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O N T A R I O September 2016 | Vol. 31 | No. 8



Started as a pop-up

Monarch & Misfits founders Amin Todai and Andrew Richmond at the newest La Carnita location at 130 Eglinton Ave. East in Toronto. Method, where Todai is president and CEO and Richmond was a design director. “A good way to test a concept with low overTORONTO — In five years time, La Carnita has grown from a pop-up operation selling art- head is with a pop-up model, and nobody had work with a side of “free” tacos to a small res- really done that in Toronto,” Richmond said. “We did it, it went off with a blast and we kept taurant group ready for franchising. Andrew Richmond, CEO of parent compa- doing it for a solid year every two weeks, with ny Monarch & Misfits, was inspired by eateries the exception of a couple special events.” At that point, it was time to open a brick and in San Francisco’s Mission District. “The Mission tends to be a little bit more mortar location. Enter Monarch & Misfits presauthentic, but there were a few places that were ident Terry Tsianos (also president and CEO of doing kind of a modern take on Mexican cui- Pegasus Group). “He was a big part of bringing that to life,” sine, but with a really strong bar focus,” he said. said Richmond. “It was something I really fell in love with.” APPROVAL REQUIRED Tsianos came with a wealth of experience Back in Toronto, Richmond recognized The enclosed proof is sent for your approval. We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. DO NOT GIVE VERBAL and INSTRUCTIONS. CHECK knowledge of CAREFULLY! the foodservice industry the there was an opportunity for this sub-niche. Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. Alterations (other than typographical errors) will be charged extra. Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” as the case may He and Amin Todai created Labe, Carnita and founding partners didn’t yet have. signing your name so we may know that the proof reached the proper authority. “We’re great at the front end of stuff; he’s launched in July 2011 out of design studio One By Kristen Smith

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incredibly good at the back end of stuff,” said Richmond. “There was a lot of structure that he brought to our non-structured environment.” Each partner brings his own strengths to the Monarch & Misfits brands and Richmond said they are respectful of each other’s territory. “We’ve been successful in trusting each other and I think that’s part of our strength,” he said. They hired chef Jon Hamilton to take on the bulk of the cooking and lead menu design — something Richmond had done previous to opening the 100-seat first location at College and Bathurst in 2012 — although the original taco creator still has some input. “We realized quickly that we had a knack for dessert,” said Richmond, noting La Carnita’s paleta program was well received. When they opened Home of the Brave — an ode to American classics at King and Portland — chef-driven soft serve ice cream landed on the dessert menu. Before Sweet Jesus became its own entity entirely, it was tested as the dessert program at both Home of the Brave and La Carnita. “That allowed us to hone each one further and get the name out there and kind of build it,” said Richmond. Sweet Jesus was officially born when the John Street La Carnita location opened in September of 2015. “There wasn’t a lot of faith in an ice cream concept, I’m not going to lie. I actually shoehorned that one in without anyone knowing,” said Richmond. “I might have been in some hot water if it didn’t work.” In the meantime, the second La Carnita location, which also has a Sweet Jesus outpost, had opened in March 2015. The fourth opened in early August, a cobranded location with a Sweet Jesus unit at 130 Eglinton Ave. East. In mid-August a standalone Sweet Jesus operation opened in Ottawa’s ByWard Market. Continued on page 17

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Walleye Wings take off



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A once discarded piece of fish is now finding its way onto menus in Northwestern Ontario

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Jay Barnard and Rob Armstrong By Bill Tremblay KENORA, Ont. — A once scrap piece of freshwater fish is now appearing on menus throughout Northwestern Ontario, thanks to a new foodservice venture. Walleye Wings is the creation of Kenora, Ont., resident Rob Armstrong, who began brainstorming the product two decades ago, after noticing a fisherman remove and discard the pectoral fin of the fish. “There’s lots of meat on it,” Armstrong explained. He began testing different cooking methods, eventually deep-frying the fin using a local breadcrumb product as a batter. However, personal health issues got in the way of Armstrong commercially releasing the product. About a year ago, Armstrong’s friend, chef Jay Barnard, returned to Kenora. After reuniting, Armstrong shared a plate of Walleye Wings with Barnard. They began working together to

get the wings on menus through the region. “It’s a great opportunity because it’s a piece of garbage,” Barnard said. “So when you talk sustainability and how you’re reusing the product, its huge.” As chef at The Boathouse in Lake on the Woods, Ont., Barnard decided to put the wings on the menu, a decision his customers didn’t regret. A year later, Walleye Wings are now on 11 menus in northwestern Ontario and Manitoba. “We expected we would be crawling and then get into a full fledge run,” Armstrong said. “And that’s what’s happening. There’s some real interest in it” The wings are being sold at restaurants as an appetizer, as well as garnish for main courses and cocktails. “It’s a very versatile product. It can be the centre attraction or an add-on,” Barnard said. Barnard and Armstrong are now purchasing about 1,000 pounds of walleye heads at a time from a facility in Manitoba. The pectoral fin is

then removed, breaded, and flash frozen. The wings are sold by the pound, or wholesale in 10lbs. boxes. For the breading, Armstrong found his original supplier and traded eight per cent of the Walleye Wing company for the recipe. They are currently working with a broker to expand the market for Walleye Wings. “I love being a chef. I love the hustle, but when you start engineering a product and getting to know a product and launch the product … I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been when it comes to a career right now,” Barnard said. Now, Armstrong and Barnard are creating other freshwater fish products, including pike cakes and walleye cheeks. They have also introduced a Cajun Walleye Wing and a jalapeño flavour is in development. “We want to make freshwater fish something that’s treasured worldwide,” Armstrong said. “Canada’s only 149 years old, we are still pioneers. There is still so much left to be done.”

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Cara to buy Original Joe’s for $93 million VAUGHAN, Ont. — Cara Operations Limited entered into a transaction to acquire majority ownership (89.2 per cent) in Original Joe’s Franchise Group Inc. for $93 million. Most of that purchase price, $90 million, is earmarked for Original Joe’s to re-acquire its trademarks and royalty rights from Diversified Royalty Corp (DIV). FranWorks, the operating group behind Original Joe’s, gave DIV (then BENEV Capital) $12 million annual top-line royalty for a purchase price of $103 million in a deal that closed in September 2014. The deal with Cara allows Original Joe’s Franchise Group to retain about $12.6 million in annual royalty payments currently paid to DIV. The Original Joe’s head office will remain in Calgary with its existing management, including president and CEO Derek Doke at the helm. Doke retains minority ownership through FranWorks, which was founded in 2000 and acquired Original Joe’s in 2002 when it had two locations. “The decision to unwind our royalty relationship with Diversified was difficult; however, the opportunity to partner with Cara was attractive from a strategic and synergistic perspective,” Doke said in a news release.

“This transaction brings positive possibilities for the Original Joe’s business as well as for our associates and franchise partners.” Original Joe’s now franchises and operates 99 full service restaurants across three brands: Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar (66), State & Main Kitchen Bar (23) and Elephant & Castle Pub and Restaurant (10). Since the deal with DIV, FranWorks added a handful of Original Joe’s pubs and more than doubled the number of State & Main eateries, which launched in 2012 and stood at 11 units in late 2014. The Elephant & Castle, a 40-year-old brand FranWorks bought about four years ago, has also undergone renovations both to the decor and menu. The majority of Original Joe’s locations are in Canada, with one State & Main and six Elephant & Castle locations in the United States. The remaining 92 locations are predominantly in Western Canada: 19 in British Columbia, 51 in Alberta, eight in Saskatchewan, five are in Manitoba and nine in Ontario. Cara CEO Bill Gregson said the casual, full service brands are a “natural fit” for the grow-

ing restaurant group, whose brands include Milestones, East Side Mario’s, Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s. “The majority of Original Joe’s restaurants are located in Western Canada, an area where Cara is currently under-represented. “With our acquisition of Quebec-based StHubert, soon to close, Cara’s business and restaurant network will now have greater geographic distribution across all of Canada,” Gregson said in a news release. “The Original Joe’s partnership also provides us with an opportunity to combine our scale for cost savings and rely on a proven management team headed by Derek. Derek and his existing management team will continue to have ultimate responsibility for running Original Joe’s,” Gregson added. With the addition of 117 restaurants from the St-Hubert acquisition, Cara will have 1,120 restaurants in its network. This number grows to 1,219 restaurants with the addition of 99 restaurants from Original Joe’s. The Original Joe’s transaction is expected to close later this year.

Coming events Oct 19: Resturants for Change, Select restaurants in Toronto, Ottawa/Perth, Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener, Kingston, Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake. restaurantsforchange.ca Oct. 29: Canadian Hospitality Foundation Gala, The Westin Harbour Castle Toronto. thechf.ca Nov. 19-20: The Franchise Expo, Ernst & Young Centre, Ottawa. franchiseshowinfo.com Nov. 28-29: The Canadian Food & Drink Summit, Marriott Eaton Centre, Toronto. conferenceboard.ca

September 2016 | 3



A promising future for food production


hat was once considered exotic has become intriguingly domestic, thanks to innovative food producers throughout Canada. Bananas no longer need to travel from a tropical climate, and who needs a natural body of water for shrimp or salmon anymore? In recent issues of our Ontario, Atlantic and Pacific Prairie editions, we’ve been fortunate to tell the stories of several food producers who refuse to let Canada’s harsh climate dictate what may grow where. (If you know of others, please let us know.) The unimaginable is becoming conceivable, and put into practice. Take First Ontario Shrimp, for example. Paul Cocchio and his son Brad have built Canada’s first successful inland shrimp farm, using 16 concrete growth tanks and four starter tanks in what once served as a pig barn. With about three years of research and development behind them, the farm is now producing about 100 pounds of shrimp per week. They hope to eventually quadruple production using the same amount of space.

In Centre Burlington, N.S., Sustainable Fish Farming has developed a closed-containment, land-based, fish farm system capable of producing Atlantic salmon of similar quality to those caught in the wild. The water movement created by recirculation means fish must swim against the current, helping to raise a leaner fish than other farmed salmon. After eight years of aquaculture development, Sustainable Fish Farming harvested its first full production run on May 2. By the end of the year, Sustainable Fish Farming expects to produce 100 tonnes of salmon. In a Mississauga, Ont. industrial complex, Aqua Greens is growing leafy greens for about a dozen restaurants in the GTA. Using a system that combines hydroponics and aquaculture, plants, fish and light work together to create a nutrient-rich system similar to a pond. The facility has the capacity to grow about 12,000 plants and keep 5,000 fish. The owners and urban farmers, Craig Petten and Pablo Alvarez, plan to move to a larger building and increase capacity in the coming years. In Blyth, Ont., Terry Brake and farm

owner Laurie Macpherson built heated hoop houses to grow bananas, papayas, guavas, oranges, mangoes, pineapples, lemons and limes. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are also grown year round. For its bananas, each hoop house has 72 plots and each plot is capable of growing as much as 2,000 pounds of bananas a year. With four hoop houses (a greenhouse frame covered with plastic and heated with a wood stove) built and producing crops, Canada Banana Farm has plans to build 100 more of the structures. Even more amazing, they’re ready and willing to share their technology. The future of food production is certainly proving to show the ingenuity of Canadian producers, and a recurring theme in these stories is Canadian foodservice operators are usually among the first to embrace products grown outside of their natural habitat. It’s a promising partnership that benefits our environment and economy. We can’t wait to see what’s next. Bill Tremblay Assistant Editor

NEWS BRIEFS ORHMA offers members mobile marketing app TORONTO — In a move spurred by the growth of mobile marketing, the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) is teaming up with Rayne Digital Consulting to offer ORHMA members a mobile marketing app. Through the partnership, ORHMA members will be able to convert their websites to mobile responsive sites, create a fully branded and customizable mobile app for their business, integrate an electronic mobile ordering system, and create customized websites designed and hosted by Rayne Digital Consulting. In addition, restaurants and hotels will be able to engage with customers instantly by announcing limited-time offers, sneak previews, new products and more with geotargeted push notifications. They can also use the app to display reviews, and share coupons and special offers. Customers will be able to use the app to make reservations.

Student transition program TORONTO — The Canadian Association for Foodservice Professionals (CAFP) recently launched a pilot program for culinary, hospitality and dietitian graduate students. The student transition program will pair students with a diverse set of restaurants and chefs for a three- to four-month placement. Launched under the direction of Ontario Greenbelt Fund program manager Franco Naccarato, the program will pro-

4 | Ontario Restaurant News

vide students with one-on-one training around a specific skill set or type of cuisine from a mentor/coach.

Ontario creates McCredits TORONTO — McDonald’s employees can now receive credits towards a college business diploma, thanks to a new agreement between Colleges Ontario and McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada. The agreement will create a provincewide partnership with McDonald’s Canada to establish a prior-learning recognition system. McDonald’s employees, who have completed specific McDonald’s training, will be eligible to be granted the equivalent of first-year credit for a business or business administration program at one of 24 public colleges in Ontario. Across Ontario, the colleges have agreed to grant recognition for first-year business credit into the business diploma or business administration advanced diploma (or the relevant related program) to McDonald’s managers who have successfully completed the management development program level 2, with some additional requirements. This means that employees will have the opportunity to directly enter a second-year business diploma.

No pop on IHOP kids menu GLENDALE, Calif. — DineEquity, Inc., parent company of IHOP Restaurants and Applebee’s Grill & Bar, announced that soft drinks will no longer be featured on the kids’ menus at restaurants across Canada. “Our menus at both Applebee’s and

IHOP throughout Canada offer a wide variety of delicious options designed to meet the needs of our guests, and while the choice is always up to our guests, we hope that removing soft drinks from our kids’ menus will make it easier for parents to help their children make the best choices for them,” said Daniel del Olmo, president, international, DineEquity. Beverage items currently featured on the kids’ menus include apple juice, orangetangerine juice, milk and chocolate milk. There are 16 Applebee’s in Canada and 24 IHOP restaurants.

Intervention funding announced TORONTO — Ontario will train bartenders, servers and others in the hospitality sector to identify and intervene in instances of sexual violence and harassment among employees and patrons. With $1.7 million committed to training, the provincial government will provide workers with the tools to intervene safely and support survivors of sexual violence and harassment. Funding will support training for frontline workers in the hospitality, health, education and community services sectors. Earlier this year, Ontario also passed the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act. The Act will make workplaces safer and improve support for survivors through legislative amendments that came into effect on Sept. 8. The training and legislation are part of It’s Never Okay - Ontario’s Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment.


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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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A collaborative approach to vegan cuisine LONDON, Ont. — Finding an abundance of vegan meal options for London, Ont. residents once meant a lengthy commute. Unable to find a variety of plant-based menus, Glenn Whitehead and his family would make a monthly trek to Toronto to dine at vegan restaurants. Whitehead, a marketer by trade, noticed he wasn’t alone in his search for vegan fare. After attending VegFest London, a vegan food festival, he realized the customer base now existed in the city to support vegan fare. “Seeing thousands of people milling about at a vegan food festival was eye opening,” Whitehead said. “Something is happening in the food movement. There’s definitely a groundswell movement and I wanted to be part of it.” Soon after the festival, a restaurant space opened in London’s Wortley Village, about three blocks from his home. The day after touring the space, Whitehead bumped into his friend and restaurateur Melanie Wendt Glen Whitehead and Melanie Wendt. who was looking for a new culinary project. Together, they decided to create Plant Matter Kitchen, span. We were signing a lease about a week and a half later,” Whitehead said. which officially opened in mid-August. While the restaurant is solely vegan food, the “All of those things happened in a two-week

Plant Matter Kitchen’s team at work. concept also aims to utilize as many local products as possible, from its vegetables to its beer and promotional products. “We immediately reached out to familyrun, independent or community-run companies to supply us,” Whitehead said. “We work with these small businesses to grow together a community-based, natural, made-from-scratch, vegan restaurant.” Plant Matter Kitchen’s menu aims to recreate “old world favourites” without the use of

animal products. Offering a seasonal and set organic menu, dinner for two at the 65-seat restaurant costs about $50. “We make a lot of things people think of as comfort food, and wouldn’t think of from a vegan perspective. We make an amazing lentilbased shepherd’s pie,” Whitehead said. To create its menu and specials, Plant Matter kitchen doesn’t rely on a head chef. Instead, all staff members are invited to contribute ideas. “We test cook things and when we think it’s a good addition, we’ll put it on the menu,” Whitehead said. “We’re all cooking more from the heart than any sort of high-level, flow-down power structure.” As well, the available products of a specific farmer may dictate a weekly special. When possible, Plant Matter Kitchen will make a dish using ingredients from a single farm. “We have an open kitchen, there’s no back of house. You can see all of your food being created,” Whitehead said. “Every day we start with raw ingredients, from handmade tortillas to veggie burger mix.” Although Plant Matter Kitchen serves strictly vegan fare, its clientele is omnivorous. Whitehead said as much as 60 per cent of his customers are not vegan or vegetarian. “You might be a committed warrior vegan out there protesting, or you got dragged in by your vegan, yoga-loving girlfriend,” Whitehead said. “One of our most raving fans is a total meat eater. He brings in other meat eaters every time now.”

Warren Sutherland is opening namesake establishment OTTAWA — Chef Warren Sutherland is creating his “dream restaurant.” For the Jamaican-born chef this means he can cook whatever food he wants without being bound by thematic limitations. Sutherland has been part of the Ottawa food scene for 15 years, moving to the nation’s capital to take a head chef position at Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro in 2001. Since then he has had a hand in opening gourmet butchery The Piggy Market, The SmoQue Shack (a barbecue project Sutherland is no longer involved in) and Slice & Co. (a pizza place). Sutherland’s previous projects meant his menu creations were dictated by the food expected at these establishments. “When I say dream restaurant, one of the major things is that I actually get to cook for myself — there are no constraints whatsoever, it’s whatever I want to cook,” said Sutherland. While travelling over the last decade, Sutherland has experienced cuisines from around the world, something he said “opened my mind up to food in a different way.” He plans to bring this global influence to his namesake establishment, Sutherland Restaurant, Bar and Coffee House, which is slated to open by the end of September in Ottawa’s New Edinburg area at 224 Beechwood Ave., in the new Kavanaugh Condos. The neighbourhood restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with small menus of about 10 items. “I cook at a higher end in the sense of the quality, but I cook approachable food nonetheless,” Sutherland said. “If I’m going to put

Chef Warren Sutherland prepares cured trout with crispy skin and fresh and pickled vegetables (the dish it pictured at bottom right). Top right: Watermelon and grilled peach salad with jalapeño and goat cheese. a burger on the menu, I want it to be the best burger you ever had.” Sutherland is sourcing much of his produce from Rideau Pines Farm in North Gower, Ont. Next year, he will work with the farm to pick seeds to be grown specifically for the restaurant. He is sourcing cheese from Ontario and Quebec, meat from Lavergne Western Beef, as well as whole animals from local farms. When the patio opens, there will be about 100 seats. Inside plans call for about 80 seats in three distinct areas: a dining room (30), bar (20) and café (28). “That makes it have three differ-

ent pulses almost,” Sutherland said. Designed by Ottawa’s Kayla Pongrac (Ace Mercado, Tomo and The Waverley), the 3,000-square-foot space will make good use of stone, metal and wood. “In the dining room all three components come together,” Sutherland said. “When you walk in, you look straight into the kitchen — that’s the very first thing you see.” He describes the bar area as spacious, with a dozen beer taps and a small wine list of both New and Old World choices. “Primarily, I want to do as much as I can by

the glass so people can try whatever they want,” he said. At the café, espresso-based beverages will feature a signature blend from Happy Goat Coffee. “For drip coffee, we’re going to be rotating medium and dark throughout the entire coffee-producing world. So, today you might get coffee from Guatemala, tomorrow it might be from Colombia, next week from Jamaica, who knows,” said Sutherland. “People can get a bit of a coffee education as well.”

September 2016 | 5

Centre PLAte

Pan-Seared Ontario Lake Trout. The International Centre.

Operators who want to keep their plate costs in check can turn to a number of creative solutions without sacrificing value. By Kristen Smith


t The International Centre in Mississauga, Ont., executive chef Tawfik Shehata looks forward to serving the foodservice community at the annual Friends of We Care Gala. Often, for large dinner events, he is relegated to the traditional people-pleasing chicken breast or beef tenderloin and he doesn’t have much freedom to “play with interesting proteins.” Usually this means his focus is on using highquality meat and cooking it well, while adding creative flair with seasonal sides. “My focus is a lot on the veg and the starch components,” Shehata said. “I think interesting sides are what makes the plate. We do brussels sprouts with sage and caramelized onions in the winter months.” It’s at events like the We Care Gala when Shehata and his kitchen team have the opportunity to get creative with the protein. “The theme was Kentucky Derby, so we did a southern-style spicy, pickled shrimp as a starter with a cornmeal crostini,” he said. For dinner, smoked and grilled Cornish hens. The traditional North American plate consisted of a large piece of meat, a side of vegetables, a starch and a sauce. That large piece of meat was always the centre of the plate, the largest cost with the highest return, the item the dish was built around. With food costs expected to continue rising and international cuisine becoming com-

6 | Ontario Restaurant News

monplace, the centre of the plate isn’t always as clear. The culinary minds behind Canada’s Smartest Kitchen in Charlottetown — specifically product developers Jen Bryant and Marshall Bell, Tiffany Tong, strategic initiatives lead, and Emilee Sorrey, marketing and communications — put their heads together to look at the trends and evolution of centre of the plate. They suggest, as Canadian palates have become more multicultural, food isn’t as “compartmentalized.” Instead of everyone having their own plate, many cuisines are composed of smaller dishes, shared on a large table, for example Chinese dinners or Ethiopian meals. In these instances, “there is no real centre of the plate.”

Consumer tastes According to Technomic, chicken will remain the leading centre-of-the-plate category. The research company’s data shows chicken is the leading entrée at the top 250 limited service restaurants and the second most popular — slightly behind pork — at the top 250 full service restaurants. Due to its high prevalence, this means, “differentiation will be crucial” to restaurateurs. When asked what protein consumers eat at least every 90 days, 89 per cent of consumers answered chicken and 81 per cent said beef. Pork, seafood and turkey followed with 68, 57

and 39 per cent, respectively. When it came to vegetarian substitutes, Technomic data indicates 22 per cent of consumers order these entrees, while 10 per cent have ordered vegan substitutes as a main dish in the past three months. Interestingly, the number of respondents was more heavily weighted to those in the 18-to-35 age range (27 versus 19 per cent for vegetarian and 12 versus 9 per cent in the vegan category). “Meat-free options can help drive traffic and sales by broadening appeal and reducing the veto vote, especially among younger consumers,” stated the Canadian Centre of the Plate key themes report. Andrea Nicolson, Maple Leaf Foods’ corporate media and social chef, believes the centre-plate formula is evolving. “I think centre of the plate is really changing now — look to how we’re really focusing on vegetables and alternative proteins. I think that old concept of building a dish around a six-ounce portion of protein, two ounces of vegetables, a starch and a sauce, I think that’s really changing,” she said. “[Chefs still] build a dish around a decentsize portion of protein, but I don’t think it’s as literal as it used to be, where you have to have those three components of a dish.”

Nicolson’s role with Maple Leaf includes creating the benchmark product for the research and development as well as developing recipes for the consumer-facing Appehtite.ca. “We get a lot of insight that people still are looking to eat really healthy and clean so, a lot of our centre of plate are a simply cooked, but properly cooked, piece of protein,” she said.

Hand on the pulse In addition to lean meats, Nicolson has been experimenting with alternative proteins. “We’re really venturing into pulses,” she said. “A pulse is such a great vessel for flavour;

Grille and Galley Chicken. Flanagan Foodservice.

you can carry such strong flavours with pulses.” She suggests mixing them with ground meat to create a chicken lentil meatball, for example. “It changes the flavour completely; it also gives you a really smooth consistency,” said Nicolson. “It kind of eliminates that need for bread crumbs and then you get added nutritional benefits.” Pulses are nutrient dense and high in fibre and protein. They are also good for the bottom line and are considered to have a low carbon footprint.

Beef it up Brad Heard, protein category manager for Flanagan Foodservice, said two decades ago beef was the most sought-after protein in restaurant — it probably still is. “During the last seven or eight years, cattle have become way too expensive for the average restaurateur to be profitable,” said Heard. Operators are combating this with portion size — smaller, but high quality — and the use of different cuts. “Everyone still wants a steak — or they want a lower-end steak — they just don’t want to pay through the nose for it,” said Heard. Cuts that used to head straight for the grinder, such as chuck, are being used in new ways. “You see major chains in the Canadian marketplace putting chuck rolls on the menu, rotisserie-style chuck rolls,” said Heard. When Allan Weisberg founded The Butcher Shoppe 35 years ago in Toronto’s Kensington Market, up-and-coming chefs wanted something different, so that’s what he provided. Weisberg cut steaks to specifications, made sausages and took custom orders. A few years later, when The Butcher Shoppe moved to its current location on Shorncliffe Road in Etobicoke, Ont., and turned its focus from retail to wholesale, Weisberg stuck with that method of operation. Now, they serve about 1,200 Ontario foodservice customers every month, shipping 60,000 pounds of meat every day. “What do chefs want now? There has been lots of change in the last five years, as much as there has been in the last 35 years,” said Stacey Weisberg, Allan’s son. He pointed to the increase in attention being given to food and restaurants — where it comes from and how it’s prepared. “That’s impacted the industry in a wonderful way,” said Weisberg. Thirty years ago, steaks were generally cut

Grille and Galley Beef. Flanagan Foodservice.

of antibiotics are being increasingly sought. According to Technomic, consumers are willing to pay more for beef raised that way. “Every customer that I see — and I probably see about 100 to 120 a year — they are all asking the question: ‘What can I say about my product’?” said James Keppy, national culinary manager at Maple Leaf Foodservice. He noted that in the past, cost was pretty much the deciding factor, but now they want to tell a story and they want cleaner decks. “My line has always been: every adjective is worth 45 cents. You want to tell a story about the product, say where it’s from, how you made it, why it’s different,” said Keppy. When it comes to free-from production claims, Heard warns there may be some faulty advertising involved, specifically with respect to chicken without steroids or added-hormones, but the label still sells. “There are no hormones in any chicken in any farm in Canada, it’s against the law,” said Heard. He isn’t sure free-range, organic, and raisedwithout proteins — the “no-no products” — are a trend. “That could come and go, that could become just tradition,” said Heard.

Halal: the next veto vote

Orange Ginger Chili BBQ Chicken Thighs. Maple Leaf Foods.

Sweet and Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Satay. Maple Leaf Foods.

from three muscles: the tenderloin, striploin and rib. “Everything else was pretty much ground up, diced up or not presented as a centre of the plate item,” he said. A cow has far more than three muscles and Weisberg estimated that a dozen are now used on restaurant menus. “I think that’s a huge shift … we’re using all of the meat in different ways, in a great way. We’re highlighting all these different muscles in a more premium way,” he said. Weisberg suggests this shift was producerdriven, although chefs and consumers certainly had important roles to play. “It’s costly today to raise a cow,” he said. Being able to make more money on secondary, non-traditional, cuts of meat as a centre-ofthe plate option — instead of the price when

ground or cut up — helps make up for that cost. On the other side of the value chain, Weisberg noted chefs have also looked for new, creative ways to stand out and perhaps decrease costs in an increasingly competitive industry, thus finding ways to use other parts of the cow. “We’re using a lot more of the animal in a lot more creative ways, innovative ways and wonderful ways,” he said.

Making claims According to Technomic, socially responsible initiatives will be increasingly important to Canadian consumers. This applies to every protein category. Consumers are looking for sustainably raised and harvested fish and seafood. On land, claims signifying natural production such as hormoneand steroid-free as well as raised without the use

Handling Halal

Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin and Herbed Hasselback Potato with Summer Vegetable Succotash. The International Centre.

Once a halal protein enters the kitchen, it must remain halal all the way to the guest’s table. Chef and kitchen managers should understand the standards and how to handle a halal request. • Pork and alcohol are haram, meaning forbidden, the opposite of halal. Other meat and poultry must be slaughtered according to Islamic law to be considered halal, which means per missible. • If a server receives a halal request, the guest should be offered the opportunity to speak with the kitchen manager, who can explain how the operation will handle the meal. • During storage, ensure halal food remain separate from non-halal food before and after cooking. • Ensure all other ingredients are permissi-

According to Pew Research Centre, the number of Muslims living in Canada is expected to double in the next 15 year to nearly 3 million people in 2030, up from about 1.3 million in 2015. Halal is a major buzzword in the meat world, according to Heard. It’s not a trend or a moniker; it’s the way a growing part of the Canadian population must eat in order to be in accordance with Islamic law. “I think it will change manufacturing for a long time,” said Heard. “Halal is a growth industry, 100 per cent, and it’s going to grow extremely fast. All the manufacturers that I deal with have already launched, or are in the process of launching, halal product lines.” Keppy noted universities are often on the cutting edge of change in the foodservice scene and some have completely made the switch to halal in order to meet the needs of their Muslim student population. “We’re finding more and more of the chain restaurants and some of the independents are realizing the money that can be made if they start using halal products. They didn’t realize the business they were missing,” said Keppy.

ble food, according to Islamic law. Grains, vegetable and fruits are generally acceptable, but avoid alcohol, animal lard, pork and pork by-products. • Use a clean or separate, designated cutting board from non-halal products to avoid cross contamination. • Use a separate, designated fryer, clean part of the grill or bake in the oven to avoid contamination. French fries, onion rings and seafood are halal by nature and can be cooked in the same fryer oil as halal proteins. • When plating, ensure utensils (such as knives and tongs) haven’t been used to handle non-halal foods. Compiled with information from Mina Halal, a division of Maple Leaf Foods.

September 2016 | 7

Orange you glad they’re growing bananas in Blyth? By Bill Tremblay BLYTH, Ont. — A taste of the tropics is growing in Southwestern Ontario. Canada Banana Farms, located in Blyth, Ont., is growing a variety of fruits usually reserved for cultivation closer to the equator. “You can create your own climate anywhere on the planet,” said Terry Brake, who works on the tropical fruit farm alongside owner Laurie Macpherson. “You just have to manipulate the environment.” Today, the farm is successfully growing bananas, papayas, guavas, oranges, mangoes, pineapples, lemons and limes. Tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are also grown year round. “Bananas are the most popular and guavas are a close second. People are starting to get into the guava,” Brake said. The idea to produce tropical fruit in Ontario started about 11 years ago after Brake was seriously injured in a car accident and forced to end his career as a mechanical engineer. To help him relax, his doctor gifted him a banana plant, which he grew in his basement. “Laurie was just blown away that I could grow a banana in my basement,” Brake said. “So she came up with the idea of using hoop houses.” Macpherson purchased a 40-acre farm six years ago and began constructing the hoop houses (a greenhouse frame covered with plastic and heated with a wood stove). Canada Banana Farm now has four hoop houses in production and 100 more in development. “Within a year it should be up and running at full strength,” Brake said.

When the outdoor temperature reaches -20 C, the hoop house is able to maintain a temperature of 30 C and 85 per cent humidity. Pressure generated from the stove maintains ground temperature at 18 C one foot away from the edge of the building. “In Blyth, there’s a lot of snow coverage, so the ground never goes below freezing,” Brake said. “It’s more than enough to grow the tropicals we’ve been growing.” Within 18 months of constructing its first hoop houses, the farm began harvesting bananas. To accelerate growth time, and produce a shorter plant, Brake explained they grafted the banana planted onto dragonroot. “There’s a lot of grafting stock you can buy, but we like dragonroot,” he explained. “We’re limited to 15 feet. Put it on dragonroot and it won’t grow higher than eight feet.” The banana trees are planted in a triangle formation, three feet apart. Each triangle will produce 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of fruit per year, with each hoop house capable of housing 72 plots. While the Blyth bananas are smaller than those found in a grocery store, they are not sprayed with ethylene to force ripening, a common practice for imported fruit. “We’ve kept bananas on our counter for 14 days and they didn’t rot,” Brake said. Their methods for growing tropical fruit in Canada are generating attention from other farmers, and Brake said they are happy to share. Canada Banana Farms are already talking to a farm near Trois-Riviere, Que. and First Nation reserves in Northern Canada. “We want to share our technology. We’re not

Canada Banana Farm owner Laurie Macpherson. going to be able to feed the provinces or cities ourselves, so we encourage people to plant. We want this to go not only across Canada, but everywhere,” Brake said. “It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort, but it’s very rewarding.”

A ready-to-go hoop house costs about $100,000. “That will pay for itself in the first year,” Brake said. “It’s not an expensive venture, but it’s not a cheap one either.”

Unipco celebrates 30 years

New vice-president of member services Matt Doiron.

8 | Ontario Restaurant News

MONCTON, N.B. — Unipco is an Atlantic Canada company with “national aspirations,” according to president and CEO Eric Sloan. “The dream of [founder] Ken Judson, at the time, started in 1986,” Sloan said of the 30-year-old purchasing group. The members purchased the business from Judson in 1997. “Remarkably, that was a critical point and really a turning point in Unipco because it got the imagination of the grassroots industry and really drove the membership to a new level,” said Sloan, who has been with the company for eight years and at the helm for about six. Sloan said growth in the Maritimes was relatively steady before the member buyout. “Then once the members bought him out, there was a strong growth for a good number of years, but then it became relatively stagnant in the Maritimes,” said Sloan. The board and Dave MacTavish, who is now Unipco executive vice-president, decided the organization needed to move into new provinces if it were to survive long-term. Eight years ago, Unipco moved into Newfoundland and Labrador, then Ontario and most recently Quebec. With about 670 members in six provinces, Sloan estimates the number of independent foodservice operators Unipco serves has doubled in the last five years.

Unipco has exclusive arrangements geographically with broadline distributors: ADL Foods for Prince Edward Island, Capital Foodservice in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Colabor Food Distributor in Quebec and Flanagan Foodservice in Ontario. “We have a very advantageous cost plus arrangement with our broadline partners. We also have about 140 contracts that we manage with manufacturing and service providers, which give preferential treatment to the end user,” said Sloan, adding Unipco also monitors pricing for its independent operator members. Sloan noted Unipco has zero retained earnings, meaning there is par value to shares, but no accumulated wealth. “A [shareholder] and a member share in the earnings the exact same way,” Sloan explained. “The shareholder has a vote where the member does not, but we’re very member focused, so we appreciate and certainly listen to each and every member.” Zero retained earnings also means Unipco typically doesn’t advertise, so growth takes time and word of mouth, Sloan noted. “We certainly see the opportunity to double our membership to grow beyond the Ontario border,” he said. “We’d like to be known as a national group purchasing organization — we have national aspirations.”





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Andaz opens in Ottawa with feast + revel OTTAWA — Hyatt Hotel’s Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market opened Aug. 22 at 325 Dalhousie St., marking the brand’s first foray into Canada. “We are very excited to introduce the Andaz brand to such a special city like Ottawa that has so much history and culture to share,” said Matt Graham, general manager of Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market. “With the support of local designers, artisans and creative minds, this incredible hotel celebrates the very best of local culture here in Ottawa and aims to inspire guests and locals. We look forward to becoming a member of this great community and growing alongside the nation’s capital.” Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market worked with interior design firm Mason Studio to bring the hotel’s local vision to life. Each floor of the 16-storey hotel reflects the history and character of a Canadian province or territory. In the lobby, Mason Studio enlisted Toronto-based furniture makers Hollis + Morris to create a lighting installation made of mixed Canadianwood species. Patterned rugs and copper metal accents provide pops of colour and texture against the understated lobby, clad in natural

materials such as oak panelling and grey stone floors. The Canadian Council Art Bank curated the artwork throughout the hotel. Helmed by executive chef Stephen La Salle (formerly of The Albion Rooms), Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market features multiple dining

venues featuring Canadian flavours. The hotel’s signature restaurant, feast + revel, features “new Canadian cuisine” with an ingredient-driven menu emphasizing local, organic and sustainable products. An all-day coffee bar offers grab-and-go

bites and locally-roasted Equator coffee. Copper Spirits & Sights, the hotel’s 16thfloor rooftop bar and lounge, offers city views, fire pits, a seasonal craft cocktail and beer program and a menu comprised of small plates intended for sharing. “Our approach when it comes to food and beverage is all about creating a social space that brings people together and offers incredible options inspired by Ottawa’s culture,” said La Salle. “Ottawa has deep culinary influences from France and England, so our food pays homage to this history with British and French touches. We also want our options to be representative of all Ottawa has to offer, so we’re excited to be working with local farmers, artisans, brewers, winemakers and others who are helping us to craft a truly special experience.” The commitment to incorporating Canadian aspects into the heart of Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market can also be seen through the hotel’s complimentary and locally-sourced minibar items, such as Tawse Wines, Hummingbird Chocolate, Walter Caesar Mix, Harvey & Vern’s sodas, Purple Urchin and HoneyBars.

Life-threatening food allergies Making front and back of house communication work By Andrea Lobel Shainblum


hen Jennifer Michelin ordered a meal at a Montreal restaurant, she never expected to leave in an ambulance. Having explained her peanut allergy to the server, she felt confident in her meal’s safety. “He assured us the food would be safe. He had even stated that he checked with the chef,” Michelin said. And yet, she began to react after taking a single bite. The restaurant had no allergy procedures in place, but they called 9-1-1 and Michelin injected herself with her EpiPen. As Michelin explains, “To this day, it was the scariest few minutes of my life.”

Communication breakdowns Like Simon-Pierre Canuel, who recently suffered an anaphylactic reaction in a Sherbrooke, Que., restaurant, leading to the arrest of a waiter who allegedly served him his allergen, Michelin had informed her server of an allergy. The question is what happened next in the communication sequence. I’m often asked how to reduce allergen cross-contact, and this is a core component of allergy training. But equally important are clear communication between the customer and the front and back of house, and a printed allergyreadiness plan that is rehearsed during training so that all employees are prepared to serve allergic diners. Once an allergy-readiness plan is in place, it takes little time to respond to diners with food allergies. This advance planning can help restaurants avoid lawsuits, criminal charges and most importantly, the need to call an ambulance for a diner in distress. An effective plan addresses two broad categories of training: allergy risk-reduction and emergency response. Here are a few tips to help improve allergy communications across both.

1 0 | Ontario Restaurant News

According to Food Allergy Canada, one in 14 Canadians self-reports as having one or more food allergies. The vast majority of these reactions are to members of a list of 11 priority allergens identified by Health Canada, which includes peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, eggs, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, sulphites, and mustard. But nearly any food can be a potential allergen. Risk-reduction: Front and back of house information flow For all staff, education is key. First and foremost, they should be made aware that food allergies can be deadly, and that customers with food allergies are not simply being picky. I recommend a clear, detailed menu to make it easier for the allergic customer to order. There are several ways to implement this. One method is to include priority allergens in the titles of menu items. Another is to make ingredient lists available. It’s also useful to include a menu notice asking guests to inform their server of any food allergies or other special dietary requirements, such as gluten-free meals. When the server has been informed of the allergy, this immediately sets the allergy plan into motion. Next, a pre-designated point person — ideally the chef or the manager — should be notified by the server. This person should come to the table to speak directly with the customer. The first goal is to help the allergic guest choose a safe menu item. This may include advising against higher-risk menu items, such as dishes where allergens aren’t easily visible. For example, foods covered in pastry, ravioli, sauces, fried foods, and mixed foods such as stews and soups. If it is impossible to prepare a safe meal, this should be communicated to the diner. Next, the point person should communicate the allergy requirements to the chef, who verifies all ingredients. The point person or the chef then returns to the diner to discuss the ingredients and place the final order. In the kitchen, it’s preferable for one per-

son, usually the chef, to handle the order, making certain that risk-reduction processes are in place, including allergen cross-contact avoidance. Some restaurants even use a colour-coding system to make a food allergy order obvious to all staff. A thorough allergy training program can provide more detail regarding these best practices. The manager, chef or server then carries the plate to the table separate from other orders to reduce cross-contact risk. Shortly after the guest begins their meal, the server or point person should check with them to ensure that the meal meets their needs.

We’re only human It’s crucial to admit it if a mistake is made, either by the server or in the kitchen. In this case, the order should be made again from scratch. Removing the allergen from the meal does not remove allergenic traces, and these can trigger an allergic reaction even though they’re invisible.

Emergency response Despite taking risk-reduction measures, accidents happen, so it’s important for all employees to be ready. If a guest begins to react, they must be taken seriously. Don’t wait to see if the allergic reaction improves. Take action immediately. If a diner is reacting and has an EpiPen with them, they should inject without delay. They should not stand up, as this has been linked to fatal anaphylaxis.

The restaurant address should be printed and permanently placed near the phone in case of emergency. 9-1-1 should be called, and they should be told that it is an allergic emergency. If there is a second dose of epinephrine available and symptoms are not improving, this can be administered as soon as five minutes after the first dose. Someone should then call their emergency contact.

Putting it all in writing Ideally, the communications strategy includes a printed allergy plan, including risk-reduction and emergency response. This includes clear steps to follow from the moment a guest with allergies walks in the door to the time they leave. The plan should include details such as ingredient sourcing and storage, cross-contact avoidance, emergency procedures, and the point people responsible for answering diners’ allergy questions, checking ingredients, preparing meals and responding to emergencies. A checklist of emergency steps should also be placed in a visible location. This sheet should contain a note that, in the event of a reaction, staff should never doubt the customer or delay, but call 9-1-1 immediately. As Jennifer Michelin sees it, when it comes to allergies, “education is needed for the entire restaurant staff.” With an allergy readiness plan, staff training, and clear communication strategies and tactics in place, restaurants can serve food-allergic diners with increased confidence. And with food allergies on the rise, this is an industry goal well worth working toward. Andrea Lobel Shainblum is president of Allercom Allergy Consulting, Inc., which trains restaurants and other organizations Canada-wide in allergy riskreduction services, and is the exclusive provider of the AllergyAudit System. For more information, visit www. allercom.com or contact her at info@allercom.com.

Make the most of the holidays For foodservice operators throughout Canada, planning, marketing and menu specials help ensure the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year By Bill Tremblay


or most, the holiday season is an opportunity to take a break from work and celebrate with family and friends. Many of those celebrations, however, are made possible and enhanced by foodservice establishments throughout the province. Last December, RetailMeNot.ca surveyed 1,509 Angus Reid Forum panellists to inquire about their holiday spending. The survey found, on average, Canadians holiday shopping includes $311 for food and $310 for alcohol. The combined total nearly amounted to the planned $671 spent on gifts. For restaurateurs, special products and planning may make for the happiest of holiday seasons in the foodservice business.

Plan ahead For Second Cup Coffee Company’s network of more than 325 stores throughout Canada, its holiday strategy is tackled in two parts. The company begins thinking about the holiday season during its annual planning process. A detailed plan, and execution of the strategy, begins in the first quarter of the year. “Some aspects of the plan have longer lead times,” said Vanda Provato, Second Cup’s vice-president of marketing and category. “For example, with our giftable products, because we do our own design and production, we need to have the merchandise finalized and ordered by the end of the first quarter.” At the Barley Vine Rail Co., a casual bistro, catering company and banquet facility in Orangeville, Ont., holiday planning begins with reviewing its party packages for its 100-seat event space. Owner Ryan Latorre said he begins advertising the space for Christmas parties in September. “It’s kind of go, go, go, especially on weekends,” Latorre said, noting the space hosts five or six parties in November and about a dozen in December. To create the banquet menu, Latorre and his staff work with the client. “We tailor the package towards the guest’s needs,” he said. “They tell us what they’re looking for and a price point, and we go from there.” Barrie-based restaurateur Manish Mehra, who owns six breakfast-focused restaurants in the Simcoe County region, told Ontario Restaurant News gift cards, and other promotional materials, are ready for sale by the end of November. “Everyone goes out to eat, so gift cards are

a simple stocking stuffer,” he said. Before the holidays, Mehra also promotes the idea of breakfast holiday parties for local businesses. “We pitch it in a way that it’s a cheaper cost per head for business,” he said. “Dinner parties cost $30 to $50 per head in this area. Breakfast catering costs $10 to $15 a head.”

Open for business With the exception of Christmas Day, Mehra’s restaurants, which include the Flapjacks chain and the recently created Stacked Pancake and Breakfast House in Barrie, Ont., are open throughout December. “January, February and March are usually the slower months. December and the holidays really pump up our sales to get us through,” Mehra said. The holiday boom requires scheduling twice as many staff hours. “We beef up for the holidays a lot. What we notice in the breakfast and lunch industry is that during that time, people are shopping and going out a lot,” Mehra said. “They don’t have time in the morning to cook for themselves, and we see exponential growth.” Business usually starts to boom as soon as students begin their December break, Mehra explained. “It’s just easier for parents. We see tons of families. It’s like the weekend every day from about December 19th to the second or third,” Mehra said. Latorre is able to call on his event and catering staff to assist during the holiday rush. “We don’t do a seasonal hiring process. We just have people who become more available to work that we have used in the past for events,” he said. At Second Cup, the number of employee hours scheduled depends on demographics. “Staffing levels are increased when sales warrant it,” Provato said. “Cafés in malls and office buildings may see increased traffic during the holidays and may require additional staff.” Some locations, like those in colleges or universities, will close when students leave for the December break. Other locations only close on Christmas Day. “There are some that are open 365 days a year,” Provato said, noting airports, hospitals and some urban cafes operate year round. At Stuttering John’s Smokehouse in Courtice, Ont., owner Johnathon Boville plans to

open throughout the season, with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day. “We may open Boxing Day, I haven’t decided yet,” Boville said, adding his restaurant begins to take holiday reservations in August. “Where we are, there isn’t much around for office parties, so usually we’re booked up for Christmas parties.”

Gifts to go Throughout the year, Boville partners with small businesses to get the most out of the holiday season. During slow days at the smokehouse, Boville rents his kitchen to a sauce company, a jerky maker and a baker. The baking is sold in-house to Stuttering John’s customers. “We’re packaging it so customers, while they’re here eating, can also pick up Christmas baking,” Boville said. “Who doesn’t like homemade baking?” The partnership benefits both businesses, he added. “That helps us out because people talk about where they got their baking,” Boville explained. “It also helps out small businesses who are using my kitchen to gain more exposure.” As well, Stuttering John’s barbecue sauce, Alabama white sauce, catsup and Georgia mustard are bottled and sold at the Courtice restaurant, the Bowmanville take-out location and his food truck. “I don’t want to get into the sauce market, it’s very crowded and time consuming,” Boville said. “For Christmas though, people will take them home.”

Market for the occasion In anticipation of the holidays, Second Cup prepares a variety of festive decorations and merchandise including packaging for coffee, tea, hot chocolate, gift cards and an annual coffee cup.

For the last two holiday seasons, Second Cup has created a signature blue branding Provato said “embodies the elegance and premium quality” of its brand. “Creativity is a key brand pillar for Second Cup, so we take great pride in the design,” Provato said. “It all reflects a consistent theme and design to express our brand.” At Barley Vine Rail Co., holiday decorations are noticeable, but minimal. “We don’t try to make it look like Christmas threw up on everything,” Latorre said. “We try to go tasteful, so nothing that takes up too much space. We don’t want to take up any seating.”

Festive specials Second Cup also adjusts its menu to bring back classic holiday beverages like its peppermint moccaccino, eggnog lattè and candy cane hot chocolate. The holidays are also an opportunity to release new beverages. “We have something very special planned for this holiday,” Provato said. “We are introducing eggnog flat white, a new flavour for a signature beverage we first introduced nationally in Canada two years ago,” Provato said. Seasonal baked goods are also introduced throughout the chain. “A returning favourite is the thumbprint shortbread cookie baked fresh in local cafés across the country,” Provato said. Boville also makes adjustments to his menu for December, including an increase in daily and cocktail specials, as well as more creative menu items. “During summer, people just want barbecue,” Boville said. “In the holiday season, they’re more adventurous. They’ll go for the pork loin with a berry compote.”

September 2016 | 1 1

Understanding HMR By Scott Stewart


n recent years, the Home Meal Replacement (HMR) segment of the foodservice market has continually gained recognition as a growing trend and evolving category. Within a decade, this segment has developed from rotisserie ovens full of chicken, to salad bars, pizza ovens and pre-made gourmet meals. However, despite the shift in offerings from this segment, many still perceive the consumer set as similar to the days of chickens rotating in an oven. The term HRM evokes an image of a mom or dad picking up hot, prepared food from the grocery store after work because they don’t have time to make dinner at home. But is that really the core consumer in today’s HMR segment?

Striking a chord with millennials Despite the assumption that HMR is primarily designed for parents and families, evidence shows it is actually millennials who are the most attracted to this foodservice segment. According to The NPD Group, 34 per cent of all HMR occasions come from 18 to 34 year olds. In comparison, this age group represents 28 per cent of QSR and FSR visits. Furthermore, households without kids actually make up a larger share of HMR (64 per cent) than QSR and FSR (62 per cent). While these numbers do not mean that it is strictly millennials who visit HMR, it highlights there are more people than just parents using grocery stores as foodservice outlets, and

Why did consumers choose that food option?

it shows the younger generation of adults are more willing to adopt this developing segment as a legitimate foodservice option. This suggests HMR will continue to grow in the future, because younger generations have grown up with it and these grocery stores will be in their consideration sets right alongside leading QSR and FSR chains.

Provides healthy choices



Not just about convenience One part of the traditional assumptions about HMR is correct: convenience is a key motivator. Consumers who visited HMR because they were rushed for time represent 15 per cent of all HMR visits, while only 10 per cent of QSR and FSR visits were driven by this time crunch. However, even though convenience is a key factor at HMR, it is not its sole differentiator. Among HMR consumers, 11 per cent say they visited because of the healthy choices available. This is more than twice as high as the five per cent of QSR and FSR consumers who visit for the same reason. So while convenience is certainly important, this segment of foodservice is also positioned to capitalize on the health trends in the industry.

Dependence on off-premise As much as grocery stores work to develop their on-premise seating, HMR is still heavily dependent on the off-premise occasion. Almost half, 44 per cent, of all HMR meals are eaten at home, compared to 22 per cent of QSR and FSR; and 18 per cent is consumed at work



Had limited time

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Understanding the real HMR

ment is likely to become more and more competitive with traditional QSR and FSR options, as younger generations become more comfortable and familiar with using grocery stores as a foodservice option. For the rest of the market, this means it will become increasingly important to differentiate from the HMR experience. Highlighting the on-premise experience that HMR cannot yet match will remind consumers that QSR and FSR outlets provide more than just food — they provide a complete dining experience.

As the HMR trend continues to grow, it is important to fully understand the consumers most likely to use this segment of the industry. HMR has differentiated itself from the rest of the market by developing strong health perceptions, and it is resonating well with the younger demographics. In the future, this means this seg-

Scott Stewart is an account manager, foodservice Canada for The NPD Group. The NPD Group has more than 25 years of experience providing reliable and comprehensive consumer-based market information to leaders in the foodservice industry. For more information, visit www.npd.com.

versus only 10 per cent for QSR or FSR. This highlights an opportunity for non-HMR operators to compete with this segment. While HMR has been successful with emerging trends like millennials and healthy options, providing an all-around dining experience is still very difficult for the segment. QSR and FSR operators can leverage their dining rooms to show consumers what makes them better than buying from a grocery store.

Oshawa Centre opens new food court, two new restaurants OSHAWA, Ont. — Rather than renovate its food court, the Oshawa Centre has completely rebuilt the space for its dining options offered at the mall. As part of a $230 million, 260,000-squarefoot expansion project, the mall will unveil a new 1,000-seat food court on Sept. 29, a 372seat increase. “We’ve really increased the number of seats, which is really going to improve the dining and shopping experience here at the Oshawa Centre,” said general manager Chris Keillor. He added the seat increase is designed to accommodate the growing customer base that is emerging in the area. “We’re the largest enclosed shopping centre

in Durham Region and essentially, Durham Region is the fastest-growing region in the Greater Toronto Area,” he said. The food court will house 14 foodservice options along with a central kiosk. With a total

CZECH OUT THIS RESTAURANT LEASE OPPORTUNITY! The Masaryk Memorial Institute (MMI) is looking for an experienced and creative restaurant entrepreneur to enter into a lease (minimum 5 years) to operate a restaurant on its grounds at Masaryktown, 450 Scarborough Golf Club Road, Scarborough. We are looking for written proposals which would specify: • your successful experience in restaurant operations with a 5-year business plan; • how you would partner with us to promote Czech and Slovak culture in the menu.

of 60 new tenants in the new wing of the mall, new food court options include A&W, BarBurrito Fresh Mexican Grill, Pannizza, South St. Burger and Starbucks. “It just elevates the whole experience of the

shopping centre. Being able to offer a wide variety of options, you’re able to offer something for everyone,” Keillor said. The new foodservice space includes a nursing lounge in the washroom area, charging outlets and hooks for bags and jackets in the seating area. The original food court will be demolished and turned into commercial units. “Our new food court has spectacular vaulted ceilings and there’s an abundance of natural daylight, which really makes a more enjoyable dining experience,” Keillor said. “Space-wise, this is a much bigger food court.” As well, a Kelsey’s (which began serving customers in late August) and Baxter’s Landing are part of the mall’s expansion.


by leaving comments on

photo credit: Martin Rejzek

To visit the site, or with further questions, please email office@masaryktown.ca or call 416-439-4354. Initial proposals should be submitted no later than NOON on October 15, 2016. in person or email.

1 2 | Ontario Restaurant News





Canadian Restaurant News


Executive chef Samir Girgis and bakery manager Sarah Tsai.

Ricarda’s focuses on “appreciative service” TORONTO — Ricarda’s 134 is bringing a taste of the Mediterranean to the QRC West building on Peter Street. Owner Henrick Desch worked with general manger David Whissell to develop the Toronto establishment. Desch’s Germany-based manufacturing business has its North American arm in Cambridge, Ont. “This is his first restaurant venture,” said Whissell during a tour of the space. “The whole concept started three years ago; it was a bit of a journey.” In addition to 170 seats in the ground-floor restaurant, there is an additional 97-seat patio, a grab-and-go counter and an on-site bakery. “The building we’re located in was the [Weston’s Biscuit Factory] in Toronto. The bakery was not in our original concept at all, but once we found that out, we decided we had to have an in-house bakery,” said Whissell, who has decades of foodservice experience. In addition to the Ricarda’s operation, the landlord offered the use of a second-floor mezzanine overlooking the atrium. The team took the opportunity to create a 30-seat martini bar, Attico Bar & Tapas, which Whissell describes as “a rolling cocktail party, charged by the toothpick.” Whissell said Ricarda’s focus is on bold flavours and fresh ingredients — the herbs the kitchen uses grow behind the host stand. “Mediterranean feel and flavours — these bold flavours, these fresh local ingredients whenever possible — are at the core of what we’re doing,” he said. The kitchen is designed a bit differently than normal; instead of food being cooked behind the line and plated at the front, the configuration has been flipped so cooks face the diners. “We brought all of our ingredients and our cooking right up front so guests are encouraged to come up and watch them cooking and talk to the chef,” Whissell said. “This kitchen has lived in my head now for 15 years — I finally get to see it and stand in it, work in it,” he said, adding the large kitchen is the heart of the whole operation.

Attico Bar & Tapas.

Controlling that lifeblood is veteran Toronto chef Samir Girgis (Mistral, Lure), who has designed a menu allowing guests to order a la carte creations and feature dishes or tailor a salad, flatbread or pasta to their whim by choosing the components. “Here, you can get exactly what it is you want,” said Girgis, who describes his cooking as “flavour first food.” The menu draws on the culinary influence of a number of regions, said the chef, who is looking past Spain and Italy to include cuisine from Egypt, Israel, Greece and Morocco, all flavours he enjoys. “It’s colourful, flavourful, plated nicely … It’s what I eat,” he said. “People want flavourful food that they can understand.” Mirroring the idea of having family over for dinner, guests can sit at the kitchen bar, large booths for eight people, dining room-style tables and a lounge area, “similar to a family room,” Whissell explained. The design, which makes use of white and black marble and tiles, warm tones and gold finishes, is intended to have an Old World feel. “The Allied [QRC West] building is so new and modern, we wanted something that would fit and give a little contrast,” said Whissell. “It has a little bit of a high-end feel to it, but it is certainly an approachable menu and approachable restaurant.” Whissell hopes Ricarda’s service model will help the restaurant stand out from the crowd in Toronto’s Entertainment District. “A big thing that’s going to set us apart is our service style, what we call appreciative service,” he said. “We have 500 places to choose from within 10 blocks, why would you come here? We’re going to make you feel like you belong, you’re welcome, and that we really appreciate you being here.” While this is Desch’s first foray into foodservice, it’s unlikely to be his last. Whissell said there are plans to open up to eight other restaurants in major Canadian cities.

Tasting tables at Ricarda’s.

September 2016 | 1 3

Setting a high bar There’s more to a successful beverage program than creative cocktails By Bill Tremblay


perating a bar more than 350 metres above ground requires precise inventory control. Otherwise, it’s a long way down to restock. Doris Miculan Bradley, who served as general manager of the CN Tower’s 360 Revolving Restaurant for 23 years, learned to perfect meticulously stocking a bar. “I only had one fridge to service 1,000 guests every six hours,” she said. “I had to have the par stock down to the bottle. Otherwise, I had to go down 1,150 feet to get my backup stock.” Today, Miculan Bradley is a professor in George Brown College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and the importance of inventory control is relayed to her students. “A lot of times people go into the bar business because they love the vibe and like the fast-paced business. It’s glamourous,” she said. “But they’re not in control of inventory.” A bar’s par stock should be assessed before opening and closing each day. Miculan Bradley recommends delegating who is responsible for inven-

1 4 | Ontario Restaurant News

tory tasks, as well as creating a standard operating procedure. “Who is taking out the bottles and who is restocking the bottles and are the empties matched against the end-of-shift readings?” she said. “How do you purchase? Do you have a central buyer, or collaborative buying where the staff has some input?”

The Four Ps Miculan Bradley added the four Ps of marketing — product, price, placement and promotion — is another area bar managers must master. “What bar owners don’t do extremely well is to understand how much does an item cost to be made,” Miculan Bradley said. “If you want a local item, you’re going to pay a local price. Consider what the guest is willing to pay for this item and your profit expectations.” When introducing a new product, ensure it is connecting with your customer base and not occupying valuable bar space. “There’s nothing wrong with changing your bar list on a weekly basis,” she said. “At the CN Tower, I managed a list with 540 labels. I would pull a product if it wasn’t performing.” Miculan Bradley suggests giving a

new product two months to begin turning a profit. “There is a benchmark for performance. Some wines were niche wines and would take a little longer to sell. On the liquor side of it, if it didn’t perform within 60 days, it was out,” she said.

Avoid a poor pour policy Although premeasured pouring systems are widely available, Miculan Bradley explained craft cocktails and flair bartending are a growing trend. Many establishments increase cocktail prices to offset potential spillage associated with flipping bottles. Combined with possible over pouring, spillage and premium ingredients, a craft cocktail may command a price of about $15. Miculan Bradley suggests ensuring the price is in line with customer expectations. “Is that making you money and are your customers willing to pay for that cocktail?” she questioned. Bar staff should also follow a strict ringing-in policy to maintain accurate inventory. “Everything should be rung in through the POS,” she said. Establishments without a complex point of sale system should maintain de-

tailed spill and comp sheets behind the bar. “Complimentary alcohol is not legal, you shouldn’t be giving it away, but you should have your spill sheets in order,” Miculan Bradley said. At the Shameful Tiki Room on Queen Street West in Toronto, every drink is measured. “A good bar program is all about consistency, fresh ingredients and making sure everyone is on the same page,” said Alana Nogueda, co-owner of the establishment. “Making sure we’re doing the exact same thing is the biggest point for us.”

Timing is everything With the elaborate garnish, and numerous ingredients required to create classic tiki drinks, bartenders at the Shameful Tiki Room arrive two and a half hours before their shift. Allowing ample time for prep work ensures cocktails are served in a timely manner. “We never let or want a drink to go out after the five-minute range,” Nogueda said. To increase efficiency, The Shameful Tiki Room staff meet often. “As a bar team, we make sure we’re on the same page,” Nogueda said, adding kitchen staff are also consulted.

The Shameful Tiki Room’s Mystery Bowl.

“There’s always this wall between front and back of house. We are a bar and restaurant with 11 members so we need to be tight, we converse a lot.” At Lake Road in Hamilton and Twisted Lemon in Cayuga, Ont., mixologist Laurie Lilliman holds weekly meetings with her bar staff. The meetings are scheduled to overlap for about a half hour with the kitchen’s meeting, giving the front and back of house time to discuss flavours that will complement both menus. “A poor wine selection can just disintegrate some beautiful delicate shrimp in the mouth and it could be a very good wine,” said Lilliman, who co-owns both restaurants with her husband chef Dan Megna. “If it’s a bad pairing, you can truly ruin somebody’s experience and really put the kitchen out of joint too.”

Tableside romance After a customer is seated, the server should start a conversation to discover what flavours will work best during their visit; a practice Lilliman calls the “tableside romance.” Lilliman said she might ask if it’s the first meal of the day, or inquire about their schedule for the day to help find the right flavour profile and guide the guest’s drink order to match their meal. “All of these things help to guide the palate,” Lilliman said. “Generally people like something sweeter in the morning, or at the beginning of the culinary adventure. If they’re having something spicy, it’s going to definitely affect the direction we steer them in terms of cocktail or wine.”

Manage management Bar management is an area where owners should avoid trying to find labour cost savings, according to Miculan Bradley. “I really disagree with not investing in your management,” Miculan Bradley said.

Laurie Lilliman’s Green Garden cocktail.

“There are challenges in ensuring bars liman won’t look to previously documented are investing in management leadership, ideas. “I find it creates this box. I like to feel my talent that enjoys teamwork and providing quality service, rather than somebody to just way through,” she said. Her first step is to research the base spirit mind the front door and ensure the ALGC she intends to use in the cocktail. rules aren’t being violated.” “Where does it come from? What is its Miculan Bradley also hears from her stuindigenous area? Who dents who have found created it and what employment in front do they have around of house positions that them?” she said. management often ig“From there, you’re nores them. At the end of the day, finding complementary “The front of house we’re behind the flavours.” staff has the best line House-made syrof communication with bar to give people ups and bitters help the customer,” Miculan a good time. increase the value of Bradley said. “Talk to a cocktail as well as all of your employees.” A good manager, Alana Nogueda simplify creating the she said, is willing to Co-owner beverage, Lilliman exdeescalate conflicts beThe Shameful Tiki Room plained. “I can add flavour tween staff members, a common occurrence in a workplace that is and depth without overcomplicating the execution of the drink itself,” she said. “And it often gratuity-driven. “Don’t let these conflicts manifest. Ad- does add the perception of value.” Originality is another advantage of dress them immediately at the end of the house-made products. Lilliman’s Green Garshift,” she recommends. den cocktail, for example, was inspired while “Let staff be part of the resolution.” gardening. “I had lovage and chives growing side by R&D When the bar staff at Lilliman’s restau- side. It was a beautiful mess. If they look that rants begin creating new cocktails, she ex- good together in the dirt they must like each plained various personality types are high- other,” she said. “It needs to be a drink.” lighted throughout the process. For the cocktail, Lilliman created a chive “There are the analytical developers, you have your research developers and you have syrup as well as a dehydrated smoked tomato rim and garnished the drink with a lovage your emotional developers,” Lilliman said. While their approach to research and de- leaf. “If I had bought something and used that velopment differs, each personality type plays in place of actually making things, it would a role in creating the cocktail menu. “They complete each other. We all bring never taste the same as it did,” she said. “A few people that taste my drinks often something different to the table,” she said. “I’m 100 per cent an emotional creator. say that was their favourite one ever.” At The Shameful Tiki Room, the cocktail I’m very much about the experience for the person enjoying the cocktail, but at the end experience is part of the culture. Its Mystery Bowl ($23), for exof the day I run a bar at a restaurant. Execuample, is a rum-based cocktail for two, tion has to be tight.” When developing a new beverage, Lil- served in a conch shell-shaped bowl with

fire features at either end of the beverage. The drink, made from a secret recipe, is presented with the ring of a gong. “That’s what tiki is. It should be fun, over the top and extravagant. Making it fun and different is what brings people back,” Nogueda said. Each year, the bar also plans to release a new house tiki mug that customers take home after they’ve finished their beverage. “It’s just a good way to remember us,” Nogueda said. “Any good tiki bar should have their own custom mug.”

Often overlooked When new staff arrive at Lake Road or Twisted Lemon, Lilliman stresses the importance of cleanliness at the bar. “Clean as you go. I’m a big stickler for that,” she said. The utensils behind the bar, from an ice scoop to service cloths, need to remain in their designated locations. “When you’re busy and executing a full dining room, if things are not in the same place, that just throws everything off and it’s a downward spiral,” Lilliman said. “If you have people working side by side and somebody’s putting something in a different place, it’s a recipe for chaos.” For Nogueda, she believes some bar staff need to review the definition of hospitality. “People forget what we do. I love my job because I get to have fun everyday,” she said. “It’s a passion.” Nogueda explained bartending has changed and ego is playing a larger role in the profession. “At the end of the day, we’re behind the bar to give people a good time,” she said.

September 2016 | 1 5



spirited revival

The Headwaters Region’s first (legal) distillery in a century is set to open in 2017 By Kristen Smith GRAND VALLEY, Ont. — Changes to Ontario legislation surrounding craft distilling has opened the door to future operators like husband-and-wife team Jamie and Sheila Stam. The couple moved to Grand Valley, Ont., about a year ago and plan to open Grand Spirits, a resto-distillery, in an old schoolhouse built in 1892 on Mill Street. “We fell in love with the town and fell in love with the lore,” said Jamie. As the story goes, after most Ontario communities had gone dry in response to the Temperance Movement, Grand Valley’s three hotels — The Dominion, The Commercial and The Central — catered to those in the region looking for a stiff drink until provincial prohibition legislation was passed in 1916. Dubbed the first legal distillery to open in a century in the Headwaters Region, the schoolhouse has sat empty, windows boarded, for three decades. A soft opening for Grand Spirits is planned for April, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on July 1 2017. In the spring, the couple issued a call for crowdfunding in an effort to foster community involvement and a sense of ownership in the new distillery.

Jamie grew up in what he called a “Mad Men” household, from which grew an appreciation for cocktails. The natural progression for the distiller was a curiosity in the components of cocktails, especially gin. The distillery has been a dream for Jamie for quite some time, and a serious goal for about five years. With changes in provincial liquor legislation, such as required minimum production, and more on the horizon, the business model and margins look more reasonable. “The regulations where such that is was unrealistic unless you were one of the big boys,” said Sheila. The ability to have a smaller still — Grand Spirits will be running with a 100-gallon capacity — allows distillers to run them more often. “Every weekend, when people come to visit — because at the end of the day, we’re a destination location — people will see things happening … the magic of spirit production,” said Jamie. Production will focus on gin and whisky as well as what Jamie called “novelty products,” such as a Star Shine, a 60 per cent abv moonshine made with non-GMO corn, and absinthe

Jamie and Sheila Stam. infused with cannabis. In addition to onsite craft distilling, the first floor of the schoolhouse will also be home a full service restaurant with 43 seats and walnut bar with a dozen seats. The second floor is earmarked as office space. Jamie plans to use the “creepy and wonderful” basement to help create what he envisions as a “bootlegger experience” for guests. Behind the bar, Jamie will joined by local talent, Raissa Stevens, who will also head up Grand Spirits’ online presence, and Lisa Farrows, who will also lend her artistic and design talents to create the “speakeasy meets steampunk” interior decor.

“Our still looks like something out of Jules Verne — it’s all copper and stainless steel with glass columns,” said Jamie. “We’ll carry that thematically through the restaurant, so there will be copper pipes, exposed brick, all sorts of random gauges and so forth.” Sheila said the restaurant menu will focus on small plates with “local, authentic food.” She hopes to be able to bring in some local talent to helm the kitchen. “One of the starting points for the food is pairing with the cocktails and drinks,” said Sheila.

“Really what we do is curate the list based on style. We don’t specifically go after a brewery, we go after a style of beer.” Although the beer menu and flavours differ from location to location, the decor maintains the brand’s “industrial modern” theme. “The look and feel, from my perspective, is the same when you walk into all of them,” L’Heureux said, noting the Toronto location is the first new building to house a CRAFT Beer Market. Each location is fitted with a central island bar and steel draft tower that connect the bar to the glass-enclosed keg room, capable of holding up to 300 kegs.

The beer is delivered through twinned, thinner-than-average draft lines to maintain freshness. “We’re cleaning lines every single day so the beer is fresh as can be,” L’Heureux said. With the Ottawa location introducing CRAFT Beer Market to Ontario about a year ago, L’Heureux noted the province’s craft beer production is exploding. “There’s some amazing beer in Ontario already. It’s going to determine who is the best of the breweries,” L’Heureux said. “There’s going to be a lot of young, one-year breweries that are producing beer that’s blowing everyone’s mind.”

CRAFT Beer Market to open Toronto location TORONTO — While CRAFT Beer Market is about to open its fifth location, the company’s founder PJ L’Heureux believes the restaurant’s business model is far from the traditional concept of a chain restaurant. CRAFT Beer Market will open its first Toronto location in early 2017 at the corner of Yonge and Adelaide streets. The Toronto menu and recipes will be the same as its counterparts in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, L’Heureux said the local approach to sourcing ingredients adds a regional twist to flavours. “If you have a burger in Alberta, and compare it to B.C., it’s different. It’s different beef so it’s not going to taste quite the same,” he said. “Everything we do is localized. We don’t get national pricing at all.” The menu is billed as “new North American classic cuisine” and includes signature items like beer can chicken and fast food sushi (a reimagined hamburger, with lettuce and tomato and wrapped in bacon with a side of dill aioli). “Fast food sushi became one of our biggest selling items,” L’Heureux said.

1 6 | Ontario Restaurant News

For its 160 beer taps planned for Toronto, Ontario breweries will represent more than 50 per cent of the list. L’Heureux explained offering more than 80 local beers on tap will help open new markets for craft producers. “We kind of bring it to a commercial level,” he said. “When you get out to the market and meet all these breweries, you realize there isn’t a great platform for them to get out in the market.” L’Heureux added he partners with local breweries to create exclusive beers for the restaurants in each of the five markets. “Our goal when we go into any market is to have as many exclusives as we can. Ontario has been a bit of a challenge for us, but we’ve managed a couple already,” he said. “We really go after beers and breweries that will be great partners, and are doing the right thing in the craft beer industry.” The beer list will also introduce Toronto to brews from other provinces and Europe. “We try to do stuff that is going to hit market, that isn’t in the market,” L’Heureux said.

For each neighbourhood, a different Landing

VAUGHAN, Ont. — The Landing Group of Restaurants’ growth plans have received a boost from its parent company and expansion of the brand is slated to continue. Cara got involved with the small restaurant group in December 2014 and bought the remaining stakes the following June. Then, there were three Landings: Williams, Harpers and Hunters. That number has doubled with the addition of Jacksons Landing in Burlington, Ont., Taylors Landing at the Shops at Don Mills and Carters Landing near Woodbine Beach on Toronto’s waterfront. Baxters Landing is slated to open next in November in Oshawa, Ont. Before the Landing collection of restaurants, the co-founders launched South of Temperance in the Financial District in 2010. “Our whole idea there was to build a restaurant that makes sense for the neighbourhood

we’re in,” said Steve Pelton, CEO of the Landing Group of Restaurants and senior vice-president of Milestone’s. They took inventory of what the people at their doorstep wanted to figure out what was right for the area, what the locals (and after work crowd) wanted in a restaurant. “From Day 1, we spent a lot of time in the community that we were building our restaurants in, and it started with South of Temperance,” said Pelton. They brought that principle to William’s Landing in Liberty Village and carried it forward with future growth. Each location has its own executive chef, distinct menus and decor, and aims to reflect the neighbourhood it’s in. The first names are a subtle tip of the hat to a famous local. Williams Landing is on Lynn Williams Street, named for a Canadian labour leader. Harpers Landing refers to Oakville na-

tive Martha Matilda Harper, who is credited as the creator of the franchise system. “There’s a story to each first name,” Pelton said. When Cara took over the brand, it kept Pelton on board to head up operations. His three original partners are still involved as well. “Cara kept them on as kind of an advisory board for me because that’s how we made our decisions,” Pelton explained. “They didn’t want to ruin the essence of what the landings were.” Under the leadership of Bill Gregson, Cara has taken a laissez faire approach to the restaurant group, Pelton said. The partnership allows Landing Group to use Cara’s resources, but doesn’t force them to use particular suppliers. “They definitely can open a lot of doors when it comes to real estate,” said Pelton, noting Cara brought the Landing Group all three locations it has opened in to date. Also on the books for Landing Group is a location in Newmarket, Ont., in Upper Canada Mall, named Arthurs Landing, which is slated to open in the first quarter of 2017. In downtown Toronto, Kellys Landing will open at Front Street and University Avenue next summer. Pelton said it’s important to take growth at a steady pace to avoid diluting the brand. “We’re kind of just growing out from the GTA so that we still have a firm grip on our restaurants, so that our directors of operations and regional managers and people like me can drive to any one of our restaurants within the same day and make sure everything is just how we want it to be,” he said.

Franchising underway Continued from cover Jeff Young joined the Monarch & Misfits team in the spring as chief development officer. The company already has multi-unit deals in Dubai and Bangladesh and is working to bring Sweet Jesus to California, Florida and the U.K. Formerly with FDF Restaurant Brandz, Young discovered Monarch & Misfits during a recent Toronto franchise show — not at the show, but while out to dinner at a La Carnita. “I loved the whole ambiance, the atmosphere, the vibe. The culinary was outstanding,” he said. “I went to the back of the restaurant and out of this small little ice cream shop, there’s a lineup out the door on a Sunday night in January at about 9 p.m.” Young said the plan is to grow the brands both separately and as a combined unit. “Quite frankly, the type of franchisee for each of those is going to be quite different,” he said. While Young believes Sweet Jesus is destined to become an international brand, he thinks La Carnita is more appropriate in key North American markets. The average footprint for Sweet Jesus is about 1,000 square feet, while La Carnita requires a space in the area of 3,500 to 4,500 square feet. In addition to the right markets and real estate, Richmond said great partnerships would be the key to successful franchising. “The hardest part, especially for a creative mind, is relinquishing control,” he said. “I’m not a control freak, but there is a level of standard we strive to reach all the time.”





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September 2016 | 1 7


Iceland’s Reyka Vodka is now available in Ontario TORONTO — Iceland’s Reyka Vodka is now available in Ontario. Fittingly, the vodka was officially introduced to the province at CHILL Ice House in Toronto. “CHILL Ice House is the largest permanent Ice lounge in the world, and the ice inside was crafted by hand, so we found it only fitting to launch our handcrafted, small batch Icelandic Reyka Vodka, there,” said Beth-Anne Thomas, senior brand manager for William Grant & Sons Cocktail Brands in Canada. “We couldn’t be more excited about our partnership and to bring the essence of Iceland to Toronto, and show everyone what Reyka Vodka is all about.” Reyka is hand crafted in small batches in Iceland’s

first vodka distillery. The distillery is powered by geothermal energy from nearby hot springs, and uses local glacier spring water run through one of the only CarterHead Stills in the world — the only one that is used to make vodka — and uses lava rocks as a natural filtration system. In celebration of the vodka’s arrival in Ontario, CHILL Ice House has a new look. The newly designed space features a 10,000-pound ,hand-carved Reyka glacier, a private vodka booth and signature cocktails designed by the venue’s in-house mixologists. reyka.com

Martell returns to Canada TORONTO — Martell, the oldest of the French Cognac Houses, is relaunching its products in Canada. In September, Corby Spirit and Wine announced the Canadian reintroduction of Martell Cognac, which has produced its spirits for more than 300 years. “We are delighted to bring Martell Cognac back to Canada, where it is renowned for its vibrant heritage and exceptional quality,” said Erika Neudorf,

New product line at Maple Leaf

brand manager at Corby Spirit and Wine. “The Martell House was founded in 1715 at the height of French Art de Vivre, a period of time in which gastronomy and craftsmanship were celebrated.” Martell VS Fine Cognac, Martell Medallion VSOP and Martell XO are available in stores now. The Martell product selection will vary by province. corby.ca

Maple Leaf Foodservice has launched a new lineup of poultry and pork prepared meats. The products are raised without antibiotics and hormone-free, 100 per cent vegetarian fed and raised on Canadian farms. The product line is available across Maple Leaf ’s branded and private label platforms.


Tawse Winery named 2016 Canadian Winery of the year VINELAND, Ont. — Tawse Winery has been named the Canadian Winery of the year by WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada. The annual competition recognizes the best in Canadian wines as well as the top performing wineries in the nation’s industry. Throughout the year, the winery has received 17 medals, including five gold and eight silver. For Tawse, 2016 isn’t the first time it has been named Winery of the Year, previously picking up the dis-

tinction in 2010, 2011 and 2012. “With more than 230 wineries entering the competition, it really is overwhelming to be recognized as number 1. This success would not be possible without the passion and hard work of our dedicated winery team. We are extremely proud of this achievement and truly believe this honour belongs not only to us, but to all of those in our industry who work hard each year to raise the bar in Canadian wines,” proprietor Moray Tawse said in a news release.

Tim Hortons names new president OAKVILLE, Ont. — Sami Siddiqui is the new president of Tim Hortons Canada. Siddiqui, who previously worked as the company’s executive vice-president of finance, is the second person to take the position since Restaurant Brands International Inc. — the parent company of Burger King — acquired the company in 2014. Former president David Cla-

1 8 | Ontario Restaurant News

nachan moves to the new position of chairman of RBI Canada, and will report to chief executive officer Daniel Schwartz. Clanachan was appointed president of the iconic Canadian coffee shop in 2014, after working as chief executive officer for two years. Before joining RBI in 2013, Siddiqui worked at Google in new business development and as an analyst for The Blackstone Group.

Tawse Winery is a Niagara winery whose portfolio is comprised of the Tawse and Sketches brands. Owned and operated by the Tawse family, Tawse wines are sold nationally direct-to-consumer and in provincial liquor stores. Paul Pender and Rene Van Ede handcraft all of the wines within the Tawse Winery portfolio. “Our commitment to producing expressive wines really begins in the vineyard,” Pender said in a news release, noting the winery’s organic and

Paul Pender biodynamic farming philosophies. “We truly believe that the way we’re farming allows us to produce

Rene Van Ede fruit of the highest quality, at the same time giving back to the soil for future harvests.”

Sheraton Centre Toronto names new executive sous chef TORONTO — Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel’s executive chef Paul Paboudjian recently announced the appointment of Alex Shterenberg as executive sous chef. In this position, Shterenberg will oversee the culinary team, including sous and banquet chefs at the 1,372room hotel. Most recently, Shterenberg held the position of executive chef at Sheraton Gateway Hotel at Toronto Pearson In-

ternational Airport. In this role he was responsible for the operation of the property’s culinary and stewarding operations. His culinary career with Starwood Hotels began as an apprentice at The Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto. He received culinary training in Switzerland and Russia before returning to Canada, and held several positions, including commis, chef de partie and senior sous chef at The Westin Harbour Castle.

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• Customized solutions

Plus, if you own a water heater that’s less than 6 years old, or a boiler that’s less than 8 years old, you can benefit from our exclusive Buy-Back Program and earn $3,000 to $9,000 to invest in your business.

To find out if you qualify for our Buy-Back Program and learn more about our customized water heating solutions, call 1-866-326-9392 today.

™ “Reliance”, “Reliance Commercial Solutions”, and the Reliance Commercial Solutions logo are trademarks of Reliance Comfort Limited Partnership. * Subject to standard rental program terms and conditions. Some additional charges relating to installation (e.g. code required venting) may be applicable. Call for details.

Receive up to $9,000 through our exclusive Buy-Back Program.

Profile for Ishcom Publications

Ontario Restaurant News - September 2016  

Ontario Restaurant News - September 2016