recipe for gluten-free and vegan pies, something David
From left: David and Jacob Dunn. sees as a key differentiator in the city. The Dunn brothers realize it’s important to maintain the authentic, mom-and-pop pizzeria, but the younger owners also feel it’s important to change little things, like developing lunch deals to attract students and placing an emphasis on social media marketing. As well, David and Jacob are experimenting with a rotating menu of gourmet pizzas, such as Philly cheese steak and gyros-inspired toppings. The brothers are entrepreneurs at heart. David was his own boss at 13 making promotional products. Jacob sold ice cream during the sum-
mer from a refurbished Dicki Dee bike. They scrimped and saved and came up with enough to buy the business. David, who studied accounting at St. Clair College, said they know the restaurant business is tough, but they are willing to take the risk. “There is a lot of figuring things out as we go along,” said David, noting they have the support of their family. “It was really lucky for us too, because the old owners did such a great job here; we were taking over a business that’s been here for 26 years,” he added.
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DRUXY’S acquires Williams TORONTO — DRUXY’S Famous Deli announced the acquisition of Williams Fresh Café on Feb. 1. The combined entity results in 70 delis, cafes and kiosks across Ontario. According to a press release, the purchase advances DRUXY’S market position in terms of buying power and securing prime locations. The deal combines DRUXY’S deli chain, which is focused on Toronto’s downtown core, hospitals and office buildings, with Williams Fresh Cafe’s strength in the suburbs, universities and colleges. While the restaurants will continue to operate as separate brands, opportunities will be explored to capitalize on the strengths of each menu. For example, DRUXY’S deli sandwiches could appear at Williams while the café’s coffees and espresso-based beverages could be poured at DRUXY’S. “Williams comes to us with 26 locations, a dedicated group of amazing franchisee owners and employees and a broad and loyal customer base,” said Bruce Druxerman, president of DRUXY’S Inc. DRUXY’s vice-president of finance Harold Druxerman pointed out the move allows the company to expand its strong Greater Toronto Area footprint across southwestern Ontario. “This allows us to service our clientele from Oshawa to London and from Barrie to Niagara Falls. The addition of Williams Fresh Café also expands our institutional opportunities from our current base in hospitals, to universities and colleges where Williams enjoys continuing success,” Druxerman said. “For the past year we evaluated options to break into the growing fast casual restaurant segment,” said Peter Druxerman, DRUXY’S vice-president of marketing. “Williams Fresh Café dovetails with our focus on sandwiches, salads and soups. “While DRUXY’S excels at crafting quality sandwiches for breakfast and lunch in high traffic areas, Williams Fresh Café is known for their coffee and desserts, and serving across all dayparts in a welcoming sit-down environment.”
February 2016 | 3
O N T A R I O
The most wonderful time of the year
ith the holidays behind us, and Valentine’s Day in the bag, a new season is around the corner: show time. It’s an exciting time in the Ishcom offices as we prepare to visit the industry’s various shows, hit as many booths as we can and meet operators and suppliers, both small and large. It’s an opportunity to see new products and innovations first hand and meet the minds behind the future of the industry. The foodservice tradeshow is a longstanding tradition in our industry spanning decades. Ishcom Publications has hosted the same booth — come see us at 1850 — for more than a dozen years. Some might argue trade shows are dying — or at least shrinking. Has the Internet made them less relevant? Is it less important to meet people face to face; will a Google search and an email suffice when determin-
ing what and how to serve your guests? Tradeshows engage the senses. They allow operators to touch, smell and taste potential menu items or ingredients, sit on new patio furniture or see an oven demonstration. They are also an opportunity to attend seminars about emerging segments and trends, must-have technology, food and beer pairing or digital marketing. Kicking off the show season at the end of February, the Restaurants Canada Show draws visitors to Toronto from across the country. This year, the association partnered with Big Picture Conferences to host the Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit (CRIS) and the new Canadian Restaurant Operators Summit (CROS) during the same week in an effort to have delegates from the tradeshow and conferences attend both events. Assistant editor Bill Tremblay spoke to Restaurants Canada president and chief executive officer Donna Dooher about how the industry association is positioning its annual
show as more than simply rows of booths. “We’re really trying to bring the show to life, and take it from walking up and down aisles looking at products to bringing those products and brands to life,” Dooher said. Dubbed Hospitality Unleashed, the foodservice association hopes the whole Canadian industry will get involved. “We are a national trade association. We are not a Toronto or Ontario-based association. We’re looking for ways to include all of our partners across the country,” said Dooher. This alludes to perhaps the most important aspect of the foodservice tradeshow. In this busy, hands-on industry, when else will there be the opportunity to all be under one roof, learn from each other and make new connections?
WINNIPEG — On Jan. 18, nearly 33 years after opening its first store in Winnipeg, Domino’s Pizza opened the doors to its 400th Canadian location. The pizza delivery chain opened its first Canadian location in Winnipeg in 1983, marking the brand’s foray into international growth. Now, Domino’s has stores in every province and two territories. “I am so proud of all our franchisees and team members for their dedication and hard work in achieving this milestone for Domino’s Pizza,” said Mike Schlater, Domino’s Pizza of Canada’s chief executive officer. “We’re thrilled we have the opportunity to celebrate our 400th store in Winnipeg where it all started.” In honour of the 400th store, Domino’s Pizza of Canada will make a $4,000 donation to the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. The store — which is franchised by Craig Young, Greg Guffei and Rachel Alison — is located in Winnipeg at 468 Osbourne Rd.
Lot No. 40 earns top honours VICTORIA, B.C. — A whisky distilled in Windsor, Ont., earned top honours at the Canadian Whisky Awards. A panel of ten independent whisky experts named Lot No. 40 the Canadian Whisky of the Year at the sixth annual awards. Results of the blind tasting competition were announced on Jan. 14 at the Victoria Whisky Festival in British Columbia. Chairman of the judges, Davin de Kergommeaux, described Lot No. 40 as: “A rye whisky sensation. Interest in rye
4 | Ontario Restaurant News
is surging globally and here is proof that Canada makes the best all-rye whiskies in the world.” Other top winners include Canadian Club 100% Rye, Gooderham & Worts, Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, and Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Rye.
Ottawa Le Cordon Bleu not affected by CEC closures OTTAWA — Following the announcement of the impending closure of Le Cordon Bleu North America, Le Cordon Bleu International stated the announcement pertains only to those schools independently owned and operated by Career Education Corporation (CEC). “Accordingly the closing of the Le Cordon Bleu North America campuses across the U.S. by Career Education Corporation will not affect any operations of Le Cordon Bleu International worldwide including the Le Cordon Bleu International school in Ottawa, Canada,” read the statement. “Le Cordon Bleu International continues to operate its international schools, including the flagship school in Paris which will move to a new expanded campus located on the banks of the river Seine in 2016. Le Cordon Bleu schools and programs will continue education and training business as usual.” CEC announced the last intake for Le Cordon Bleu North America was in January with its 16 United States schools slated to remain open until September 2017.
Restaurant companies named top employers for young people TORONTO — Cactus Restaurant and
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JOEY Restaurant Group were among the companies named the winners of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People. Among the reasons Cactus was chosen was its in-house apprenticeship programs for employees pursuing the Read Seal chef certification and mentorship initiatives. Joey was selected in light of its apprenticeship chef training programs and support for new hires through its JOEY Campus website. In Ontario, Labatt Breweries of Canada and Campbell Company of Canada were selected as part of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
Campbell’s launches pop-up TORONTO — Campbell Canada launched a pop-up restaurant at Queen and Spadina in Toronto’s downtown core. Running from Feb. 2-21, The Cantina by Campbell’s is ladling four creations by chef Matt Dean Pettit, Rock Lobster founder and chef. “We have so many diverse cultures and flavours available to us here in Toronto. Soup is one of those universal foods that unites people from around the globe and I’m looking forward to sharing my take on it,” Pettit said. The Cantina will offer complimentary walk-in lunch and dinner soup tasting options, showcasing the variety in the Campbell’s soup portfolio and recipes using Campbell’s broths. The Cantina by Campbell’s will also have a mosaic wall where each guest can place a sticker to help build a piece of art. For each sticker, Campbell Canada will make a donation of one can of soup to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
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EDITORIAL ADVISORy COUNCIL MICKEy CHEREVATy Consultant, Moyer Diebel Limited JACK BATTERSBy President, Summit Food Service Distributors Inc. PAUL LECLERC Partner, Serve-Canada Food Equipment Ltd. JORGE SOARES Director Food and Beverage Operations, Woodbine Entertainment Group ADAM COLQUHOUN President, Oyster Boy JOHN CRAWFORD Director of Sales-Canada, Lamb Weston TINA CHIU Chief Operating Officer, Mandarin Restaurant Franchise Corporation MARTIN KOUPRIE Chef/Owner, Pangaea Restaurant JOEL SISSON Founder and President of Crush Strategy Inc. LESLIE WILSON Vice-president of Business Excellence, Compass Group Canada CHRIS JEENS Partner, W. D. Colledge Co. Ltd. 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 ONTARIO RESTAURANT NEWS VOLUME 31 · NO. 1 · FEBRUARy 2016 Ontario Restaurant News (www.ontariorestaurantnews.com) 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: P A C I F I C / P R A I R I E
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On track to a culinary destination After years of construction – and disruptions – Union Station is ready to unveil its new look and flavours BY KRISTEN SMITH The open areas below street level will be covered, allowing for patios all year.
nion Station has been the site of many travellers’ and settlers’ first experiences with Toronto since it opened in 1927. Now the historic train station is set to become a culinary and cultural destination in its own right. Osmington, the City of Toronto’s retail partner in the redevelopment of Union Station, is planning a number of foodservice additions in the coming months as the project begins to bear the fruits of years of planning, construction and disruption. In the Great Hall, Pilot Coffee opened a temporary kiosk in the fall and McDonald’s launched its standalone McCafé concept in the York Concourse in December. Other operators will be opening in the main transit concourse area in February and March including Booster Juice, Starbucks and Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake, which also made an appearance at the Union Summer outdoor market. “The focus on this level is to cater to the GO customer,” said Brad Keast, vice-president of development at Osmington. This means foodservice establishments in the York Concourse must be “operationally tight,” according to Charlene Lo, vice-president of brand and communications at Osmington, to meet the needs of those caught in the salmon run of commuters before and after work. Operators need to be able to survive those surges of foot traffic and Osmington felt it important to provide commuters with comfortable and well-known brands in this space, Keast explained. “When people are in that mindset and mode, they know what they want,” he said. Some operators, such as Starbucks and McDonald’s, are using the redeveloped space at
Artist rendering of the Food Hall.
6 | Ontario Restaurant News
Union Station to debut unique concepts and designs. “They are recognizing this is a very special location,” Keast said.
More options on the way An open-ceiling area constructed below the York Concourse will be home to a food court with about 420 seats. The 12 vendors will be a mix of traditional food court staples, such as Tim Hortons, McDonald’s, Shanghai 360 and Paramount Fine Foods, and some Toronto-based operators, including the first outpost of Bangkok Buri, a Thai fast casual eatery by Crave It Restaurant Group and Toronto restaurateur Monte Wan of Khao San Road and Nana. With a square footage of 14,000, about half of the Food Hall is leasable space with vendors ranging in size from 400 to 1,000 square feet. While some foodservice establishments are confirmed, Keast said Osmington is also planning to include pizza, Italian sandwiches, Mexican and sushi operators. “It’s going to be a different food-court feel we think,” said Keast. “People will be on their way to the train; there’ll be a higher turnover. The other time we think it could be busy is with people on the way to the games or shows at ACC.” If all goes according to plan, the food court will open by the end of the year. In another area en route to the Air Canada Centre, Osmington is looking at having 200-square-foot vendors. “In there, personality I think will be a very important part to it — just to have the right vibe on the way in: high energy, really fast turnover, very limited menu,” said Keast, adding the idea is to have experimental operators.
“If someone has an idea, we can work with them to make sure that they can come and test it out here. It gives us an opportunity for hopefully higher turnover so that it’s changing.” West of the York Concourse and half a level down, York Street Promenade eateries will begin opening in the third quarter of this year. Keast said the focus here is on mid-level fast casual operators including previously announced Union Chicken (Q3) and The Burger’s Priest (Q4). Future plans call for two more operators. Keast explained options have been narrowed down to four options: pizza, French bistro, ramen or dim sum. The carriageways, open areas below York and Front streets, will be covered to allow for year-round patios. Spaces under the Front Street’s south sidewalk will also house commercial tenants.
Capturing the condo market In the Front Street Promenade, there will be a mix of retail and foodservice. “We identified a number of different user groups that would be in the station,” said Keast. These include commuters, office workers, residents, event-goers, tourists and UP Express users. “Although the highest number of people in here daily are the commuters, we think residents nearby are really very important,” said Keast, noting there are about 30,000 condo units recently built, under construction or proposed in the area and not many amenities. Union Station hopes to fill that void for residents running errands on the way home from work and be a destination on the weekend. It is replicating the cast iron storefronts that date back to 1927 and will focus on independent
Artist rendering of the Fresh Market.
businesses. Tenants will include the permanent home of Pilot Coffee, Danish Pastry House, as well as a cold-pressed juice outlet. On the retail side of the redevelopment, stores will stock shoes and candy and include services such as a salon. “The idea is to bring the best of Toronto under one roof at the station,” said Lo. “So if you’re visiting Toronto for the first time, you’re seeing some of the independents that you would find in different neighbourhoods around the city and they have a satellite location here.” In the future, on the same level as the food court, a curated fresh food market will include a variety of independent offerings: fishmonger, butcher, bakery and spices. “It’s a ways away in terms of timing,” noted Keast. The Great Hall is also getting a foodservice update with the addition of a restaurant along the north side. A mezzanine will overlook events and passersby. Slated to open in 2018, the restaurant will need a diverse operator to service morning through late evening traffic. The West Wing, which leads to the Skywalk and UP Express, will also host a foodservice component. “We’re thinking about doing a coffee bar in the morning and alcohol bar at night. We’re also thinking of putting a kitchen in,” Keast said, adding the kitchen could serve a small restaurant or catering operation. “This is the only place with natural light in the station — it’s bright, it’s gorgeous, so we think it will be really vibrant and active,” he said. “We can also re-route traffic to allow for different events.”
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Artist rendering of Level 100, where Monigram Coffee Roasters will open in 2017.
Local coffee roasters part of $13M Cambridge “jewel” By Kristen Smith
The former Galt Post Office will become a digital library with foodservice.
8 | Ontario Restaurant News
CAMBRIDGE, Ont. — Local Cambridge business Monigram Coffee Roasters will be helming in-house foodservice in the city’s digital library. When renovations to former Galt Post Office are complete in 2017, the new public space will be a place where cultural programming and digital literacy meet, according to Helen Kelly, chief executive officer of Idea Exchange, which operates Cambridge’s libraries. On four levels, the former post office will be home to a teen space; a reading room and restaurant; a children’s discovery centre, terrace and green roof; and a maker lab, which will focus on technology. Construction and restoration of the historic building, which started in November and is aiming for LEED Gold certification, is expected to cost about $13 million. Designed by architect Thomas Fuller, the parliament-style building was constructed in downtown Galt in 1885 and was last used as a post office in 1936. It also served as the Galt Customs House. Since then, it has housed various government departments and restaurants, including its last tenant, Fiddler’s Green restaurant, which closed in 2007. The city purchased the property in 2012. In early November, the project named Monigram its restaurant partner. Plans call for about 40 seats and a kitchen facility in about 1,800 square feet on the main level, which will also be home to a reading room. “If anyone has had their coffee, they know its great coffee, but it’s not just the coffee and what they can offer in terms of food and drink, it’s their community involvement and the shared vision that they have,” said Hardy Bromberg, deputy city manager, development and infrastructure. Monigram has hosted a number of community events — such as knitting groups or launch parties — over its three years in downtown Galt. Monica Braun, who co-owns Monigram with her husband Graham, always jokes that she doesn’t say “no” very often. It’s this community mindedness that made the local operators stand out during the RFP process. “When you look at the kind of cultural and community programming that they do, it is a
very good fit for the kind of programming that we do,” Kelly said. While fresh-made food and sourcing local was key, Kelly explained the space called for an operator that would support poetry readings, book clubs and lunchtime lectures descending on their operation. Braun envisions a healthy kitchen to cater to visitors and busloads of children. Monigram will maintain operations at its nearby location. “It’s very close, right across the parking lot so we can see that beautiful post office from where we are now,” said Braun. “What we’ve got at Monigram right now is the coffee roaster, that’s the focus. It’s simple there, we have pastries and that kind of thing,” she added. Braun expects a different clientele at the Idea Exchange digital library so plans include healthy grab-and-go options such as sandwiches and wraps. “We’ll definitely be focusing more on food in that location. … Of course we’ll still have really excellent coffee,” Braun said. She also sees an opportunity to incorporate local products and caterers. “It’s very community oriented,” she said. With the eventual goal of turning part of the green roof into a community garden, Kelly said future plans include a teaching kitchen component to the Monigram operations. “We could be growing food on the rooftop, which is on the children’s floor and they’re very interested … and then to be able to go into their kitchen as a teaching kitchen and find out how to prepare food and what fresh foods go together, it would be a really wonderful opportunity for our community,” said Kelly. Bromberg sees the project as representative of how the city values the significance of preserving elements of the past while attracting visitors and business. “This is something that we think people will invest around. Part of our mandate as a municipality is to do the things that the public sector can’t or won’t,” said Bromberg. “There is lot of people kicking tires; coming into the municipal planning department, asking questions, seeing what they can build and how they can be a part of it as well, so this library is another magnet for that type of investment. It will be a real jewel in this community.”
TORONTO – With 2016 marking 25 years of consecutive growth in foodservice sales, Restaurants Canada has introduced initiatives in an effort ensure the same result for the next quarter century. On average, Canadian foodservice sales grew 4.3 per cent last year. Nationally, quick service restaurants recorded the highest sales growth in 2015 at six per cent, followed by caterers at 4.7 per cent and full service restaurants at 3.4 per cent. Drinking places were the exception with sales falling 5.4 per cent. Throughout 2016, Restaurant Canada is projecting growth of about 3.8 per cent. “For me, that is a really remarkable thing to have happening and to celebrate,” said Donna Dooher, president and chief executive officer of Restaurants Canada. “Some areas are stronger than others, and margins shrink, but it is indicative of the industry and how important the industry is in Canadians’ lives and the economy at large.” Consistent growth in sales is spurred by a changing lifestyle throughout North America, according to Dooher. She explained busy lifestyles lead to more people opting for meals prepared outside of their home. Foodservice sales will climb to a projected $77.7 billion this year, compared to $28.7 billion in 1991. “Imagine we didn’t have a foodservice industry. How could we function in modern day society without it here to support us?” Dooher said. “We’ve hit that tipping point in our industry. As a result, we have a lot of opportunity to take the industry to a whole new level.” To leverage its momentum, Restaurants Canada has placed a “heavy focus” on its independent memberships throughout the last 18 months. “We’re working closely with independent operators to really get a handle on what we can do to support them,” Dooher said. “And what we can do to help with the federal and provincial levels to move their businesses forward.” To assist its small business members, Restaurants Canada launched a members-only web portal, which includes tools, workbooks and information surrounding legislation that impacts the foodservice industry. “We will continue to build on that aggressively in 2016, and ensure we’re offering everything we can to our independent members to grow and prosper,” Dooher said. The portal was created to help satisfy the “on-demand” availability of information ex-
Progress and challenges Restaurants Canada President Donna Dooher outlines industry milestones and the hurdles that lie ahead By Bill Tremblay pected by emerging restaurateurs. “When they want information, they want it right away. I recall many years ago, when I was building a sales model, coming down to the CFRA office and using their resource library,” Dooher said. “This was a process that took me months and months to do. Now we can turn things like that around in a week or day.” Introducing the association’s Raise the Bar report cards was another successful initiative of 2015. The report cards, which graded each province on its regulations for alcohol, garnered attention throughout Canada. “We had a tremendous amount of pick up on it — more than we anticipated,” Dooher said. “We were optimistic it was going to be successful, but we didn’t expect it would do so well.” Although the report cards highlighted issues with alcohol delivery province to province, Dooher said government was cooperative throughout the process. “We were very transparent about what we were doing and why we were doing it. The gov-
ernments have been very responsive,” she explained. “There’s a very significant role Restaurants Canada plays in educating, not only our members, but we also have a great responsibility to our governments to do the same thing.” Now, Restaurants Canada is working to sustain the momentum of Raise the Bar. “We can’t just close it and put it on a shelf,” Dooher said. “We will be updating the report card each year as we move along.”
Looking ahead in 2016 Alberta is expected to present Restaurants Canada with one of the industry’s most arduous challenges, as the provincial government moves ahead with plans to establish a $15 minimum wage. The province also plans to eliminate its server wage. “That’s a huge struggle and challenge for our Alberta operators, who are operating in an economy that has really stumbled,” Dooher said. “We see this as a big issue and one we will work tirelessly on.” While an increase in wage costs presents its
financial difficulties, Dooher sees a silver lining emerging from the challenge. “It is an opportunity to accelerate the work that’s already begun in terms of looking for new ways to provide the best work environment you can for your employees,” Dooher said. The cost of labour isn’t an isolated problem for Alberta. Throughout 2015, membership surveys conducted by Restaurants Canada identified labour costs, shortages in skilled labour and the rising cost of ingredients as recurring concerns for restaurateurs. As well, profit margins for restaurants are expected to sit at about 4.2 per cent in 2016, compared to 9.6 per cent in 1991. “When you’re in your restaurant, it doesn’t matter what size it is or how many units you have, the two biggest items on your P&L report will be labour and cost of sales,” Dooher said. The price of industrial milk, used to create products like cheese, butter and ice cream, is also set to increase. The Canadian Dairy Commission has announced the price will climb 2.2 per cent effective Feb. 1. “We have a great opportunity here to work with the dairy farmers, the commission and industry at large. The first step is to educate,” Dooher said. “Then examine if the system we’ve been working under for 60 some years is the best system we can give to the consumer and users.” Restaurants Canada has also had the opportunity to address supply management with the new federal government. “We’ve received several calls from various ministers who are anxious to get together with us, and like-minded organizations, to learn about our industry and what our challenges are,” Dooher said. “We’re very optimistic this government will work with us, and at least listen as a starting point.” Heading into 2016 also marks about a year in the president and CEO role for Dooher. She was appointed to the position on an interim basis in November 2014, after six years as a member of the board of directors. In June, the job became permanent. “It’s an honour for me to be here and do this role. I don’t come from a corporate background; I am an independent restaurant operator,” Dooher said. “With that in mind, I’m bringing a fresh perspective to the organization. I think I’ve been a support and help to the team here in terms of really bringing the true challenges in the industry right into the organization.”
Restaurants Canada Show returns with a revamped format TORONTO – The Restaurants Canada Show is evolving into a celebration of the hospitality industry. From Feb. 28 to March 1, more than 12,000 foodservice industry professionals will gather at the Enercare Centre (formerly the Direct Energy Centre) in downtown Toronto for the annual event. Donna Dooher, president and chief executive officer of Restaurants Canada, explained the event is moving beyond the traditional trade show format. “We’re really trying to bring the show to life, and take it from walking up and down aisles looking at products to bringing those products and brands to life,” Dooher said. “Our focus is to change this event. We’re not calling it a trade show, it’s really an event.” Dooher said the show is evolving into hos-
pitality week — a way of recognizing the importance of the foodservice industry throughout Canada. “Really it’s the first year of a longer process we’re engaged in: Hospitality Unleashed for a week,” Dooher said. “We are a national trade association. We are not a Toronto- or Ontariobased association. We’re looking for ways to include all of our partners across the country.” This year, Restaurants Canada has partnered with GE Capital for CRIS/CROS, the Canadian Restaurant Operators Summit and Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit. The CRIS/CROS opening reception (held March 1 at the Hockey Hall of Fame) follows the finale of the Restaurants Canada Show. Its conference sessions begin March 2. “The people coming to our show are here, in the city, and they can attend the CRIS/CROS
event,” Dooher said. “We’re bringing together all of these key partners we have in our industry during this five-day period to really celebrate the industry.” At the fifth annual Breakfast With Champions (March 1), Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, will serve as the featured speaker. The breakfast also features a panel of industry experts discussing trends impacting the foodservice industry. As well, the breakfast will see the presentation of the inaugural Restaurants Canada Leadership Award. “It’s just recognizing and paying tribute to people in the industry who are making a remarkable difference,” Dooher said. “We’re not proud enough to wave our flag and say ‘look at what we’re doing’.” Another new addition to the show is the Eco
Pavilion, created to help restaurant operators learn how to transform their kitchen into a sustainable business. “This is very important for operators in this day and age who look for products to help with efficiency,” Dooher said. “And the consumer, at the end of the day, wants to know the places they frequent are taking steps to ensure we are stewards of the environment.” As well, the Shake and Sling pavilion returns with a $25,000 prize for the winner of the Top Shelf Bartending Competition, as well as pavilions focused on pizza, coffee and tea, design, Ontario and technology. “This year we’ve put a lot of energy and effort into revamping the show and really bringing it to life,” Dooher said. For a complete list of exhibitors, pavilions and seminars, visit restaurantshow.ca.
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CHD Expert expanding in Canada CHICAGO — Global foodservice data and analytics company CHD Expert is putting more focus on the Canadian market. “It’s become clear to us that there is opportunity; our customers are interested in Brandon Gerson. finding out more about Canada,” said marketing manager Brandon Gerson. “We’ve decided to dig into our Canada database and look for more information; we’re looking to penetrate more in the market.” According to CHD, as of the beginning of this year, the Canadian foodservice operator landscape includes about 84,000 restaurants, 10,000 hotels, 50,000 food retailers, 24,000 education institutions, 6,000 healthcare facilities and more than 4,000 bars. Within the restaurant segment, about 55 per cent of establishments (45,000) fall into the full service restaurant (FSR) categories, while 45 per cent (37,000) are limited service restaurants (LSR), which includes quick service, fast casual, delivery and takeaway and a limited service beverages sub-segment. More than 91 per cent of FSR establishments are independent, with the largest FSR chain being Boston Pizza with more than 350 units. In the LSR segment, 43 percent of establishments are independent. CHD considers operations with less than 10 units independent. Canadian iconic chain Tim Horton’s has about 2,600 units in operation, but Subway is the largest with about 2,800 stores across Canada. Rounding out the top five on the list of most prevalent foodservice establishments in Canada are: McDonald’s, Starbucks, and A&W Food Services of Canada, in that order. Following the most common menu type of varied items, 11,000 establishments are classified in the pizza and pasta menu type. Looking at some large provincial markets, Ontario has about 37,000 restaurants, while Quebec and British Columbia both have about 17,000 eateries. In B.C., about 83 per cent of restaurants are independent as are 88 per cent of its more than 2,200 hotels. In Ontario, 92 per cent of FSRs are independent and 44 per cent of LSRs are independent. The France-based data company created its United States headquarters in Chicago in 2006 and partnered with Technomic in 2007. Recently, CHD Expert started expanding its preopen data, identifying establishments for which the paperwork had been signed, but it hasn’t has its grand opening. “As we were organizing our data, we found a way to identify establishments that are slated to open,” said Gerson. CHD’s internal data is constantly changing and updated at the beginning of each month for its customers, which include suppliers, manufacturers and distributors. “Within this business, it changes so frequently; new operators open and close every single day and in that, ultimately yesterday’s information is no longer 100 per cent accurate today and we’re adjusting those things internally and push those things on the first of the month every month,” explained Gerson.
COMING EVENTS Feb. 27-March 1: Canadian Society of Club Managers National F&B Conference, Fort Garry Hotel, Manitoba. www.cscm.org Feb. 28-March 1: Restaurants Canada Show, The Enercare Centre, Toronto. restaurantshow.ca March 1-2: Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit (CRIS) and Canadian Restaurant Operators Summit (CROS), Hilton
Toronto Hotel. restaurantinvest.ca
ronto Congress Centre, Toronto. gfs.ca
March 6-8: Seafood Expo North America, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. seafoodexpo.com
April 1-26: 2016 California Wine Fair Tour. Stops in Ottawa (April 8); and Toronto (April 11). calwine.ca
March 8-10: International Pizza Expo, Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas. pizzaexpo.com
April 5: Flanagan Foodservice Annual Tradeshow, Kitchener Show. flanagan.ca
March 23: Gordon Food Service Show, To-
April 13-15: SIAL Canada Show, Montreal Convention Centre. sialcanada.com
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February 2016 | 1 1
is part of a complete breakfast
The demand for breakfast options is growing throughout Canada.
personal trainer turned restaurateur, Josh Broun admits his career change was somewhat self-centered. While Braun helped his clients reach their fitness goals, healthy meals continued to emerge as a recurring focus. “Nutrition is more than half the battle,” Braun explained. Although he expanded his skill set to teach his clients about healthy food preparation and eating habits, he was unable to find a breakfast spot that covered his own nutritional bases. “There was never a place I could go for everything,” he said. “I started to think of a concept that would be awesome for myself, where I could go and get a coffee, a healthier baked good option and a healthier breakfast.” Braun partnered with Frank Toskan, cofounder of MAC Cosmetics, to open Impact Kitchen, a restaurant focused on serving nutrient-rich, minimally-processed meals. Impact opened in late fall of 2015 at 573 King St. E., in Toronto. Through his menu, Braun aimed to create a better tasting version of the Tupperware containers of sweet potato, chicken and broccoli personal trainers are known to carry. “They’ll eat that as fuel because they know how healthy it is for their body,” Braun said. “I had that mentality, but I wanted to come at it with taste.” For Impact’s breakfast menu, chef and nutritionist Stephanie Tucci, created several bowls
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However, how operators benefit from this shift depends on numerous factors. By Bill Tremblay engineered to meet all nutritional requirements. The breakfast menu is rounded out with smoothies, cold-pressed juices and house-made, gluten-free baked goods. “It was her job to make everything taste amazing,” Braun said. The Power Breakfast Bowl, the most popular item on the menu, includes spinach, chorizo sausage, scrambled eggs, homemade salsa, sweet potato and squash mash, avocado and green onion garnish. “Every component of that breakfast bowl has a nutritional science behind it, but the flavour is really there,” Braun said. “You can see someone who understands nutrition created these combinations.” The healthy approach to breakfast is paying off. Braun said some customers come in multiple times per day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While Impact has drawn the personal trainer crowd, Braun noted his restaurant is becoming an early morning meeting place for other professions. He added the use of higher-priced ingredients reflected in the menu isn’t a deterrent for his customer base.
“They’re fine to pay a dollar or two more for lunch knowing the quality is better,” Braun said.
A growing trend A trend towards healthy breakfast is a natural outcome of growth in the segment in general, according to Donna Dooher, president and chief executive officer of Restaurants Canada. “More and more people are eating breakfast away from home,” Dooher said. “I think as we see people looking at where they’re going to spend their dining out dollars, they’re looking at breakfast as that kick start to the day.” A decade ago, dinner dominated where consumers’ allotted their restaurant budgets. Today, breakfast is taking a bite out of those dining dollars. “We’re seeing it kind of flipping a bit and breakfast is really becoming that meal away from home now,” Dooher said. Breakfast and brunch sales have shown an eight per cent compounded growth rate since 2010, with 85 per cent of visits occurring between 6 a.m. and noon. “Over the years, there has been a slight shift
away from this clock time as operators start to offer breakfast for longer periods,” said Prad Sagar, a foodservice account specialist with NPD Group. “This trend is expected to continue, especially if McDonald’s launches its all-day breakfast like it did in the U.S.” Healthy choices as a visit driver haven’t changed since last year, but a nutritious breakfast does attract a coveted demographic. “Healthy choices drive millennials more than any other age group,” Sagar said. To help launch Impact Kitchen, Braun hired The Fifteen Group, a Canada-wide restaurant consulting firm. Jenny Companion, vice-president of eastern operations for the consulting company, explained requests for quick and nutritious breakfast options are increasing among new restaurant ventures. “We’re seeing that trend across the board, especially in the quick service market,” she said. “The consumer is looking for healthier options, especially at breakfast.” Companion added in the last year, more new restaurateurs have noticed the demand for a healthy morning meal and have opted to include nutritious breakfasts in their concepts. “There are not a lot of offerings out there that are dedicated to that style of eating,” Companion said. “People are realizing this is a new way to go because there is room in the market.” Breakfast sandwiches, for example, were the
fastest growing menu item of 2014. “If you look over 2015, it continues to sit there at the top of that trend list,” Dooher said.
“In a dinner service, the average check is dropping,” Dooher explained. “In a breakfast and brunch environment, the average check is going up.”
A risk of breaking a few eggs
Let’s do brunch
Breakfast, however, isn’t an easy daypart to conquer. Sagar explained Tim Hortons holds half of the total breakfast traffic in Canada, followed by McDonald’s with 13 per cent of the market share. “Many operators have introduced or improved their breakfast offerings, however it’s a competitive segment,” Sagar said. As well, the average check for quick service breakfast is $4.78, compared to lunch at $7.18 and dinner at $8.74, according to Restaurants Canada. “The breakfast market is tough because of costs,” Companion said. “Your average price is considerably lower, but overhead and labour costs still exist.” For a casual restaurant, breakfast ingredients typically account for 25 to 28 per cent of the sale price, while lunch and dinner costs range from 30 to 32 per cent. With customers expecting to spend less in the morning, a profitable breakfast is dependent on volume. “The average guest check comes down so considerably compared to lunch and dinner you have to sell a much higher volume for it to make sense,” Companion said. Cost is also a deciding factor in where consumers purchase breakfast. “Not only are restaurants competing with each other for the household food dollar, but they are also competing with grocery stores and super markets,” said Chris Elliott, senior economist with Restaurants Canada. “An increasing number of convenience stores are also offering prepared foods and snacks for breakfast as well, so value is key.” Yet, price expectations for breakfast, lunch and dinner are changing, according to Dooher.
Whether or not The Fifteen Group recommends serving breakfast usually depends on the style of restaurant. “If they’re doing an Italian style restaurant at lunch, does adding in breakfast make sense? No,” Companion said, adding the operator would have to factor in a complete flip of inventory. “Cost utilization doesn’t exist.” While breakfast may not be a financially viable option, Companion explained weekend brunch is an alternative for full service restaurants. “On the weekend, the guest mentality changes. It becomes more of a social environment,” she said. “People will meet for brunch, so they’re willing to pay a little bit more.” Brunch is a segment restaurants are taking full advantage of, according to Dooher. “We are seeing a lot of growth there,” Dooher said. “I can’t think of many restaurants that are not offering brunch.” Alongside offering brunch, operators are expanding their lunch hours into traditional breakfast times. Dooher explained the move caters to the “clockless menu” expected by millennial customers. “They eat what they eat when they want to eat it,” Dooher said. “That’s the luxury the consumer has today. It’s very on demand and we have to be responsive to those needs.”
The fast foodie A demand for a nutritious breakfast is also met with demands for wholesome and ethical ingredients. In 2013, A&W launched its Ingredients Guarantee, which includes a commitment to using only Canadian eggs
from hens fed a vegetarian diet without animal by-products. The commitment has grown to include organic, fair trade coffee. This month, the company announced it plans to source its bacon from pork raised without antibiotics and made using only natural preservatives. “Our guests have come to expect speed, convenience and affordability, but they are also fast foodies and want high-quality menu options,” said Susan Senecal, president and chief operating officer of A&W Foodservices of Canada Inc. “We’ve heard from our guests that they want food that’s raised as naturally as possible.” Senecal added the changes have paid off for the quick service restaurant group. “We have received phenomenal response to our Ingredients Guarantee. We hear it every day from our guests,” she said. “We are going to keep on making changes and it’s an exciting journey to be on. Bacon is next, but it won’t stop there.”
Did you know?
Breakfast sandwiches were the fastest growing menu item of 2014 and remained a top trend for 2015.
Put your eggs in multiple baskets Location is also a key to success. Although standalone, full service breakfast restaurants exist, a high foot traffic location is more likely to capitalize on a morning menu. “You have to be somewhere you can capture an audience willing to sit down and have full service, which is really hard to come by,” Companion said. “People are looking for that quick breakfast snack they take on the go.” A menu shouldn’t be limited to healthy options, according to Companion. A mix of options ensures catering to all guests’ taste preferences. “There’s always going to be that guy or girl that wants that solid, diner-style breakfast,” she said. “We want everyone in the group to find something they can enjoy.”
The average check for quick-service breakfast is $4.78, compared to lunch at $7.18 and dinner at $8.74
85 per cent of breakfast visits occur between 6 a.m. and noon.
How to promote healthy breakfast options Highlighting ingredients that boost a menu item’s nutritional value is one way to emphasize what your restaurant has to offer, according to a report on breakfast by food research and consulting firm Technomic. High-protein and fibre-rich meals, for example are in demand by consumers. Using whole-wheat or multigrain tortillas, swapping oats for quinoa and featuring fibre-rich fruits in smoothies are opportunities to increase fibre at breakfast. For protein, consider using peanut butter or healthier meats like chicken or bison sausage, nitrate-free bacon or chicken chorizo. As well, Technomic recommends pointing out what isn’t in the dish. If the item is low in sodium or
fat-free, let your guests know the benefit. With customers demanding ethical and ecoconscious ingredients, the use of buzzwords may help draw attention to a menu item. Terms like ‘pasture-raised,’ ‘hormone-free’ and ‘cage-free’ create what Technomic calls a “healthhalo effect,” which some consumers perceive as having healthier qualities. The company also notes initiatives like glutenfree and local eating are not short-lived fads. However, consumers do not want to sacrifice taste for health. Creativity in the kitchen is the best method to capitalize on changing demands. Technomic suggests swapping syrup for peanut butter on waffles or fibre-rich avocado on multigrain bread as healthy menu alternatives.
February 2016 | 1 3
Popeyes CEO celebrates GTA milestone MISSISSAUGA — While Cheryl Bachelder may have been a “terrible waitress” at 16, the concept of serving is a key component in the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen chief executive officer’s leadership strategy. Bachelder penned the book Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others, which focuses on the concept of servant leaders. “The idea is a great leader has a combination of courage and humility that creates the conditions for people to perform their best work,” said Bachelder. “The purpose that we use to guide us at the home office is to inspire servant leaders to achieve superior results. We’re in the business of serving our franchise owners and we want to give them our best possible support,” she said. Bachelder recently visited the Greater Toronto Area to celebrate the brand’s 100th store opening in the region, but the brand chose not to highlight a particular location. There are about 40 franchisees in the market with many store managers having part ownership. “We just wanted to celebrate the market and not a restaurant; we have such a good group of owners in this market, they work together as team so we wanted this to be a celebration of their collective success,” said Bachelder. The chain’s first international location opened in 1984, and in the last 18 months, Popeyes has opened 30 stores in the Toronto area. “When I joined the company in 2007 we had 37 units in the GTA and today, 100 and their sales are up, their profitability is up and they are committed to continuing to expand this market,” Bachelder said. Popeyes recently opened locations in Ottawa and plans to head into the Windsor market
Cheryl Bachelder. next. Outside of Ontario, Bachelder said plans include moving west, including Calgary and Edmonton in 2016 with eyes on Vancouver and Winnipeg as well. “Canada could be several hundred restaurants for Popeyes if we have the success we’ve had in Toronto,” said Bachelder. Popeyes has been building about 20 restaurants a year in Ontario over the last two years, and Bachelder said plans include continuing at that rate of growth in 2016. She thinks of the Popeyes concept as a melting pot of the cultures that landed in the brand’s birthplace. “Louisiana is where nine nations came together from all over the world and they brought their food and put it in a pot and it all stirred together,” she said.
Menu items include chicken marinated in Louisiana spices for 12 hours, seafood options, and sides including Cajun fries and red beans and rice. “I think our multicultural food is perfect for the Canadian customer, it appeals to so many from so many different places,” Bachelder, noting Popeyes uses limited time offerings such as spicy garlic butterfly shrimp to keep the brand exciting. “In our business the brand has to be strong and healthy and the profitability of your restaurants has to be strong so the owners are excited to build more,” she said. “So our challenge at Popeyes across the world was to make sure we presented our brand in the most effective way and that our owners were making good money.” Over her eight years at the helm, Bachelder
said the Toronto market has grown seven to 10 per cent annually in sales. “This is an entrepreneur’s business, it’s not a corporation, and so our success hinges on [the franchisee’s] success,” said Bachelder. “One of our principles is listen carefully and learn continuously. We come to the market, we have roundtables — we ask what’s going right, what’s going wrong, how can we improve,” said Bachelder. She said Popeyes’ executive team is also willing to admit when it has made a mistake. “So for an owner to hear us say I’m sorry, we won’t do that again, means a lot to them — they have their whole livelihood invested and we try to have a very open, transparent relationship,” Bachelder said. Servant leadership — what Robert K. Greenleaf describes as servant-first in a 1970 essay on the concept — is about having deep care and concern for your people. “Part of good care for your people is to go to a daring destination, to take them somewhere they would not otherwise go and to support,” Bachelder said. “The way you serve people well is to help them reach their potential and help them reach goals.” Bachelder was inspired by research demonstrating those who participate in extreme sports become more courageous and more humble. “I thought that was very provocative. The courage part made sense because they’re jumping off a cliff, but the humble part is they don’t control the outcome and neither do we as leaders. We give it our boldest vision, we come alongside the people, but we’re not in control of everything and we’re not certain of the outcome and that’s both brave and humble.”
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New line of Tork dispensers SCA, the producer of the Tork brand of AwayFrom-Home professional Hygiene Products, has released a full line of high-end Tork Image Design dispensers. The line of towel, bath tissue and soap dispensers aims to combine form, function and premium quality to enhance and complement washrooms. “Tork continues to innovate within the washroom space by focusing on design-conscious customers, who want to provide a consistent, clean and high-end experience for their visitors, guests and employees,” says Cheryl Rickert, washroom marketing director for SCA’s Away-from-Home Professional Hygiene business in North America. To view the product line, visit torkusa.com/ imagedesign
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Flanagan to open Whitby facility KITCHENER, Ont. — Flanagan Foodservice announced in mid-January it has purchased a facility in Whitby, Ont. “Purchasing the Whitby site is a key pillar in our expansion plans and aligns with our strategy to grow our business by providing flexible, responsive service to foodservice operators in Ontario,” said Dan Flanagan, presi-
dent and chief executive officer. The new distribution centre is slated to open in early 2017 once renovations and upgrades are complete. Once the building is finished the company plans to realign its network. “Certain customers currently served out of our Kitchener branch and all customers currently served out
of our Owen Sound branch will be transferred to one of our other locations,” said Flanagan. “All employees will be offered continued employment at our company.” The future of the company’s Owen Sound branch is yet to be decided. Flanagan Foodservice is not disclosing further details at this time.
New dining arrives at Sherway Gardens ETOBICOKE, Ont. — CF Sherway Gardens is rolling out its new dining options following a large expansion at the Etobicoke mall. In September, the mall opened a 210,000-square-foot addition, which added a new food court that seats about 1,000 guests, 50 new stores and parking for 1,200 vehicles. The expansion is part of a $550 million redevelopment. Dubbed Gourmet Fare, the new food court is home to Amaya Express, Big Smoke Burger, Bourbon St. Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Cultures, Jimmy The Greek, McDonalds, New York Fries, Subway, Szechuan Express, Teriyaki Experience, Thai Express, Tim Hortons and Umi Sushi & Teriyaki. Alongside the new dining options, Gourmet Fare offers free Wi-Fi and mobile charging stations. “Cadillac Fairview properties continue to evolve the definition of shopping centre by mixing high-quality food options with the most sought-after fashion retailers all under one roof,” said Wayne Barwise, executive vicepresident of development for Cadillac Fairview. In November, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar also opened a location within the mall, equiped with a 140-seat dining room and a 138seat lounge.
Beaumont Kitchen chef Michael Hay. Photo by Cindy La. “We’ve been eagerly anticipating the opening of our newest location at CF Sherway Gardens,” said David Aisenstat, president and CEO, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar. “We know that the sophisticated type of shopper that visits the property will appreciate the offerings available at The Keg.” Bar Freddo Caffe, a new concept featur-
ing a wine bar, Italian street food and gelato, opened in January. This month, JOEY Sherway opens in the mall. Executive chef Chris Mills will bring globally inspired dishes as well as casual favourites to the restaurant’s menu. On Feb. 25, Beaumont Kitchen, a new concept restaurant by Oliver & Bonacini, opens in the mall’s Saks Fifth Avenue store. The 5,500-square-foot dining lounge will serve “West Coast” cuisine — a philosophy of delivering a menu that is fresh, seasonal, local and original. The vegetable-centric menu will feature Californian influences and nods to Mexican, Middle Eastern and Italian flavours. “The menu at Beaumont Kitchen is ingredient driven, with a focus on natural flavours,” said Beaumont Kitchen chef Michael Hay. “By showcasing whole foods in simple, authentic and unique ways, our dishes will encourage guests to indulge without guilt.” Sherway Gardens will also be home to Ontario’s second Cactus Club Café, scheduled to open in 2017. “We are excited by the arrival of these new upscale, dining experiences at CF Sherway Gardens,” Barwise said. “They are an integral component of our $550 million redevelopment.”
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TORONTO — George Brown College has announced a new initiative designed to improve the diet, as well as physical health and wellness, of Greater Toronto Area residents. The Helderleigh Nutrition Application Fund will provide $400,000 throughout a fouryear period for nutrition and health-related applied research products conducted in partnership with the college’s Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts and its food innovation and research studio (FIRSt). The initiative is in partnership with the Helderleigh Foundation. “The Helderleigh Nutrition Application Fund will create new partnerships that will improve people’s nutrition and healthy eating,
drive product innovation and offer our students and faculty practical experience in applied research,” said Robert Luke, the college’s vice-president of research and innovation. Those who receive funding will gain access to state-of-the-art facilities to create and test healthy recipes, provide theoretical nutritional analysis, conduct consumer sensory evaluations, develop products, carry out shelf life testing, engage in product scaling and commercialization and provide custom training. College faculty and students will be involved in the projects throughout their development. Each summer, fall and winter, the college will issue a call for proposals.
The first call will take place this spring. Each year, George Brown expects to award between four and 10 grants of $10,000 to $20,000 each. Larger projects will be considered on an exceptional basis. A task force of research and culinary experts from the college and foundation will evaluate applications. “Through this fund, we will be providing organizations and students with a new and innovative opportunity to solve real-world nutrition challenges,” said Lorraine Trotter, dean of the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. To learn more about the application process, visit gbcfirst.ca.
FranWorks to continue growth in Ontario CALGARY — FranWorks is slated to open at least nine new locations in the first two quarters of 2016. “It’s a busy time for us right now,” said Derek Doke, chief executive of the Calgary-based restaurant group. Since its deal with Vancouver-based BENEV Capital Inc. in late 2014, FranWorks opened one Original Joes in Saskatchewan and five State and Main locations, one in Calgary and four in Ontario. State and Main, a concept FranWorks launched in 2012 and brought into Ontario two years ago, now has 17 locations in three provinces. The seven new units planned for 2016 are split between Alberta and Ontario. “We’ve had good success incubating it out west. We went into Ontario with our first two stores in Guelph and Aurora and kind of held our breath a bit to see how people would react,” said Doke. “We’re very encouraged by our initial results and so we’re just going to keep pushing forward with the growth that we planned and be strategic. But also growth is what we’re after right now, so we’re going to be somewhat aggressive.” Doke noted the brand works well in small communities and towns with populations in the area of 20,000 residents, something there is no shortage of in Ontario. “We’re quite enthused about what’s going to happen in the next three to four years,” said Doke, adding FranWorks is casually looking at real estate in Quebec for the State and Main brand. With 62 Original Joes, Doke said at least
State and Main location. three more would open in 2016: Dawson Creek, B.C., Calgary and Regina. “We’re sticking to the West with Original Joes,” he said. FranWorks doesn’t plan to open any new Elephant and Castle locations, a brand it bought out of bankruptcy in 2012. FranWorks has closed some — most recently the Edmonton location in December — and is in the process of renovating the remaining 11 restaurants, four of which are in Canada with the others in the United States. Toronto’s King Street location and the Winnipeg Elephant and Castle already have the new look. Doke said the idea was to update the inte-
Derek Doke. rior, making it look less like a pub — ditching the “brass and stained glass” of the ’80s and early-’90s — and bring in more modern English decor. “It’s still very cozy, with natural elements,” he said. FranWorks also changed the Elephant and Castle menu about two years ago and is moving into phase two this summer under the direction of vice-president of research and development Jordan Prescesky. The 40-year-old brand has changed hands more than a few times over the years. Doke said there were some bad leases signed over that time
period and some footprints that weren’t feasible to upgrade. “It’s just an investment decision; it’s a tough decision. There’s a lot of history, but you’ve just got to make a business decision for the next 20 years when you’re about to put $1 or $2 million into a store to renovate it,” said Doke. FranWorks is also learning from Elephant and Castle’s United States presence as it prepares to bring State and Main to the Chicago area. Across the system, FranWorks restaurants are mostly corporate with about 20 per cent owned by franchisees and joint ventures.
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By Kristen Smith WATERLOO, Ont. — CaliBurger is moving into Canada with the tagline: “We’re a technology company that happens to sell really great burgers.” While burgers are always a draw, franchise partner Pete Crouse said a big part of the brand focuses on customer experience, specifically with technology. There are charging stations, the ability to preorder from a smartphone and a video wall made up of nine 47inch televisions. Not only will these TVs display passive content, such as scenes depicting the California lifestyle and menu shots, but they will display the leaderboard for in-house interactive gaming. “The whole idea is: is there a way to stay on the forefront of all the technology that millennials are looking for right now and to make that an offering in the store,” explained Crouse. Pong Gaming Studios is developing games for CaliBurger’s guests to play on mobile phones, such as 21 Fries, a foodservice spin on Blackjack, and a CaliBurger-themed bingo, Lunchingo. The Vaughan Ont.-based gaming and technology company owns the Canadian rights, with the exception of British Columbia. “It’s a QSR, fast casual experience that is going to be highlighted or enhanced by the fact that there is a vid-
CaliBurger combines burgers with interactive gaming eo wall in each of the stores and you are going to be able to interact with the video with your mobile phone,” he said. “Playing in large audiences where people are just trying to be the Number 1 person on the leaderboard, that’s the phenomenon of audience gaming right now.” The first Canadian location is slated to open the week of Feb. 8 near
Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont. The 2,500-square-foot restaurant seats about 40 guests. The company’s co-founders grew up in California with In-N-Out Burger and the menu is admittedly similar. In fact, when the company first opened overseas in China, In-N-Out took legal action over trademark infringement. CaliBurger renamed its
burger and fry offerings as a result. CaliBurger also serves spiked milkshakes and beer. While the goal is to open a flagship store in Toronto, Crouse said the brand’s target demographic of postsecondary students makes cities like Hamilton and Kingston viable options as well. The price point for a combo is about $10.50, falling in between the
value and premium burger categories. Following the opening of two corporate locations in Ontario, Crouse said the plan is to offer franchising in priority markets, namely, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. At last year’s Interactive Customer Experience Summit, Crouse heard from large established chains about the challenges to incorporating more technology. “They all want to jump on the technology bandwagon, but they’ve got such legacy systems that in order to actually install all this stuff and bring it forward, it’s such a pricey venture for them and it would be on the backs of the franchisees,” he explained. “So we think we’re in a pretty interesting place right now; as we build these stores we’re able to retrofit them for the technology experience,” Crouse added. The first North American CaliBurger opened in Seattle in October and there are locations slated to open Vancouver as well as Pasadena and Baltimore. Reyaz A. Kassamali, president and chief executive officer of K Franchise Systems, is rolling out the brand in British Columbia. The first CaliBurger in that province is slated to open in the spring at 830 Thurlow St., Vancouver. “It’s really going to start to roll in 2016,” said Crouse.
Black Angus melds its history with a contemporary design ETOBICOKE – A doubled-edge sword isn’t a common utensil found in a steakhouse. However, that’s what Harry Cardiakos was presented with when he began to renovate the Black Angus Steakhouse about two years ago. The restaurant’s more than 50year history meant its regular customers, many of whom started dining at the Black Angus with their parents, had grown accustomed to its dated charm. However, attracting new customers required an updated decor. “The customers loved the history of the place and I was changing it. I had a lot of sleepless nights,” Cardiakos said. “I just wanted to make it better.” The Jako family opened the Black Angus in 1964. Cardiakos worked at the restaurant for 14 years before he was offered the opportunity to purchase the business about three years ago. “I started as a waiter and moved up to manager, and then I finally took it over when (they) were ready to retire,” Cardiakos said. Starting as a waiter gave him the opportunity to gain knowledge of all aspects of the business. “I actually got to learn all the generations that have been coming here since 1964. It gave me a gift by tak-
1 8 | Ontario Restaurant News
ing over that way,” Cardiakos said. “Their kids’ kids are coming. I remember serving some kids that were five years old, now they’re bringing their girlfriends here.” Despite strong nostalgia, Cardiakos knew the green carpet and honey-coloured wood that decorated the Black Angus had to be replaced in order to attract new clientele. As an enthusiast of tailor-made suits, Cardiakos redecorated the walls with fabric. The floor was renovated to mimic a herringbone suit pattern. “I liked tailor-made men’s suits, I’m known for that. I ended up putting my material on the walls,” Cardiakos said. Following the renovation, many of the restaurant’s fixtures remained in place. The original bullhorn chandeliers still hang above the tables, but are now equipped with a modern shade and black powder coated finish. As a tribute to its past, one of the restaurant’s original wood plates hangs next to its entrance. “We’ve incorporated the old with the new. I tried to bridge it the best I could. I think I did do that,” Cardiakos said. “You have to keep some history in the place.” As well, the grill remains in the dining room. “That’s a grandfathered feature,
Harry Cardiakos. you’ll never see that again without a glass separation,” he said. Cardiakos admits the renovations were met with backlash from some of his customers. However, their disapproval didn’t last long. “In that sense it was very difficult,” he said. “Now I have them coming back and saying ‘we understand why you did it’.” While the restaurant has a new
look, consistency, as well as quality, is the key to The Black Angus’ longevity, according to Cardiakos. Today, the Black Angus still uses many of the same suppliers it did when the restaurant first opened. “We’ve been ordering the same charcoal from the same company since 1964,” Cardiakos said. “With all of our suppliers, we’ve maintained consistency.” Like its suppliers, the Black Angus
also maintains relationships with its employees. Many of its front and back-ofhouse staff have stayed at the restaurant for decades. Cardiakos believes staff stay at the steakhouse due to its family atmosphere. “How many jobs do you get to do where you leave with your pockets full and your heart too?” Cardiakos said. “I think that’s the key to why people have been here this long.”
Henderson Brewing Company infuses beer with history TORONTO – If Toronto’s history isn’t intoxicating enough, Henderson Brewing Co. is infusing its beverages with the stories that helped shape the city. When Henderson officially opens its doors — likely before spring — the brewery plans to release a new beer each month created around a piece of Toronto’s history, from myths and mysteries to famous locations and people. “We’ll make them only once, that’ll be it,” said Steve Himel, the brewery’s general manager. “Some of them will be fantastic, some of them won’t be, but the purpose is to tell these stories in a fun way: through a beer.” Several Toronto-themed beverages are already in the works, including a beer based on one of Himel’s favourite local tales, which involves the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on the Toronto Islands and its keeper John Paul Rademuller, who was known for making his own beer. “The population of Toronto was small at this time, and it wasn’t long before the word got out,” Himel said. “The guys from the garrison came down and banged on his door demanding beer. He refused to give the beer up. He was never seen again.” Today, as legend has it, Rademuller’s moans can be heard around the lighthouse on a cold Toronto night. “It’s a neat story. It’s a great Toronto story, a great ghost story and a great beer story,” Himel said. “We’re going to create recipes that bring these stories to life.” The brewery’s name is also a tribute to Toronto history as John Henderson opened the city’s first commercial brewery. The brewery’s flagship beer Henderson’s Best also pays homage to Toronto’s first brewer. The recipe aims to create a modern version of the first beer sold in the city. “To come up with that recipe we imagined the beer that would have been made by Toronto’s first brewers, in this case, John Henderson, who opened a brewery in 1800,” Himel said. “We took the recipe and tried to imagine what that beer would be like today if the brewery had stayed in business for 215 years.” Before creating Henderson Brewing Co., Himel worked as a consultant for numerous big beer brands including Sleeman, Heineken and Grolsch. For the new brewery, he partnered with brewmaster Mark Benzaquen, Ontario Craft Brewers lead technical advisor.
Steve Himel, Henderson’s general manager. “We’re trying to give life to Toronto’s beer spirit,” Himel said. “Lots of other cities, other countries, have a brewing history you can see all the time.” Henderson’s Best started as an English bitter, but has evolved into what Himel calls a Toronto special bitter. The recipe was refined to create a less fragrant and hoppy beer than other craft breweries. “As Mark has said to me many times, he wants to make sure his dad can drink it,” Himel said. “We want to make sure any beer drinker can drink one of these and think it’s pretty good.” The first commercial batch was brewed at Cool Brewing in Etobicoke, Ont., as Henderson builds its 9,000-square-foot facility on Sterling Road. Once constructed, the brewery will feature a taproom, retail store and event space.
As well, the building is equipped with parking spaces and power supplies for food trucks. “Unlike other folks, we are not going to have a kitchen; we are not claiming to be any good at food,” Himel said. “The remedy to that is a welcoming and approachable facility for food trucks.” To help get the community involved in establishing the brewery, Henderson started a Kickstarter campaign and successfully raised the $55,000 need to purchase a state-of-the-art keg cleaner and filler. The crowd funding campaign recruited nearly 200 supporters who will be compensated with sponsorship packages ranging from a toast in their honour to beer subscriptions. “If we were starting a rug company, our friends would say ‘that’s great, good luck.’ But when you tell your friends you’re starting a brewery, everybody wants to be involved,” Himel said.
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TORONTO — In a deal that closed Dec. 22, Mill Street Brewery acquired Brickworks Ciderhouse. “It gives us a presence in a segment that has grown about 20 per cent annually over the last three years and for Mill Street it adds brands that have no overlap with our current portfolio,” said Mill Street co-founder Steve Abrams. While Brickworks is now part of Mill Street — the founders Chris Noll and Adam Gerrits as well as their team have taken residence at the brewer’s office — the cidery will operate autonomously. “They’re doing their thing and we’re doing ours, and we just hope to collaborate when we can,” said Abrams. “It’s really just a great opportunity for the ciders to be shared with more consumers. The distribution opportunities are tremendous.” Mill Street’s own acquisition by Labatt in October has allowed the brewer to break into the Quebec market. “That was the one province we had a lot of difficulty getting into; language barriers and the politics of getting across border … this has changed all that,” he said. Brickworks plans to source the same ingredients from the same suppliers: growers in Prince Edward County, and the Niagara and Georgian Bay regions. “We use 100 per cent Ontario apples; none of our apples come further than 300 kilometres from Toronto,” said Noll. “Every single thing is going to stay the same.” Noll called the deal an opportunity of a lifetime, one he thinks will allow the Toronto business to make the best-selling cider in Canada.
Joel Manning and Chris Noll. With an increased sales force and access to coast-to-coast distribution, Brickworks will be able to focus on production. “What it’s going to really do is allow us to return back to why we started in the first place, to make cider,” said Noll, adding it’s giving them back hours of the day that used to be filled with tasks like delivering kegs. Last year, Brickworks produced about 10,000 hectolitres, and Noll estimates this will more than double in 2016. He also predicts Brickworks will be able to innovate in ways that seemed a decade away before the acquisition. As part of the deal, Brickworks is getting its own space in Mill Street’s Scarborough brewery, which is undergoing a $10-million upgrade.
Ontario Craft Brewers add record number of new members TORONTO – Ontario Craft Brewers have recruited a record number of new members throughout last year. In 2015, the association’s membership grew from 45 to 65 craft breweries. In 2014, the craft brewing association estimated Ontario was home to about 75 breweries, as well as 25 contract brewers. Now there are an estimated 140 brewers in the province and about 40 contract brewers. The increase is spurred by a growing consumer interest in local products, according to Darren Smith, vice-president of Ontario Craft Brewers. “This isn’t just occurring in beer. It’s occurring in other forms of beverage alcohol, food and all over the place,” Smith said. “That’s the fundamental piece underlying all of this: the strong preference for local and independent.” While membership has grown, craft beer sales in Ontario are still “playing catch up” to other provinces. Craft brewers hold about five per cent of the market in Ontario, while independent brewers in British Columbia hold about 20 per cent of the beer market. In beer hubs like Washington and Oregon, craft brewers command a market share as high as 30 per cent.
Darren Smith. “You can see in other areas, like the U.S. or other parts of Canada, there’s significantly higher numbers of breweries per capita than here in Ontario,” Smith said. “In some ways as a province, we’re kind of catching up with the growth we’re seeing right now.”
For 2015, Smith noted craft beer sales statistics would likely be complicated by the sale of Mill Street to Labatt. “The industry is growing, but one of the major players was swallowed up,” Smith said. However, recent regulatory
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changes, which have allowed the sale of craft beer in grocery stores as well as increased availability at the LCBO, have poised craft beer to take a larger percentage of the market. “For the longest time, beer distribution in Ontario was almost exclusively dominated by The Beer Store,”
Smith said. “Ontario is coming up quickly. There’s been some pretty significant movement in the last year.” In Ontario’s bars and restaurants, craft beer holds about 10 per cent of beer sales. Smith attributes the number of craft beer taps in Ontario to a shared interest in local and independent with foodservice establishments. “As you can see, there are some parallels between what craft beer represents and what a lot of restaurants look to do with their food lineup,” Smith said. “I think that would be a significant factor.” As well, Ontario Craft Brewers are also seeing larger chain accounts taking a greater interest in local craft products. “Some of the larger craft breweries in the province are now getting to a level of size and sophistication where I think they have become an attractive offering for some of the larger corporate accounts,” Smith explained. Throughout 2016, Ontario Craft Brewers will focus their attention on working with the provincial government to fine-tune grocery store and LCBO sales as well as reform at The Beer Store. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us just staying on top of that,” Smith said.
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Ben Ing named Noma head chef Ottawa-native Ben Ing became head chef at Noma, the acclaimed, two-Michelin-star restaurant in Copenhagen, in January. Ing started cooking at 18 while playing for the Ottawa Jr. Senators. He attended Algonquin College’s culinary school while working part time at Ottawa restaurants including Fraser Café, where he met two of his mentors chefs and co-owners Ross and Simon Fraser. “[They] were very influential on the way I cook now,” Ing told the Globe and Mail. “They were there every day, it was their first restaurant, and
they welcomed me into the family. The way that little restaurant ran was incredible.” Ing spent time travelling and cooking in kitchens in New York and Australia before landing in Denmark at Noma in January 2014 as a line cook. “He went from being a line cook straight to head chef. It’s a testament to the person he is and his leadership skills,” Noma founder and owner Rene Redzepi told the Globe. “I asked all the sous chefs who they would think would be the next head chef, and even though they kind of were next in, line they all pointed to Ben. It was a 100 per cent unanimous decision.”
Vancouver-based Vikram Vij is bringing a daily rotation of curries to the Hudson’s Bay Queen Street location in downtown Toronto. The pop-up, Vij’s Indian Curries, runs from Feb. 1 through the spring during lunch at Foodwares, located in the concourse level at 176 Yonge St. Vij’s selection includes items such as Bengali chicken, beef and spinach and chicken and chickpeas.
Photo by Mikkel Heriba.
Constellation Brands made several executive appointments across the organization intended to support the company’s longterm growth strategies. Jay Wright, currently president of wine and spirits, was named president of Constellation’s Canadian business. Bill Newlands has been named president of the wine and spirits division. Ben Dollard, who was most recently president of Constellation’s Canadian business, has been named chief growth officer and will have responsibility across both the beer, wine and spirits divisions for driving the company’s growth agenda. Bill Hackett, who has been with Constellation Brands since 1984 has been named to the newly created role of chairman of beer. Paul Hetterich, who has been with the company since 1986, has been named president of beer.
EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Jamba, Inc. announced in January that David A. Pace will be the company’s next chief executive officer. A member of Jamba’s board of directors since 2012, Pace succeeds James D. White. Pace is CEO effective Jan. 22 and will start with the company on March 14. Jamba also announced that Richard L. Federico, a member of the board since 2006 and most recently chief executive officer of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc., will assume the role of chairman and remain an independent director on the board. Pace joins Jamba from Bloomin’ Brands, where he served as executive vice-president and president of its Carrabba’s Italian Grill since 2014. Prior to joining Bloomin’ Brands in 2010, he held executive positions with Starbucks Coffee Company, PepsiCo and Yum! Brands, Inc.
Yum! Brands founder David Novak to retire in May LOuISVILLE, Ky. — Yum! Brands, Inc. announced in January that executive chairman David C. Novak plans to retire from the board in May 2016 following the company’s annual shareholder meeting. The board plans to appoint a non-executive chair from its directors to succeed Novak and will announce that appointment at the meeting. Novak was appointed chief executive officer of Yum! Brands in 1999 and has served as chairman since 2000. He transitioned to executive chairman on Jan. 1, 2015,
when he was succeeded as CEO by Greg Creed. “As we target the separation of our China business by the end of 2016 and transition to two powerful, independent companies, it is a perfect time for me to complete my retirement,” Novak said in a statement. “David Novak is a visionary leader who built Yum! Brands into a global powerhouse and one of the world’s largest restaurant companies,” said Creed. Novak began his career at PepsiCo in 1986 as chief marketing officer for the Pizza Hut division. He went on to become
executive vice-president of marketing and sales for Pepsi-Cola, and then its chief operating officer. He then became CEO of KFC united States, and later CEO of both KFC and Pizza Hut u.S. In 1997, PepsiCo spun off KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell and Novak became vice-chairman and president of the new company, Yum! Brands (then known as Tricon Global). upon retirement from the board, Novak will become: “founder, retired chairman and CEO.” Yum! Brands, based in Louisville, has more than 41,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories.
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