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Massimo Capra brings it home The longtime Mississauga, Ont., resident to open Capra’s Kitchen Capra and his wife Rosa had been looking for a place near their Lorne Park home. “We saw several different spots and we couldn’t make MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Chef Massimo Capra a deal with anybody,” said Capra, who used to is poised to return a longstanding Mississauga, frequent the former businesses in what will become Capra’s Kitchen. When the space came Ont., restaurant space to its glory days. Capra took over the Clarkson Village loca- up for sale again, the price was finally right for tion, which used to house La Felicita restaurant the existing structure. The process moved quickly and Capra took and bakery and then Villa La Bella, on Dec. 1 and opened in less than two weeks with a possession sooner than he would have liked. Since he didn’t want the building to sit empty brunch and lunch menu. “I knew this place and everybody else in this awaiting construction and design over the town knew La Felicita as being a bakery and res- Christmas season, Capra put together a menu taurant where people would do events and par- and operated through February until ready to start renovations. ties. Everybody’s been here,” said Capra. Capra plans to reopen in June with about “It’s a great space. I love the plaza; it’s a different style of plaza from what is out there 100 seats. When the patio reopens, it will seat another 30 to 40 guests. normally.” Capra’s wife Rosa will be involved with the The Mississauga resident separated from his downtown Toronto restaurant last year after 18 decor with Oakville-based Strickland Mateljin years with Mistura. He spent the summer doing Design and Architecture. “I design the kitchen, though,” said Capra, events and in Qatar at his airport restaurant. “Busy as I was, the idea of being just a trav- adding the new restaurant will be modern and elling chef going around, doing events and do- urban with natural materials. APPROVAL REQUIRED “It’s going to be very pleasant and very aping the dog and pony show, is not my cup of the enclosed proof is sent for your approval. We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. proachable;CHECK I want warmth,” he said. tea,” said Capra. “Everybody knows DO NOTme GIVEfrom VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS. CAREFULLY! Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. alterations (other than typoerrors) will be I’ve charged extra. Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” as the case may “What I would like to do here is turn this TV and public appearances, butgraphical in reality, be, signing your name so we may know that the proof reached the proper authority. place into a casual Italian eatery with gourmet been cooking for 40 years and I like cooking.” By Kristen Smith, Managing Editor
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pizzas and pastas and takeout food and prepared meals for home,” Capra said. “I would like to have a small selection of wines and I have to try and keep it very affordable; I don’t want to hit the high-end market in this area,” he said. “There are enough restaurants here to do high-end and they do a fantastic job. I just want to insert myself in a spot that
I don’t find there are enough representations.” Capra’s Kitchen won’t be a special occasion-only restaurant and the Italian-born chef doesn’t want to be pigeonholed. “I want to make food that everybody will enjoy; I want to have the freedom,” he said. “I want to bring something that is a little bit more approachable.”
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Marc Lepine wins Canadian Culinary Championships KELOWNA, B.C. — After sitting on the Gold Medal Plates sidelines the required three years after winning the Canadian Culinary Championships (CCC), Ottawa chef Marc Lepine took home the title again in early February. Competing against 10 other regional winners from across the country, Lepine prepared smoked steelhead trout with miso-molasses glaze, cured pork belly, barley and corn porridge and corn cob broth paired with Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard 2012 Chardonnay from the Niagara Peninsula region. The dish was based on a previous, popular menu item at Lepine’s Atelier restaurant. “We used that as our starting point for developing a dish, tried to make it even more exciting, flavourful and more texturally interesting,” Lepine said. “We worked two or three months until we got it to that point where we thought it was as near to perfect as we could get it.” Lepine and sous chefs Jason Sawision and Justin Champagne prepared for the black box challenge by doing trial runs on a 55-minute clock to compensate for the more familiar territory. Lepine noted it helped the team figure out who would be doing what when it came to the real thing. “We had some of our other staff pick out seven ingredients at random and bring them in to us and we set up the same equipment we’d have to work with,” he said. Atelier’s sommelier Steve Robinson travelled to the Kelowna, B.C., championships and was especially useful in the mystery wine portion of the competition. “He picked out the varietal — that it was an oaked gamay from Ontario — within the first minute, and then we went from there,” Lepine said. The Atelier team competes for a variety of reasons. “We like to push ourselves and see what we can do and we do learn quite a lot in the process of doing competitions; even just with the trial black boxes we were coming up with ideas on the spot for how to use ingredients that we never would have thought of otherwise,” said Lepine. “We enjoy it. We think it’s good for business; headlines bring people into a restaurant. That’s always a motivating factor as well.” Atelier opened in 2008 with 22 seats. 2016 is shaping up to be a busy year for Lepine, who after taking over a former apartment space above
465 Central Ave, Fort Erie, ON L2A 4A7 From left: Justin Champagne, Carson Bibby (a volunteer), Jason Sawision and Marc Lepine. Photo by Bonne Belle Photography and Bonnie Donovan. the restaurant, increased capacity to 45 seats the week following the culinary competition. Lepine is also working on a distinct six-seat restaurant, with a slated completion timeline of May. When Lepine went to the CCC finals in 2012 an Ottawa Gold Medal Plates tradition was born. Chef Matt Carmichael asked whether Atelier would have to close over the competition. With almost the whole staff heading to Kelowna, the answer was yes. “He asked if I would allow him and some other chefs — just a few of them — to come in and do some dinners the nights we were away and I thought it was a great idea,” he said. “It’s really quickly turned into this thing Ottawa got behind because we ended up having 23 different chefs that weekend cooking in my little kitchen. It’s something that’s become a really great tradition in Ottawa, where the winning chef is the person that organizes the following
year’s takeover and it’s just kept going like that.” The CCC silver was awarded to chef Matthew Batey from The Nash in Calgary who presented alder smoked sablefish, Pacific octopus compression, Northern Divine caviar, Yukon Gold potato, sabayon paired with the Road 13, 2011 Sparkling Chenin Blanc from Oliver, B.C. Chef Alex Chen from Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in Vancouver, and representing British Columbia, took the bronze with his truffle scented chicken, celeriac fondant, foie gras stuffed celery, “umami” consommé, paired with the Foxtrot Vineyards, 2009 Pinot Noir from Naramata, B.C. The two-day event will be held in Kelowna until 2020, with proceeds from Gold Medal Plates and the Canadian Culinary Championships given to the Canadian Olympic Foundation to support high performance athletes. To date, nearly $11 million has been raised.
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Crowdfunding can work, but not for everyone
he major daily newspapers didn’t pick up on Loka’s Kickstarter campaign until after the money was raised. It wasn’t newsworthy until they succeeded, because many have tried and many have failed. During the Restaurants Canada Show in late February, Ayngelina Brogan shared her and chef Dave Mottershall’s journey to turn east end Toronto pop-up Loka Snacks into Loka. Brogan said the purpose of the pop-up was always to find an investor. “Yes, they did come, but the right investor didn’t come,” she said. A local restaurateur gave them some seed money, but the couple had to come up with the rest. So why crowdfunding? Few restaurants had met their goals in the past, but Brogan said they couldn’t get the money they needed from the bank.
She said 95 per cent of the work for a Kickstarter campaign comes before the launch in the form of research. They looked for common threads that worked in successful campaigns and looked at those that didn’t work. They reached out to Darren and Sylvia Cheverie who raised about $108,000 last year for Chartier, a French-Canadian restaurant slated to open soon in Beaumont, Alta., for guidance and advice. Brogan and Mottershall put a lot of thought into their incentives and into their promotional Kickstarter video, which was produced by bartering services. Once Loka was successful, the media was more interested in their story. Brogan mused that maybe media attention isn’t the be all and end all. They mobilized their social network and flooded the newsfeed with their story. “Facebook can be used for good, not just procrastinating,” she said. They called on some of Canada’s top
chefs to endorse Mottershall’s skills, passion and work ethic. They were successful, raising about $40,000 in their 30-day campaign and opened the doors to Loka at 620 Queen St. West in November. “Without people we would never be able to do this,” said Brogan. Crowdfunding may work, but it’s certainly not going to work in every case. The operator needs to make their case and sell it, but that’s not enough. They need to demonstrate a strong presence in their community and commitment to their craft. They also need a solid network to help demonstrate authenticity, which might just be the key to successful crowdfunding.
VANCOUVER — Drawing on client data from Canadian cafes, Square Canada estimated the average cup of java in Toronto and Ottawa cost $3.28 and $2.89, respectively. In major Canadian cities, the highest average cost is in Calgary at $4.22 and the lowest in Montreal at $2.67. The Americano seems to be a Canadian favourite with it being named the most popular coffee beverage in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa. Lattes were most popular in Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal. According to Square Canada, data was drawn from a random sample of several hundred Canadian cafes. While the point of sale and payment company has been analyzing global data for years, this is the first time Square has publicly released a Canadian analysis. “Our base of Square sellers has grown in Canada in recent years to allow us to start looking at data like this at a macro level, with relevant regional breakdowns,” said Jenny He, Square Canada communications lead.
McDonald’s dominates awards TORONTO – Marketing research firm BrandSpark International conducted a national survey of more than 8,500 Canadians about which quick service restaurants they frequent and how their dining habits are shaping the country and restaurant menus. The results were tallied for the sec-
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ond annual BrandSpark Best Restaurant Awards. McDonald’s either won or tied in 14 of the 28 categories in the 2015 Best Restaurant Awards, including winning best QSR for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drive-thru in 2015. The best tasting burger category was won by A&W for the second year in a row. Also for the second year in a row, Tim Hortons won for best tasting coffee by a margin of 20 per cent over second place McDonald’s. The honour of best tasting specialty coffee went to Starbucks in 2015. Subway won best tasting healthy menu items in 2015. Wendy’s continues to win for best tasting salad by a 22 per cent margin. Wendy’s also won for best new salad in the Best New Menu Item Awards for their Asian Cashew Chicken Salad.
Khao San Road performs juggling act during closure TORONTO — Khao San Road closed the doors to its Adelaide location on Feb. 26 for a brief hiatus. The restaurant will resume service in the spring at 11 Charlotte St., 250 metres from its current location. The larger location will add 30 seats, bringing the Thai eatery’s capacity to 90 seats. “As our lease is set to expire at our current location, we are forced to make the decision to close temporarily in order to transition to a larger space that will better serve our customers and employees,” said owner
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Monte Wan. During the closure Khao San Road will add delivery options and sister restaurant Nana will operate Wednesday through Sunday for dinner only. Khao San Road will take over Nana’s Queen West space Monday to Saturday for lunch and Monday and Tuesday during dinner. In addition, Nana is adding some of Khao San Road’s most popular menu items its lineup, including Pad Thai, Khao Soi and Pad Gra Prao.
Maple Leaf Tavern announces new kitchen lineup TORONTO —Executive chef Jesse Vallins will helm the kitchen at Leslieville’s Maple Leaf Tavern when it opens this spring with Binh An Nguyen and Jonny O’Callaghan sharing chef de cuisine roles. Vallins, who is certified as both sommelier and cicerone, joins with his “approachable yet refined” cooking style. He was most recently with The Saint Tavern and previously Trevor Kitchen. Nguyen’s experience includes an apprenticeship under Ren Mercer and Michael Potters at The Spoke Club, Hawthorne, The Beverley Hotel and Tacofino in Vancouver. Callaghan has completed stages in Europe as well spent time in Toronto kitchens including Museum Tavern and Patria. Chef Eric Wood was tapped to head up Maple Leaf Tavern’s kitchen and named executive chef Morgan’s Pickering, Ont., property Port Restaurant in fall of 2014. Wood has taken a position with JRoss Hospitality Recruiters.
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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. 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
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Terroir moves into year 10 with new venue The annual foodservice symposium will explore art, culture and technology TORONTO — In its 10th year, the Terroir Symposium will explore where culture, art and technology intersect with hospitality with a new format and location. This year’s conference will be held at the Art Gallery of Ontario on April 25 with about 100 participants and 60 speakers. “I think culture is at the centre of everything culinary and I think that it has so many different spokes that can be attached to it. I think artistry and technology weave into that, but the culture piece is foundational,” said Terroir executive director and founder Arlene Stein. “It’s the appropriate moment to kind of explore the wide spectrum of the foodservice industry. So often, we tend to be relegated to looking at it through a local food lens, a sustainable food lens,” she added. In years prior, local and sustainable were woven into Terroir’s annual themes. “What our philosophy is at this point is [sustain-
able and local] is foundational, that doesn’t need to be expressed as part of the thematic approach,” said Stein. Instead of having a main stage as the symposium has operated in the past, it will work more like a music festival with multiple stages. “This way, they’re smaller more intimate sessions; they’re not as intimidating for the speaker and people can access more content in the midst of this beautiful gallery,” said Stein. She said she is excited about the entire lineup, a diverse group of speakers who will bring different ideas to the table. “I think Anouk Wipprecht is going to be an interesting person because she’s so outside of how we think about food,” Stein said. A Dutch designer, Wipprecht’s niche is fashion tech. She was involved last summer with the Adria brothers’ Heart Ibiza, a creative partnership with Cirque de Soleil touted as a collision of art and gastronomy.
Her DareDroid creation isn’t simply a cocktail dress, it’s a biomechanic cocktail-making dress. “Some of this is just about being frivolous and not taking ourselves so seriously, but really moving deeper into the creative realm of how we approach food. I think she’ll be very refreshing,” said Stein. Other speakers include Carolyn Phillips, an author, illustrator and Chinese cuisine historian and François Chartier an expert on flavour and aromatic science. As always, a number of chefs are on the docket including Mark Best, executive chef and owner of Marque Restaurant in Australia; Phil Wood, Rockpool in Sydney; Esben Holmboe Bang, head chef and co-owner of Norway’s two Michelin-starred Restaurant Maaemo; as well as Canadian talent Vikram Vij, Jamie Kennedy, Jeremy Charles, Dale MacKay, Rob Gentile and Christine Flynn. “We want to help our community share its own stories,” said Stein.
Starbucks opens “espresso shot” in Union Station
At Starbucks express locations, customers’ orders are taken before they reach the register.
TORONTO — The first Canadian Starbucks express location opened Feb. 17 in Toronto’s Union Station. In the renovated York Concourse, the store will serve the busy transit hub’s 250,000 daily commuters. With speed of service in mind, the new store is dubbed the “espresso shot” of Starbucks with a streamlined customer experience. The walk-through, 400-square-foot location features digital menu boards and a menu designed to meet the needs of commuters focusing on brewed coffee, espresso-based beverages and a selection of food items. “What we’ve done with our menu here is tailored it to our Canadian favourites,” said district manager Althea Williams, who explained this includes top-selling breakfast sandwiches and bakery items, such as banana loaf and bagels. Williams explained that much of the new format’s speed comes from customers being greeted at an early order point screen. The order is transmitted to the espresso bar or brew area. “What that does is get the beverage into production before you actually pay. We’ve separated the two points. So the concept is, by the time you get to the hand-off plane, your handcrafted beverage is ready,” she said. The Union Station store is the third of its kind following two New York locations that opened early last year on Wall Street and in the Empire State Building. “We sure are hoping to add more [express] formats in Toronto; there are other places with that kind of commuter volume where we’d love to connect with customers,” said Williams.
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A business case for local food GUELPH, Ont. — At a Wellington County networking event and conference, delegates heard restaurateurs who sourced local food felt somewhat insulated from the rise in food costs. Taste Real and Foodlink Waterloo Region held the eighth annual Source It Here event on Feb. 8 at Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ont. “The economic context is very different from last year,” said Sylvain Charlebois, professor for the University of Guelph’s Food Institute. Food costs are expected to increase between two and four per cent, exceeding general inflation, according to the institute’s 2016 forecast. The consumer is asking a lot, he said, and in the not-so-distant future, animal welfare will have enough value in the market to justify a price increase at quick service. “What you’ve been trying to do for many years is more valuable then ever,” Charlebois told delegates. He also noted the margins between local food and imports have been shrinking. A panel “connecting the dots — partners in food” paired producers and retail and foodservice operators for discussions on food cost. Chef Ben Sachse said he hasn’t “experienced the same food cost influxes” at his restaurant at Elora Brewing Company when he is buying meat from Leslie Zinger of Top Market Meats, a farm in Ariss, Ont. An important factor in this supplier/operator relationship is that Sachse understands that sometimes the farm will be out of duck legs, so he puts another protein on the menu. “Those limitations define who we are,” said
Zinger. “I think the main thing is communication.” Charlebois suggested that modest price increases could go a long way in the sustainability of a business. “Trust allows the marketplace to become price blind,” said Charlebois, adding education allows for the understanding of what food should be.
Culinary tourism plans The Ontario Culinary Alliance recently assessed the Waterloo Region’s position as a culinary tourism destination. “There is a really engaged local food community,” said Julia Gilmore, FEAST ON and food tourism development manager. She noted Wellington County – which is in close proximity to a large urban market – also has an “awesome selection of festivals and events.” Gilmore outlined the characteristics of food tourists: they are interested in the origin of products, have above average expenditure, are adventurous, loyal, active on social media, looking for VIP treatments (something exclusive) and for them, value goes beyond price. “Food tourists aren’t just coming for a meal,” said Gilmore. She made some recommendations including preparing a collective marketing program, dubbed In Real Life, for those local businesses who are market-ready for guests to the area. “I think we have to tailor-make it so it fits our region,” said Taste Real coordinator Christina Mann, who asked for interested stakeholders to get involved in a committee.
Firehouse Subs plans to build 85 units in Ontario OSHAWA – Firehouse Subs purchases more datil peppers than any other restaurant group on the planet. The uncommon pepper flies under the radar for most people in the business of making hot sauce. Yet, in northeastern Florida, where Firehouse Subs opened its first location, datil pepper sauce is a staple. “Everybody in St. Augustine (Fla.) grows datil peppers in their backyard. We just assumed everybody had them,” said Robin Sorensen, who created Firehouse Subs with his brother Chris. When the Sorensen brothers began to build their brand, they named their version of datil pepper sauce after their father, creating Captain Sorensen’s Datil Pepper Hot Sauce. “We have rabid fans of our sauce,” Sorensen said. “In the early years, we would run out of it. Now we make sure we always have it.” The datil is similar to the habanero in spice, varying from 100,000 to 300,000 on the Scoville scale. However, the datil’s heat is combined with a sweet, fruity flavour. “It’s extremely hot, but when you pick it at the right time, it has a sugar spike,” Sorensen said. “If you eat it by itself, it will light you on fire.” While the pepper sauce is a draw, Sorensen explained Firehouse’s in-house steamed meat mixed with a toasted bun also helped the com-
6 | Ontario Restaurant News
Firehouse Subs CEO Don Fox and co-founder Robin Sorensen. pany carve out its customer base in the sandwich market. “We knew it was better, but it turned out to be one of the big things that separated us from everyone else,” he said. “It was a fluke how it all happened, how we got the steamer idea.” The datil sauce and uniquely steamed meat are now available in Canada. Firehouse Subs opened its first international location in Oshawa, Ont. in October.
By the summer, the chain expects to have opened 1,000 stores throughout 43 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Last month, Sorensen visited the Oshawa franchise – the first of 85 units planned for Ontario. “We had requests for years to go to all kinds of places,” Sorensen said. “We never felt we were ready. We knew we had to take our time.” As of February, Firehouse Subs has 13 lo-
cations confirmed throughout Ontario. A franchise in the province costs $400,000 to $500,000, plus a six per cent royalty and three per cent advertising fee. “When we developed our plan with Firehouse Subs, in terms of the 85 areas we want to be in, Durham Region was a key part of that,” said Alex Gerzon, one of three principals of OnFire Restaurant Inc., the Firehouse Subs area representative for Canada. “When this amazing site opened in Oshawa we were all over it.” OnFire wasn’t the first restaurant group to pitch the idea of opening a Firehouse Subs outside of the United States. “We’ve never been in a rush to do international, just for the sake of doing it,” Sorensen said. “If we start letting in anybody and their brother just for the sake that they can sign a cheque, we’d [grow] temporarily, but it’s going to collapse.” The company’s founders maintain tight control on all potential franchises. Every Friday, they interview potential franchisees. They also maintain the final say on all new products introduced throughout the chain. “We approve every single thing that goes into this restaurant. … Otherwise, what are we doing here?” Sorensen said. “We’ve met every single franchisee in this system, most of them many times.”
Old School aims to pay homage to the good ol’ days MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – A new restaurant and lounge in Mississauga is serving as a shrine to the good old days. Old School Bar & Grill held its soft opening in the former home of Club 108, west of Dixie Road and Eglinton Avenue in February. “We’re going to try to keep everything old school,” said owner Mickey Vesia. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant is equipped with vintage pinball and video games, nostalgic decor and a jukebox in an effort to recreate the highlights of yesteryear. As well, three big-screen televisions are equipped with vintage gaming consoles. “It’s a place to hang out. People can come in here and play video games, pool or board games,” said Vesia, the former owner of Mickey’s Arcade in Mississauga. The tables for the 150-seat restaurant are decorated with vintage advertisements and articles from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
The menu also has its vintage charm with items like Popeye the Sailor salad, brontosaurus ribs, Coney Island corndogs and great balls of fire, a spicy meatball slider trio. Old school is open for lunch and dinner with menu items ranging in price from $5 to $20. Later in the evening the restaurant transforms into a bar atmosphere. However, Vesia explained the eatery maintains its family atmosphere throughout the day. “We have families here right up until 9 p.m.,” he said. Vesia plans to officially open the lounge when its collection of retro decorations is complete. With Old School only occupying a portion of the former Club 108, Vesia plans to transform the unused space into a place for live music that will accompany the restaurant. “The back is going to become an event place — the Old School Music Hall,” he said.
A tip for employers: plan for new gratuity laws before June By Jay Josefo Bill 12, earlier versions of which were previously introduced into the Ontario Legislature by the NDP, was recently proclaimed as Ontario law. It changes the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). The main goal is to prevent employers from withholding, deducting from or collecting gratuities from employees unless doing so is authorized by law. The bill passed unanimously — meaning all-party support. Its language and impact is similar to laws in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and P.E.I. The bill is intended to combat the perceived problem of “tip theft” by employers. Bill 12 is in force as of June 10, 2016. It enacts new Part V.1, “Employee Tips and Other Gratuities” in the ESA. Industry has until June to review and adjust their current tips and gratuities policies as needed. Bill 12 defines “tips and other gratuities” to widely cover: • voluntary payments made by a customer to an employee which might reasonably be inferred as intended to be kept by the employee or shared amongst other employees; • voluntary payments made by a customer to an employer which might reasonably be inferred as intended to be redistributed to an employee or employees; • payment of a service charge or similar charge which might reasonably be inferred as intended to be redistributed to an employee or employees and other payments to be prescribed by regulation. Bill 12 specifically exempts “such charges as may be prescribed relating to the method of payment used, or a prescribed portion of those charges,” as well as any other exempted payments as prescribed by regulation. To date, there have been no regulations enacted which would further clarify what kinds of additional payments would be included or exempted from the bill’s definition of “tips and other gratuities.” Based upon the exemption as currently written, it is unclear what arises with service charges
imposed by credit card companies by each sale. Currently, it is arguable that if a customer makes a payment over and above the bill total on a credit card (15 per cent of the bill, for example), the entirety of that must be passed along to the employee(s), even if the establishment pays a transaction charge to the credit card company. A regulation may exempt this charge. Bill 12 permits the pooling of tips and gratuities where such policy exists, so long as all that is pooled is disbursed to the employees. Yet the boss (employers) cannot share this
pooling except by specific exceptions (the owner/director/shareholder habitually working and doing the same work performed by some or all of its employees). Where a collective bargaining relationship is in place, and when such covers tips/gratuities, the provisions of the existing collective agreement applies even if it differs from Bill 12. Yet this is only until a new collective agreement comes into effect. At that time the parties are again free to collectively contract out of these ESA provisions, or otherwise, Bill 12 will apply and prevail over the old collective agree-
ment. What is next needed is clarity that the regulations will hopefully bring. The industry should seek details that it requires in that regard, and can seek exemptions regarding credit card fees and other charges. Employers should also review and consider their current tip/gratuity policy or approach and begin to plan for the new reality starting this coming June. Jay Josefo is counsel for Toronto-based Ricketts, Harris LLP Barristers & Solicitors with a focus on human resource issues.
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Gluten-free box by Freshii.
Today’s consumers are demanding a lot from quick service. Operators can take advantage of consumers’ propensity to snack and exceed expectations for convenience by putting a focus on speed of delivery, portability and healthy options. BY KRISTEN SMITH Gluten-free bowl by Freshii.
ffering a wide variety of baked goods and beverages as snacks could drive off-peak traffic, according to Deanna Jordan, manager of consumer insights with Technomic. Based on data from Technomic’s 2016 Canadian Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report, which will be released March 25, the snacking segment held relatively steady since 2014 with 74 per cent of respondents reporting they eat meals outside of traditional dayparts. Most snacks (70 per cent) are consumed in the afternoon with the occasion being driven more by younger consumers, 83 per cent of whom snack daily compared to 71 per cent of older consumers. According to Technomic’s consumer research, 49 per cent said portability is “very important” when buying snacks. When it comes to nutritious snack options, 44 per cent said it’s “very important” and 42 per cent categorized it as “important.” “Canadians are well-known grazers and while we still appreciate our traditional meals, we also enjoy a little something to nosh on in between meals,” said McCafé menu director
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Anne Parks, adding snacking is an important part of McDonald’s business. “We’ve seen a growing snacking trend with our eight new McCafé bakery offerings, which are being rolled out across the country as we continue to evolve the McCafé brand,” said Parks. “What we’re finding is that our guests love pairing smaller, sweet and savoury snacks with our signature McCafé beverages.” The new bakery items include lemon loaf, croissants, danishes, mini pastries and chocolate brownies. Parks said the bakery lineup also complements other snacks available on their menu, such as fruit smoothies, snack wraps, french fries, side salads and apple slices.
All about prep For Bill Pratt, owner and operator of Chef Inspired Group of Restaurants, convenience is the name of the game. The Nova Scotia restaurateur operates a number of quick service restaurants including Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers + Poutinerie, Habaneros Modern Taco Bar, the Gecko Bus food truck and Truck-Side, an indoor food truck court.
In Pratt’s operations everything is prepped from scratch, then menu items are built to order. “People can get a quality product quickly in their hand and run with it,” said Pratt, who plans to put two more food trucks on the road this spring serving Vietnamese fare and gourmet hot dogs. “People are going back to comfort food, but they’re looking for a quality product,” made with ingredients they know, Pratt said. “There are a lot of great products out there in the industry, but I’m about taking raw ingredients — taking the pork butt and rubbing it and braising it, but doing this for 1,000 people. I go through 250 kilos of boneless chicken thighs a week, that’s just in one restaurant,” said Pratt. He said while making ingredients from scratch is more expensive and labour intensive, he is benefitting from the scale of his operations and able to price competitively. As Pratt’s operations have grown over the last four years, he has spent time standardizing processes and procedures. “Putting those processes in place, it’s a lot of work, but once you’ve done it, it’s just a matter of monitoring and mak-
Truck-side food truck court.
ing sure that it is followed properly,” said Pratt, who plans to begin franchising this year. “People are intimidated by those processes, but we set it up so our franchisees will be able to follow a recipe with pictures, with everything, so they can have a standardized product.”
A bad rap Freshii’s in-house nutritionist Andie Shapira thinks convenience and snacking is perceived as unhealthy food because of society’s inclination toward instant gratification. “When people think of convenience, they think fast,” she explained. “Everyone just wants everything in the palm of their hand in two seconds. So when people think of quick snacking, the first thing they’ll grab is chips off the shelf … anything they don’t have to prepare and usually that stuff is really unhealthy.” A large part of Shapira’s role is creating new menu items for Freshii and looking for ways to make current offerings healthier. Last spring, the fast casual chain started making its salad dressings in house with less than five ingredients. While Freshii offers smoothies and packaged snacks such as trail mix and chocolate covered almonds, the company is developing a full grab-and-go program. These new items will include vegetables and dip, fruit cups, hard-boiled eggs, mini yogurt parfaits and 12-ounce quinoa cups. “You could potentially make a really satisfying lunch just by grabbing things off the shelf.”
Service models Three and a half years ago, Paintbox Bistro opened in Toronto with an à la carte menu and full table service. It also had a takeout window. Last year, Chris Klugman and his business partner Alison Gibson bought a Turbo Chef Oven at auction and added counter service to the Regent Park restaurant. “As soon as they either sit down or have paid, their food is pretty much ready,” said Klugman. “It really came about because there was
so much demand for takeout and it jived very much with our retail food program.” He doesn’t recommend running full service and counter service congruently. “We were basically running two restaurants,” he said. In January, Paintbox made the move to counter service only, which Klugman said has increased expectations and sales. “This has kind of solved the puzzle of the café in the daytime,” said Klugman, who noted the bistro could be a drain on the profitability of the catering division. In addition to reducing operating costs at the café, as a Certified B Corp, Paintbox has a social mandate for training. “It’s very difficult to provide table service at an appropriate calibre when you’re dealing with predominantly trainees,” Klugman said. “I personally had a big concern that people were used to being served at the table, but actually the reaction has been positive.” Sometimes the café sees a lineup where people are waiting for 20 minutes, but instead of complaining about the wait, Klugman said they are pleased by how fast their food is ready after they order. “People seem just fine with that, because as soon as they pay, they basically have their food within [a few] minutes,” Klugman said. “It’s a really interesting study in managing customer expectations. They seem to understand the lineup, they don’t understand waiting for food or waiting for a cheque.” Klugman said he believes the industry is poised for major changes, particularly relating to the viability of independent restaurants. “Since the large increases in food and labour costs, it’s tough, unless you’re in the very top echelon, to be able to offer table service and do it on an economical basis,” he said. With the new service counter, the former takeout window is in the wrong place, opening into the kitchen. “Really, I love the concept of the takeout window,” Klugman said. “It was a really popular thing.” He is considering moving the window or having one of Paintbox’s food incubator businesses use it in its current place over the summer.
Freshii-branded trail mix.
A flatbread from Paintbox Bistro.
Salmon fillet and a side salad by Paintbox Bistro.
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A budding restaurant group Entice Culinary Lounge tests the Toronto market for hopeful restaurateur Ali Kaabi TORONTO — If Entice Culinary Lounge is successful, owner Ali Kaabi would like to open more distinct Toronto restaurants. Entice launched on Feb. 9 on Queen Street West with executive chef Ryan Wilson-Lall helming the kitchen alongside sous chef Justin Cleva. General manager Costas Costa and assistant manager Jessica Krecisz are handling front of house operations. Wilson-Lall, who was most recently chef de cuisine at the AGO’s FRANK restaurant, wanted to be part of something that could grow in the future. “FRANK was a lovely restaurant, but there was only going to be one FRANK, and I wanted to grow a business where it could be multiple in the future and that’s one of Ali’s dreams is to be a restaurateur with multiple restaurants, multiple concepts,” said Wilson-Lall. “That’s kind of what I like to do. Every time I open a restaurant, I forget how hard it is. They’re all different, they’re never the same; they’re like a baby that needs to be fed every three hours.” The upscale bistro seats 72 with 10 seats at
the bar and a private dining area for between eight and 10 guests. Wilson-Lall’s menu is locally source with a global influence. “There is a lot of dinner theatrics, a lot of ‘wow factor’ ingredients in the food,” he said, adding the dishes still qualify as comfort food. The signature carbonara raviolo — with bacon, cremini, whipped porcini egg white, crispy basil, pecorino cheese and roasted garlic mascarpone filling — has a deconstructed look, intended to be eaten from centre of the plate out. To celebrate the work that goes into making jus, it is poured over hot rocks table side so it sizzles and bubbles as it makes its way to the plate. “A lot of people don’t realize that making jus takes a long time, it takes a couple days,” said Wilson-Lall. In addition to an à la carte menu, Entice also offers daily specials, such as a crab smash or family-style fish dinner, to attract a local weekday crowd. On Saturday nights, the focus is on beef. Wilson-Lall talks to the tables about how they like their steak prepared and informs diners of the evening’s side dishes.
From left: Executive chef Ryan Wilson-Lall and sous chef Justin Cleva. “Then I go back with a hack-saw and go at it,” said Wilson-Lall, adding guests can come watch through a glass window. “A real carnivore can appreciate it.”
The décor mixes furniture and fixtures from Denmark and Holland with high tech amenities such as table charging stations and a bar top made of digital televisions.
The pros and cons of operating a restaurant in a heritage building ORANGEVILLE, Ont. — Around 1870, miller Thomas Jull constructed a two-storey home on Orangeville’s Mill Street as a wedding present to his son Orange. While the structure is one of Orangeville’s oldest standing buildings, it was also where Jull designed the first rotary snow plough, a device used to break up snow drifts on railroads throughout North America. Nearly 150 years later, Jull’s house is now home to Soulyve Caribbean Kitchen, a restaurant that started as a kiosk in the town’s farmers’ market, before moving into its heritage designated location. “A young man’s dream is now part of the foundation of the community,” said Soulyve owner Phil Dewar. Moving into Jull’s former home wasn’t as simple as turning a key. Serving as a bar before Soulyve’s arrival, Dewar wanted to buck the location’s reputation, which required renovations including moving the establishment’s entrance. “When we wanted to change the entrance, it became a problem. Being a heritage building, some structural stuff you can’t change,” Dewar said. “We had to put a case together as to why it’s beneficial to the business and why it doesn’t go against the heritage.” The renovations also required installing a water main capable of handling demand from a full service restaurant. Aesthetic improvements required approval from the town’s heritage committee to ensure renovations preserved the building’s heritage. “They hold back, but they’re actually very helpful in trying to expedite the process,” Dewar said. “They don’t bend any rules. They’re
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Vicar’s Vice in Stoney Creek, Ont. pretty firm. It is a little bit of a delay.” Although delayed, the building’s history mixed with its charm are beneficial for business. “You get recognition. It’s cool to be part of the history of a town,” Dewar said. While heritage properties create charming ambiance, a designation may affect property value, according to Graeme Tosh, owner of Unique Restaurant Group, based in the Hamilton, Ont. area. Tosh purchased the Elfrida Church in 2007 for $495,000 to open Vicar’s Vice, a British pubinspired restaurant. Since opening the restau-
rant, the former church, constructed in 1858, has been flagged for heritage protection under Ontario’s Heritage Act. Despite, $500,000 of renovations, Tosh said the looming designation is a deterrent for potential buyers. “When I bought it, it wasn’t designated. It wasn’t on the list; it wasn’t anything,” Tosh said, who appealed the building’s possible designation. “I don’t like when the game changes in the middle.” Under Unique Restaurant Group, Tosh owns two other buildings with a heritage designation.
Due diligence is key when considering purchasing an old building, according to Tosh. “You really have to take a look structurally, make sure you’re safe,” he said. “Due diligence is the biggest part just like any building, but you have to be a little more careful when you’re looking at older buildings.” He added insurance is costly for a heritage building, as history cannot be replaced and many older structures are not equipped with sprinkler systems. “To get it back to its original state, it’s a tough go sometimes,” Tosh said. Heating costs, sewage systems and inevitable repairs are other factors to consider. “If you have a building that is 100 years old, you’re going to have to replace things,” Tosh said. Despite the extra work required in maintenance, Tosh said it’s worth the investment. “If you have a good building, the pros totally outweigh the cons. You just have so much natural character,” he said. “The warmth that comes off these buildings is just outstanding.” Dewar used his restaurant’s heritage status to ensure Soulyve’s history is also maintained. During renovations, Dewar placed a time capsule in the floor containing photographs and newspaper articles outlining the evolution of Soulyve. “You have a chance to be in transit. Not only on the receiving end of what was, but the opportunity to be part of what will be,” Dewar said. “In 150 years when someone takes over the property, sooner or later somebody will find something.”
SIAL Canada grows show
MONTREAL — This year, SIAL Canada had to expand its allotted 240,000 square feet of space for more than 850 exhibitors, which sold out at the end of January. Adding another 12,000 square feet, The Montreal trade show is increasing its footprint by about 50 more booths. Show director Xavier Poncin explained the increased interest in SIAL. “A strong increase in the representation from across Canada, international agreements that encourage the involvement of new countries, and positioning that are unique within North America: retail, HRI, and food processing, all under one roof,” Poncin said. Geared at the retail, foodservice and food processing in-
dustries, the show is being held April 13-15 at the Palais des Congrès de Montreal. The event will feature its annual innovation awards in the categories of food, packaging equipment and technology. SIAL’s conference schedule includes the following topics: international food innovation; five key ecommerce steps; market opportunities in the United States; the foodservice revolution; the organic consumer; foodservice purchasing behaviours; putting sustainable on the menu; reducing and managing waste; and foodservice and Gen Y. The SIAL Food Hub panel on April 13 will focus on the foodservice community and aim to address the issue of cost.
SOFT ARTISAN BREAD
CHERRY & GREEK YOGURT DANISH
Industry charity has banner 2015 CONCORD, Ont. — Friends of We Care reported a record year in 2015, raising a total of $1,162,620 for Easter Seals Canada. Executive director Kevin Collins said the funds increased a fair amount from the year prior. “We were very, very fortunate … It’s the highest that we’ve generated in the history on an annual basis,” said Collins. “When you consider everything that’s going on in the world today, it’s pretty amazing.” The foodservice industry charity raises funds and awareness through annual events. This year, Friends of We Care is adding to its roster and shaking up some old favourites. The association’s annual gala is being held April 30 at The International Centre in Mississauga, Ont. Dubbed CareTucky Derby, the event will feature themed decor, food, cocktails and activities. “We’re going to take a
little bit of a spoof off the Kentucky Derby theme and just have some fun with it,” said Collins. In partnership with the LCBO, the 2016 Winterfest event raised approximately $43,000 for kids with disabilities, the equivalent to 172 days at a barrier-free camp for children with disabilities. Held on January 15th at Devil’s Glen Country Club near Collingwood, Ont., the event had more activities at a new location. New to Friends of We Care’s roster of events is a Trivia Night at Dave & Busters in Vaughan, Ont. The familyoriented, networking-meets-games night is being held on April 14. In addition to its Ontario, Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax events, Collins said Friends of We Care expanded its bowling event to Kelowna, B.C. and hopes to set up in Moncton, N.B., as well.
At Bridor Inc., baking is a passion we have shared for generations. 450 641-1265 • 1 800 361-1450 • bridor.com
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Feeding an Aging Population by bill Tremblay
nce every month, residents at Temiskaming Lodge Long Term Care prepare breakfast for their fellow seniors. The residents take an active role in preparing, cooking and cleaning up after the meal at the home in Haileybury, Ont. The cooking program is therapeutic, allowing residents to practice their skills independently while working in a team. Many programs at long-term care facilities use food as a form of therapy for their residents, according to Candace Chartier, chief executive officer of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. “There’s such a diverse set of programming that involves food. The high point of people’s day is eating,” Chartier said. Other facilities use white linen, silverware and china to create a fine dining experience or
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hold high tea events for their residents. Programs like baking classes are also a popular method for incorporating food into the residents’ daily lives. “It’s a morale booster. It makes the whole experience fun for the residents,” Chartier said. Menu creation in long-term care homes also incorporates residents through feedback. “Some homes have menu sampling day or events,” Chartier said. “They invite the residents to try some of the entrees to see what they like best.” Gathering menu reaction helps operators discover the preferences of a widening demographic of residents. “There’s way more diversity now in your resident population,” Chartier said. “In a little rural home, you will see the farming community. You won’t see fancy dishes on the menu, they like their meat and potatoes.”
In urban centres, menus must meet kosher or halal dietary restrictions as well as provide flavour profiles familiar to a range of appetites. “When you get into more multicultural settings, it gets a little more difficult to plan a menu,” Chartier said. “It really depends on where the home is and the type of residents.”
Constant evolution At Revera, a company that owns and operates both retirement and long-term care homes, the approach to dining and nutrition is constantly evolving to meet diverse tastes. “We have to take a very fluid approach to menu development so we can provide the necessary choices and options for our residents, especially as it relates to specific dietary restrictions,” said John Curtis, Revera’s national director of culinary services. “We’re constantly changing and striving to adapt to not only regional food preferences across the country, but also the individual preferences of each of our residents.” Curtis will work with culinary teams at Revera’s various properties across Canada to meet diverse and constantly changing dietary needs of the company’s residents. When a new resident client moves into one of the properties, the director of culinary services will meet with the newcomer and their family to gather dietary information and preferences. From there, the appropriate options and alternatives are developed for each meal. “This hands-on approach goes a long way to making our dining rooms and cafés feel more like home for our residents, and is part of our broader philosophy to help the people in our communities live life to the fullest,” Curtis said. Some of the most common culinary requests are lactose-free desserts, gluten-free options, kosher and halal meats as well as seafood and vegetarian meals. “We work closely with our suppliers to ensure we have the freshest offerings and that a variety of options is readily available,” Curtis said. “Having fresh, healthy and delicious dining options available is extremely important and helps give them the best experience possible.”
Manufacturers take note Food manufacturers are also taking note of dietary requirements in a diverse demographic. Aliments ED Foods Inc. has created Luda H, a line of low-sodium, gluten-free soup and sauce bases for the healthcare segment. “That’s kind of the general idea for seniors’ residences. They’re trying to feed their residents healthy food,” said Jordana Rebner, culinary specialist for Aliments ED Foods Inc. “Because they can’t do everything from scratch, they’re choosing dehydrated sauces and soups. We’re conscious of the fact that healthy is not only on trend, but important.” The company has also recently released
George and Rod help cook breakfast for their fellow Temiskaming Lodge residents. In the photo below, Joan also helps prepare the meal.
silent generation (those born between 1925 and 1942) is preparing the company for the influx of aging baby boomers. While Canada is home to 3 million silent generation seniors, about 10 million baby boomers are moving into the age bracket. “The silents and boomers are entering our retirement homes and changing the playing field. They are demanding choice, flexibility, are much more health conscious and into technology then previous cohorts,” Husain said. “They are more educated, worldly, and have more money to spend.” At long-term care facilities, Compass has noticed seniors are entering the homes later in life and with more chronic health issues. In Ontario, 62 per cent of residents live with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and nearly one-third have severe cognitive impairments. “Because food and dining is such as integral part of our lives, we are seeing an increased need for specific programs and supports to be put in place for those living with frailty and dementia,” Husain said. “Service providers are spending more time looking at how to create a pleasurable dining experience for their residents and what impact the meal their residents eat, and the experience they have, can really affect their overall health.”
Luda Pro, a new clean label soup and sauce line that is gluten free and has no declarable allergens. “We’re trying to move away from chemicals and getting something that’s clean. That’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind these days,” Rebner said. “We’re trying to respond to what the market is asking for.” The Luda Pro line contains, at most, 480 milligrams of sodium. “There is a demand for stuff that is lower in sodium. With soups and sauces there is that misconception they’re bad and all filled with salt,” Rebner said. Luda Boosters were created to add international flavours to recipes. The dehydrated spice mixes — which dissolve instantly when added to soup or sauce — come in 10 different flavours. “Seniors’ residences are often looking to rec-
reate or change it up without having to buy too many ingredients,” Rebner said. “If you have a Luda Booster you don’t need to source and buy the other ingredients you need to get Chinese or Japanese flavour.”
A growing segment As Canada’s population ages, demand for retirement homes and long-term care living is set to explode. Saira Husain, corporate communications manager for Compass Group, explained longterm care homes reach capacity as soon as they are funded and built. “This area will continue to grow as seniors are living longer whilst becoming more and more frail while living in their communities until such time as they are admitted into a longterm care home,” Husain said. For Compass Group’s foodservice sector, the
The trend towards catering to each individual in retirement homes is growing throughout Compass Group’s clients. “There is great emphasis today on looking at the whole individual through a ‘person-centred care’ approach, really trying to understand and facilitate a positive experience for the individual person versus the group think mentality,” Husain said. Residents are now seeking a variety of dining options and flexibility in meal times. In retirement homes five years ago, a central dining room would be the only option for a meal. Today, the large dining room is accompanied by small bistros, cafés, grab-and-go areas and private dining rooms. “We are seeing freshly squeezed juice programs, specialty coffee bars, pubs, chef ’s tables and special catered events,” Husain said. “Our clients are looking for innovation, variety and ways of incorporating food and beverage offerings throughout their entire buildings.” As well, the level of customer service is expected to be on par with what is found in the everyday hospitality industry. “Residents are informed and involved consumers. They want to know where their food is coming from, what the ingredients are and how healthy a dish may be,” Husain said. “Those service providers who are able to meet the needs of these customers will thrive.”
Working within a tight budget While rising food costs are a national concern, long-term care facilities are especially feeling pressure from higher grocery bills. Long-term care facilities are provided $7.87 per day for raw food costs per resident. “Food costs have gone through the roof. It makes it really difficult,” said Candace Chartier, chief executive officer of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. “When this happens
the homes have to adjust the menu.” Chartier noted one home was forced to remove yogurt entirely from its menu this year. “You’re constantly playing with the menu to make sure you’re meeting all the requirements, but you also want it to be a great dining experience,” she said. “I think the homes do a great job with the money they have, but it’s hard because you want to do more.”
To help ease the pain of increased costs, the Ontario Long-term Care Association has asked the provincial government to provide a two per cent increase to the daily food cost allowance. “We need more than two per cent,” Chartier said. “We’re in a real tight fiscal situation and we realize that. We don’t want to go in asking for the moon when in reality two per cent may be the response you get.”
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Christine Farkas demonstrates cooking with pulses.
From Feb. 28 to March 1, about 12,000 foodservice industry professionals gathered at the Enercare Centre in Toronto for the annual Restaurants Canada Show.
Butcher Dwayne Ellard talks about Canadian beef.
Robert Serapiglia prepares Sterling SIlver bottom sirloin flap.
Don’t discount the elderly, restaurateurs told TORONTO – Restaurateurs should prepare for an influx of elderly customers, according to Dr. Darrell Bricker, chief executive officer of Ipsos Public Affairs. Bricker, who served as keynote speaker at the Restaurants Canada Show’s Breakfast With Champions, told his audience Canada’s population is aging and declining coast-to-coast. Nunavut is the only province or territory recording population gains. “Not only are we having fewer kids, the average lifespan of Canadians is expanding,” Bricker said. In 1920, the average Canadian lifespan was 57 years. Today, Canadians will live to 87 years on average. By 2061, nearly 80,000 Canadians will live beyond 100 years old. “We’ve added almost a whole additional lifetime onto our lives,” Bricker said. “We have lots of old people, but not very many kids. Are we going to be building hospitals or schools?” He urged his audience to prepare their restaurants for single diners as well as customers with mobility issues. “I don’t know how many restaurants have seats set up for people on their own, but there are a lot of people out there,” Bricker said. “How easy is it to sit at a table in your restaurant? How
Dr. Darrell Bricker. easy is it to get in and out of the door? Do you accommodate walkers in your restaurant?” He added it’s the elderly who have the financial means to visit restaurants. “Who has the money? It’s not the downtown hipsters. It’s the old folks sitting in the suburbs. If you’re interested in the mass market, that’s the mass market,” Bricker said. “Everybody thinks there’s going to be this tremendous wealth transfer between old people and young people — no there isn’t. Old people are going to spend it all.” In the future, “aging in place” is a term Canadians should expect to hear more often, and Bricker said restaurants should cater to seniors who stay in
their homes. “How do I copy the meals on wheels model?” he asked. “Not to take care of destitute people, but to actually take care of people who have money to pay for that type of service in their homes,” Bricker said. Immigrants are another demographic where restaurants may find new customers, according to Bricker. The bulk of new Canadians are coming from China, India, Philippines and Pakistan. “Canada is rapidly moving from being a white country to being a brown country. Get used to it,” Bricker said. “Nine out of 10 immigrants live in a major urban area. If I have a restaurant there, I’m thinking about them.”
Shane Fisher in the Top Shelf Bartending competition.
Philman George from High Liner Foods.
Technology broadening consumers’ foodservice options: Technomic TORONTO — Technology will continue to play a leading role in broadening consumers’ foodservice choices in the coming years, according to Erik Thoresen, a principal at Technomic consultants, who led an industry trends seminar Feb. 29 at the Restaurants Canada Show. At chain restaurants, for example, appbased technology will continue to provide more delivery options (through third-party companies) and also increase customization options, said Thoresen. On top of that, Thoresen predicted chain operators will use technology to reduce onsite staff. Another emerging trend is dietary apps,
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such as Second Waiter, which enable consumers to monitor, report on or help make decisions about the nutritional elements of their restaurant meals. Until now, restaurants have been slow to adopt nutrition programs, but Thoresen said that operators will likely integrate more nutritional information into their menus on a more widespread basis over time. Supermarkets will continue to eat into restaurants’ business by increasingly offering clickand-collect grocery ordering systems and by offering a larger selection of freshly prepared foods driving in-store eating, he said. Also expected to grow and further cut into
restaurants’ business are meal-kit providers who deliver portioned, fresh ingredients and corresponding recipes to consumers’ homes for them to prepare themselves, said Thoresen, who noted that there are over 100 meal-kit startups operating. Driving the meal-kit business, whose players include Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Chef ’s Plate, is the entertainment value inherent in preparing dinner from scratch, especially using exotic or unfamiliar ingredients. A variation on that model, Sprig, delivers prepared, ready-to-eat meals whose nutritionally balanced components have been selected by consumers using the company’s app.
Besides sound nutrition, consumers want cleaner, fresher ingredients that are humanely and locally raised without additives or preservatives — but also want “food that tastes fantastic,” said Thoresen. Peering further into his crystal ball, he said that the custom-built fast-casual segment is growing twice as quickly as fast casual without the custom-built option. “Dine-in amenities are raising the stakes,” Thoresen said. Bottom line, he concluded, is while new technologies and formats create new opportunities, they’re also raising consumers’ expectations regarding foodservice convenience and options.
Maritime restaurateur elected Restaurants Canada chair Bill Allen, president of Fresh Casual Restaurants, outlines his priorities heading into new position. TORONTO – Bill Allen is now chair of the board for Restaurants Canada for 2016-2017. Allen, president of Fresh Casual Restaurants based in Aulac, N.B., was elected chair at the association’s annual general meeting held at the Restaurants Canada Show on March 1. “I look forward to working with you to bring more stakeholders to the table, to grow our membership and to create opportunities in the industry for many years to come,” Allen said. Fresh Casual Restaurants is a multi-unit franchisee representing several brands, including five Swiss Chalet restaurants, one Harvey’s location, and the Aulac Big Stop Travel Plaza near the New Brunswick - Nova Scotia border. Allen employs more than 300 people in Atlantic Canada. He joined the Restaurants Canada board in 2008 and has served as chair and vice-chair of several committees. “Over the last few months, I’ve given considerable thought to what I’d like the Restaurants Canada team to accomplish during my term as chair,” Allen said. “It really comes down to working together. Let’s grow our industry and align with all the
people and industries related to the foodservice sector.” His first priority as chair will be to engage all stakeholders in the foodservice industry. “The provincial restaurant associations, we’d like to invite them to the table too, and encourage the conversation on how we can work together to foster a better industry,” Allen said. “Together, we can be tougher, stronger and get more done.” Allen has been part of the restaurant business since his teens, when his family owned the Lobster Barn restaurant in Timber River, N.B. He is a 1985 graduate of the hotel and restaurant management program at New Brunswick Community College. Allen began his career with JF Food Systems, and later joined regional distributor Judson Foods. In 1993, he ventured into operating full-service truck stops and travel plazas. He is also an instructor for the National Food Safety Training Program and the Canadian Code of Practice for Food Safety. Allen replaces Paul Methot who now moves into the immediate past chair position. “To the team at Restaurants Canada, let me
Incoming Restaurants Canada chair Bill Allen (left) with past chair Paul Methot. say I appreciate your patience, hard work and loyalty to our members,” Methot said during the meeting. “I look forward to serving alongside you for years to come.” During Methot’s term as chair, he explained new initiatives like the Members’ Portal and the revamped Restaurants Canada Show have
moved the association’s goals forward. “We have an engaged board now with significant contributions from all. That’s very important to me and I’m proud of that,” Methot said. “Together we are stronger. Let’s continue to fight for what’s right and for the benefit of our restaurant and foodservice industry.”
Craft beer remains on top of Restaurants Canada’s trend list TORONTO — According to Restaurants Canada’s 2016 Canadian Chef Survey, craft beer is a trend with staying power taking the top spot for two years running. Results of the survey aim to identify the menu items and cooking methods at the peak of popularity, as well as up-and-coming culinary trends.
3. Alternative pulse proteins. 4. Inexpensive/under used cuts of meat. 5. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor. 6. International/street-food-inspired appetizers. (Was the top up-and-comer last year.)
1. Craft beer/microbrews (Top spot last year, climbing from Number 5 in 2014). 2. Charcuterie/house-cured meats (Moved up from Number 5 in 2015). 3. International sauces (For example: Sriracha, raita/raitha, chimichurri, soy sauce. Jumped from Number 10 in 2015, when it was a new addition to the list). 4. Locally sourced foods (Was in the Number 2 spot last year). 5. Food smoking (Was Number 4 last year). 6. House-made condiments/sauces (New to the list). 7. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious (Number 6 last year). 8. Inexpensive/under used cuts of meat (Was in the Number 9 spot in 2015). 9. Organic produce (Not on the list last year). 10. Leafy greens (For example, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion, beet greens. Fell from the Number 3 spot in 2015).
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In addition to house-made condiments, the “up-and-comers” list features several other first-time items: alternative pulse proteins, chefdriven fast casual concepts, ethnic cheeses, and house-made/artisan pickles.
1. House-made condiments/sauces. 2. Ancient grains (For example, kamut, spelt, amaranth, freekeh).
A total of 494 professional chefs participated in Restaurants Canada’s seventh annual Canadian Chef Survey, conducted by independent market research firm BrandSpark International between Jan. 11 and Feb. 1, 2016.
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Top 10 Hot Trends
Top 10 Up-and-Comers
7. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts. 8. Unusual/uncommon herbs. 9. Ethnic cheeses (Such as, queso fresco, paneer, labneh, halloumi). 10. House-made/artisan pickles.
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Bye-bye battery cages Canadian Egg Farmers vow to build better hen houses by 2036 By Bill Tremblay, Assistant Editor OTTAWA — Canadian Egg Farmers have announced a plan to put an end to battery cages, which house the majority of its members’ hens. Currently, battery cage housing generates about 90 per cent of Canadian eggs. On Feb. 4, Canadian Egg Farmers announced a plan to eliminate all conventional hen housing by 2036 in favour of enriched housing, free-run, aviary or free-range production. As well, egg farmers have vowed to halt the installation of any new conventional housing. The shift will see about half of the industry’s housing updated in the next eight years. “It’s quite a complex system and quite a pro-
cess. That’s why the timeline is stretched out to where it is,” said Glenn Jennings, a member of the Canadian Egg Farmers national board of directors. Alongside the announcement, Canadian Egg Farmers plan to engage consumers to discuss the benefits of enriched housing, which includes food safety, minimization of cannibalism, human health and the lowest possible environmental impact. Enriched housing offers twice the space of conventional housing, and is equipped with nest boxes and perches as well as foraging and scratching areas. “It’s still a cage, but a much larger cage,” Jennings said. While the new cages improve hen welfare,
the transformation will require egg farmers to build a new facility for their hens. “You can’t just take out (a farmer’s) existing gear and add the new gear because it takes twice the amount of space. You have to physically build a brand new facility,” Jennings said. “That’s pretty significant — it’s like telling somebody they have to build a new house, but you can’t sell your old one because it’s not worth anything.” While the various alternative housing systems have pros and cons, the final product will remain the same. “As far as eggshell quality and nutrient quality, there will be no difference,” Jennings said. Demand for more ethically produced eggs is growing. Last month Cara Operations Ltd. an-
PJB-Primeline and Marketwest sold VANCOUVER — Food redistributor Dot Foods is moving into the Canadian market following the Jan. 1 acquisition of Vancouverbased Marketwest, the logistics and warehousing arm of PJB-Primeline. The remaining portion of the business, PJBPrimeline, was acquired in early February by foodservice sales and marketing agency Waypoint, marking the Florida-based company’s first foray into Canadian foodservice. Waypoint’s parent company, Advantage Solutions, already has a Canadian presence in the retail sector. PJB-Primeline has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Halifax and Toronto and was formed in 2003 through a merger of PJB Marketing and Primeline Food Partners. PJB-Primeline president Grant Huxtable sold both businesses and will lead Waypoint Foodservice in Canada with support from the company’s team in the United States. “We are excited to join forces with a strong player in the Canadian market and we are looking forward to growing our clients’ business across North America,” said Waypoint president Kevin O’Beirne. According to Waypoint, the company has a long-standing relationship with Dot Foods,
1 6 | Ontario Restaurant News
John Tracy, Dot Foods. which will be maintained with the Canadian acquisitions. Founded in 1994, Marketwest has warehouses in Toronto and Calgary and currently delivers dry and frozen products to 120 distributors across Canada. Marketwest’s employees will remain on board and play a role in educating Dot about the Canadian redistribution industry. It will continue to operate under the name Marketwest with a timeline of becoming Dot
Foods Canada by the end of 2016. Dot plans to integrate the companies and eventually build volume. “We’re new to the country, we’re new to the market so we’re in no hurry,” said Dot Foods chief executive officer John Tracy. “Our plan is to learn the business and then build a foundation to really grow it substantially by expanding our offering and expanding the customer base and expanding into different channels.” Dot’s core business is redistribution to different channels, including foodservice, C-store and retail grocery. “All of those channels, we believe, are ripe for redistribution to play a role in their supply chain, similar to what we do in the United States,” he said. Dot has positioned itself as a supply chain solution for manufacturers to get products to distributors in less than truckload quantities, explained Tracy. “The Canadian consumer is looking for more choice, like consumers everywhere in the world,” he said. “And more choice means more offerings and more options, which means we need supply chains that are pretty efficient and make small-volume products more accessible — and that’s what we do.”
nounced it plans to transition to free-run eggs by 2020. McDonald’s, Tim Hortons and Burger King have also committed to free-run eggs by 2025. “That’s the beauty of our supply management system. We’ve always offered the consumers choice,” Jennings said. “If the demand shifts to one type or another, you’re in business to sell a product, so you change as the demand changes.” However, the move away from battery cages will translate to an increased cost for the consumer. “Producers will bear the brunt of this cost at first,” Jennings said. “It’s too early to predict how that will share with the supply chain down the road.”
Expresco targets growth in Ontario and Atlantic Canada MONTREAL — Expresco Foods recently announced the appointment of new brokers in the Ontario and Atlantic Canada markets. As of March 1, United Food Brokers is representing the Montreal-based company’s foodservice line of fully cooked grilled chicken products in the Atlantic Provinces. “Now that we have a broker we want to have footsteps on the ground and attend trade shows and meet with customers,” said marketing and inside sales coordinator David Jakobovits. In Ontario, C.W. Shasky & Associates is now the sole foodservice broker for Expresco products including satays, skewers, strips, breasts and wings. Jakobovits said Shasky brings a lot of value to the table in the form of experience and representation of major brand names. “Overall, with what we can offer and what they can offer in terms of services, I think it’s going to be a perfect fit,” he said. Last fall, Premium Brands Holdings Corporation acquired a majority interest in Expresco Foods.
Colio acquires Thornbury Brewery
New brew pays tribute to Toronto’s High Park TORONTO — High Park is already home to its own zoo, off-leash dog park, train and subway station. Now it has its own beer. High Park Brewery is the creation of area residents Ted Clark, Dan Billard and two silent partners. The brewery concept was born following a round of golf. “We had other careers, but we’ve always loved the beer business,” Clark said. “With craft beer in particular, we found there’s maybe some gaps in the types of beer we thought we could fill.” High Park received its brewing licence last August. After testing several recipes, the brewery launched three varieties of beer around Christmas. Across the Pond, an English-style bitter, is High Park’s flagship beer. The brew pays tribute to the park’s Grenadier Pond as well as its English origins. “It has a double entendre. Everything we do is linked to High Park itself,” Clark said.
Off the Leash is the brewery’s take on an IPA. The unfiltered pale ale is a combination of English and American west coast hops, which Clark explained delivers a balanced flavour. “It’s not blow-your-head-off hoppy, but it has a definite hop aroma and taste,” Clark said. Against the Grain is a Helles-style lager and High Park’s answer to an easy-drinking beer. “It has a little more flavour than a traditional pilsner,” Clark said. Since putting its flagship products on the market, High Park has recruited about 25 bars and restaurants willing to tap its casks. “We’re seeing a lot of success and popularity in the local neighbourhood and we’re starting to move downtown,” Clark said. Using their own fermenters, High Park is currently contract brewing out of Grand River Brewery in Cambridge, Ont. Clark explained they plan
to have a location in the High Park area by the end of the year. “We participate in all the brews. We’re not just phoning this in,” Clark said. “We’re actively looking for bricks and mortar in the area; we actually have two places we’re negotiating with the landlords on.” To demonstrate its commitment to the High Park community, the brewery has attained B Corp certification, a global set of standards for social and environmental performance, as well as accountability and transparency. Beau’s All Natural is the only other Canadian brewery to gain the certification. “It’s like fair trade for business. We’re trying to be good corporate citizens,” Clark said. “We’re not trying to ride the craft beer wave here, we’re trying to do something in the community to support local employment and businesses.”
Ontario Hostelry Institute
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Colio Estate Wines announced on Feb. 12 the purchase of Provincial Beverages of Canada Inc., located in Thornbury, Ont. According to a news release, the deal will enhance Colio Estate Wines’ portfolio through entries in the fast growing Ontario craft cider and beer categories. “Our company has kept a keen eye on the development of the local craft beer and cider category,” stated Jim Clark, president of Colio Estate Wines. Colio plans to invest in the existing century-old historic facility which houses Thornbury Cider to create a retail and hospitality experience. Thornbury Brewery (formerly King Brewery) located in Nobleton, Ont., will move to the Thornbury site, amalgamating the cidery and brewery production under the banner of Thornbury Village Brewery and Cidery. Plans are underway to open cider and brewery retail stores at this location. Cidermaster Doug Johnson and brewer James Wilson are both staying on as part of the deal.
Chefs Supplier s Hotelier s Educator s Media Restaur ateur s Ar tisans Students
2016 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 21st, 2016 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Partake in our continuing legacy. Tables and tickets are available for purchase at www.theohi.ca 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 www.theohi.ca
March 2016 | 1 7
PEOPLE Mark Wafer receives Restaurants Canada’s inaugural Leadership Award TORONTO – An advocate for inclusive employment, Tim Hortons franchisee Mark Wafer has been selected to receive the inaugural Restaurants Canada Leadership Award. Wafer was presented the award on March 1 at Breakfast With Champions, part of the threeday Restaurants Canada Show at the Enercare Centre in Toronto. “Mark has demonstrated that it is possible to impact change for the better by creating opportunities for those who may be overlooked in the workplace,” said Donna Dooher, president and chief executive officer of Restaurants Canada. “He has also been a strong and outspoken advocate for other employers to follow his lead.” Wafer, who owns six Tim Hortons restaurants in Toronto, has hired 127 people with disabilities in the last two decades in various positions — from entry-level to logistics, production
and management. His restaurants currently employ 46 people with disabilities in a workforce of 250. As well, Wafer is a member of the federal government’s Panel on Labour Market Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; co-founder of Canadian Business SenseAbility, Canada’s national corporate strategy for hiring people with disabilities; a member of Ontario’s Economic Development Partnership Council; and an inaugural member of Ontario’s Champions League. He was recently inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame. “This award shines a bright light on the clear economic benefits of full inclusion in Canadian business of workers with disabilities,” Wafer said. “It is by far Canada’s largest untapped labour pool. Real inclusion is simply great for business.”
Donna Dooher and Mark Wafer.
Jake Valianes Jake Valianes from Linwood Essentials, Toronto, took home top honours at the Top Shelf Bartending Championships held during the Restaurants Canada Show. Sergey Bukatin (Cocktails Inc., Moscow) took second place, followed by Vaclav Abraham (Monin, Czech Republic), Jamison Cass (College Street Bar, Toronto), Matt Conway (Stubborn Goat, Halifax) and Jean Vasquez (Flair Factor, Montreal).
Jim Kostuch From left: Elien de Herdt, James Holehouse, Marcus Mariathas, Alan Dumonceaux and Mario Fortin.
Baking national history While Baking Team Canada didn’t get a medal at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, the team made national history by qualifying and competing in Paris in early February. The top three finishers at the World Cup of Baking were South Korea (Gold), Taiwan (Silver) and France (Bronze). The Canadian team includes pastry competitor Alan Dumonceaux (chair of Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s baking program), technical advisor Clayton Folkers (NAIT
baking instructor), artistic showpiece competitor James Holehouse (graduate of the NAIT baking apprentice program) and Elien de Herdt (NAIT 2014 baking graduate). Coach Mario Fortin, owner of Forma-Lab baking consulting business, and ACE Bakery master baker Marcus Mariathas, round out the team. Representing the Americas, de Herdt competed in the Young Hopeful category Feb. 4 against four other young bakers.
On Feb. 4, the Toronto branch of Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP) presented Jim Kostuch with the Food Executive of the Year award at the annual Top Management Night event. Kostuch, president and owner of TrainCan, Inc., has been a guiding member of the CAFP Toronto branch’s Senior Management Advisory Council (SMAC) since 2006. He is also an active member of the CAFP 2017 National Conference Committee. The evening also included the Ontario Restaurant News award presentation for the Restaurant of the Year to Anthony Rose, Wilder and Rose, and Newsmaker of the Year to Alix Box, Second Cup Ltd. The Hans J. Bueschkens Award of Merit was presented by Foodservice and Hospitality to The Keg Steakhouse + Bar which was accepted by Ryan Bullock, vicepresident of marketing.
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