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Burger joints reap rewards MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — It’s more than just tasty burgers that keep customers coming back to the Burger Factory. Regulars can also join its Vicinity rewards program that includes exclusive special deals. Vicinity is a program allowing independent operators to implement loyalty programs and compete with the incentives offered by large

chain eateries. “People like free stuff and we send out exclusive promotions by text, so that means our competition aren’t aware of what we are offering and it gives us an edge,” said Burger Factory owner Zayna Saleh. The fast casual restaurant known for its cheese-filled Juicy Lucy burgers is located inside

a small Dixie Road shopping centre with diverse cuisine choices nearby including Indian, Turkish kebab and Chinese. There is typically a long line at Burger Factory — locals drive 30 to 40 minutes for a bite of their house-made burgers, according to Saleh. Burger Factory competes for dollars by using automated marketing via text messages to share promotions with Vicinity cardholders and as a result, the restaurant has retained a growing number of regular customers. “Vicinity has been very beneficial to us, because we could not offer a rewards program without it,” he explained. “We are taking advantage of an existing infrastructure that is available for free to our customers. It’s very enticing for customers and

for the business because we are busy and don’t have time for marketing.” The program has also boosted business at Mamo Burger Bar, a sit-down restaurant with locations in Windsor and Tecumseh, Ont. Duane Neveau, vice-president of marketing and operations, was looking for ways to steal share and decided to target existing customers through Vicinity’s rewards program. Mamo Burger’s loyalty program offers incentives like gift cards or discounts on future orders and customers have responded, according to Neveau. Customers can also share gift cards earned via rewards with friends and family members, growing Mamo Burger’s reach in the community.

David Martin ends term

David Martin. TORONTO —David Martin ends his 10-year term as director of Ryerson University’s Hospitality and Tourism school on June 30, but he will still be with Ryerson for the foreseeable future. “I will have a sabbatical year starting in September to refresh my batteries. I’m looking at visiting academic roles in different universities where I can teach and do research,” he said. In September 2016, he will be back in the classroom at Ryerson. The new director will arrive this summer. One upcoming project is marketing the restaurant simulation he has been developing during the last 10 years. George Brown and Algonquin Colleges have already expressed interest in the program, called Simr — The Restaurant Simulation. Simr uses simulations in a gaming format to explore the financial aspect of running a restaurant. “Lots of restaurants go out of business because the managers don’t understand the financial side,” Martin said. Participants can explore types of menus, portion sizes, staffing and budgeting in a competitive environment against others. Simr is marketed through a company called Pro Simulation, which Martin owns along with partner Bernie McEvoy, also a Ryerson professor. Looking back, Martin said Ryerson’s move eight years ago from the old Ibis Hotel to the Ted Rogers Centre was a major milestone. “It was great to be able to build a learning lab including test and prep kitchens and a restaurant. We were also able to increase our research capacity through the Hospitality Tourism Research Institute headed by Dr. Rachel Dodds.” The greatest challenge has been keeping pace with the changing nature of the industry, replacing skill set training and front-line operations with hospitality and tourism management training. “There’s a need for data analysis, research skills and critical thinking to prepare for a business that is changing instantaneously,” he said.

WE HAVE ARRIVED IT’S ABOUT TIME ONTARIO HAD A TASTE

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Ontario Restaurant News - June 2015