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estaurant News R April 2014 Vol. 29 No. 3








gets a slice By Jonathan Zettel, assistant editor WATERLOO, ON—Alberta-based pizzeria Famoso has opened its third 2014 CRFA SHOW Ontario location in Waterloo with plans to open another five or six in COVERAGE the province within the next year. Kelly Farraj, vice-president, Eastern Canada, said although the company would like to open as many INNOVATION operations as possible, it is more concerned with opening successful locations. “We are trying to target some of those university towns right now like Waterloo; it’s been an amazing success so far,” Farraj told ORN. Farraj said the company is looking to land new locations in Guelph and London within the next year or From mobility to two, adding a deal has been signed for a location in Ottawa, with agreecustomer interaction, ments in the works for Oakville, Auwe asked experts what’s APPROVAL REQUIRED rora and Maple. the enclosed proof is sent for your approval. We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. new and what’s next in DO NOT GIVE VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS. CHECK CAREFULLY!Farraj believes Ontario could Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. alterations (other than typobecome the largest market for Fagraphical errors) will extra. Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” as the case may point ofbe charged sale technology. be, signing your name so we may know that the proof reached the proper authority. moso and said if the company were to move further east, “We’d probably Signature Of apprOval date




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Patrick O’Shaughnessy.

look at development deals where groups from those markets would buy the rights to expand Famoso and we would help them throughout the process.” Famoso originated in 2009 in Alberta, where it now has at least 14 locations.

New kids on the block Patrick O’Shaughnessy picked up everything and moved from Edmonton to Waterloo in January, after purchasing the Waterloo franchise with his brother Ryan. “We loved the location and thought it could work,” Patrick O’Shaughnessy said. “I think [Famoso] thought it was good that we were a little younger to add a cool, hip vibe.” Located at 15 King St. South, the franchise opened on Feb. 17. O’Shaughnessy said he was impressed by the community feel, adding the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Association was par-

ticularly helpful. “We do an authentic Neapolitan pizza—we bring our flour, our tomatoes, our olive oil—it all comes from Italy. We make our dough fresh in house every morning,” O’Shaughnessy said. The gas-powered bell oven— which reaches 900 o F and can cook a pizza in 90 seconds—was also imported from Italy, O’Shaughnessy said. The 2,600-square-foot space had to be completely gutted and renovated. The interior seats 74 and was designed by Mississauga construction company Build it by Design with high ceilings and exposed brick featuring work by a Toronto artist and photography taken in Naples, Italy. According to O’Shaughnessy, a 30-seat patio should be completed by April. O’Shaughnessy said the Waterloo location is already leading the company in wine sales, adding the sales are split 20 per cent alcohol and 80 per cent food.

The average check is about $17 for a pizza and a drink. Getting some of the restaurant supplies has been a challenge, O’Shaughnessy said. The restaurant sells Italian soda, which requires a special order and can take weeks to arrive. While Famoso isn’t a live-music venue, O’Shaughnessy said he may have to arrange something to localize the franchise within Waterloo’s vibrant music scene. O’Shaughnessy and his brother co-own the business and pay a four per cent franchise fee along with another two per cent for advertising. Since the bulk of Famoso’s advertising hits Alberta, the company agreed to give half back to the brothers for local marketing. The duo has first right of refusal for any new locations within the TriCity region, London and Guelph. “We are at the forefront of a big expansion and it’s cool to be the new hip place in town,” O’Shaughnessy said.

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Carl’s Jr. set to launch in Ontario TORONTO—Carl’s Jr. is rolling into Ontario after parent company CKE Restaurants Holdings signed a deal with Toronto-based franchisee 6Points Food Services Ltd. as part of a plan to double the company’s international presence within the next five years. The agreement will see 6Points develop, open and operate 30 new stores in Southwestern Ontario, with construction on the first beginning in Waterloo as early as May and locations in Toronto, Mississauga and a store in Burlington soon-to-follow. According to 6Points managing partner Kent Graber, Carl’s Jr. will focus on bringing quality, handcrafted items to the market. Graber said items such as: made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits; baked-in-house burger buns; hand-breaded chicken tenders; hand-scooped milkshakes; and a 100 per cent Black Angus beef burger will position Carl’s Jr. as a premium fast food restaurant. Exclusive to Canadian Carl’s Jr. restaurants, customers are also able to order poutine. Graber pointed out that in the U.S. 62 per cent of meals are away-from-home while in Canada that number is only about 38 per cent, adding there is an incredible potential in the Canadian market to get more people into restaurants. Locations will include a drive-thru, with interiors around 3,000 square feet and seating for 70 to 90. In addition to the drive-thru locations, Graber said 6Points is also looking to open around 10 smaller stores located in places like food courts. CKE vice-president of international Ned Ly-

erly said the company’s long-term goal is to have 400 restaurants right across Canada, adding up to 20 stores annually. “I think we have a very strong position on the premium end of the QSR business and even from a quality standpoint into casual and sit-down-restaurant-style burgers but served at the price and convenience of fast-food,” Lyerly told ORN. Lyerly said there are eight franchise entities developing resPoutine exclusive to Canadian locations. taurants in Canada and still plenty Pictured: Kelowna, BC, location. of opportunities for more groups to come on board. cluded celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Paris “We are definitely looking for franchisee Hilton and Kate Upton. groups across Canada for that matter, so that “The edgy advertising that we deliver gets would include Ontario, in the West and along noticed, gets talked about, adds brand value to the East Coast,” Lyerly said. “It’s a really great our franchisees and really creates excitement time for someone to consider a franchise offer- and interest amongst our core target market,” ing because we have a supply chain in place and Lyerly said. we’ve done a good job working with prototypes Carl’s Jr. already has eight locations in Westand buildings and we’ve got our marketing in ern Canada in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Chilliplace.” wack, Vernon, Kamloops, Penticton, Grand According to Lyerly, franchisees pay a royalty Prairie, and in Kelowna where the company first fee of five per cent of sales and a franchise fee landed in Canada in the summer of 2012. There of US$45,000 for a 20-year licence. A minimum are also plans to open a location in Edmonton. of 4 per cent of sales goes to advertising. “The CKE operates Carl’s Jr. and Hardees as one majority of that is spent locally by franchisees global brand under two banners with a total of or, as we move forward with our advertising co- 3,442 franchised and company-operated restauoperatives in Canada, it will either be managed rants across the U.S. and in 30 countries. locally or contributed to a Canada-based adverAccording to Lyerly, Hardees stores will not tising co-operative,” Lyerly said. be launched in Canada because the brand’s The company will continue with its provoc- name is too similar to Cara-owned Harvey’s and ative ad campaigns, which in the past have in- conflicts with the trademark.

Topper’s moving into fast casual

Topper’s Pizza’s new location in Chelmsford, ON. Inset: Thai Sensation pizza.

By Kristen Smith Assistant editor, digital content BARRIE, ON—Topper’s Pizza is tackling growth and a new concept, opening its first fast casual location in Chelmsford, ON, a community it has had a carryout and delivery location in for about 20 years. The new prototype, a fast casual pizzeria, opened on March 26 and seats about 75. President and chief operating officer Keith Toppazzini said growth has been focused on smaller, suburban communities. The brand was founded in 1982 in Sudbury, ON, and began franchising a decade later with nine locations under its belt. It currently has 35 locations in Ontario and plans to add 12 more in the next two years. “The goal is to kind of surround Toronto before we enter into Toronto,” Toppazzini told ORN. “Our brand is really known for flavour

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and taste. Word-of-mouth and reputation is most important and we seem to do a better job of gaining word of mouth quicker in the bedroom communities.” He said he expects word of mouth to travel more quickly as the brand gets bigger and stronger. He said Topper’s is focusing on building the company internally “getting ready for major growth” and recently brought on Jeff Dillon as vice-president. Dillon, formerly of Threecaf Brands Canada, has hired a director of training, more field people and someone to head up purchasing. “He’s building a team and we’re going to get back into focusing on growth,” said Toppazzini. He said the company plans to start with four or five new units this year and eight the following year, with growth focused in Ottawa, London and the Kitchener-Waterloo area. “Our goal is to start off with a rate that is

sustainable and then, once we get into a rhythm, ultimately we want to be opening a new pizzeria every two weeks,” he said. “We should get to that pace in about three to four years.” In terms of new markets, Topper’s is looking at Manitoba and Alberta, specifically near the major centres. “As we look outside of the province, we’ll be focusing on multi-unit franchise operators,” said Toppazzini. He hopes to open in new provinces within the next two years. The delivery/carryout store has a footprint of between 1,200 and 1,500 square feet and an average ticket of about $24. The fast casual concept has what Toppazzini describes as a look that mixes modern with old world tradition and can sustain a footprint of between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet. “We focused on making it very earthy and comfortable,” said Toppazzini, noting the company used corporate colours red and black and plenty of wood. On the walls hang pictures of and quotes about food. He said the company thinks the concept is suited to urban settings close to where people work and go to school, but will also work in rural areas. The dough recipe is more than 110 years old passed down by Giuseppe Toppazzini who used the recipe at Toppazzini Bakery, which opened in 1904 in Toronto’s Little Italy. On top of the Italian bread base, are creations such as the Chipotle Chicken Florentine and the Tropical Heatwave with extra cheese, pepperoni, pineapple and hot peppers on a garlic butter crust. The Chelmsford location and any future fast casual stores—Toppazzini said the company should know if the prototype is successful within a month—will also offer beer and wine.

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Com m e n t

Good neighbours

Editorial Director Leslie Wu ext. 227 Senior Contributing Editor Colleen Isherwood ext. 231 Assistant Editor Jonathan Zettel ext. 226 Assistant Editor, Digital Content Kristen Smith ext. 238 Senior Account Manager Debbie McGilvray ext. 233 Account Manager Kim Kerr ext. 229 Production Stephanie Giammarco ext. 0 Circulation Manager Don Trimm ext. 228 Controller Tammy Turgeon ext. 237 How to reach us: Tel (905) 206-0150


t the heart of every successful restaurant is being a good neighbour. After all, what could be more neighbourly than inviting people in to rest awhile with food and drink? Restaurants serve as a waypoint for residents and visitors exploring a community and while they thrive at inviting others in, operators across the country are also taking note of the opportunities to be made by connecting with neighbouring businesses. Take Toronto businessman Alex Ling. In 1970, Ling pioneered Canada’s first Business Improvement Area in Toronto’s Bloor West Village. The mission statement of the project was under the banner of improving business, but what it really came down to was convincing others that better business really started with being a good neighbour. What Ling saw—and continues to persuade others of even to this day—is that business success cannot be realized in a vacuum and depends on a symbiotic relationship with others in the community. Since the ‘70s, BIAs have flourished around

Mickey Cherevaty Consultant, Moyer Diebel Limited Marvin Greenberg Consultant Jack Battersby President, Summit Food Service Distributors Inc. Barney Strassburger Jr. President, TwinCorp Paul LeClerc Partner, Serve-Canada Food Equipment Ltd. Michael Stephens Director of Retail, Inventory and Wholesale, LCBO Ralph Claussen 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 Matt Johnston Vice-president, Marketing, Moosehead Breweries Martin Kouprie Chef/Owner, Pangaea Restaurant Joel Sisson Founder and president of Crush Strategy Inc. Leslie Wilson Vice-president of Business Excellence Compass Group Canada Chris Jeens Partner W. D. Colledge Co. Ltd. Volume 29 No. 3 Ontario Restaurant News is published 12 times a year by Ishcom Publications Ltd., which also publishes: Pacific/Prairie Restaurant News, Atlantic Restaurant News, Canadian Lodging News, Ontario Chains and the ORN Buyers’ Directory. 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201 Mississauga, Ontario L4X 2W1 Tel: (905) 206-0150 Fax: (905) 206-9972 In Canada 1 800 201-8596 Subscriptions: Canada: $52.33/year or $78.57/2 years, $102.67/ 3 years; U.S.A.: $58.85/year or $84.85/2 years, $108.70/ 3 years. Single copy: $5.95 (Plus taxes where applicable) Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to circulation department, 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201, Mississauga, Ontario L4X 2W1 Publication Mail Agreement No. 40010152 ISSN 0834-0404 GST number R102533890

the world. Former mayor of Toronto David Miller called the concept “one of the country’s greatest exports” with similar organizations now active across the world including the U.S., Australia and Europe. So when brothers Ryan and Patrick O’Shaughnessy picked up everything to move from Edmonton to open a Famoso pizzeria franchise in Waterloo, ON, one of their first contacts on the ground was Patti Brooks, executive director of the Uptown BIA. According to Patrick, she was welcoming, supportive and acted as a gateway into the rest of the community with her dynamic and contagious energy. In Bloor West Village, where it all began, giant oversized banners and solar powered light posts installed by the longest-standing BIA mark a community where something special has happened. As the area’s motto suggests “the small village in a big city,” is a real example of being neighbourly. For his part, Ling has been lauded with awards and accolades and even had a memorial fountain—which runs throughout the

Bi t s

Publisher Steven Isherwood ext. 236

Editorial advisory CounCil


Toronto food trucks rev up TORONTO—The city of Toronto is moving to loosen the rules surrounding food trucks. A staff proposal was amended by the licensing and standards committee on March 18 and will be brought to council in early April. According to the Globe and Mail, originally city staff recommended a limit of two trucks per street with a maximum parking time of three hours. Councillors Mary Margaret McMahon and Glenn De Baeremaeker moved to bump the time limit up to five hours and lifted the restriction on the number of trucks allowed on each street. Councillors however did not change the rule that would restrict food trucks from operating within 50 metres of a restaurant. Zane Caplansky, who owns a food truck and a restaurant, told the Globe and Mail food trucks do not pose a threat to restaurants. “If they did, wouldn’t we know it? Wouldn’t we see it in every city across North America?” Caplansky said. John Nunziata, a lawyer for the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association said the 50-metre restriction was in place to ensure a level playing field for restaurants and accused food truck owners of wanting to create a “Wild West” out of the foodservice industry.

a nd

enhance the customer experience, elevate the profile of the brand and help increase sales and profits for our franchise owners,” Stuart K. Mathis, Quiznos chief executive officer, said a in statement. Quiznos Canada released a statement saying its locations remain open during the financial restructuring. George Jeffrey, chief operating officer of Quiznos Canada, said in a statement: “Our restaurants are open for business as usual.”

GMP 2014 competition dates TORONTO—The journey to the Canadian Culinary Championships has begun again now that Gold Medal Plates has announced the dates for its 2014 competition. A celebration of Canadian excellence in cuisine, wine and athletic achievement, Gold Medal Plates features the premier chefs in 11 cities in a competition to crown a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in each region. This year’s dates include Winnipeg (Oct. 2); Halifax (Oct. 16); Edmonton (Oct. 23); Victoria, BC (Oct. 30); Saskatoon (Nov. 8); Montreal (private party); Toronto (Nov. 12); St. John’s (Nov. 13); Ottawa (Nov. 17); Regina (Nov. 21) and Calgary (private party). Firstplace finishers of these competitions will go on to the Canadian Culinary Championships. Founded in 2003, Gold Medal Plates raises funds for Canada’s Olympic athletes, while celebrating Canadian excellence, and since 2004 has raised over $8.2 million.

Quiznos: bankruptcy protection

Canadian Linen grows

OAKVILLE, ON—Quiznos announced on March 14 the company would file for bankruptcy protection, but expected the move won’t affect operations. The Denver-based company said its 2,100 restaurants in 35 countries, most of which are independent franchises, would remain open. “The actions we are taking are intended to enable Quiznos to reduce our debt, execute a comprehensive plan to further

TORONTO—Canadian Linen and Uniform Services announced in early April the acquisition of a portion of Independent Linen’s Quebec laundry business. “This acquisition provides a great opportunity to expand our market share in the area while introducing new products and services to the customers,” Michel Matte, vice-president of Quebec operations, said in a release, which stated employees from both companies are co-ordinating a seamless transition.

winter—unveiled in 2005 at the western end of the village, an honour rarely bestowed on the living. He still runs his tiny shop, Ling’s Importers. Inside the narrow store, delicate irreplaceable treasures lie inside a glass display case. There’s red and gold jewelry, delicate silks and imported curios. At the end of the long, glass display case, a pile of papers hides a telephone that rings continuously: it’s his neighbours, and they need a helping hand. From Osborne Village Business Improvement Zone in Winnipeg to any of the 22 BIAs in Vancouver or 73 in Toronto, restaurants and businesses are coming together to help foster neighbourhoods. All of it came from a single idea of a gentle businessman: let’s see if we can come together and make this place a little better—let’s be good neighbours. Jonathan Zettel Guest columnist

Bi t e s Pigs get more space OTTAWA—The Canadian Pork Council (CPC) and the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) announced a new code for the handling and care of pigs in Canada in March. The new guidelines include more than 100 animal-care rules and mark an end to gestation crates, which limit the ability of sows to move. “This new code of practice is a turning point for the welfare of pigs in Canada,” Barbara Cartwright, chief executive officer of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies said in a release, calling the end of gestation stalls “an achievement secured against significant obstacles.” The new code will also introduce mandatory pain relief during castration and tail docking. A 17-person committee comprised of pig producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, transporters, processors, veterinarians, and government representatives developed the code. Aiding the committee was an additional six-person committee made up of the science community with expertise in pig behaviour, health and welfare. According to Reuters, restaurant companies including McDonald’s, Tim Hortons and Wendy’s have vowed to buy pork only from farms that do not use gestational crates. The crates are typically seven feet long and two feet wide and house a breeding sow for much of her adult life. In a release, Tim Hortons applauded the guidelines and the NFACC’s approach to farm animal care in Canada. “In our view, we believe NFACC has made a considerable step forward for the welfare of pigs,” Scott Bonikowsky, Tim Hortons vice-president of corporate affairs, said in a release. According to Reuters, Canada is the sixth-largest pork producer in the world.

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New life for Boathouse

Bill MacTavish (left) and Mark Forwell inside The Boathouse during renovations.

By Jonathan Zettel KITCHENER, ON—The new operators of The Boathouse will keep the old piano but the popular music venue will be singing a different tune when it reopens this summer. The property—located in Kitchener’s Victoria Park—made local headlines in September after an abrupt closure locked out local music lovers. “We don’t want to disappoint the old regulars, but at the same time we have to tap in to a much larger market,” restaurateur Bill MacTavish told ORN. “We want to manage expectations; it’s not going to be the old place.” MacTavish who owns the downtown craft beer spot Imbibe, teamed up with entrepreneur Mark Forwell to outbid two other groups vying to operate the city-owned property. The city pitched in $400,000 and MacTavish and Forwell fronted $168,000 for the renovation. “For the most part, the look is going to be completely different,” MacTavish said. The 3,000-square-foot space will be entirely gutted and redesigned by Kitchener’s Thinkform Architectures and Interiors. A 1,200-squarefoot patio hugs the back of the building, sitting alongside a small pond. When the renovations are complete, the building will have a full kitchen and seat 120 inside and another 120 outside. While the interior will get a complete facelift, MacTavish said music will continue to be the focus. “The music scene is vibrant here,” MacTavish said. “People are clamouring for places to play.” To accompany the music, MacTavish said there will be 10 taps featuring Canadian craft beer and a full kitchen. The chalkboard menu will feature locally-


sourced fruits, vegetables and meats, MacTavish said, noting the kitchen will not have a freezer or a microwave. “I want to be the food truck of restaurants,” MacTavish said. “Food trucks always do a good job of creating trends.” The park is also home to annual festivals such as the Ribfest and Craft Beer Show, the K-W Multicultural Festival, Kitchener Blues Festival and Oktoberfest. “Our menu will definitely reflect what is going on in the park,” MacTavish said. “Every major festival that goes on there has already approached us and we’ve already said we’re going to play as big a role as we can.” Just a 10-minute walk from Google’s Kitchener offices, The Boathouse will also use some of the cutting edge mobile technology the region has to offer. The app maegan—created by Waterloobased startup Tacit—will allow diners to browse menus, order food meals and even pay the bill via smartphones. “We’re definitely going to use it at The Boathouse,” MacTavish said, adding he struggled with the decision initially because he was worried the app would undermine the customerserver relationship. “But I think that it might help with that because they’re not taking orders now, so they can answer your questions and spend more time at the table.” Across from The Boathouse, the city has invested an additional $700,000 in public washrooms as part of the park’s revitalization and will add some parking. MacTavish hopes The Boathouse will be upand-running by early July to catch most of the summer service. The Boathouse, 57 Jubilee Drive, Kitchener, ON.

Mary Brown’s hits 100 stores, plans to double BARRIE, ON—The 100th outpost of Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters opened in Barrie, ON, in early March with plans to open 100 more over the next five years. Now based in Markham, ON, the brand was born more than four decades ago in Newfoundland and Labrador as U.S. chain Golden Skillet. When that franchise closed, the N.L. locations were renamed. It has strong presence in its home province, with 39 locations there, and the other 61 are spread out between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta. Mary Brown’s chief executive officer N.L. resident Greg Roberts—a former multi-unit franchisee—took over the company seven years ago, and since then sales have doubled, according to the company. “In Canada, our goal is to be at 200 stores within five years. This year, we’re already slated to open 20 stores across Canada, which is good given this is only March,” Roberts told ORN. “We’re hoping to come in at 25 or more and continue a progressive increase right into year five.” Mary Brown’s plans to open in Kelowna, BC, and Charlottetown this summer, and hopes to move into Regina and Winnipeg by the end of this year. “In the next year, we’re supposed to be in every province with the exception of Quebec,” said Roberts. “We’re hoping to eventually get to Quebec.” Roberts said the Mary Brown’s franchisees are able to drive about 20 per cent more revenue to the bottom line compared to their competitors because labour costs, supply costs

and royalties are lower. “We have reached a critical point for the brand that allows us to leverage buying power for our franchisees, which is important in terms of every day cost control and the ability to deliver a strong bottom line,” Roberts said. “We have the economies of scale now that we’re at 100 stores and the marketing budget to further develop our brand and provide the good pricing and market exposure that we’ve always needed,” said Roberts. “We’ve got a positive catch-22 taking place.” A private company, Mary Brown’s isn’t required to deliver a return on investment to shareholders. Its limited breadth of selection results in lower labour costs. “We’re basically chicken and potatoes; do one thing and do it better than anyone else,” said Roberts. The chain uses proprietary cookers, which cook with heat, rather than pressure. “We use local chicken processors across the country; we bring fresh product into our store two or three times a week—the full chicken which we cut onsite,” said Roberts. “One of our taglines is: our taters started today as honest to goodness potatoes.” With an average check of about $11, Roberts said the chain is making changes to the lunch menu, such as introducing smaller combos and lower price points, to promote traffic in that daypart. Average square feet for the current concept is 1,500, and Roberts describes the look as 1960s traditional diner, homey and comfortable with warm colours and plenty of wood.

Mary Brown’s Bradford, ON, location. Inset: Chief executive officer Greg Roberts.

Mary Brown’s Inc. owns fast casual concept Mary’s Diner, which offers additional menu items, such as all-day breakfast and traditional diner fare, in a table service environment. With two N.L. locations open, Roberts said the fast casual segment has opportunity for growth and thinks some of the larger Mary Brown’s traditional units could be retrofitted for the newer concept. The company recently opened its first international location in Istanbul, Turkey, under the name Mary’s Famous Chicken and Taters. Roberts said they are focusing on emerging markets.

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Restaurants Canada: economic forecast TORONTO—The foodservice industry should expect “healthy gains” over the next four years, according to Restaurants Canada senior economist Chris Elliott. “It has been a very challenging time in terms of the economic indicators and it really depends on which province you’re in,” Elliott said in a presentation at Restaurants Canada’s annual tradeshow in early March. Commercial foodservice sales across the country grew by 4.6 per cent in 2013, according to Statistics Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador saw the highest rate in GDP growth last year, an increase of about five per cent. “What’s alarming though, is that there are about six provinces here with growth of about 1.3 [per cent] or less; we should be seeing growth closer three per cent across the country,” he said, pointing out weaker economic growth has an impact on the job market, which in turn affects disposable income. He noted that there are signs that the economy is improving and consumer confidence is strengthening. Disposable income grew very little between 2009 and 2011 and has been relatively stagnant since then.

“Our stats have shown that for every one per cent increase in disposable income, there is a corresponding 0.8 per cent increase in foodservice sales,” said Elliott. “So disposable income and foodservice sales are really locked one and one.” He said the good news is that consumer debt has reached a plateau. People are, however, looking for deals and operators are forced to compete with $4 frozen pizzas and $20 roast chicken dinners from grocery stores. “Back in 2002, the foodservice share of the total food dollar was 40.1 per cent,” said Elliott. It dropped to a low of about 37 per cent in the years following the recession. “We are starting to see a bit of an improvement so it’s going in the right direction, but it’s going to be a long time before we get back to that 40 per cent mark,” he said. Elliott said Canada will see stronger real GDP growth of at least two per cent across the provinces this year and forecasted steady growth in disposable income over the next four years. “Because disposable income is such an important factor, as a result we’re going to see stronger foodservice sales growth,” said Elliott. In Ontario, the nominal change

Chris Elliott, Restaurants Canada senior economist.

in foodservice sales is expected to increase 4.6 per cent this year, 5.1 per cent next year, 4 per cent in 2016 and 3.5 per cent in 2017.

“We’re going to see healthy gains over the next four years,” said Elliott. “Quick service restaurants, full service restaurants and caterers will

be the main drivers of that growth and drinking places will probably see growth of about one or two per cent over that period as well.”

An operator’s guide: How to use bad online reviews to your advantage periences of others. But today, this system of trust-based recommendations has transferred online.

Why are online reviews important?

By Jeff Quipp, founder and CEO, Search Engine People Inc. Recommendations and word-ofmouth have always been an important source of new customers for those in the restaurant industry. Well before we had online review sites like Yelp, people relied heavily on the opinions of friends and family to inform dining decisions. In this respect nothing has changed; we still (at least partially) base our choices on the ex-

Ratings, reviews and comments can make or break a business. This is true of business in general, but even more so in the restaurant industry. Online review sites like Yelp are chockfull of restaurant reviews, and a range of other sites—UrbanSpoon, Dine Here, etc.—focus specifically on dining establishments. It’s sites like these that are increasingly becoming the source people go to in order to make their decisions. In fact, about 90 per cent of consumers claim online reviews influence buying decisions. This makes perfect sense. Reviews help consumers mitigate risk, because they can judge what their experience will be like by looking at those of others. If you have a number of positive online reviews in which customers

talk about how amazing their meal was, for example, people can deduce that you probably have a very good menu. On the other hand, if the majority of people are saying how bad your establishment is, people reading the reviews will likely decide to avoid your restaurant. So, what do you do when you get receive reviews that aren’t favourable? Here are a few tips on how to approach online reviews to improve not only the perception of your business, but also to ultimately benefit your bottom line.

Responding positively to negative online reviews Not every customer is going to love your restaurant. Sometimes, it’s a matter of taste or preference, and other times they may have just had a bad experience with service or the food. But when this happens, there are many forums available to voice disappointment. While negative reviews may seem like a bad thing, they should actually be looked at as opportunities. People are more likely to make judgments not on the complaint itself, but on how you respond to the complaint. Never respond aggressively or sarcastically, regardless of the tone of the complaint—this will undoubtedly drive potential customers away. Fighting fire with fire is not the appropriate response. Instead, try and create something

positive from the negative. If an apology is necessary, make it. If there is a specific complaint, ask for the customer’s input on how you can resolve the situation or improve service. This will give you an opportunity to a) win over the reviewer and b) show other potential customers that customer satisfaction is your top priority.

Never create or solicit fake restaurant reviews Not only is this disingenuous, it can also negatively impact your business. Many companies who have used this method have been caught. Search engines and review sites don’t like when companies try to cheat the system, and they are reacting accordingly. Yelp, for example, has cracked down on businesses paying for positive reviews by issuing consumer alerts (285 businesses have been hit), and other sites publish similar notices. If you get caught doing this, consumers know, and it completely destroys any credibility you’ve built. Fake reviews are a cheap trick and people don’t like being duped.

Encourage legitimate online reviews from customers If you want to increase the number of online reviews for your business, why not ask customers? Any time you get a thank you from a customer, ask if they would be willing to

provide a testimonial or review. Be proactive and follow up with clients; it’s a great way to solicit positive reviews and even if you receive negative feedback, it affords you the opportunity to address and fix the problem. You could also try incentivizing customers with coupons or promotions. Just be sure your purpose is clear: you want to encourage customers to write a review (negative or positive), not pay for a positive review (which goes against the terms of service of review sites). Proceed with caution and make sure you are not violating user agreements. Today, genuine online reviews matter tremendously, particular for service-based businesses such as restaurants. The more positive reviews you have circulating, the better for your bottom line, plain and simple. And while not every review you get is going to be positive, if you take the right approach, online reviews can serve to not only improve the perception of your company, but ultimately increase sales. Jeff Quipp is an expert on digital marketing. He is the founder and CEO of Search Engine People Inc. (SEP), a Canadian digital marketing firm, which has been on the PROFIT 100 ranking of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies for the past five consecutive years and named one of PROFIT Magazine’s 50 Fastest Growing.

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A castle for the people By Kristen Smith TORONTO—A steakhouse is coming to Casa Loma next year, according to Liberty Entertainment Group, which took over operations of the building and grounds in January. Chief executive officer Nick Di Donato called the 200,000-squarefoot landmark—built by Sir Henry Pellatt between 1911 and 1914—an “integral part of Toronto tourism.” Plans include ramping up the tours, adding exhibits, highlighting Toronto history and adding a restaurant and onsite-catering kitchen with the aim of making the castle a selfsustaining attraction. “Casa Loma will be, in our vision, this grand lady that’s sitting on a hill and has watched the evolution of Toronto over the last 100 years and we’re going to express that vision through some of the things that we do in our exhibits,” Di Donato told ORN. He noted that Liberty Entertainment Group hopes to cater to both tourists and Torontonians, and plans to achieve the latter by participating in local events such as Winter and Summerlicious, TIFF and Pride. “We want to reengage the Toronto community,” Di Donato said. “Once you’ve seen the tour itself, there’s got to be more to what we’re doing … and most of that will come from the culinary experiences we’re offering in conjunction with events that are going on within the city.” He said Liberty Entertainment

Group is looking for missed opportunities and working out why the castle wasn’t previously successful as a selfsustaining tourist attraction. “The wonderful gardens are one of the first things we looked at,” said Di Donato. Liberty is installing a glass tent for outdoor events this summer. “We believe that [Casa Loma] is the most spectacular private events space in North America,” he said. “It is a magnificent property—we’re very lucky to have it.” Part of Liberty Entertainment Group’s $7-million capital investment is creating kitchen facilities for events and a new restaurant. “The lower level of Casa Loma was never completed. It was very much a raw space; we’re fortunate that we were able to put kitchens in there,” said Di Donato. “It works out well from a heritage perspective in that we’re not destroying any heritage and we’re able to provide the facilities required.” He said a restaurant will help engage Toronto residents. A 180-seat steakhouse is in the works and will open in the 1,250-square-foot Oak Room and adjoining Billiard Room and smoking lounge, which have a combined space of about 1,400 square feet. An additional 150-seat patio will overlook the city. The restaurant will have a separate entrance on the west side of Casa Loma and will open next year after outside construction is complete. “From the exterior, it’s spectacular

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in terms of a sense of arrival,” said Di Donato. “The Oak Room is probably the most magnificent room anywhere in the world,” he said adding the artistry and detail in the oak is something special. “One thing we have to make sure is that it resonates with the local community as well as our neighbours in this area,” said Di Donato. “Our thought is that the Oak Room will be a little more formal with smaller tables, fours and twos, and the Billiard Room will have more booths for families,” he said. The menu, which is being created by executive chef Michael Ewing, will feature steakhouse fare and organic vegetables grown on castle grounds. Di Donato says Liberty Entertainment Group isn’t taking the restaurant in a fine-dining direction and says the menu will be accessible in terms of price. “Sir Henry Pellatt, one of the only areas he did finish in the basement was his wine cellar,” said Di Donato. The cellar held 1,800 bottles and was cooled by ammonia. (Unfortunately, it was empty.) “It was actually buried for the longest time. When we were going through the lower level developing our layout for the kitchen we discovered the actual repository for the wine bottles and they were still existing behind some walls so now we are going to recreate that whole wine cellar … and reactivate it,” he said.

Casa Loma exterior.

The Oak Room.

The underground tunnels will be home to a dark side of Toronto exhibit.

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Restaurants Canada’s 2014 tradeshow TORONTO—More than 1,200 exhibitors set up at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place March 2 to 4 for Restaurants Canada’s 70th anniversary tradeshow.

ORN met exhibitors, sat in on sessions and attended demos. Here’s some of what went on. For more photos and articles visit:


Breakfast with champions

From Left: Bill Simpson, Drake Hotel; Dilup Attygalla, Ovations Food Services; Christina Tosi, Momofuku Milk Bar; Roger Mooking, Chopped Canada judge; Annie Young-Scrivner, Teavana; James Henderson, Keg Restaurants; and moderator George Stroumboulopoulos. Photo by Restaurants Canada.

Giacomo Pasquini, Vertical Restaurant, at the Greenbelt Foundation reception.

From left: Nick Kewin, Jerry Coburn and Kris Haig, Beau’s All Natural Brewing.

Tony White, Future Shop Business Solutions at Best Buy Canada.

Christina Tosi (right), Momofuku Milk Bar at birthday cake truffles demo.

Members of the foodservice industry gathered for the annual Breakfast with Champions at the Liberty Grand on March 4 as part of Restaurants Canada’s annual tradeshow. The event—moderated by CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos—featured a panel discussion on industry trends. The six-person panel included: Roger Mooking, Chopped Canada judge; Annie Young-Scrivner, who transitioned from president of Starbucks Canada to president of Teavana in February; James Henderson, vice-president of business development at Keg Restaurants Ltd.; Christina Tosi, chef and founder of Momofuku Milk Bar; Dilup Attygalla, Ovations Food Services; and Bill Simpson, general manager of Toronto’s Drake Hotel. The discussion centred around the release of Restaurants Canada’s annual Chefs Survey, which asked more than 400 chefs about foodservice trends. Gluten-free items, quinoa, locally-sourced, leafy greens and craft beer rounded out the top five current trends. “I think that personalization is so important to consumers right now,” Young-Scrivner

said. “Our number of ingredients [at Starbucks] is small but we have the ability to make 98,000 different beverages.” Young-Scrivner also pointed out that tea is trending, adding that it is the second most popular beverage in the world next to water. “Craft beer is very hot right now,” Henderson said. “It’s growing across the country—it’s coming out of the U.S. and I don’t think it’s going away,” he said. According to Attygalla, the biggest trend right now is a return to the basics, keeping menus simple and healthy. “We use, in our menus, a lot of grains,” he said. A strictly Canadian trend? Mooking used the example of ribs in the Southern U.S. states saying that different regions have strict rules when it comes to preparation with different parts of the animal and different sauce bases. “North Carolina uses a mustard-based sauce. [In] South Carolina they use a vinegar-based sauce. In Tennessee, they are like, ‘We don’t really use a sauce,’” Mooking said. “And it’s the law … there’s a real downhome earnest connection to those things. I don’t feel that in Canada,” he said. Tosi said something as simple as maple syrup could span sweet and savoury and even be used in beverages. “A flavour like maple syrup has so much depth and so much potential for what can be done with it beyond just saying it’s maple-flavoured or it’s just maple syrup poured over something or added. I think maple has a really wide voice,” Tosi said. Simpson pointed out that Canadian seafood culture is prevalent right across the country. Simpson also noted some restaurants are using state-of-the-art ovens to cook off-cuts of Canadian beef. “We do a short-rib that’s literally cooked for three days but it keeps some of the blue in the meat so instead of getting this sort of grey pot-roasty type of beef you actually have a little bit of pink inside the beef. So it’s a lesser cut that’s slowly cooked in a $25,000 oven,” Simpson said.

2014 Chef Survey Restaurants Canada released its 2014 Chef Survey, which highlights current and future trends based on responses from more than 400 professional chefs.

Top 10 hot trends: 1. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious 2. Quinoa 3. Locally-sourced foods 4. Leafy greens 5. Craft beer/microbrews 6. Food smoking 7. Heirloom fruits and vegetables 8. Charcuterie/house-cured meats 9. Food trucks 10. Inexpensive/underused cuts of meat

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Lessons from the A restaurant website is as important as its menu cronut burger A representative of NSF-GFTC spoke to the foodservice industry at the tradeshow about food safety. Frank Schreurs, NSF-GFTC managing director, consulting and technical services, told the cautionary tale of the cronut burger to illustrate how easily people could become ill when food is improperly handled. In August 2013, there were more than 200 reports of vomiting, diarrhea and cramping after eating the cronut burger—a cheeseburger sandwiched between a deep-fried croissant/donut bun—at the Canadian National Exhibition. In its investigation, Toronto Public Health (TPH) found Staphylococcus aureus in the bacon maple syrup, which was used as a condiment on the cronut. TPH concluded the infection came from inadequate refrigeration at multiple points, both at the supplier and at Epic Burger where the cronut was sold. According to Schreurs, four lessons should be learned from the cronut burger when it comes to food safety: inspections do not ensure food safety; suppliers play a huge role in ensuring food safety; ingredient selection must be analyzed for food safety and operational risks; and operators must fully understand the potential risk to customers and the company’s brand. To avoid future problems, Schreurs outlined several actions: • Buy from approved suppliers. Ask your suppliers if they have been audited and comply with health and safety regulations. • Conduct a risk analysis of ingredients. Consider biological, chemical, physical and allergenic hazards with all ingredients. • Conduct a risk analysis of operations. Identify crosscontamination points and storage requirements. • Risk/crisis management procedures. Keep records of your food safety management and develop a plan in case of a crisis.

What’s in a menu label? Food labelling expert Carol Zweep addressed the timely topic of nutritional information programs at Restaurants Canada’s annual tradeshow. Zweep, who is manager of packaging and food labelling services at NSF-GFTC, outlined what it takes to list nutritional information on a menu. Zweep noted that almost one quarter of household food dollars is spent in restaurants. “One reason why people are making poor choices is because there is a lack of information,” she said. According to the Technomic’s 2013 Canadian Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, 81 per cent of those surveyed say health is important to them and 35 per cent say they are more likely to visit restaurants that offer healthy options. Zweep spoke about how a restaurant would obtain nutritional information to label menu items: • First, choose the item and appropriate serving size. In order for the information to remain accurate the recipe and portion must be consistent. Set firm specifications. • Choose the best method of determining the nutritional information for each item: the calculation method, which determines the total by the sum of a dish’s parts using a credible database, software and supplier specification sheets; laboratory analysis; or a combination of the two. The calculation method is less costly and can be very accurate (“it’s only as good as the information used,” said Zweep), but laboratory analysis is necessary for foods that are grilled or deep fried, as both cooking methods would affect the nutrient content. • Tabulate the calories of 13 core nutrients (including sodium and fats) for each item. “Canadians eat 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, which is more than double what we need,” said Zweep. She suggested foodservice professionals gradually reduce sodium over time—so they don’t shock customers with a drastically different taste—use low sodium sea salt and enhance flavours in other ways.

Andrea Orozco, owner of Kik Brand Marketing, said she can’t think of another business which needs a good website presence, especially a mobile friendly one, more than a restaurant. “Forty-eight per cent of users say that if they arrive on a business site that isn’t working well on mobile, they take is as an indication of the business simply not caring,” she said. A website needs to include the menu, reflect the ambiance, include hours and location and make it easy for potential customers to make reservations. She said a website should be simple, sug-

gested only using a handful of good images and is adamantly against features like flash or music that may distract from the website’s message. Some tips: • Use forms to learn about customers; • Establish the goals of your website; • Determine channels driving the most traffic with Google Analytics; • Check your site regularly to make sure it is showing properly; • Design your website for your dream customer; and • Search engines react to regularly updated content.

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How they work

A look at Canadian corporate chefs in the different facets of foodservice


s the name implies, a corporate chef must have both the culinary chops and a mind for business to succeed in the role. While creativity and a passion for foodservice remains the anchor of the job, some companies are asking for more from their top gastronomic minds. ORN spoke with six corporate chefs across the foodservice industry about what their job entails and how they see the role evolving.

By Ontario Restaurant News staff

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Stefan Czapalay has been working with Clearwater Seafoods since 1999 when he starting catering important in-house events and in 2001 was contracted as a corporate chef. The partnership grew over the next five years. “After that it became a full-time job and now it’s certainly full time—way over full time,” he says. Throughout the year, Czapalay builds relationships with other corporate chefs and participates in co-creating (or ide-

ation) sessions with new chefs. “A lot of the time it’s being able to eliminate a perceived hurdle that maybe a chef has,” says Czapalay, who works with the products regularly. “My role, interestingly enough is part of the marketing department,” said Czapalay, who works with the team to come up with ideas that would fit well on a particular menu and work within the restaurant’s demographic. He works closely with the marketing team, who use insight based on trends or demographics to help develop new products, a process he is part of. Last year, Czapalay travelled for 160 days to 21 countries. “I love the diversity and unpredictability,” said Czapalay, whose day could start with a 5 a.m. conference call to China, include one in the afternoon with the European team, involve fielding calls throughout the day from the quality assurance department and end at 9 p.m. with a call to the West Coast. He says his role is changing to include more food science and over the years he has become more involved with product development and the marketing and research teams. “I believe the position of corporate chef has shifted from someone in the back of the house to someone actually needed and required to assist with sales. The role became more of a sales role. Some corporate chefs are very famous and you see them actually as figureheads for the company,” says Czapalay.

Tony Fernandes a l Eq u Roya

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Tony Fernandes is the group executive chef and food and beverage director for hotel management Royal Equator Inc. He is responsible for F&B operations at Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport, Four Points by Sheraton Toronto Airport and Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/Mississauga. His day starts with a 9 a.m. meeting, but how it ends is always up in the air. On average he is there until about 7 p.m., but delayed flights might mean he needs to

hop on the line until after the rush and an important function might see him stay onsite until 1 a.m. He is responsible for menu redesigns for each restaurant, which he tackles twice a year. “I talk to a lot of guests before I do the menus, then I see what sells a lot,” he says. Fernandes says because of the location, the airport hotels see a number of international travellers with a variety of food preferences, but the menus must also cater to those who want to stop in for a sandwich or pizza. The kitchens are responsible for the restaurant as well as the room service and banquets. Between the three properties there is 30,000 square feet of banquet facilities and at least one event every day. Fernandes is also responsible for the business aspects of the food and beverage programs: marketing strategies to widen brand awareness, setting the budget, analyzing revenue. In a nutshell, he is responsible for the financial viability of the food and beverage programs. “One of the things I do is compete. I make time—if you’re passionate about what you do, you find time,” says Fernandes. He and his teams have won 40 medals in culinary competitions worldwide and Fernandes says it helps him keep up with international trends to add to his repertoire. “I don’t want to be stagnant,” he says.

Tom Field


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Tom Field is a corporate chef for AltoShaam Canada, a branch of an international company that sells a wide range of kitchen equipment including ovens, smokers and deep fryers. He is responsible for the entire province of Ontario, the Atlantic provinces and fills in both nationally and internationally when the need arises.

Jason Rosso Mi

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Jason Rosso says he has lived on a plane for the past two years as the corporate chef for Milestones Restaurants. With more than 50 restaurants spread out across the country, and with several more planned to open this year, Rosso says he takes a hands-on approach to his role.

For the past eight years, Field has worked with Alto-Shaam equipment, pushing the boundaries of what the machines are capable of, determining where efficiencies can be made and providing consultation on possible improvements. According to Field, it’s a job where no two days are alike. “There is no predictable thing,” laughs Field trying to pin down an average day as corporate chef. “Some days I am going to customers to do training on equipment that they’ve bought. Other days I am coming into the office … to set up demonstrations for people who are about to buy.” For a week out of every month, Field travels across Canada and the world, meeting with customers, presenting at tradeshows, introducing new products and offering his expertise on how to maximize the handling of the company’s equipment. When he is not on a plane, he spends countless hours at the office in Concord, ON, where the company’s test kitchen is located, developing programs for clients and testing new foods. It’s the variety, which is his favorite part of the job, says Field. Recently, he says, he had the pleasure of designing a booth for a tradeshow and he acts as a frontline representative for AltoShaam’s products. “As a corporate chef I also look after minor service problems for people who have either new or older equipment,” Field says, pointing to a hands-on approach to the job. “I ask them to call me first instead of phoning a service agent.”

As corporate chef at C.W. Shasky & Associates Ltd., Ryan Marquis is front-and-centre of the company’s foodservice operations. He works directly with manufacturers as an ingredients sales representative to promote products the food brokerage represents including Tabasco, Dole, Faro and Mission Foods. “From our Tabasco dry red flavouring to our Tabasco paste to our sauces to even some of our ready-made products like our Rosina meatballs,” Marquis says, adding he works with research and development to find ways to use products in items they are making for foodservice, retail or another manufacturer. Marquis also works with the company’s national sales team to offer support, comes up with new ideas for key accounts and also works with restaurant groups. “We basically come up with strategies and formulate different types of promotions and ways we can help drive revenue for them and support their processes and restaurant at the same time,” he says. Through his relationship with manufacturers, Marquis is also able to drum up new accounts for the company and help coordinate new relationships. “If you want to develop a specific sauce or rub or a new coating system, I’ve already got those relationships so I can turn around and say I know the manufacturer that can make that for you,” he says. In January, C.W. Shasky unveiled its new test kitchen in Oakville, ON. According to

Rosso says he took the job because he wanted to see how he could influence food on a national level. In the past 18 months, 40 new menu items have been launched, with another 40 plates coming this year. When he is not directly involved in food development, Rosso works with chefs to keep them inspired and moving forward. He developed a program to allow Milestones’ chefs to create menu items, which are used across the country along with the creator’s name and bio. “My success and my happiness really comes from seeing the chefs that work for me and work in our restaurant company really succeed,” Rosso said. Rosso—who has worked with several television food shows—says restaurants like Milestones are bringing on strong talent to help brand their restaurant’s foodservice. “From a marketing side it’s an easy sell to say ‘Hey look, we’ve got Jason Rosso doing great dishes for our restaurant’,” Rosso says. “But for me, its really about how we deliver each plate at a time.” Rosso says although Cara—parent company of Milestones—has a test kitchen, he prefers to work out of the company’s Richmond, ON location. “It’s not a theory-based job, we try to keep it as tactical and practical as possible,” Rosso says. Rosso says he’s lucky the job isn’t compartmentalized and boxed in. “My role is really very diversified, so I’m really involved in the entire operations of the restaurant.”

Kira Smith, corporate chef with Kraft Canada, says the job allows her to combine her love of food with her desire to help people succeed. Her role is to support the success of the company’s foodservice customers, which range from chains and distributors to independent operators. “There is also a wonderful balance of business and creativity, spontaneity and detail,” Smith says. “I might be getting my hands dirty in the kitchen, or working on building a food trends deck with consumer insights. On other days, I am meeting oneon-one with customers or taking meticulous measurements and notes on product performance—it is a true smorgasbord.” While Smith sees the daily variety as a highlight in her job, one thing is consistent: she is always working on menu concepts in one form or another. “With national and larger regional chains we can work directly with the customer on customized recipes and concepts,” Smith says, noting this brings culinary support together with industry research and insight. Smith works with Kraft’s North American culinary team and the foodservice website manager to offer online recipes, product use ideas, trends and business information to the expansive number of independents the company supplies. Within the organization, Smith supports Kraft’s category managers and sales team with the launch of new products and

Ryan Marquis C.W.

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Marquis, he is in the kitchen three or four times a week with clients from across the country testing and working out new ideas. “You’re constantly learning and evolving your strategies,” Marquis says. “The job changes on a daily basis depending on needs.” Outside of C.W. Shasky, Marquis lends his culinary skills to judge competitions and is the president of the Oakville branch of the Canadian Culinary Federation.

Kira Smith K ra f

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upkeep of existing items by testing, performing sensory evaluation and developing recipes. “I think that having a corporate chef on staff has gone from a ‘nice to do’ to a ‘have to have’ for larger food manufacturers and suppliers,” says Smith, who adds the need for corporate chefs will increase as demand for value beyond the product grows. “I also think that there may be more of a demand for chefs that have a strong grounding in nutrition and how to develop recipes that meet specific criteria while still tasting delicious,” Smith says.


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Let’s get digital TORONTO—About 90 hospitality stakeholders and students gathered at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management on March 14 for the inaugural Digital Restaurant Project. The event was the brainchild of hospitality faculty member Chris Gibbs and student Ellie Tennenhouse ran with the project, organizing the details and bringing together a variety of speakers including keynote presenter Anna Tauzin, manager of digital innovation for the Washington-based National Restaurant Association, and guest speaker chef Carl Heinrich. Tauzin told the crowd that digital innovation and a good customer experience go hand-in-hand. “Most of our lives transition seamlessly from the digital to the physical,” she said. With an increasing number of applications available to integrate technology with the foodservice experience (for example, the replacement of the paper coffee card with mobile rewards and loyalty programs), Tauzin said she “would love to see apps coming from hospitality backgrounds.” She called Facebook the king of restaurant social media, citing 99 per cent of food and drink establishments use the medium. Tauzin said TripAdvisor is the biggest source of mainstream customer reviews, while Open Table verifies the person was actually there. “It’s important to remember that

not all content is equal when it comes to social media,” said Tauzin. She said people respond well to photos and infographics. Within the realm of Twitter, she points out that operators can insert themselves into conversations. She suggests replying to people saying they are hungry. “It almost becomes serendipitous to them,” Tauzin said. Donna Dooher, of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, recounted the bathroom sex fiasco story of four years ago. What started as a joke in the restaurant newsletter, turned into staff fielding calls from international reporters. They took the stand that they were having fun and stuck with it. “You’ve got to manage your online reputation,” said Dooher. Mildred’s management team compiles a list of hits and misses. “We thank people; we always reach out,” she said. “It’s an added expense; it’s now another layer of business that you have to do.” Her advice: “Keep it real, keep it fun, keep it honest.” Open Table’s Chris McCrea spoke about intelligent software and the need for reservations to be made and confirmed in an instant. It also has to “consider the human element,” for example, the time it would take to dine would be determined by the occasion. It is important for the operator to be prepared when guests arrive, because “requests are all over the place,” said McCrea.

Little Inn, big ideas

Inside The Little Inn of Bayfield.

By Don Douloff BAYFIELD, ON—Through savvy marketing, The Little Inn of Bayfield is attracting customers to its guestrooms and on-site restaurant during the slow winter season. Located in the picturesque heritage village of Bayfield, ON, on the shores of Lake Huron, the property opened in 1832 as a stagecoach stop on the Sarnia-Goderich line and ranks as Ontario’s longest continually operating inn. Even with its long history in Huron County, the inn faces challenges

attracting guests during the lowerdemand cold-weather months. “In winter, the weather dictates business,” the property’s innkeeper Darren Erb told ORN. Heavy snowfalls attract winter-sports enthusiasts eager to snowshoe and cross-country ski “or those who just want to curl up by the fire,” said Erb. On the flipside, snow and poor driving conditions often discourage another segment of guests from visiting, he said. As a result, the Little Inn has hatched some big ideas on how to lure people to its 28-guestroom property.

“One request asked for a picture of Carlton Banks at the table.” He explained the diner was new to the area and it was a bit of a test. The restaurateur who printed out a picture of Alfonso Ribeiro as the Fresh Prince of BelAir character earned a regular customer from her efforts. Abigail Van Den Broek, of Rock-It Promotions, shared some social media tips of the trade: use it to share news (not just about you but also things of interest to you and your clients), brag about accolades and retweet others bragging about you. She noted that your activity should be consistent, timely, respond to practical queries quickly and respond to those saying nice things about your establishment. Carl Heinrich, executive chef and partner of Richmond Station said it’s not because he is social media savvy that his restaurant is ranked number one of 6,438 restaurants in Toronto on TripAvisor. The restaurant does, however, respond to the good reviews and asks the bad reviewers how to do better.

This year, for instance, Huron County launched its own Winterlicious, which offered set, threecourse, $29 menus served from Feb. 1 until March 8. The Little Inn was one of eight area restaurants to participate with its on-site, 58-seat, whitetablecloth restaurant. Spearheaded by chef Joseph Petrinac, the inn’s Winterlicious dishes highlighted local ingredients such as Soiled Reputation’s wild arugula in a salad with Thornloe Cheese’s Devil’s Rock creamy blue, in maple vinaigrette; a daily Lake Huron fish featured, along with lobster and sunchoke confit, in a bouillabaisse; and a fonduta sauce made from melted Monforte cheese garnishing cepe agnolotti and foraged mushrooms. In conjunction with its special menus, the inn created March Break packages for two people, offering one night’s accommodation, the threecourse set dinner and breakfast. “The accommodation package got a great response,” Erb said. In fact, the inn extended both the Winterlicious program and associated accommodation packages until the end of March, and Erb expects the property will resurrect both next year. Winterlicious, with its bargainpriced menus, brought in diners who would normally consider the inn’s white-tablecloth restaurant as strictly a special-occasion treat, he said. In addition, approximately ev-

“Our focus is that every guest that comes in has a unique experience,” said Heinrich. “If the food doesn’t taste good, people aren’t going to come back to your restaurant,” said Heinrich, asking “How do you get them in the first time?” According to Heinrich, that’s where social media comes in. He hired another host who is responsible for maintaining the channels and letting people know what’s going on at the restaurant.

Top: Anna Tauzin, manager of digital innovation for the National Restaurant Association. Bottom: Carl Heinrich, chef and partner at Richmond Station.

ery second weekend between Jan. 25 and March 22, the inn presented wine and dine events featuring a set five-course menu with wine pairing themed around different areas such as South America and Australia. To celebrate Robbie Burns’ Day, the inn presented an event featuring a local actor dressed as Burns and reading the Scottish poet’s work. Guests fortified themselves with a Scottish-themed feast (the likes of haggis tartlet with black truffles and foie gras jus; organic trout confit; and cock-a-leekie soup) accompanied by five single-malt Scotch whiskeys. Tied into the Wine & Dine events are one- and two-night packages featuring discounted accommodation, the themed dinner, wine pairings (for those wanting them) and breakfast.

Also popular was the inn’s 2014 Valentine’s Day promotion—a specially priced couples menu offering choice of any appetizer and entrée, plus chocolate fondue for two. “It was our busiest Valentine’s in eight years,” said Erb. On Feb. 14, the inn sold all but eight of its guestrooms; sold out on Feb. 15 and sold all but seven rooms on Feb. 16, he said. Similarly, the dining room attracted 60 to 70 people per night on Feb. 14 and 15. In addition, for the last seven or eight years, the inn has offered horsedrawn sled rides, snowshoeing and guided hikes as add-ons to general accommodation packages or onenight bed-and-breakfast packages, generating interest and increased business, said Erb.

Darren Erb, innkeeper.


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16 |


By Kristen Smith


uring the inaugural Digital Restaurant Project held at Ryerson University last month, Anna Tauzin, manager of digital innovation for the U.S. National Restaurant Association painted a picture of the future of restaurant dining. Imagine a couple going out for dinner to their favourite restaurant. Upon arrival the couple is greeted by name. The hostess wishes them a happy anniversary and leads them to the table they prefer on the patio. Their favourite drinks are waiting as the couple take their seats. The server describes the specials, but not the bisque, because he knows they are both allergic to shellfish because that information is in a customer database. They make their dessert decision based on the nutritional information on a tablet menu, and when they are done they use a smartphone to pay with PayPal and leave without waiting for the bill. Nothing seems forced or contrived, says Tauzin, it’s seamless and it’s not that far away.

Don Smith, sales manager for POS Canada says more and more new generation restaurateurs are embracing mobile technology. “If you had walked into the CRFA Show never having been before … you would think that the whole industry has gone mobile; that tablets and handhelds are the way to go,” says Smith. It’s a concept being considered across the foodservice industry. “I think that mobility is so much a part of everyone’s thinking

these days, I would say that almost everybody is thinking about it in some way, shape or form,” says Dan Schachtler, Micros Eastern Canada general manager. Schachtler reasons that as more people are becoming comfortable with online ordering from home or work, there is a natural evolution to start doing so from their smartphones. He suggests pre-ordering and prepaying will be a large trend going forward and as e-wallets and Paypal become more commonplace, customers will demand they be accepted as payment. “All those applications that basically allow you to interact with the establishment and transact business, those are all going to become very popular,” says Schachtler. Joe Finizio, executive director of industry strategies and relations for the Retail Solutions Providers

Association (RSPA) spoke of the transition of the POS platform from an all-in-one to a tablet-based system. He says the lighter configurations with payment devices, such as Square, are perfect for cafés, smaller operations and food trucks. “Right now, technology is one of those key differentiators that are going to help your restaurant grow,” Finizio says. Operations and marketing are intersecting in the form of geomarketing, loyalty programs and apps, he says, allowing the customer to place an order on the go. “Hospitality is really out front with mobile merchandising.” Toronto-based TouchBistro has grown to more than 1,200 customers since the tablet-based POS software launched in 2011. Chief marketing officer Toan Dinh says he thinks other tablet-based POS software creators have also been successful in

their acquisition rate. With so many restaurants closing and opening, Dinh says he thinks this change in the is a main driver of the adoption of new POS models. “The concept of the traditional point of sale, in my opinion, has really being shaken,” he says. He thinks restaurant owners are becoming more tech-savvy and are learning to demand more from a system. “It’s up to the point of sales solutions, whether its TouchBistro or not, to educate the market that you can demand more from your point of sale,” he says. Dinh says technology should add value in cost, efficiency and customer experience. Shannon Arnold, director of marketing for Posera Software, which makes Maitre’D POS says tableside ordering has been around for quite a while, “But the adoption rate had been quite low until the past year or two.”

Mobility, notes Arnold, also includes mobile payment, ordering ahead and reservation applications. “In the past 12 to 24 months, there has been a lot more demand for it. Most of the leads that we get want to be sure, whether they implement it or not, that we do run on iPads [and] that we have the mobile apps. They’ll always ask for it and half the time they’ll implement it,” she says. According to Arnold, she and the Posera management team sat down at the end of last year and discusssed the state of the POS industry. “We haven’t seen this much movement in the point of sale industry since touch screen solutions were introduced 20 years ago,” says Arnold. “It’s going to be interesting to see where the next 12 to 24 months are going to lead us.” The question operators are tackling is whether customer experience is improved by this technology.

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Michael T h a l a s sino, regional s a l e s ma na ger, SilverWare, was recently in Las Vegas. “A lot of the time trends start in the states and work their way up to Toronto and Canada,” he says. “There was no printed menu for beverages at multiple restaurants we went to in casinos, it was all on a tablet,” he notes. In some cases, such as a share plate or sushi eatery, Thalassino

thinks letting the customer order from the full digital menu would fit well. In a high-end restaurant, he imagines the wine list on a tablet with tasting notes and pictures of the winery and perhaps a button allowing the guest to order. “Soon enough, what’s trending and clearly what we’re going to see more and more often, is the table being able to interact on their own.” He said tablets could be a menu, a game, Internet access, or can put ordering in the customers’ hands. “If you allow the guests to kind of choose their own destiny and empower them with the tools to make

it really easy, then … its really just an opportunity for added revenue,” says Thalassino. “That technology has come quickly and will continue to adapt as it is adopted.” While the concept of self-service isn’t new, especially in quick service, tablets and POS systems have recently earned a place at the table at full service establishments. “I would say that the menu in question has to be very simple,” says Don Smith of POS Canada. He adds that customers shouldn’t have to go through more than one level of modifiers. Co-founder of Toronto startup

Menyou, Thaves Ponnampalam, was inspired by a restaurant experience in Singapore about two years ago. The restaurant had traditional paper menus. The server punched in the order on a palm pilot and it was sent to the kitchen. “That’s when I realized that we’re in a day and age when technology has somewhat evolved in our daily lives. Why not bring that whole experience to the customer themselves,” says Ponnampalam. He says it doesn’t replace the waiter, but enhances the relationship between the serving staff and customers by allowing them to build

a rapport rather than be an order taker. Menyou co-founder Ara Ehamparam says tablet menus allow customers to know more about what they are eating by including images and nutritional information and doubles as a marketing platform for specials or events. “I think we live in a world of instant gratification; in the past the customer had to wait in various situations,” notes Ehamparam. “Restaurants are missing out on choices they make on the fly … servers are great, but are missing out on impulse buys.”

Don Smith compares the role of a server to that of an actor. “They have to go over to the table and they have to recognize what mood that table’s in.” He says some operators are worried tableside ordering will result in losing that personal touch if the focus is to get the order to the kitchen and out to the table. “Some restaurateurs, if the menu is complicated and has a lot

of modifiers, they fear [staff] will be punching in more than engaging,” says Smith, adding the upside is how beneficial it would be with a large group. Smith asks: “What’s your guest experience? Never mind what the technology does, what does your guest get when they walk in the doors? If it’s too complicated, are they going to come back in the doors? Because you’ve got to get them back.” He recommends operators consider how technology complements their vision of the food, customers, décor: is it at the table or behind the scenes? Stuart Smith, Micros Western Canada general manager says, in the past, a fear that a personal connection would be lost led to limited acceptance of table-side tablet or-

dering. A server should be making eye contact with the guest, “if you’re looking at your screen then you can’t do that,” he explains. He credits widespread consumer acceptance of tablets as paving the way for tablet ordering. “Whether the future holds everyone going out to a restaurant and being greeted with by a server with an mTablet and taking an order at the tableside—it may not work everywhere, but it’s certainly something that’s getting a fresh look,” says Smith. Arnold says she sees benefit to adding self-service to the mix: it increases productivity, but doesn’t see a fully self-service establishment as a possibility. “The foodservice industry is about food and service,” she notes.

“The adoption of technology is like a bell curve. There is a bunch of people who are on the bleeding edge, and that is all very exciting. These people are paving the way for the rest of the industry—figuring out what’s really going to work and what isn’t,” says Schachtler. “There are a lot of other proven technologies that aren’t necessarily fully deployed yet,’’ says Schachtler, pointing to kitchen display systems, which present to each station what they need to prepare on a screen. “It has a lot of advantages, it improves kitchen operations at one end of the spectrum and saves you paper at the other,” he adds, noting he is surprised how few restaurants take advantage of this technology. Don Smith says kitchen video has been in quick service for some time, but more sophisticated ver-

sions are only recently gaining ground in full service operations. The system times the meals so dishes come to the pass at the same time, it calculates how many you have all day and can alert the expeditor what station is getting slammed. Thalassino says kitchen display is becoming less expensive and more widely accepted. “Some operators like the idea and some almost feel like it’s the last old-school, traditional method that they’re trying to hold onto. Everything else is sitting on a screen or in the cloud,” he says.

Airport food and beverage operator OTG is in the process of installing 2,500 iPads at Pearson International Airport. Albert Lee, OTG chief technology officer, said technology in airports is a solution to the problem of time. Lee notes for infrequent or nervous flyers, the airport can be a very intimidating place. “There is a general perception that the plane is going to leave without you and there is the temptation for people to want to run to their gate as fast as possible. They feel comfortable being there, they like seeing the podium there,” said Lee. He describes the tag-team food and beverage runs and marked up airport food as a thing of the past.

“We’re saying, you can sit at the gate, you can order a glass of wine, you can have a full meal and be in most public of places and have a great experience,” Lee says. The self-service iPad concept was tested at LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. In Toronto, OTG is working with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to roll out about a dozen eateries in waiting areas in terminals one and three. These concepts include Vinifera, which features a wine list by master sommelier John Szabo and menu by chef Michael Coury. “We believe that the human element is still a big part of all these experiences. But I think there is a level of accountability that we are working towards, which is finding out where time is being spent and finding out how we can optimize experiences,” Lee says. He adds management can tell whether they are understaffed and where any bottlenecks might be in the flow of service. “We feel like the order-taking experience itself should be replaced

with tablets. It gets rid of a lot of the are kept clean and well maintained, of traditional table service that we wasted time that we see,” Lee says, and customers, in turn, treat them consider to be wasted time,” says Lee, pointing to order entry, setnoting the order might not get to the with respect. “You’re able to get up to two and tling up, ordering desserts, coffee or kitchen for five minutes if a server is a half more table turns in a regular another drink as key areas. “All the visiting more than one table. “By giving the consumer the business day using our system and decision points that if you wait too ability to place their order on a tab- that’s just us getting rid of the areas long it’s a lost opportunity.” let and send it directly to the kitchen, that accelerates the time,” says Lee, adding wasted time is eliminated, but the dining experience is the same. “We felt like it was a very negative experience for customers to have to wait to pay, so we’re having people prepay,” says Lee. “It eliminates this whole sense of urgency at the very end of your meal when you’re always looking for someone to give you your check so you can get up and go.” He says there hasn’t been a problem with people walking off Marathi concept at Pearson International Airport. with the iPads—they

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Campari to buy Forty Creek for $185M

John Hall

GRIMSBY, ON—Italian drinks group Campari has agreed to buy Forty Creek Distillery for $185.6 million. “Through this acquisition we enter the very large and appealing Canadian whisky category, thus premiumizing our brand portfolio, driving a richer product mix and further leveraging the revival of brown spirits,” Jean Jacques Dubau, managing director of North America for Campari, said in a March 12 release. “Moreover, integrating this business will enable us to internalize key activities in the Canadian market as well as position us for further growth in our core U.S. market,” he said. Founded in 1992 by owner John Hall, Forty Creek’s portfolio includes whisky, vodka, brandy, rum and liqueurs, with Forty Creek Whisky

as its core brand. The Forty Creek whisky family includes Barrel Select, Copper Pot Reserve, Forty Creek Cream Whisky and limited releases including Forty Creek Confederation Oak, Double Barrel and an annual special John K. Hall Reserve release. Hall will remain chairperson and whisky maker at the distillery. “Campari has the global ability to take Forty Creek to the next level. Introducing customers around the world to my whisky is a dream come true,” Hall said. The deal is expected to close June 2. After the acquisition, all the business structures and processes in place will remain unchanged in Canada.

A brew of your own BARRIE, ON—Beaver Rock Roastery launched its line of single-serve capsules in early March. Along with its eight blends ranging from a breakfast blend to a dark roast and president’s blend of beans from Central America and South Africa, the Barrie-based company has begun creating custom blends for chefs and restaurants. President and head roaster Mark Nastasiuk said he doesn’t ascribe to the opinion: “Coffee is coffee. That’s like saying risotto is risotto.” The former mechanical engineer in software development custom created the roasters, which can produce 200,000 Kcups per day. While 80 per cent of Beaver Rock’s business is private labelling, Nastasiuk has worked with about a dozen local chefs to determine the appropriate flavour profile with their food and select Mark Nastasiuk a signature blend, which becomes unique to the restaurant. He told ORN the process beverage and in-room coffee options as well. starts with asking about the cuisine and he “People will want to have a coffee and desinvites them to the production facility to try sert after dinner,” he said. between 10 and 20 varieties. Beaver Rock also offers beans and ground Nastasiuk said the roasters can easily reprocoffee, but Nastasiuk noted restaurants have duce a particular variety because the machine been toying with the conversion to single cup records and stores the roasting profile, which methods, which allow them to produce fresh includes the temperature, length of time and coffee right when it’s needed and eliminate the humidity. He admits it’s not as romantic as tradanger of a pot sitting on a burner over dinner ditional roasting methods, but said the comservice. puter controlled method produces “a phenomBeaver Rock’s coffee capsules can be used enally clean coffee.” with Keurig-compatible brewing systems. He thinks a signature blend will expand “What we’ve heard restaurateurs tell us is revenue and provide something special for the that they have a huge problem with decaf,” said menu and could work well for hotel food and Nastasiuk.

Hiram Walker expanding Windsor facility WINDSOR, ON—Hiram Walker is investing $8 million in its Windsor, ON, beverage production and bottling facility. The investment—which includes a $1-million contribution from the Ontario government’s Rural Economic Development program (RED)—will allow the company to further new product lines and increase production. “We have been a strong part of the Windsor manufacturing community for over 150 years, and this investment is part of our continued commitment to the growth of the company and the region,” Hiram Walker & Sons president and chief executive officer Patrick O’Driscoll said in a release. Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said the investment was exciting news for the city. “This investment will not only allow for much needed job stability in our city, but it will help Hiram Walker attract new production opportunities and expand its product innovation,” Francis said.

Hiram Walker facility, Windsor, ON.

As part of the new investment, Corby Spirit and Wine—which is majority-owned by Hiram Walker & Sons Limited—will transfer production of McGuinness and Meaghers liqueurs to the Windsor facility in the fall of 2014.

The plant employs more than 280 people and serves as the company’s North American centre for innovation and product development. Hiram Walker is owned by Pernod-Ricard S.A. of Paris, France.

Beverage trends for 2014 TORONTO—Fair trade and organic coffee once again topped the list of hot trends for non-alcoholic drinks in Restaurants Canada’s 2014 Chef Survey, based on the answers from about 400 foodservice professionals. Also included in the top five are coconut water, green tea, mocktails and dairy-free milk, such as soy or almond milk. The survey looked at up-and-coming trends, which indicated coconut water and organic coffee could continue to be popular within the non-alcohol category, with additional trends including house-made soft drinks, specialty iced tea and small batch sodas. The survey also indicated that craft beer and microbrews are most popular when it comes to boozy beverages, with specialty beer, micro-distilled/artisan liquor, culinary cocktails and muddled cocktails rounding out the list. Culinary cocktails and artisan liquor will likely remain popular.

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Joia soda comes to Canada

Cris and Coreena Fletcher of Genesis Marketing Group.

VANCOUVER—A new line of premium glassbottled soda is coming to Canada in May, with four flavours that combine fruits, herbs and spices. Joia All Natural Soda will be available through traditional foodservice supply companies.

Wirtz to distribute Diageo in Canada TORONTO—The company that owns the Chicago Blackhawks will become the exclusive broker and distributor of Diageo products across Canada. Chicago-based Wirtz Beverage Group will form a new company, Wirtz Beverage Canada, and begin distributing brands such as Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Captain Morgan in Canada. “This arrangement with Wirtz Beverage provides us with the best of both world—a broker that understands our business and a dedicated Canadian sales force that knows our brands and the Canada market,” Diageo North America president Larry Schwartz said in a release. The company already represents Diageo in several U.S. states where it has been in business for nearly 70 years. “We will leverage our commercial sales expertise with training and development programs, market analytics and technology tools to support the Diageo brands across Canada,” Wirtz Beverage president Rocky Wirtz said. The arrangement will send Wirtz Beverage executive vice-president Julian Burzynski to head the newly formed Wirtz Beverage Canada. According to Diageo, many of the company’s sales people will also make the transition. Jakob Ripshtein—who was been with Diageo since 2008—will replace Maggie Lapcewich as president of Diageo Canada, as of July 1, when the deal is finalized.

“We’re heading towards rapid development with our distribution system and then placement in the market in early May,” president of Genesis Marketing Group Inc., Cris Fletcher told ORN. Genesis is a manufacturer, bottler and beverage developer, which also has Dad’s

Old Fashioned Root Beer and Koala beverages in its portfolio. The company will eventually look to sell Joia in a retail setting, but initially focus on foodservice. “We really see the value of building a brand in foodservice,” Fletcher said. “There is more of a full 360 experience for the customer when they get to try the product. So we feel the path to development with foodservice is critical.” The flavours being launched in Canada include: grapefruit, chamomile and cardamom; blackberry, pomegranate and ginger; pineapple, coconut and nutmeg; and orange, jasmine and nutmeg. Joia also offers a ginger, apricot and allspice variety currently available in the U.S. and a lime, hibiscus and clove flavour, which will be sold exclusively through an unnamed buying group in Canada. “They’re really unique because they are heading toward the craft-type of product just like they are doing with craft beer,” Fletcher said. Joia announced its plans for Canada at the 2014 CRFA Show in Toronto. “So far the response has been overwhelming, it’s kind of been beyond our expectations,” Fletcher said. The product will be distributed through Flanagan Foodservice with deals in the works to include Sysco and Gordon Food Service.

Canadian wines at ProWein GUELPH, ON—Twelve wine producers from four provinces represented Canada for the first time at ProWein held in Dusseldorf, Germany March 23 to 25. Canadian wineries from Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia joined together to create the first Canadian pavilion to exhibit at the international trade fair. Ontario Food Exports, a branch of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, spearheaded the initiative. The pavilion showcased red, white and icewine to highlight the diversity of the Canadian industry. Ontario producers Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery, Malivoire Wine Company, Pelee Island Winery and Pillitteri Estates Winery also brought wines to the show. Devonian Coast Wineries showcased wines from two of its Nova Scotia operations: Jost Vineyards and Gaspereau Vineyards. WineDelight, a German importer, presented wines from five Ontario producers: Creekside Estate Winery, Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits (Dan Aykroyd Wines, Lakeview Cellars), Flat Rock Cellars, Pillitteri Estates Winery and Vineland Estates Winery.

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prOduCTS App for skipping the lines

Stuffed chicken minis

Customers can submit orders and pay through the newly launched Hangry smartphone application. Hangry—a play on the words hunger and angry—allows orders to be transmitted from the customer to a supplied tablet and a two-way communication keeps the customer in the loop about the status of their order. Hangry also provides operators with instant sales reports and can set up ordering icons on the restaurant’s website. The app is compatible with Android and iPhones. For more:

Reuven International has launched its latest frozen food line, the Stuffed Chicken Minis. The bite-sized morsels come in four flavours: Swiss cheese and back bacon; pepper jack cheese and bacon; Buffalo with blue cheese and celery; and three cheese jalapeno. Stuffed Chicken Minis can be cooked straight from the freezer to the fryer. According to a spokesperson, some restaurants use them in sandwiches while others serve them on a plate as an appetizer. For more:

Dishwasher heat exchange

Shipping wine

The Novothermic NVX 2060 dishwasher heat exchange can be retrofitted to any brand of dishwasher to recover hot water going down the drain and uses it to preheat incoming fresh water. Inside, a patented double-wall heat exchanger allows operators to generate energy from the dishwasher and can reduce water-heating costs up to 50 per cent. In February, the machine was among the winners of the National Restaurant Association’s Kitchen Innovations Awards and will be featured at this year’s NRA show in Chicago May 17 to 20. For more:

Sonoco ThermoSafe has extended its line of wine shipping products specifically designed to protect wine and craft beverages from temperature extremes that could compromise product quality. Bottles will remain at a controlled temperature for up to five days and are padded to protect against breakage. According to the company, the shipping system was manufactured to be both sustainable and environmentally conscious with a purified recycled fibre padding in a permeable liner. Two- or six-bottle configurations are available. For more:





1. Hangry. 2. Reuven’s Stuffed Chicken Minis. 3. Novothermic dishwasher heat exchange. 4. ThermoSafe shipping.

Students awarded for achievements by CAFP TORONTO—The Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP) held an awards dinner at the Eaton Chelsea in Toronto on March 24 to celebrate the academic achievements of students and their involvement with the foodservice industry. CAFP vice-president of national sponsorship Angelo Colalillo emceed the event that saw 40 awards. A total of $22,800 in awards was handed out, which was an 11 per cent increase from last year. Colalillo told ORN the students’ awards used to be coupled with the organization’s top management night, but felt the change was necessary to give students their own night to celebrate their achievements. Kateryna Kovalenko of Ryerson University recieved a CAFP Toronto Branch award and the Brian Cooper Memorial Award for the student who obtained the highest test score. For the first time, the CAFP awarded $500 bursaries to two highschool students: Danica Chen, St. Francis Xavier Catholic School and Annalisa Lattavo, St. Michael’s Catholic School. Along with the bursary, both students were invited to spend a day with Maple Leaf Foods to gain first-hand foodservice experience. The CAFP also announced the inaugural Arlene Dickinson Award winner. The $2,000 prize went to Emily Meko of George Brown College for her entrepreneurial spirit.


COMING EVENTS April 15: Flanagan Foodservice Annual Tradeshow, Kitchener Show, Kitchener Memorial Complex, Kitchener, ON. April 23: Flanagan Foodservice Annual Tradeshow, Sudbury Show, Garson Community Centre, Garson, ON. April 24: Simcoe Hospitality Awards gala event. Nottawasaga Resort, Alliston, ON. April 24-27: Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals 2014 National Conference, Delta Ottawa City Centre, Ottawa. www.cafp. com April 29: Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists, University of Toronto, St. Michael’s College, Toronto. May 4-6: Bakery Showcase, International Centre, Mississauga, ON.

Angelo Colalillo, CAFP.

May 6: Flanagan Foodservice Annual Tradeshow, Owen Sound Show, Owen Sound Bayshore Arena, Owen Sound, ON. May 6-7: Canadian Restaurant Investment Conference, Eaton Chelsea Toronto Hotel, Toronto, ON. May 12: Terroir Hospitality Industry Symposium, Arcadian Court, Toronto. May 17–20: National Restaurant Association Show, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. May 24: We Care Gala & Awards Dinner, International Centre, Mississauga, ON.

Kateryna Kovalenko, Ryerson University.

May 28–June 2: CCFCC National Convention 2014, Gatineau, QC.

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GFS gets appetite for adventure


TORONTO—The Toronto Congress Centre was full of activity on March 26 for the Gordon Food Service (GFS) 2014 Spring Food, Tabletop and Supplies Show. More than 200 GFS vendors showed off their wares to members of the foodservice industry, many getting on board with this year’s theme Appetite for Adventure with creative displays.


1. Markon’s tower of produce. 2. Jason Persall, president of Pristine Gourmet, in the local section. 3. Marc Laroche, Olymel corporate chef, cooks up some new products: a bacon and cheese quesadilla and Mediterranean chicken breast stir-fry. 4. Canada Bread corporate chef Norm Myshock. 5. GFS grocery and frozen section. 6. Intercity Packers seafood manager John Kartas.





Tips for keeping a pest-free kitchen

Ontario Hospitality Network launched

As part of the 2014 CRFA Show, Abell Pest Control conducted a seminar on how restaurants and foodservice professionals can keep their kitchens free from critters.

TORONTO—Eight groups servicing the hospitality industry have come together to form the Ontario Hospitality Network (OHN). The formation of the group allows customers to source everything from POS systems to wine, coffee and cleaning products under one umbrella. “We have become a one-stop shop, so when people open a new restaurant, these are all eight standard core things to open up,” Steve Kriaris, president of the Kolonaki Group, told ORN. The Kolonaki Group joins Magic White Inc., Brazilian Canadian Coffee Co. Ltd., Jastex Promotions, SilverWare POS, Marsh Insurance, dine.TO and Neo-Image Candlelight to make up the group. The OHN launched at the 2014 CRFA Show where, according to Kriaris, they received


Start with a clean kitchen. Make a list of tasks, assign them to each employee and ensure employees have the right tools and enough time to complete tasks. Concentrate on problem areas: floor and sink drains, garbage and recycling containers, under counters, in food storage areas and beverage lines.


Remove food debris. Do not leave food out on surfaces or floors. Sweep and mop daily making sure to reach behind prep tables and paying particular attention to corners and crevices. Food should be stored at least six inches off the ground and in sealed containers. Shelving units should be on wheels so it’s easy to clean behind them.


Ensure structural maintenance.

Make sure there are no openings in the walls or ceilings for pests to gain access. Coolers and food storage rooms should be checked monthly for cracks. 4.

Clean pop and beer lines. Clean pop machines nightly with warm water; do not use hot water or chemicals as it could damage seals or leave a residue. Pop lines should be cleaned every six months and juice lines every three months. Beer lines should be cleaned after each keg, or at least every two weeks. After each night, taps should be cleaned and spill areas washed thoroughly.


Keep garbage area tidy. Power wash dumpsters monthly and make sure leaking bags are never thrown in bins. Do not overfill bins, and keep area clear of loose garbage or debris.

For more information visit Abell Pest Control’s CleanSAFE Kitchen at

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more than 20 offers from other companies to join the network. “At the moment we are not looking to have anybody added,” Kriaris said. “If you have 20 companies, you run the risk of diluting the message.” Kriaris said the network will share sales leads, point out customers who have defaulted on payments, and share booths under the OHN banner at tradeshows. Within the year, OHN hopes to hire a representative to travel Ontario making sales on behalf of the group. Kriaris also said OHN is looking into providing customers with a bonus structure depending on the number of services within the group a particular client uses. “You are able to punch above your weight,” Kriaris said.

Town & Country contest winners Town & Country Uniforms held a draw at the annual 2014 CRFA Show to give away personalized chef coats. Of the many entries, 12 lucky chefs were drawn to receive the prize. Chefs from right across Canada were chosen, with coats going to Charlottetown, Vancouver and throughout Ontario. For a complete list of winners visit:


Three foodservice industry leaders from Ontario and Quebec were elected to the Restaurants Canada board of directors: George Jeffrey, chief operating officer at Quiznos Canada; Michel Lanctôt, vice-president at Sportscene Group; and Cindy Simpson, executive vice-president at Imago Restaurants.

12,000-square-foot restaurant in Toronto, according Toronto Life. Although no date has been set, the restaurant will open inside the Cinema Tower condos, next to the TIFF Bell Lightbox on King Street West. Waxman has been the chef-owner of Barbuto in New York City’s West Village for the past decade.

The Toronto branch of the Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) hosted a World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) endorsed competition at the CRFA Show March 2 to 4. The cold salon competition pitted chefs against one another to produce hot food served cold or in sculptures. The competition was the first WACS-endorsed event on Canadian soil in more than 20 years. In the culinary arts categories, Raffaele Ventrone, of Cirillo’s Culinary Academy, came out on top of the professional level entrants and Jonathan Brum from Humber College took home the novice Best in Show award. In pastry arts, Kevin Francisco, from Old Firehall Confectionery, picked up Best in Show and Rachelle Goulet won the novice award.

Liam Dolan, chef and owner of three restaurants in Charlottetown, is the new chair of Restaurants Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. Dolan, who has served on the board for nearly 13 years, was elected chair at the association’s annual meeting on March 4. He started studying as a chef at the age of 16 in his native Ireland, and later moved to Prince Edward Island where he worked as a chef in hotels.

Fred Butson is now sales manager at A.J. Lanzarotta Wholesale Fruit & Vegetables Ltd., in charge of an Ontario sales team that includes Jim Reid (GTA), Jim Shorley (East), Michael Hansen (Golden Horseshoe), Ed O’Halloran (Chain Accounts), Carmen Smith (North) and Dave Holmes (Barrie). Butson comes to A.J. Lanzarotta from Nutri-Health Corp. He is currently vice-president senior management advisory council for the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals.




1. Ontario Greenhouse contest winner Nadine Crichton (right) receives her award from Nancy J. Hewitt. 2. Aaron Barberian (left) with Tony Elenis of ORHMA. 3. Jonathan Waxman: Photo by Fabrizio Ferri. 4. Liam Dolan.

rants Canada’s annual tradeshow and given the opportunity to participate in a live demonstration at the show with chef Michael Clive. The pilot project has received further government funding and will be rolled out into 20 culinary programs in Ontario. 2.

Nadine Crichton from Georgian College was the winning student in the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers’ Off the Vine culinary recipe contest. Crichton was part of the organization’s pilot project, which saw foodservice marketing specialist Nancy Hewitt and chef Wendy Barrett conduct three-hour workshops at four Ontario culinary colleges, culminating in the recipe contest. The winner was announced at the Ontario pavilion at Restau-

Aaron Barberian is the new chair of ORHMA Toronto Region, taking over the reins from Debra DeMonte, owner of the Longest Yard restaurants. Barberian is the second-generation owner of Barberian’s Steak House in downtown Toronto, which celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. Jonathan Waxman of New York’s Barbuto is teaming up with Canadian filmmaker Ivan Reitman and local restaurant group Innov8 Hospitality to open Montecito, a

The Marketplace Nestled in the historic town of Fergus, Ontario;

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Price: $42 Semi Sq Ft

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Ontario Restaurant News - April 2014  
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