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Twisted Indian plans expansion
With years of independent and franchise restaurant experience to draw upon, Gogia began to piece together the concept, drawing upon the South Asian recipes she would use at home in an effort to eliminate processed ingredients. “We held focus groups for tasting all our products,” Gogia said. “Once we felt we had achieved the perfect recipes, we put everything together.” Gogia noted Indian restaurants typically rely upon a chef to prepare dishes. Twisted Indian’s recipes, however, were created with franchising in mind. “It took us two years to put the pieces together and come up with a non-chef based QSR we could turn into a franchise,” she said.
By Bill Tremblay BARRIE, Ont. — A quest to find quick, but healthy, dining options led to the creation of Twisted Indian Modern Wraps. Barrie restaurateur Priya Gogia noticed hectic routines left few options for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and began working on the quick service Indian concept. “The whole idea was inspired by the healthy active lifestyle that we wanted to pursue,” Gogia said. “Why can’t we have a fast food that’s not fast food?” Gogia’s family entered the restaurant industry after arriving in Canada from India in 1980. Today, the family collectively owns more than a dozen restaurants in the Barrie area.
“The staff can make the recipes with ease. No matter which staff member makes it, it turns out the same.” Twisted Indian offers six proteins as the base of its wraps and rice bowls including beef keema, chicken tikka, butter chicken and pork sausage tikka as well as vegetarian options, including chickpea-based channa or rajma, kidney beans baked in tomato sauce. The menu also includes the Twisted Burger, served between naan bread and topped with a selection of chutney. The average check is about $10 per guest. “We wanted to make sure we’re light on the pocket, and light on the stomach,” Gogia said. While butter chicken likely doesn’t conjure up an image of a healthy lifestyle, Gogia explained the recipe omits the butter and heavy cream usually used to create the dish. “It’s not made how it traditionally would be,” she said. The first Twisted Indian restaurant, located in a 900-square-foot storefront with 18 seats, opened on Duckworth Street in Barrie in October. With a trademark pending, Gogia is now looking for real estate to open a second location in the south end of the city. She added the restaurant concept has attracted franchisee interest from Orillia and London, Ont. “We want to be Canada wide,” Gogia said. While opening an Indian QSR in Barrie is a risk, Gogia noted it was a calculated one. “We’re going to take the risk in a small square footage in a C location,” Gogia said. “If we could make it here, we could make it anywhere.”
TORONTO — Friends of We Care Foundation celebrated 33 years of assisting children with disabilities attend Easter Seals summer camps on April 30. Through the support of the foodservice and hospitality industry, a cheque for more than one million dollars was presented to Easter Seals Canada at the annual event. Members of the foodservice and hospitality industry were also recognized for their contributions to the industry. The Corporate Friends of We Care Award was presented to C.W. Shasky & Associates Ltd. The We Care Hall of Fame Award was presented to Gary Seaman. The Gary Wright Humanitarian Award, named in honour of the founder of Friends of We Care Inc., was presented to Bernice Blomme.
Record attendance at SIAL MONTREAL — The 13th edition of SIAL Canada and SET Canada tradeshow, which took place in Montreal in mid-April saw more than 17,300 visitors from about 60 countries. The annual show features 928 exhibitors and brands from 50 countries showing their wares on more than 200,000 square feet of floor space at The Palais des congrès de Montréal. The jump in attendance represented a 17 per cent increase over the 2014 Montreal show and exhibitor-reserved space grew by 21 per cent. There were more than 50 workshops and conferences at the show, includ-
ing the first SIAL Food Hub. The new event tackled the topic of foodservice costing and increasing profitability with more than 50 industry professionals taking part and 11 experts putting together recommendations. SIAL Canada will be in Toronto next year May 2-4 at the Enercare Centre.
McDonald’s breaks hiring record TORONTO — A one-day recruitment blitz mounted by McDonald’s Canada and its franchisees in early April resulted in more than 8,900 new hires. The new recruits will hold positions such as restaurant managers, cooks, crew and hospitality roles, including the new guest experience leaders — 650 of whom were just hired — working in the dining room. Of the 8,920 new employees, 3,018 were hired in Ontario. This follows the announcement on April 19 that McDonald’s will be rolling out its Create Your Taste menu to 1,000 of its Canadian locations by the end of 2016, a year earlier than originally planned. Introduced last September, the Create Your Taste menu lets diners customize a onethird-pound patty with choice of bun or lettuce wrap with about 30 toppings and sauces. Kiosks allow customers to order and retrieve menu items at a designated pick-up section or have a seat and wait for servers to deliver their Create Your Taste meal. Shared between the company and franchisees, investment costs to overhaul each restaurant range from $200,000 to $250,000.
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Finica renews foodservice focus MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — A recent open house by Finica Foods Specialities showcased an array of new products as the firm renews focus on the foodservice industry. Twenty-year company veteran Paul Blake, president of Finica Foods, was especially excited about recently launched Lindsay Bandaged Goat Cheddar, an award winning product made by Mariposa Dairies in Lindsay, Ont. Recently appointed director of foodservice Christine Tos also was excited by the Pivetti flour line of products. Well known in the grocery industry, Finica derives about 20 per cent of sales from foodservice.
Starbucks launches alcohol TORONTO — Starbucks’ evening menu program launched at three Toronto locations in early April. The menu, which features beer, wine and sharable plates debuted at 3079 Bloor St. W., 446 Spadina Rd. and 1740 Avenue Rd. The new menu will be available after 2 p.m. daily. “Starbucks Evenings is focused on creating a new afternoon and evening occasion where customers can gather with friends or family or find a quiet spot by themselves to enjoy a sophisticated and welcoming environment,” Starbucks Canada president Rossann Williams said in a news release. Starbucks Evenings premiered in Seattle in 2010, and has expanded to more than 300 locations across the United States.
Peter Mielzynski passed away on April 7 at the age of 94. The former president of McGuinness Distillers and Agencies introduced such brands as Jack Daniel’s, Appleton rum and St. Remy brandy to Canada. When the company was purchased by Standard Brand, Mielzynski left and founded Peter Mielzynski Agencies (PMA). Mielzynski also founded Hillebrand Estates Winery in 1980 in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and was instrumental in forming the Vintners Quality Alliance. Mielzynski leaves his wife Cecile, sons Peter, Robert and Andrew and six grandchildren. Ron Ciancone, founder of Pearle Hospitality, passed away on April 22 at the at the age of 74. The Hamilton native took over the Hillcrest Restaurant from his parents after high school and ran it until it closed in 2006. He opened the Ancaster Mill in 1979 with his brother David Ciancone. The Ontario restaurateur was married to Mary Lou for 48 years and had six children and 18 grandchildren. His son and daughter, Aaron and Leanne Ciancone, run Pearle Hospitality (formerly Landmark Group), which includes the Ancaster, Ont., restaurant, the Cambridge Mill and Spencer’s at the Waterfront.
May 2016 | 3
O N T A R I O
Ontario Restaurant News
Serving the news that matters for 30 years By Steven Isherwood Publisher
hirty years, ago, we launched Ontario Restaurant News, a publication devoted to Canada’s number 1 foodservice market, Ontario. At the time, our slogan was, “You don’t need the whole pie. One good slice is enough.” In 1986 Ontario led the country with foodservice sales of more than $8 billion, just over 40 per cent of the Canadian market. Those numbers have climbed steadily. According to Restaurants Canada, there are more than 36,000 restaurants, bars and caterers in the province representing $29 billion in annual sales. Ontario is an influential, trend-setting market. It was a magnet for United States chains looking for expansion back then. Now
it is a growth engine for successful Western Canadian chains as well. This publication provides news about people, suppliers, industry developments and opportunities. A publication that is not just Toronto-centric, it engages operators from Cornwall to Kenora, Ont. As a news magazine, it delivers impact and immediacy with every issue. 1986 was a different era. The industry was dominated by two national trade publications, prior to our launch. The bulk of the industry was independent foodservice operators. On the supply side and the operator side, it was full of innovators and pioneers. Now we are more chain oriented, and equipment and food manufacturers have merged and consolidated, changing the face of the industry. While independents may be less plentiful,
they are perhaps at their most creative with a collaborative spirit never before matched in this competitive industry. When I look back on my more than 30 years in foodservice, I am hopeful for its future, especially when seeing the faces of Ontario’s rising stars (see page 15). Starting in 1993, we added more high quality slices of pie, including Pacific-Prairie Restaurant News, Atlantic Restaurant News and Canadian Lodging News. In every case, we focused on the news that matters to each targeted sector. Ontario Restaurant News remains our original publication, our flagship, the only monthly publication with an eagle eye on the industry. Winner of almost every association media award, Ontario Restaurant News continues to champion our industry, and remind our readers of the positive force of hospitality.
Looking back at our first issue may 1986 | Volume 1, No. 1
A WORd Of WelcOme I would like to welcome you to the first issue of Ontario Restaurant News, a project launched to encourage communications within the foodservice and hospitality industry in Ontario. Ontario is Canada’s biggest region, doing more than $8 billion a year, in hospitality sales, or just over 40% of the total Canadian hospitality market. Not only is the market big, but it’s influential. Of Canadian chain operations with sales over $10 million, at least half have their head offices in our province. It is a trend-setting market as well, Roadhouses, budget hotels and hospital commissaries all got their Canadian starts in Ontario. And it’s no accident that many U.S. chains have chosen the Ontario market first for their expansion plans – Pizza Hut, Marriott, Chi Chi’s, Red Lobster and more. Yet, prior to Ontario Restaurant News, this growth-oriented, dynamic community did not have a newspaper of its own – a newspaper that could deliver news about its people, its developments and its opportunities. We want the people in this community – the operators, chefs, food brokers, distributors, equipment agents and suppliers – to be able to see and share in the vitality and the optimism we’ve found across the province. We want to share the good things about the Ontario hospitality industry – its 4 | Ontario Restaurant News
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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
ONTARIO RESTAURANT NEWS VOLUME 31 · NO. 4 · MAY 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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people, and the events that affect its operations. The hospitality industry is one of Ontario’s largest, experiencing dramatic growth and outperforming the rest of the economy. Not only is it one of the biggest, but it is also different, because it is an industry composed of people. Its very individualism – be it a hotel, restaurant, tavern, or caterer – makes it an easy target for critics and complainers. We need to be reminded
of the positive good we do for this province, and we need to share our common concerns in order to find solutions. It is my hope, and our goal at Ontario Restaurant News, to serve and encourage communication within every sector of our industry to benefit the people in the Ontario hospitality industry – our readers. Join us, talk to us, write to us, and make us yours.
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Amy Rosen (right) helps Chicago-based media trainer Steve Dolinsky with a mock culinary demo. “They want you to take control; you’re not stepping on anyone’s toes.”
François Chartier explained how flavours of the same aromatic family (with molucular harmonies) can be combined to make something better than the sum of its parts.
Tenth Terroir sees record attendance
Food stations were set up around the AGO. Photo by Rick O’Brien.
TORONTO — More than 1,000 delegates converged on the Art Gallery of Toronto on April 25 for the annual Terroir Symposium. Attendees included 140 speakers, installation artists and operators and chefs from Canada and abroad. Terroir brings together local and international hospitality professionals for a day of learning, networking and eating. “This 10th anniversary was our most ambitious event to date and a true labour of love,” said Arlene Stein, executive director and founder of Terroir Hospitality. “We started as a grass roots project with the desire to share ideas, best practices and hopefully impact positive change in our industry. Our international guests often tell us how much they’ve learned, been inspired and how their networks have grown through being a part of the symposium.” The new location at the AGO came with a new seminar format starting with practical workshops in the morning and concurrent seminars in the afternoon under the guiding umbrellas of taste, culture, technology and pecha.
Organizers Renée Lalonde and Arlene Stein at the rural retreat at Ocala Orchards Farm Winery in Scugog, Ont.
6 | Ontario Restaurant News
Wine seminars were at capacity. Photo by Rick O’Brien.
Ontario chefs Ryan O’Donnell, Mercer Hall, Stratford, and Ryan Crawford, Backhouse, Niagara-on-the-Lake cook a feast over fire for Terroir speakers.
Madisons expands into Ontario OTTAWA — Madisons New York Grill & Bar opened its first Ontario location in downtown Ottawa in late April in a new-look restaurant that will serve as the prototype for its planned expansion program. Located at the corner of Lyon Street North and Laurier Avenue West, the newly opened Madisons franchised location features a decor highlighted by brighter colours; comfortable soft seating; light-wood flooring; contemporary metal-sphere light fixtures; grey and black carpet; and a bar area outfitted in a concrete-focused, industrial style. As is standard for the brand, the Ottawa location features 190 seats plus a patio with another 70 seats. The new decor represents a break from the traditional steakhouse look in favour of an ambience suited to millennials’ preference for an inviting, comfortable dining environment they can share with their friends, said Gilles Pepin, vice-president of MTY Food Group Inc., which in late 2014 bought some of the assets of a group of companies that own and operate Madisons. Over the next 18 months, all 14 Quebec locations (13 in Montreal and one in Gatineau) will be retrofitted to the new decor, said Pepin. The first restaurant opened since MTY’s Madisons asset purchase, the Ottawa location “gives the vision to our franchise partners” of the brand’s new direction, said Pepin.
Hand in hand with the new decor is a menu tweaked to appeal to millennials’ preference for “high-quality shareable items that help them discover different tastes.” That translates to newly introduced appetizers, such as sashimi tuna, which had been tested in Montreal-area locations and added to the Ottawa menu. Going forward, Madisons expects to add Thai-focused apps, said Pepin. Inhabiting the niche between “casual and premium casual,” Madisons offers a core menu of steaks, ribs, fish, burgers, sandwiches and salads. MTY Food Group is targeting Ontario for another two restaurants per year for the next five years, eyeing another two suburban Ottawa sites and seven to eight locations in the Toronto area, starting in the downtown and moving out to surrounding areas such as North York, Mississauga, Oakville and Burlington, he said. The company is also looking in downtown Quebec City for a site. Freestanding locations will be considered, as will sites in shopping centres and strip malls. Typical footprint is 5,500 square feet to 6,500 square feet, with another 1,500 square feet for a patio. Although Ontario is currently the focus, MTY “is not against exploring opportunities with territory partners with lots of experience” in Western Canadian markets such as Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, said Pepin.
Seating with Style...
Meet the new Restaurants Canada CEO TORONTO — In her new role, Shanna Munro plans to meet with foodservice and hospitality stakeholders across Canada. The industry veteran officially takes on the role of Restaurants Canada president and chief executive officer on June 1. “One of my missions and priorities is to get out across Canada and get into the communities. I’m truly an operator and it’s about getting out there, meeting people, shaking hands, talking about the business, understanding their needs and wants, creating the strategies that support it, then delivering,” she said. “I’m pretty excited about that.” She also hopes to bring the provincial and national associations together. “With the collaboration of all the associations together, I think we’re more powerful and we could influence more change — I know that,” Munro said. She joined the association in September as chief operating officer, replacing Carmine Aquino after his departure in late July of last year. “When I joined Restaurants Canada I kind of stayed in the background and that was deliberate in many ways, as I was learning the association,” said Munro. “When I think about an association, I really believe that it’s very similar to a business, it’s a business entity, and it needs to be considered as that and run as that. It has the potential of everything a business has, and I think that framework and those elements will bring great opportunity for the organization.” Munro’s career in the foodservice industry spans more than 25 years, starting with Priszm Brandz, previously Scott’s Restaurants, where the Ottawa native progressed from an hourly employee into a senior vice-president role overseeing multiple YUM! Brands concepts across Canada, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silver. “I started in the foodservice industry back in the ’80s,” said Munro, who was born and raised in Ottawa. Putting herself through school, she took a job at a KFC. “I never planned on staying,” said Munro, who had aspirations in interior design. But opportunity knocked and she worked her way up to management, district manager, and then director of operations. Munro credits much of her success in business to having
the opportunity to tap into the expertise of great leaders. When a recruiter reached out to her about taking on a role with the association, Munro thought it was a perfect fit. “The foodservice industry always held a deep spot in my heart,” she said. “It took me back to my foundations … and I felt it was an opportunity to give back to a community that I could contribute a great deal to.” Munro aims to help operators of all sizes. “Let’s face it, it’s a tough industry. The complexities within the foodservice industry are far different and more complex than those in any other industry, and I know that from what I’ve gone through,” she said. Munro is looking forward to working with Restaurants Canada’s diverse board of directors, made up of CEOs and independent operators. She hopes she brings a unique approach to discussions, with the ability to think strategically, but also like an operator: “strategy is execution.” There are some changes on the horizon for Restaurants Canada. British Columbia’s Connect Show is on “pause” for the time being. Munro said the association has plans to have a presence in that province, but it might not necessarily be in the form of a typical tradeshow. “I really think, as a national organization, we need to get involved in the local community and invite those from the community to participate,” she said. By getting industry stakeholders together — including suppliers, distributors and farmers — she thinks the association will “be a stronger force.” She hopes this will help influence change for foodservice. “It deserves it; it’s a noble profession,” Munro said. In a time when margins are being squeezed and operators might be considering saving their membership fees, Munro thinks the membership model has great potential for growth — think Netflix or DropBox — but the value proposition must be clear and targeted to both chains and independents. “I think there are things that we do today that we could articulate better,” she said, pointing to Groupex as an example. There are also new things coming down the pipeline to add to the restaurant association’s value proposition, but Munro said she would save those details for later.
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Consumers expect businesses to source responsibly, respect the environment and support the community. While this may make the foodservice industry more complex, it might also make good business sense. We reached out to industry experts about how to be more sustainable and why operators, chefs and suppliers should.
Sustainability Then and Now By Bruce McAdams
or the majority of restaurant operators “sustainability” is a word that entered their worlds about a decade ago. Back in the mid-2000’s, sustainability was most closely associated with environmental issues. Fair trade coffee had been established, the push on local food was underway and many companies were already tackling the issue of energy conservation. Fast forward to the present and we not only find more topics in the discussion, but they are also more far reaching. While the environmental issues of sustainability still top the list, there is an ever-increasing focus on the social side of sustainability. Perhaps the hottest topic is the increasing importance of health and welfare to consumers. Although where food is produced is still of importance to many consumers, the big shift has been towards “what’s in my food?” By itself this topic is far reaching, touching on healthy diets right through to the ethical treatment of animals. Look no further than A&W’s “Beef Guarantee” and you can see consumers are concerned about what’s in the their food
8 | Ontario Restaurant News
and are making an ever-increasing number of purchasing decisions with this in mind. Glutenfree diets, a shift to more plant-based dishes and impending regulation on the menu labelling of caloric and fat content are all hot button topics that operators are dealing with and will continue to do so. On the environmental side of things, the importance of energy has stayed front-of-mind
with electricity prices more than doubling in the province in the last ten years. While many restaurant companies have been implementing plans to conserve on energy through the purchase of Energy Star equipment and LED lights, a new issue has gained huge traction worldwide. According to the Sustainable Restaurant Association based out of London, England, food waste has become the most pressing problem in the world food system. With more than 30 per cent of meals consumed in the province being made outside the home this means it’s also an issue for foodservice. While restaurants are usually quite effective at controlling food waste during production, food left over from a diner’s meal (plate waste) is a concern. A study we conducted at a restaurant in Guelph, Ont., showed that 12 per cent of food that was served came back to the kitchen uneaten. When looking to what the future holds for sustainability in restaurants food waste is once again front and centre. With an increasing amount of accountability by governments to reduce greenhouse gases, restaurants need to be prepared for an increase in regulation. The City of Vancouver moved to have all waste gen-
erators (including restaurants) divert their compostable materials from landfill. It is our expectation that similar legislation will be coming to Ontario in the next several years. Our belief is that you will also see more restaurant companies working to become better global citizens as there is reason to believe this can provide competitive advantage. B Corp certification is one example. The Neighbourhood Group of Restaurants just became B Corp certified, only the second of any restaurant in Ontario. Only time will tell if this strategy will have positive financial ramifications. No matter what your level of commitment to sustainability, it will become increasingly important for operators to be aware of the issues facing the industry. Whether it’s increasing regulation or the ability to gain competitive advantage, sustainability is here to stay. Bruce McAdams is an assistant professor at the School of Hospitality, Food, and Tourism Management at the University of Guelph. He has more than 20 years of experience in leadership roles within the foodservice industry and is co-founder of the University of Guelph Sustainable Restaurant Project.
Business as a force for good From left: Fountain Santos, Neil Dubois, Marc Bosboom, Bob Desautels, Paul Randall, Court Desautels and Jason Waterfall. Photo by Chris Tiessen. By Kristen Smith GUELPH, Ont. — In mid-March The Neighbourhood Group of Restaurants became a Certified B Corporation, bringing the number of restaurants with the designation in Canada from three to seven. “B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade is to coffee and LEED certification is to buildings,” explained group leader and chief operating officer Court Desautels after proudly announcing the designation at the University of Guelph Sustainable Restaurant Project’s annual symposium. The only other restaurant group to have this certification is Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Essence Restaurant Group, which has three eateries under its banner. There are less than 20 B Corp restaurants in the world. Chris Klugman’s Paintbox Bistro and Catering in Toronto was the first restaurant in Canada to receive the certification. Vancouver’s Save on Meats and Smak Food were certified in June of 2014 and last September, respectively. Instead of opening the Regent Park establishment as a charity or non-profit association, Klugman decided to operate Paintbox as a social enterprise. Paintbox’s social mission is the training and career development of marginalized individuals, those who have some sort of barrier to employment. Klugman said B Corp status lends authenticity to the work Paintbox is doing. “It certifies that I am what I say I am,” he said. “One of the things about B Corp that has been great for me is that it’s not just a certification, but it provides me with a road map to the operation of the business,” Klugman said. “I’m using the B Corp survey to identify areas that could do with improvement. I’m almost customizing the business to become a better B Corp as much as I am going in my own direction.”
Bob Desautels opened the Woolwich Arrow Pub in Guelph, Ont. — the Neighbourhood Group’s flagship — in 1990. “That restaurant, when it opened, focused on serving craft beers and local food — nobody knew what a craft beer was, nobody knew what local food really meant,” his son, Court Desautels said. “It was this new way of thinking about how to run a restaurant, supporting local farmers and brewers. There weren’t a lot of craft brewers at that time, but there were enough to fill 12 taps.” They expanded the concept and almost lost everything. In 2008, the father and son opened Borealis Grillhouse & Bar. This time they looked at where they were sourcing everything: uniforms, paper products and straws, for example. It took three years to break even, Desautels said. “We kept sticking to what we believed in and we didn’t waver from those things,” Desautels said, adding when Borealis opened in Kitchener, Ont., in 2011, they turned a profit in the first year. “We had an uphill battle, but things changed. Last year, we had our most successful year,” he said. The group opened a fourth restaurant, Miijidaa — Ojibway for “let’s eat”— last September. “How did we do this? We were authentic,” said Desautels. “We’re doing well by doing better.” Desautels thinks of sustainability as “by neighbours, for neighbours.” The restaurants support local initiatives and organizations such as Lucky Iron Fish and The Grand River Conservation Authority. They source from local producers such as Y U Ranch and Zocalo Organics and serve Ocean Wise recommended fish and seafood. In the restaurants that support solar panels, they are used to heat water. Uniforms are made from organic cotton and purchased from Me to We. Inspired by the book Let My People Go Surfing, written by the founder of Patagonia, Desautels
and the restaurant group decided to tackle the B Corp certification process. “I realized that using business as a force for good, is good for business. It’s true, I’ve just proved that. We’ll almost do $9 million in sales this year from a little wee company that almost went bankrupt, twice,” he said. They started the assessment more than three years ago and got a score of 72, eight points below what is needed. “[B Corp holds] you accountable for every single thing that you say that you do; you have to back it up, you have to provide them with documentation,” Desautels said. Seeing this as the perfect way to lend legitimacy to its projects and practices, the restaurant group team starting working to improve the business for its employees — it provides medical benefits to anyone who works more than 20 hours and full coverage after three years. It also placed a focus on reducing waste. “We spent three months hand weighing our garbage,” Desautels said. Serving more than 7,000 guests per week, average waste across the restaurants came out to 1.3 pounds per guest, a number that only decreased to 1.1 pounds once recyclables were removed. They started re-engineering menus (mashed potatoes are now served with skin on, for example) and found a pig farmer who could use the vegetable scraps (which have to be stored in the freezer between pick ups). They were able to reduce the number to 0.7 pounds per guest. “That’s still a disgusting number,” said Desautels, adding they are trying to find ways to reduce it further without making large capital expenditures. The restaurants have been carbon neutral since 2015, and through Guelph-based Shared Value Solutions, they recently started purchasing offsets from Anwaatin, which aims to certify offsets generated on First Nations land. “This is the first time that making the best decision has also been the cheaper decision,” Desautels said. “Normally when I or my father
come up with these ideas, it usually ends up costing us more money than what we thought and this one, we just saved some money, so this one was a little feather in the cap.” In an industry with already tight margins, the local, responsible business model takes time to develop and get right. “It’s not just all about passion, there is a science behind it too,” he said. “There’s money to be had, and as we become smarter at running our businesses this way our margins are continually increasing. We’re not the most profitable company out there, but we’re profitable and more profitable than most other restaurants — we’re hoping to hit around a 10 per cent profit margin this year.” Desautels thinks what the Neighbourhood Group is trying accomplish socially and environmentally is becoming more and more important to consumers because of shifting perceptions of value, which includes more than simply price. “More people are going to farmers markets for food and they are paying more for food for the most part,” he said, adding guests care about more than the meal, they care that their food dollars are helping to support their community. “We are nothing without our community,” he said. “Strengthen your community and you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more together.” While Ontario B Corp certified restaurateurs wouldn’t hesitate to suggest the process for other operators, Klugman doesn’t see it as the solution to all the industry’s problems, although he’s keen to figure it out. He noted that those who are paying close attention to their operations likely have a betterrun company. “Whether you’re certified or not, I think it’s very instructive to look at your operations with regards to issues of social or environmental good, and you can’t help but be stronger for doing that,” Klugman said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to be more profitable and more equitable and less prone to a lot of the issues that plague the industry.”
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A&W tackles waste reduction VANCOUVER — A&W Food Services of Canada has made multiple headlines for its sourcing commitments. The company started with a switch to serving beef raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics and its recent pledge of $100,000 to Farm & Food Care Canada in an effort to be able to offer cage-free eggs (without antibiotics) within two years. More quietly, the company has been making moves to reduce waste. “We officially created an environmental strategy in 2009. The first part of that strategy was creating baselines: what is our impact, what are the areas that we could impact, what could we change in terms of improving said impact. It was from there that we knew that we had to focus on waste,” said Tyler Pronyk, director of distribution, equipment and packaging. The company stared implementing a zero waste initiative. “Products that couldn’t be recycled or composted would get converted into energy,” said Pronyk. With a handful of different waste streams,
the onus was placed on the guest in terms of sorting. “Really what happened was they just didn’t put their garbage away. The by-product was really messy dining rooms and confused, irritated guests,” said Pronyk. “We had to make this easy for them.” This set A&W on the path of looking at its packaging, and building on the frosty glass mug, determining where else it could implement reusable items. Offering glass and ceramic mugs for dine-in pop and coffee eliminates to use of 35.2 million paper cups. Switching to wire baskets for fries and onion rings saved 23 million paper bags. This cut down on the amount of waste created in the first place, but the company didn’t stop there. In cases where reusable packaging was not possible, it was important to ensure it all went to the same waste stream. “Let’s not have one bag be recyclable and another compostable, let’s make everything compostable so your food waste and paper waste can go in the same bin,” Pronyk explained.
A&W tested these developments in its new urban concept stores. “It was so well received, that in 2013, we rolled it out across the country,” he said, adding ceramic plates and reusable cutlery were rolled out the following year for breakfast. Using real plates and utensils for breakfast, eliminated the use of 4.5 million paper plates and nine million plastic knives and forks. He said this was rather simple to do because there were already dishwashers in the restaurants and staff was used to managing reusable dishes. With waste reduction under its belt, A&W then looked to the steps it would take get the restaurants in its system to compost. There are about 855 A&W restaurants across the country, and growing. Of those, about 220 are in malls; they don’t have their own dining rooms and hence can’t control their own waste. After partnering with an environmental consultant, A&W determined about 250 had the infrastructure already in place, a composting processor in their marketplace. “In urban centres it’s easy to adopt it, but if
you’re in North Bay, Ont.,, there is nobody from a commercial level that could take your waste,” he said. Today, about 90 A&W restaurants are composting. “Our challenge now is engaging with our franchisees and helping set them up across the country, with the processors,” said Pronyk, adding the goal is to have all the locations that can compost doing so by the end of 2017. This means there is some onus back on the customer to sort waste, but five years have passed and there is less to sort. “As a consumer, the majority of what’s on your tray goes into one bin — we’ve made it a lot easier,” said Pronyk, adding millennials, in particular, want to compost and are used to doing so. “It is a journey, it never ends, there is no destination and we learn more and more as we go along. It’s just looking for those small and big opportunities where we can make a difference,” he said. “A small change when you’re a big chain can make a profound impact.”
A business case for green restaurants BOSTON — Michael Oshman founded the Green Restaurant Association in 1990 at the age of 19. As is the case for many young adults, he wanted to make an impact, as big of one as possible. Realizing that environmental issues transcend borders and socio-economic status, Oshman decided this should be his focus. “This was the one issue, didn’t matter who you were, rich or poor, which country you lived in, these issues were going to affect all of us,” he said. When he started the business in California, Oshman said there wasn’t much context for green business, so there was more of an education process for restaurateurs. “As of five or six years ago, it’s clear to most businesses that consumers want this,” he said. “The pain point for restaurants became: I know I should do this, but what should I do?” So the Green Restaurant Association became a source for unbiased information to make decisions around energy and water conservation, packaging and sourcing. “When we work with a restaurant, we don’t care how they save their energy, a kilowatt-hour
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saved is a kilowatt-hour saved,” Oshman said. Whether a restaurant wants to replace equipment or can only afford a retrofit, Oshman said there are options to reduce a restaurant’s environmental footprint. “Our approach is about the end result of saving that energy or saving that water and whether you buy this product to do it or that product to do it, as long as we verify that this and that product can get you there, then the restaurateur can make those decisions,” he said. The Green Restaurant Association recently partnered with Restaurants Canada, the details of which are still being worked out. The Boston-based company started in California and has about 1,000 restaurants certified in 47 states, with about 30,000 restaurants in its network. In Canada, certified establishments include Durham College Centre for Food, The Standard in Ottawa and InterContinental’s on-site restaurants in Toronto and Montreal. The association’s four-star certification allows customers to know what the foodservice establishment is doing for the environment, and Oshman noted that customers care. It also al-
Michael Oshman lows operators who are already doing well, to make improvements. It isn’t the association’s role to preach to restaurants about climate change or how pollution is affecting the lives of children — although Oshman is happy to talk about it if asked. “We’re going to speak the language that ev-
erybody understands, which is this is good for your business,” he said, adding operating more efficiently saves money. “From a financial perspective, you can’t ignore this anymore — it’s fiscally irresponsible to not comprehensively attack these issues.” Not only do consumers prefer an environmentally responsible restaurant, Oshman noted that this is also important to an establishment’s employees and could help quell turnover. “The businesses that are more successful in this century, or at least in the beginning of this century, are the ones who are addressing these issues and the ones who are working with the 20th century mentality are going to be less competitive,” he said. While what to do to get started depends on the situation and budget, Oshman provided some measures a restaurateur should implement if they haven’t already: spray valves over 1.4 gallons should be switched to those under a gallon; change to LED lighting; and install aerators on hand-washing sinks. “We call these no-brainers — they are things that every single restaurant should do, yesterday,” said Oshman.
Hooked on Slow Fish
HALIFAX — For chef Dennis Johnston, sustainable fish and seafood is more than how a particular species is farmed or harvested. It also means fair value has been paid. The pioneering locavore chef and his wife Monica Bauche operated Fid Resto for 13 years, closing in 2013, and now run Fid Kitchen, which does catering, consulting and a variety of events. He also partners with East Coast Outfitters — run by Slow Fish advocate Dave Adler — for Dock & Dine feasts. “Maybe I’ll take apart a whole swordfish or maybe I’ll bake a whole halibut in salt crust,” said Johnston, adding “there is a little bit of show involved.” Johnston had to develop relationships with farmers and fishermen over the years. “Every single person,” said Johnston. “When you get to know these people, they’re quite the characters.” You also learn more about the products you’re putting on the plate, whether they’re grown, caught or farmed responsibly. “The word ‘sustainability’ is kind of confusing. A lot of people throw it around, but if you look at it relative to the fishing industry, there are two types of chains,” said Johnston, pointing to the supply chain and the value chain, the latter being “where the chefs come into play.” He illustrated this with an example of determining cost, where the supplier suggested $3 a pound. “I said, ‘well wait, let me use this and see what the client will pay and what it will actually turn out to be worth.’ In the end, I suggested $4 a pound,” Johnston explained. “That is the
value chain: the chef is working with the fishermen to determine price.” He questions why cod, haddock and halibut all have different prices. They are all being caught by the same hook and pulled from the same water. “It’s a white, pescatarian protein; there should be no difference in the price,” said Johnston. A value-added supply chain would see the fisherman calculate price with respect to his time, repairs, and gas for the boat, he said, working it backwards from what was invested in catching the fish. Active in bringing Slow Fish Canada to fruition, Kristin and Dan Donovan — chefs by trade and owners of Toronto fish shop Hooked — are dedicated to advancing the movement. “At this stage, what we’re doing is trying to establish common ground, within the Americas, of what the key concerns are,” said Kristin Donovan. Some of these include catch shares in Canada — which differ on the East and West coasts — and educating people about what the key issues are in fisheries and fishery management. “That it’s not all to do with the fisher,” she said, noting global warming and human intervention is a bigger threat than over-fishing. “Certainly over-fishing doesn’t help, but it also doesn’t help to put everything on the backs of the fishers.” Five years after opening Hooked, the Donovans have a second location, a seasonal outpost in Muskoka, and sell wholesale to more than 100 restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area. Instead of using the word “sustainable,”
Kristin and Dan Donovan Kristin and Dan think in terms of what’s responsible and respectful, from their staff and customers to the fishers. Instead of telling them how much they will pay, they ask how much the fishers need for their catch. “That has been the most powerful thing in the world for them. Fishers are often dealing
in a commodity market and it’s really difficult for these people to make a living and there are fewer and fewer of them out there because of this,” said Donovan. “So when they hear somebody say, ‘what do you need to make out of this?’ It’s a huge difference. It changes the entire relationship.”
Shining a light on savings Hydro One may be willing to pick up part of the tab for restaurateurs looking to retrofit their establishment with energy efficient lighting. The new Small Business Lighting program is open to Hydro One’s small business customers, including restaurants, bars and clubs. The program provides up to $2,000 in incentives. The program starts with a free, no-obligation energy assessment. An energy auditor will visit the establishment and evaluate its lighting needs, then create a customized plan to upgrade. The auditor also provides a detailed cost estimate and the amount of incentive that will be provided. To qualify, a business must have an average annual demand of less than 100 kW annually. Alongside the Hydro One incentive, LED lighting, for example, uses up to 75 per cent less electricity than standard lighting. As well, LEDs generate less heat, requiring less air conditioning in warmer months. Yueh Tung Restaurant in Toronto, for
example, had its lights upgraded to LEDs. Through the lighting program, 100 per cent of the project’s cost was covered. As well, the new lighting will save 5,000 kWh of energy, reducing the annual cost by $500. Refrigeration upgrades may also qualify for incentives. The Retrofit Program covers up to 50 per cent of the cost of upgrades to retail and industrial refrigeration. To qualify for the Retrofit Program, an energy audit is required. However, Hydro One may also cover up to 50 per cent of the audit cost. According to Toronto Hydro, refrigeration accounts for about 30 per cent of a restaurant’s hydro bill. Some low cost and no cost improvements identified through an audit may save an operator up to 30 per cent on electricity required to run refrigeration units. To book an energy assessment, call 1-866932-8283 or email saveonenergy@hydroone. com. For non Hydro One customers, visit saveonenergy.ca.
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Rosen goes from food writer to foodservice By Bill Tremblay TORONTO — Amy Rosen is making the transition from food writing to foodservice. Rosen, the author of Toronto Cooks, as well as a contributor to enRoute Magazine, Food & Drink and the National Post, is planning to open Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns in downtown Toronto. “For years I’ve known people love cinnamon buns. What I didn’t realize is how much,” Rosen said. The love affair with the sticky, gooey buns became clear in December, when Rosen and her extended family gathered for the holidays. “I made cinnamon buns one morning. Everyone from my two-year-old niece to my 70-something father, and everyone in between, were fighting over the cinnamon buns,” Rosen said. “That never happens — that everyone likes the same thing.” Rosen, who explained she’s always wanted to open her own eatery, spent the following months researching and developing the perfect organic cinnamon bun recipe. “I tried brioche dough. I tried bread dough. I consulted a bunch of my chef friends,” Rosen said. “In the end, with some secret spices, heavy on the glaze and goo, I think I have my winner.” In preparation for the opening, Rosen is now finishing off assignments and directing her focus towards the bakery.
“I’m not accepting new assignments. It’s full steam ahead,” she said. “I still have some regular gigs I can’t say no to. For the year, I’m really going to pour myself into this.” At press time, Rosen had yet to find a location for the business, however, the R&D phase forced her to announce the concept early. “People were wondering about my mental health because I was posting so many pictures of cinnamon buns on Twitter and Instagram,” Rosen said. While searching for a location, Rosen introduced her product to the public in early May, through a pop-up at the Baker and Scone. When a location is finalized, Rosen said her menu would also include cinnamon bread pudding, Ontario apple cider and drip coffee. “I don’t want to get into the whole espresso thing,” she said. “I’m trying to keep it as simple as possible.” The menu may evolve to include seasonal cinnamon bun flavours as well as monthly specials. “I can see peach pecan or chocolate babka,” Rosen said. “For starters, it will be the one perfect bun. I want to get it right and get my footing.” Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns will open as a graband-go bakery equipped with one or two stools. The three-inch buns will sell for $4 each. “It’s just get your delicious buns and be on your merry way,” she said.
Canadian beef and seafood showcased at Living Water
Emily Mallen and Marc Bery.
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COLLINGWOOD, Ont. — Calgary-born chef Marc Bery moved across three provinces to open Lakeside Seafood & Grill at Living Water Resort & Spa, part of Cranberry Village. Bery spent time with Calgary-based Vintage Group, Delta Hotels and Azuridge Estate Hotel in Priddis, Alta., as executive sous chef before making the moving to Collingwood, Ont. “I’m trading the mountains for the water, but it’s not a bad trade,” said Bery, who began working on the opening of the waterfront restaurant in January with sous chef Emily Mallen. Before joining Bery, Mallen spent four years working seasonally in Muskoka and previous winters at nearby Georgian Peaks and at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler. Bery and Mallen created the menu for the May 5 opening, which includes a selection of set dishes, but also allows guests to choose steak or seafood (or both) and mix and match side dishes and sauces. Bery’s cooking philosophy focuses on what he calls “Rocky Mountain cuisine,” which is being translated into the Ontario setting. “It’s very much what I was doing back home, where we’re doing a lot of cured meats and we’re using a lot of game meats, a lot of indigenous and locally-grown berries and mushrooms, things that were foraged,” Bery added. Bery has experience dealing with seafood and the Alberta native is no stranger to cattle. Sourcing only Certified Angus Beef — mainly from Alberta and Ontario — for the menu, there is a selection of cuts to choose from, including a three-pound tomahawk steak. The halibut and clams are from the West Coast and salmon and mussels from Atlantic Canada, but the menu features a selection of
Ontario lake fish, including trout from Manitoulin Island, yellow perch from Lake Erie and whitefish from Lake Huron. “We’re implementing Canada’s great seafood and shellfish products, but also what’s close by as well,” Bery said. He and Mallen also plan to feature some signature creations, such as Peruvian ceviche on weekends. Restaurant consultant Bobbi Miner-Neal designed the cocktail and wine lists and there are about six draft taps, including some local brews. Located on Harbour Street, Lakeside Seafood & Grill boasts a view of Georgian Bay. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow diners at the restaurant’s 115 seats (with 60 on the patio) a clear view of Collingwood’s landmark grain terminals. Inside, a wavy, wood-slat ceiling and cool tones of blue and grey evoke a modern aquatic theme. A private dining area, equipped with audio-visual capabilities, is available for meetings. A second kitchen area is separated from the main dining area by a wall of wine, which can hold about 28 cases. The additional kitchen equipment can be used to prepare tasting menus for groups of about 14, or host culinary demonstrations, chef challenges and cooking lessons. The restaurant quickly followed the opening of the onsite Living Shore Spa, which opened in late April and is part of the third phase of development at Living Water. Under the Cranberry Village banner, the Living Water portion of development began eight years ago with 34 units and then another 57 units in phase two. Last August, 100 more rooms opened, bringing the total up to 191.
Aroma Espresso Bar managing partner Anat Davidzon. Photo by Steve Haining.
Aroma poised for new markets TORONTO — After nine years operating in the Greater Toronto Area, Aroma Espresso Bar is moving into new Ontario markets and taking on other foodservice avenues. The first Ottawa location opened in February — the chain’s first store outside of the Golden Horseshoe area — and plans call for a London, Ont., unit by the end of this year. Aroma opened in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood in 2007 and started franchising in 2009. By the wnd of May, the fast casual coffee chain will have 36 locations in Ontario and a total of 40 units by year’s end. According to managing partner Anat Davidzon, Aroma plans to open between 10 and 15 stores annually. She outlined how the brand expanded in Toronto, starting in the core and moving outward from there, which will be the strategy when moving into new urban centres. “The purpose of it is to make sure that we have the right infrastructure to support the locations and maintain our company objectives when it comes to operations and consistency,” she said, adding Aroma Espresso Bar plans to move outside of the province in 2017 and is eyeing the Quebec and British Columbia markets. Davidzon, who moved from Israel to Canada in the early 2000s, grew familiar with the Jerusalem-based coffee chain when travelling back and forth during university. “I travelled quite a bit to Israel … and that’s when I was exposed to the growth of Aroma in Israel — Aroma is the fastest growing chain in Israel’s history,” she said. Davidzon missed the coffee culture she grew up with and saw the opportunity for a chain where customers could get a coffee and bite to eat in a comfortable setting. After seeing the potential for the brand, she contacted head office. It had already received an inquiry from Earl Gorman, who also wanted to bring Aroma to Canadian soil. The franchisor put the pair together and the Canadian outpost was born. The chain also ventured into new foodservice markets, Bureka Treat
opening in Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport and Mount Sinai Hospital earlier this year. “I am conservative when it comes to performance of stores and [Mount Sinai] exceeded my expectations greatly,” said Davidzon. “We wanted to see how it performed; we’re comfortable now with looking at other hospitals and other opportunities in the market.” With the exception of the airport grab-and-go concept, all locations have an onsite kitchen and meals are prepared to order. “We’re able to produce quality food in a fast-paced environment,” said Davidzon, adding modifications and customization are encouraged. Aroma’s traditional street-level locations are typically between 1,800 and 2,000 square feet, while those in office towers require a smaller footprint and less seating because of increased take-out business. In malls, units have their own seating area to differentiate the brand from other quick service restaurant tenants, said Davidzon. Although the footprint is flexible, she noted the ability to have a patio weighs heavily on site selection. “I think part of what we’re doing is creating a lifestyle,” Davidzon said. “I think that in a cold country like Canada, the four months of the year (hopefully more), that we have with the sun out and really embrace it, we want to be able to sit outside.” In addition to coffee, espresso-based beverages and smoothies, nine Aroma Espresso Bar locations also offer “Spiked Signatures,” some of the chain’s popular drinks with a 1.5 ounces of liquor. Complementing onsite sales of breakfast, salad, sandwiches and pastries, Aroma Canada developed a catering program and was the first geographic area in the Aroma system to do so. The Canadian outpost is in the process of investing more resources into catering with revamped packing, menu and marketing materials expected to launch later this year. “It’s been great, but it could be even greater,” Davidzon said. Shakshuka
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Killarney Mountain Lodge’s restaurant rethink By Don Douloff, Assistant Editor
Chef Guy Bedard.
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KILLARNEY, ONT. — The restaurant at Killarney Mountain Lodge is undergoing a renovation that will enlarge and improve the dining space and kitchen and further refine the menu. Part of the second phase of an ambitious, multi-year $18 million renovation of the 52-acre wilderness lodge on the north shore of Georgian Bay, the 2016 upgrade will expand the dining room space, said general manager Kelly McAree. Key to freeing up that extra space was the removal of the front desk, previously located in the dining room and now relocated to a spot adjoining the lodge’s great room. In addition, the refurbishment will install new lighting, new windows facing the water, refinish the floors in hardwood, and increase seating capacity by 25 per cent to 120 seats, including those at the waterside barbecue. But perhaps the biggest change is taking place on the plate, courtesy of executive chef Guy Bedard, who joined the property in April 2015. Prior to Bedard’s arrival, area grandmothers would come onsite and cook for the lodge’s dining room customers. Bedard’s resume includes stints as executive chef at Best Western Fireside Inn Kingston (Bistro Stefan); chef de cuisine at Kingston Banquet and Conference Centre, where he spent almost five and a half years; director of food and beverage at
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Touchstone on Lake Muskoka; executive chef at Residence Inn by Marriott Kingston; and executive chef at Brown’s Dining Solutions, a caterer in Kingston, Ont. He also owns Gypsy Chef Consulting. Bedard is tweaking the menu, with the aim of “refining it more,” said McAree. Currently built on a style McAree describes as Canadian cottage cuisine, the menu will evolve to include more game, such as venison and buffalo. The April menu features a bison/beef burger; striploin, tenderloin and Ontario lamb rack; and Georgian Bay pickerel, trout and whitefish. Moreover, the refurbished restaurant will also reflect a more hands-on, DIY philosophy. “We will move toward growing our own produce, such as root vegetables like potatoes and carrots onsite,” said McAree. To that end, the property has designated one-eighth of an acre to host the veggies, which will augment the herbs and edible flowers already harvested on-property. Also on the radar is an expanded kitchen, slated for Phase 3 of the lodge’s renovations, which will involve gutting, rebuilding, expanding and better equipping the space to accommodate the expected increase in capacity due to the influx of leisure guests and the growing events and groups business. “We’ve more than doubled our groups already from last year,” said McAree. Plans include increasing the number of guest rooms at the property to 90 by the end of next year.
Ontario’s Rising Stars Every year, the Ontario Hostelry Institute highlights some the province’s best and brightest young hospitality professionals. Here are the 2016 OHI Top 30 Under 30 winners, in alphabetical order. Tariq Ahmed, Owner, Revel Cider Evan Baulch, Director of restaurant operations, Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants Jessica Bearss, Stewarding manager, The Westin Harbour Castle Maribeth Berger-Mckey, Banquet manager, Inn on the Twenty Restaurant Andrew Buwalda, Financial controller, Skyline Deerhurst Resort, Inc. Brian Cheng, Executive chef and partner, The Edible Story Stephanie Duong, Pastry chef and owner, Roselle Desserts Andrew Eade, Chef de cuisine, Pusateri’s Fine Foods John Forcier, Sous chef, Canoe Restaurant & Bar Benn Froggett, General manager, host, The Glen Tavern Daniella Germond, Junior sous chef, Benchmark Restaurant Laura Grau, Human resources manager, Americas, FRHI Hotels & Resorts Lauren Hambleton, Pastry chef, Peller Estates Winery Restaurant Caitlin Kern, General manager, retail sales, events, The Foreign Affair Winery Jamie Knoepfli, Assistant manager, Café Boulud & dBar, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto Casey Kulczyk, Assistant winemaker, Jackson – Triggs Estate David Lau, Director, revenue management, The Fairmont Royal York Hotel Aaron Laurie, Student leader, University of Guelph Justin Lesso, Head chef, Two Sister’s Vineyard Ricardo Maharaj, Meetings and events manager, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel Alex Marconi, Social media manager, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto Emily Meko, Owner and chef, Eat What’s Good Inc. Melissa Murphy, Food and beverage manager, Drake One Fifty Paula Navarrete, Chef du cuisine, Momofuku Daisho Oksani Ni, General manager, Duke of Westminster Amberlynne Plourde, Sous chef, The Drake Hotel Farookh Rajwani, Assistant manager, JUMP restaurant Victoria Simmons, Assistant director of banquets, The Westin Harbour Castle Christopher Terpstra, Owner and operator, Alimentari Foods and head butcher, Sanagan`s Meat Locker Stefanie Théroux, Retail sales representative, Steam Whistle Brewing
An Era of Change and Accountability
Ontario Pork has released its inaugural Social Responsibility Report, making it the first livestock commodity group in the province to commit to setting benchmarks in areas that measure economic, environmental, social and governance performance, based on global measurement standards. To learn more about the industry’s commitments, visit www.ontariopork.on.ca/Social-Responsibility
Ontario Pork_Third-Page Ad_Mar21.indd 1
2016-03-21 4:34 PM
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Ontario plans new regulations for its craft distillers By Bill Tremblay TORONTO — The Toronto Distillery Company may have lost a battle, but they believe they’re en route to winning a war. In July, The Toronto Distillery Company filed a lawsuit against the LCBO claiming the liquor control board is taking an unconstitutional cut of sales on bottles sold at independent retail stores. Since Ontario does not have a spirits tax, the distillery argued the LCBO levy is unconstitutional. In April, a judge ruled the 140 per cent markup charged by the LCBO is legal. However, in the 2016 budget, the Ontario Ministry of Finance announced it plans to replace the current markup charged by the LCBO with a consumer tax at a distiller’s on-site store. “We’re disappointed with the trial, but it seems the government is going to do exactly what we asked for, so that’s wonderful,” said Charles Benoit, one of the distillery’s founders. “We’re feeling very optimistic.” Benoit explained the current markup is particularly detrimental to small distillers due to their poor economy of scale. “If you have a 140 per cent mark up, that hurts small producers a lot more than large
Charles Benoit producers,” he said. “Inherently each bottle we make is going to be more expensive.” As well, the government plans to allow craft distillers to sell their products directly to bars and restaurants. “If we get direct delivery and a graduated tax, that’s going to completely change the dy-
namic,” Benoit said. “Then we can work out a deal more towards the expectations bars and restaurants have.” Bars and restaurants, according to Benoit, expect marketing support from a supplier, which is costly if the product must be purchased from the LCBO at a 140 per cent markup.
“How much marketing support can a craft distiller offer a restaurant? The answer is zero,” Benoit said. “It’s a money-losing proposition.” A timeline for the proposed changes is not known. While the government has regulatory changes in the works for craft distillers, its opposition is also working on levelling the playing field for Ontario’s distillers. Tim Hudak, Progressive Conservative MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook, has introduced Free My Rye, a private member’s bill that would allow craft distillers to operate under the same regulations as the province’s wineries and breweries. The bill, if successful, would allow distillers to sell their product by the glass at on-site stores, and erase regulations surrounding delivery to bars and restaurants. While Benoit said he plans to appeal the court’s denial of his constitutional challenge, he noted he is “encouraged by the democratic process” after seeing MPPs from various political affiliations take an interest in craft spirits. “They’re actually good people and very responsive,” Benoit said. “Most of them want to do something helpful for their constituents.”
California Wine Fair Last year, Canadians purchased more table wines from the United States than any other foreign country By Kristen Smith TORONTO — Karen MacNeil calls California “wine’s Camelot.” The author of the Wine Bible described how the state “changed the way we think about wine,” during the 37th annual California Wine Fair Tour luncheon at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. In terms of where the industry is headed, McNeil said the wine producers operate with a “fascinating combination of collaboration and competition.”
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She said their use of oak seems to be shifting in terms of how and when to use it and there is “a general pulling back.” The wine regions, which span 615,000 acres and 138 American Viticultural Areas, have an ample labour pool, so she doesn’t see the need for technology instead of people. “California’s love of innovation keeps it on the cutting edge,” said McNeil. Sun is the new rain, and dealing with too much of either requires the same amount of skill, she noted. “California has grown up: there’s still a little
Joseph Lange of LangeTwins Family Winery pours a tasting for Karen MacNeil. bit of Beyoncé in her step, but her inner Grace Kelly is just starting to show,” McNeil said. Last year, United States wine exports, 90 per cent of which were from California, reached an all-time high of $1.61 billion in winery revenues, an increase of 7.6 per cent over 2014, according to California’s Wine Institute. According to Canadian trade director for the Wine Institute Rick Slomka, Canada is the largest importer of California wine with more than six million cases purchased in 2015. “California wine sales continued to be strong in Canada last year despite unfavourable exchange rates,” Slomka said. In 2015, United States wine sales surpassed wines from France and Italy for the first time to claim the largest share of import table wines in the Canadian market. “California wines are more than just a beverage category. They’re an expression of the people, the culture and the lifestyle of a region
of the United States,” Slomka said. According to a presentation by Shari MockEdwards, vice-president of products, sales and merchandising for the LCBO, California wine sales at the LCBO increased 9.4 per cent last year representing sales of $294 million (accounting for 13.6 per cent of market share) and are expected to increase more than 12 per cent this year. Broken down into LCBO and Vintages, sales for the former accounted for $172 million and sales for the latter were $121 million and are projected to increase more than 20 per cent this year to $147 million. Mock-Edwards outlined five key opportunities for California wineries in the Ontario market: in the LCBO wine category, aggressive discounts and premium reds; and in the Vintages category, strategic pricing for the Ontario market, zinfandels and diversity in whites other than chardonnay.
Heineken debuts new keg technology TORONTO — Heineken has launched a new keg system that promises to protect the purity of its beverages. In early April, the Dutch beer brand held a pop-up in downtown Toronto to debut its new BrewLock system. “You don’t have to go to Amsterdam anymore. You can experience Amsterdam here in Canada,” said Laurens Raven, global draft master at Heineken. “You’re going to experience a Heineken draft beer just like the brewer intended it to be.” BrewLock is comprised of a hard plastic shell that houses a thin plastic bladder to hold the beer. Using a compressor, air is injected between the bladder and shell to push beer through draft lines. The beer extracting technique allows a bar or restaurant owner to squeeze nearly 100 per cent of the beer out of the keg. “We are brewing a perfect Heineken,” Ra-
ven said. “Now we have the opportunity to serve it to the consumers in the perfect way.” Traditionally, carbon dioxide (Co2) is injected into a steel keg to force the beer through the draft lines and into a glass. “This reduces the CO2 footprint, it is safer to work with and, importantly, you will always have the perfect combination of beer and Co2 in the product,” Raven said. The addition of CO2 to beer runs the risk of an over-carbonated, or under-carbonated beverage. Adding gas directly to beer also compromises the product’s freshness. “Using the BrewLock system, you will never have any influence of CO2 or gas,” Raven said. “That is giving the consumer the perfect drinking experience.” Alongside a reduction in CO2 use, the plastic keg is 100 per cent recyclable once empty. “That is all part of the plan for Heineken to
Laurens Raven become the greenest brewery by 2020,” Raven said. “These types of kegs will actually help to achieve that goal.” The significantly lighter weight of the 20-litre BrewLock keg aids in installation. As well,
the kegs stack horizontally when not in use, simplifying storage. Currently, BrewLock is in about 300 bars and restaurants across Canada. Heineken expects the number to increase to 700 by the end of the year.
Ontario breweries celebrate the best suds in the province TORONTO — Flying Monkey’s Hoptical Illusion has won best in show at the annual 2016 Ontario Brewing Awards. At The Great Hall on April 28, awards were presented to more than 112 breweries in 45 categories. The 2015 winners, in order of gold and silver, are: Light: Sleeman - Sleeman Light; Barley Days Brewery - County Light. Standard Lager: Thornbury Village Brewery - Blue Mountain Lager; Great Lakes Brewery - GLB Blonde Lager. Craft Lager: Sawdust City Brewing Co. - Little Norway; Niagara Brewing Company Niagara Premium Lager. German Pilsner: StoneHammer Brewing - StoneHammer Pilsner; Cameron’s Brewing Co.- Captain’s Log Lager. Bohemian Pilsner: Thornbury Village Brewery - Pick Up Truck Pilsner; Steam Whistle Brewing - Steam Whistle Pilsner. Amber Lager: Hop City Brewing Co. Barking Squirrel Lager; Old Flame Brewing Co. - Old Flame Red. Oktoberfest/Marzen: Smithhavens Brewing Company - Smithhavens Festbier; Sawdust City Brewing Co. - Sagemehl Stadt. Dark Lager: Hop City Brewing Co. - 8th Sin Black Lager; Old Flame Brewing Co. - Old Flame Brunette. Bock: Amsterdam Brewery - Spring Bock; Creemore Springs – urBock. Doppelbock: Big Rig Brewery - Kanatdor; Walkerville Brewery - Dark Winter Lager. Honey Beer: Sleeman - Sleeman Honey Brown; Collingwood Brewery - 2015 Vintage Ale. Hefeweizen: Big Rig Brewery - Big Boot Hefe; Abe Erb Brewing Company - Das Spiritzhaus. Dunkelweizen: Smithavens Brewing Company - Smithavens Dunkelweizen; Frank Brewing Co. - Big Harvest. Weizenbock: Mill Street Brewery – Weizenbock; Bell City Brewing Co. - Gravitational Wave.
Witbier: Railway City Brewing Co. - The Witty Traveller; Stone City Ales - Windward. Herb / Spice Beer: Bell City Brewing Co. Hielo de Fuego Lager; Old Flame Brewing Co. - All ‘Ale’ The Ginger. Farmhouse Blonde: New Limburg Brewing Company - Belgian Blond; The Collingwood Brewery - Collingwood Saison. Farmhouse Dark: Stack Brewing - Les Portes de l’Enfer; Tooth and Nail Brewing Company – Sustenance. Lagered Ale: Mill Street Brewery - Portage Ale; Sleeman - Sleeman Cream Ale. British Pale Ale: Lowertown Brewery Lowertown Pale Ale; The Collingwood Brewery - Fireside ESB. American Pale Ale: Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. - Beaver Duck APA; 5 Paddles Brewing Co. - In Your Face. British India Pale Ale: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery - Hoptical Illusion; Elora Brewing Company - Lady Friend IPA. American India Pale Ale: Stone City Ales - Uncharted IPA; Great Lakes Brewery - ROBOHOP. Dark IPA: Big Rig Brewery - Release The Hounds; Rainhard Brewing Co. - Nosbeeratu, Amber Ale: Clocktower Brewpub - Clocktower Red, Bell City Brewing Co. - Eureka. Dark Ale: Brock Street Brewing Co. - Brock Street Irish Red; Boshkung Brewing Co. - Black Rock Dark Ale. Porter: Collective Arts Brewing - Stranger Than Fiction; Clifford Brewing Co. - Clifford Porter. Stout: Rainhard Brewing Co. - Sweetback’s Milk Stout; Woodhouse Brewing Co. - Woodhouse Stout. Imperial Stout: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery - Invictus; 5 Paddles Brewing Co. Midnight Paddler. Flavoured Porter/Stout: Redline Brewhouse - Leather Interior; Sawdust City Brewing Co. - Blood of Cthulhu. Fruit Beer: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery - 12 Minutes to Destiny; Amsterdam Brewery Framboise. Peat Smoked Scotch Ale: Big Rig Brew-
ery - Tartan Pants Scotch Ale; Barnstormer Brewing Co. - Smok’n Skywriter. Belgian Style Quadrupel: Railway City Brewing Co. - The Strong Man; Tooth and Nail Brewing Company - Truce. Belgian Style Tripel: Side Launch Brewing Company - Side Launch Huronic Tripel; New Limburg Brewing Company - Tripel, 5.
Scotch Ale: Niagara College Teaching Brewery - Beer 101 Strong; MacLean’s Ales Inc. - Armchair Scotch Ale. Newcomer of the Year: Brock Street Brewing Company. For the full list of award winners, visit canadianrestaurantnews.com.
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PEOPLE Trevor Ritchie to represent Canada at 2019 Bocuse d’Or TORONTO — Trevor Ritchie, chef technologist at George Brown College, and his commis Navjeet Singh will represent Canada at the 2019 Bocuse d’Or after winning the 2016 National Selection Competition held at George Brown in late April. Chef Dan Craig, executive chef at Delta Hotel Toronto and his commis Ian Yau placed second, and Chef Roger Ma and commis Brittany Lygo of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Vancouver, came third. Other finalists included Keith Pears, executive chef at Delta Burnaby Hotel and Conference Centre, Burnaby, B.C., and commis Jason Hsu; Eric Lee, chef/owner of Damso Restaurant, Vancouver, and commis Peter Kim; and Samuel Sirois, executive chef, Manor Rouville-Campbell, St. Hilaire, Que., and commis Philippe Juhos. The 2017 representative, James Olberg, Glowbal Group culinary director and executive chef, Coast Restaurant, Vancouver, has already been chosen.
Winner chef Trevor Ritchie with chef Cornelia Volino, manager CCFCC Bocuse d’Or Canada.
VQA Promoters Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute recently named the Vitners Quality Alliance Promoters Award winners. In the education category, the award went to Peter Blakeman, Niagara College Canadian Wine and Food Institute. General manager of Elmhirst Resort in Keene, Ont., Greg Elmhirst was recognized in the hospitality sector. At the LCBO, Nina Hofer was awarded. She is the product consultant at the store located 311 Geneva St., St. Catharines, Ont. The promoter-at-large designation went to winemaker Norman Hardie. The
Roberto Fracchioni has been appointed head chef at Hockley Valley Resort restaurant, cabin. He was executive chef at the Millcroft Inn and Spa from 2005 to 2010. Most recently he helmed Toronto’s Monk Kitchen and was part of the opening team at Flor de Sal. “As we enter a new phase in our evolution toward becoming an acclaimed culinary destination, chef Roberto is the ideal person to help us move forward,” said culinary director and owner John-Paul Adamo. In his new position, Fracchioni will oversee cabin and the food program at the new Adamo Estate Winery, slated to open later this year.
OHI hands out Gold Awards
Peter Blakeman lifetime achievement award went to winemaker and consultant Peter Gamble.
Foodservice and hospitality industry professionals were honoured on April 21 at the annual Ontario Hostelry Institute’s Gold Awards Dinner. The 2016 Gold Award Honourees: Foodservice Chain Operator, Ottawa-based Bridgehead Coffee Houses, Tracy Clark, president and chief executive officer; Independent Restaurateur, Chez Piggy in Kingston, Ont., owner Zoe Yanovsky and executive chef Ian Arthur; Hotelier, Liloo Alim, chief concierge, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto; Educator, Bruce McAdams, assistant professor, School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, University of Guelph; Media and Publishing, Malcolm Jolley, executive director, Good Food Revolution; Chef, Grant Van Gameren, Bar Isabel and Bar Raval, Toronto; Supplier, Fred’s Bread, Toronto, Andrea Damon Gibson and Steve Gibson; Artisan, Y U Ranch, Bryan Gilvesy. In addition, 10 industry leaders were named fellows of the OHI. Roberto Fracchioni
GTHA Spirit Awards foodservice winners Five hundred members of the Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) gathered on April 22 to honour exceptional ambassadors in the region’s hotel industry. The fifth annual Spirit Awards Luncheon presented by the GTHA recognized 212 nominees and 18 award winners for their outstanding contributions in our industry.
The GTHA’s 2016 Spirit Awards winners.
Winners of Spirit Awards in food and beverage categories include: Banquet Ambassador of the Year, Warren Webster, Hilton Mississauga Meadowvale; Culinary Ambassador of the Year, Udeni Randenyia, The Strathcona Hotel; and Food and Beverage Outlets Ambassador of the Year, Yohannes Habte, Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre.
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