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O N T A R I O November 2015 Vol. 30 No. 10












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By Kristen Smith, Managing Editor STRATFORD, Ont. — Getting a piece of the pie makes for more invested restaurant staff. This is the business model behind Stratford, Ont. restaurant The Red Rabbit, which opened on July 14. Dubbed the restaurant’s fearless leader, general manger Jessie Larsen said the idea was born out of necessity. The Red Rabbit team are also behind the opening of another Stratford restaurant about four years ago, Mercer Hall. When that was being sold and they weren’t able to purchase it, the decision was made to go into business for themselves. “We sat down and I said, ‘I don’t really want to do this for someone else anymore,’ ” said Larsen. “If we are going to work 80 hours a week and throw ourselves passionately into up the rest of the funding through a With about 1,900 square feet, the eatery seats 48 guests with another 10 small business loan. something, we want to do it for us.” Larsen said the small business rep- seats at the wood bar. With a framework of 100 shares “The decor is kind of eclectic. at $1,000 each, the 10-person own- resentative at the branch took an inership team raised a portion of the terest in the project, which they really Lots of greys and neutral tones with pops of red,” said Larsen. “It’s meant capital in March. “We sold out within appreciated. “So often, banks are just faceless to be low key but also kind of timea week; everyone said, ‘Yup, I’m in,’ ” corporations and they say ‘no,’ be- less.” Larsen recalled. Head chef and owner Sean ColThrough a model similar to com- cause the numbers don’t work or bemunity supported agriculture, Strat- cause you’re in hospitality,” she said. lins designed a menu of southernAPPROVAL REQUIRED “Hospitality is a very difficult thing influenced comfort foods. Split into ford residents were invited to purThe enclosed proof is sent for your approval. We will not proceed with the job until the proof is returned. DO NOT GIVE VERBAL INSTRUCTIONS. CHECK CAREFULLY! omnivore, carnivore and herbivore to have financed through traditional chase futures in the restaurant. This Beyond this point we cannot accept responsibility for any errors. Alterations (other than typoerrors) will be charged extra. Mark proof “OK” or “OK with corrections” as the case may sections, the dinner menu offers Colmethods.” raised almost $60,000, which willgraphical be be, signing your name so we may know that the proof reached the proper authority. The Red Rabbit opened in a for- onel Collins’ Fried Chicken, Rabbit paid out in services over three years. APPROVAL DATE Street. and Leek Pie, BBQ Celery Root Fried bridal shop on Wellington The Royal Bank of CanadaSIGNATURE put OFmer

A team of owners

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At The Red Rabbit in Stratford, Ont., the restaurant’s staff are also its owners and Polenta and Duck Egg. Made for sharing, Larsen described the menu as a “choose your own adventure,” where customers can select various items to try. During the theatre season, The Red Rabbit has pre-show fixed price menus and during the off season, will be rebooting some winter events such as beer dinners and monthly themed dinners, the first one being Orange is the New Black in November and Nosh Monday. “It’s not unlike a tapas Tuesday,” said Larsen. “It’s $39 per person;

there’s no menu, the chef just feeds you until you say, ‘I can’t take it anymore.” Of the 10-person ownership team, eight work regularly at the restaurant. The other two are Brittany Holmes, cocktail consultant and an enthusiastic regular and cheese consultant Kelsie Parsons. In addition to Larsen and Collins, the ownership team consists of Tim Larsen, Jon Naiman, Tyson Everitt, Steve Walters, Adam Robinson and Gen Zinger. By eliminating “the man at the top,” The Red Rabbit is able to pay staff more, what Larsen called “a living wage.” The plan is to not pay out shares for the first three years. “There’s actually two sides to the profit sharing. Each of the employees collects their salary and at the end of the year, let’s say there is a dividend, the dividend is split 50/50 between staff and shareholders,” explained Larsen. “So the best position that anyone can be in is to be both a staff member and a shareholder.” Larsen said the ownership model doesn’t only benefit the staff, but also The Red Rabbit. “Restaurants experience so much transience when it comes to staff. It makes sense for the business to have everyone invested. You don’t have people calling in sick or going to find other jobs. It works well for the staff and for the business model,” she said.




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JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION Jean Cola-Ladines-Paunil creates an order from the McDonald’s Create your Taste menu. TORONTO — McDonald’s Canada is borrowing some moves from the fast casual playbook with the advent of kiosk ordering, customization and table delivery, a move the company has made in France, Australia, Poland and some markets in the United States. The initiatives launched on Sept. 30 at the Victoria Park Avenue and St. Clair Avenue East location in Toronto, with plans to roll the program out at about 1,000 of the brand’s 1,400 Canadian locations by the end of 2017. Restaurants in special points of distribution, such as within Walmart, don’t have the required footprint for the changes. With a Create Your Taste menu, diners can customize a one-third-pound patty with choice of bun or lettuce wrap with about 30 toppings and sauces, starting at $6.99. Double-sided kiosks allow customers to order and retrieve menu items at a new, designated pick-up section or have a seat and wait for servers to deliver their Create Your Taste meal. “Our intent is to move forward. We’re going to take little steps in different markets across the country,” said Jacques Mignault, chief operating officer for McDonald’s Canada. In September, Mignault travelled coast to

coast, meeting with McDonald’s franchisees, who will be investing about $200,000 for the changes. “They’re really onboard, they’re really excited. Of course, it’s a significant investment, but they believe that’s the right way to approach the business and move forward,” Mignault said. “It really is about resetting the expectations around an unmatched guest experience — it really is grounded in deep hospitality.” The changes also mean hiring about 15 new employees per location, including for the new role of guest experience leaders who are on the floor to engage with customers. In addition to self-order kiosks, physical changes to the restaurant include a new backof-house line for the Create Your Taste menu to avoid disruptions to the regular menu, a reconfigured front counter featuring dual-point service and pick up. McDonald’s has also brought its pastry items front-and-centre with an expanded display case and new baked goods. “When we reimaged our restaurants back in 2010, we made significant investments in the areas of capacity and capabilities and one of the additions at that point was McCafe. It’s been

very successful to date, but our guests were looking for more pairings, opportunities to snack and graze. We believe that the bakery line will do that very well for us,” said Mignault. “This is an industry in which you can never really be satisfied with what you offer. It’s really about taking our brand transformation to a new level,” said Mignault. “We want to be industry leaders and we believe that leveraging the personalization with our guests is something that’s paramount for us. It’s something that’s taken our brand to where consumers are expecting us and want us to go.” Mignault said McDonald’s is setting itself up for the future. “It’s a transformation that we’ll be able to build upon in the future the same way. When we modernized our fleet last time, we knew this step was coming, we’re doing this one recognizing there will be future changes,” he said. The program is launching at 11 Edmontonarea McDonald’s, which were chosen because of the high proportion of recently renovated restaurants, according to the company. In mid-October, it was announced that Create Your Taste and self-order kiosks would roll out in three British Columbia restaurants.


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ith the news of Mill Street Brewery’s acquisition in October, it begged the question: what constitutes craft? Founded in 2002 in Toronto’s Distillery District, Mill Street Brewery was picked up by Labatt and its parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev. The beer giant has also agreed in principle to purchase SABMiller for $106 billion. Mill Street co-founder Michael Duggan, who left the company in 2007, told the Toronto Star he wasn’t surprised by the buyout because the company had reached a size that made selling inevitable. “But will the public embrace a Mill Street run by Labatt? I’ve got the feeling the answer is no,” he said. The Mill Street announcement was met by social media backlash, with craft beer drinkers turning from the pioneer of organic lager in Canada. (By the way, Mill Street responded to every Tweet.) AB InBev wants Mill Street for a reason, and I can’t imagine it would be to change its beer or practices. With a $10 million investment from Labatt, Mill Street will be able to brew more and enter new markets. According to Labatt president Jan Craps, Mill Street will operate independently and be

able to preserve its “creative character and pioneering spirit.” I’m sure Labatt and InBev are counting on this. How can they capitalize on the popularity of craft beer if their acquisition effectively removes Mill Street from that segment? According to the Ontario Craft Brewers Association, it did. Designed to promote small, independent brewers, the OCB kicked Mill Street out because membership is restricted “to breweries under 400,000 HL including all affiliated owners/partners.” The same restriction prevented Creemore Springs Brewery from membership when Molson bought it a decade ago. With Mill Street out of the game, or at least out of the OCB, Beau’s All Natural Brewery jumped on the opportunity to declare itself Canada’s largest craft producer of organic beer. Admitting there is some variation in the definition of craft brewery, the Vankleek Hill, Ont., brewery cited three basic tenets: small, traditional and independent; “not owned by a compu-global-hyper-mega-net brewery.” In an email to the Queen’s Park press gallery, a spokesperson for the finance minister answered requests about how the acquisition would affect Mill Street’s participation in the province’s “beer modernization strategy,” which will see beer sold in grocery stores and at least 20 per cent of shelf space allotted to

small brewers in The Beer Store network. While the province will still consider Mill Street brands craft beers based on production method, it will no longer be considered a small brewer. “It will therefore no longer be eligible for the small brewery supports that our government has implemented to assist the growth of Ontario’s craft beer industry,” she said in the email. “Mill Street will now be treated as any other Labatt-owned brand and will now pay to participate in The Beer Store programs at the Labatt rates.” The province’s programs supporting craft brewers seem to actually be in place to support small brewers and don’t appear to take production method into account. I went into this editorial intending to defend Mill Street’s craft title, feeling it should apply to small batches, made with attention to detail and natural ingredients. I still feel that way, but understand business structure matters just as much, especially to an industry where collaboration is key and the road to market share has been long. Perhaps we can still call Mill Street brands craft beer, so long as practices are maintained, but Mill Street can no longer be called a craft brewer. Kristen Smith Managing Editor

NEWS BRIEFS End of a Splendido era TORONTO — After a quarter century operating on Toronto’s Harbord Street, Splendido will have its last service on New Year’s Eve, reported the Globe and Mail. Chef Victor Barry bought the restaurant at age 26 with a partner from Yannick Bigourdan and David Lee in 2009. “It was beautiful opportunity: for me to own a restaurant, for them to get out of one, to move on with their careers and for me to start mine,” Barry told the Globe. Barry became the sole owner in 2013 and said reasons for closing are not of a financial nature, but to change his way of life. “A restaurant at this level needs full commitment: 14 hours a day, five days a week,” said Barry, who has two daughters. “I just had my 10th anniversary working at Splendido and the restaurant is coming up on its 25th anniversary. It will always be remembered as one of those iconic restaurants of Toronto. As a business owner and responsible husband, I feel that making this decision now is better than later,” he said. “I don’t want to have a coup de grâce where I can’t do something after this, where I feel like I let Splendido down.”

Saputo acquires Woolwich Dairy for $80 million MONTREAL – Saputo Inc. is adding its first goat cheese manufacturer to its roster of dairy products. On Oct. 5, Saputo announced it pur-

4 | Ontario Restaurant News

chased Orangeville, Ont.-based Woolwich Dairy for $80 million. Woolwich is an award-winning goat cheese manufacturer with facilities in Orangeville, Princeville, Que. and Lancaster, Wisconsin. Orangeville is also home to the company’s distribution centre. Its brands include Woolwich Dairy, Chevrai and Wholesome Goat. The company generates revenue of about $70 million annually. Woolwich’s distribution and operations will not be affected by the acquisition in the immediate future. “The teams will work together to see what are the best solutions and best practice,” said Sandy Vassiadis, director of corporate communications for Saputo. “It’s business as usual.” The acquisition allows Saputo to increase its presence in the North American specialty cheese market. Saputo, based in Montreal, is the largest cheese manufacturer, the leading fluid milk and cream processor in Canada. and one of the top three cheese producers in the United States.

Langdon Hall awarded GUELPH, Ont. – Langdon Hall in Cambridge, one of five Canadian restaurants to receive the University of Guelph Good Food Innovation Awards. Langdon Hall joins Little Louis Oyster Bar, in Moncton, N.B., Taverne Monkland in Montreal, Les Jardins Sauvages in SaintRoch-del’Achigan, Que. and River Café in

Calgary in receiving the award for inventive approaches and imaginative meals. The annual award recognizes chefs and food professionals using Canadian ingredients to create unique and healthy menu selections and follow sustainable management practices. “Canadian culinary traditions are constantly evolving, and these five chefs are at the forefront of these changes,” said Anita Stewart, Canada’s first food laureate at the university and founder of Cuisine Canada and Food Day Canada. “They are setting an example for the Canadian restaurant industry by thinking outside of the box.”

D+ for Ontario’s liquor policies TORONTO – Ontario has one of the least bar and restaurant friendly liquor policies in Canada, according to a new report card issued by Restaurants Canada. The Raise the Bar report card evaluated provincial governments across the country on licensing and regulation; customer sales; and political and regulatory activity. Ontario earned a D+ as licensees pay more than retail prices for beer and spirits and have long wait times for new licenses. Ontario tied Saskatchewan for the second worst grade in the country. Newfoundland was the lowest with an F. Alberta had the highest rank with a B+ thanks to its practice of offering restaurant and bar owners a wide selection of alcoholic products at competitive prices.


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EDITORIAL ADVISORY COUNCIL MICKEY CHEREVATY Consultant, Moyer Diebel Limited MARVIN GREENBERG Consultant JACK BATTERSBY President, Summit Food Service Distributors Inc. PAUL LECLERC Partner, Serve-Canada Food Equipment Ltd. PAUL MANCINI Director of Retail, Inventory and Wholesale, LCBO JORGE SOARES Director Food and Beverage Operations, Woodbine Entertainment Group ADAM COLQUHOUN President, Oyster Boy JOHN CRAWFORD Director of Sales-Canada, Lamb Weston TINA CHIU Chief Operating Officer, Mandarin Restaurant Franchise Corporation MARTIN KOUPRIE Chef/Owner, Pangaea Restaurant JOEL SISSON Founder and president of Crush Strategy Inc. LESLIE WILSON Vice-president of Business Excellence, Compass Group Canada CHRIS JEENS Partner, W. D. Colledge Co. Ltd.

ONTARIO RESTAURANT NEWS VOLUME 30 · NO. 10 · NOVEMBER 2015 Ontario Restaurant News ( is published 12 times a year by Ishcom Publications Ltd., 2065 Dundas Street East, Suite 201, Mississauga, Ont. L4X 2W1 T: (905) 206-0150 · F: (905) 206-9972 · Toll Free: 1(800)201-8596 Other publications include the Canadian Chains Directory and Buyers’ Directory as well as: P A C I F I C / P R A I R I E



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Restaurateurs join revitalization recipe in Hamilton HAMILTON, Ont. – Hamilton is looking to its restaurateurs to help attract new investment to the city. Throughout the last year, the city’s economic development division has invited potential investors to tour Hamilton’s burgeoning culinary scene. Dave Henley, who works with city staff to organize the restaurant tours, explained a thriving culinary scene is an important step in the development of a community. “The artists come to the neighbourhood, then the restaurants come, and then an explosion of sorts follows,” Henley said. “Hamilton’s dining scene is like no other in terms of its expansion.” The first restaurant tours were intended to spur media coverage to attract the interest of other chefs and restaurateurs. “Now it’s about what we have here, and how special it is in Ontario. The city of Hamilton has reinvented itself,” Henley said. Tour organizers invite about 15 potential investors to join the free, 10-hour tour. Throughout the day, investors visit about 10 innovative or unique restaurants throughout the city. The fourth tour takes place on Nov. 13. “They talk about what they do, what the dining community is like, what the business community is like,” Henley said. “You sample food, you sample drinks, that’s the nature of the tour.” Michael Marini, marketing coordinator for Hamilton’s economic development division, said the tour is targeting investors capable of changing the social setting of the city’s downtown core. “We’re trying to help build up that capacity of the offerings in terms of great restaurants and great quality of life,” Marini said. “It is working, five or six years ago (the downtown) didn’t look like this.” The majority of recent investment in Hamilton has come from the GTA, an area targeted by the tours. Marini explained Hamilton’s lease prices help lure business from Toronto. Space in city’s downtown costs about $12 to $18 per square foot. “It’s very expensive to do business in Toronto,” Marini said. For Henley, there’s more to Hamilton’s appeal than low rent costs. “There’s a lot more support from the community. It’s part of Hamilton’s renaissance,” Henley said. “You’ll find that the economic development guys, partners in the city and local media will give you a lot more support and attention than you would get in Toronto.” While the restaurant tours are considered a success, Marini noted the events are one of many methods used to attract new business. “From a soft-sell standpoint, it’s extremely helpful. We’re taking people to the locations. We’re putting them in front of other restaurateurs who are already investing here,” Marini said. “They’re getting third-party advice and testimonials.”

New tap house includes first static location for Fired Up Pizza SUDBURY, Ont. – Taphouse Northern Grill & Pub has partnered with Fired Up Pizza to deliver a unique dining experience in northern Ontario. Taphouse, which opened in Sudbury in late September at 1500 Regent St. South, includes a Fired Up Pizza franchise within the 7,000-square-foot establishment. Until now, Fired Up Pizza was strictly a mobile business. “Their trailers are stationary during the summer. In the winter, they go away,” said Kathy Heimbecker, manager of Taphouse. “It’s beneficial to Fired Up Pizza and us.” The 380-seat restaurant, the first venture into foodservice for owners Stacey Cameron and John Arnold, also includes an event space and patio. The Fired Up partnership was created as a way to involve other Sudbury businesses, a commitment that also includes brewers and artists. “We value local, community people,” Heimbecker said. Although under the same roof, Taphouse and Fired Up operate out of separate kitchens and maintain distinct menus. “We put the [Fired Up Pizza] menu inside of our regular menu,” Heimbecker said. “They’re takeout as well as eat-in.” For chef Denny Potvin, the separate kitchens created unique challenges.

“Now, we can time it down. If you order burgers and pizza, they come out at the same time,” Potvin said. Alongside Fired Up Pizza, Taphouse’s menu also proposes a build-your-own burger challenge to its customers. The idea has proven popular with the restaurant’s Friday and Saturday night crowd. “That’s been a hit, there seems to be some male competition going on to see who can eat the most,” Heimbecker said. “They do have fun with it. It’s definitely part of the pub excitement.” The menu also features beer-infused appetizers and hearty meals. The average check is about $20. “The best way to describe it is northern comfort food,” Potvin said. At the 80-seat bar, Taphouse features 23 beers and several wines on tap. The selection of craft and premium beer aims to provide “a tour around the world” for the restaurant’s customers. “It’s quite unique and new to the north in general, not just Sudbury,” Heimbecker said. To help promote Taphouse, the restaurant has created a Mug Club, which also helps to decorate the bar. “They can select their favourite numbered mug, and it is held here for each of their visits,” Heimbecker said. “It entitles them to be the first to know about events and promotions at the Taphouse.”

The Geekery is specializing in equal opportunity employment NIAGARA FALLS, Ont, — As the mother of two autistic children, entering the workforce — let alone running a restaurant — wasn’t an option for Suzanne Bilski. For about 20 years, Bilski’s career was caring for her children. Her husband worked as a long-haul truck driver and childcare for special needs youth wasn’t an affordable option. “I just couldn’t carry a full-time job,” she said. When her husband found a new career as a local truck driver, Bilski decided to put her culinary management degree to use. Playing off of her son’s interest in science fiction and comic books, Bilski began planning a restaurant with a theme to match his interests. Through her hairdresser, she was introduced to Mike Vega who ran a comic book themed pizzeria. They eventually partnered to open The Geekery, a comic book and science fiction-themed restaurant on Lundy’s Lane in Niagara Falls, Ont. “My son is a major geek; I thought, ‘What could we do’?” Bilski said. “It kind of evolved into this.” Alongside its sci-fi theme, the restaurant also aimed to create

6 | Ontario Restaurant News

a welcoming space for those with developmental disabilities. At The Geekery, four members of her 13-person staff have special needs. As well, one of her sons helps with tables and greeting customers. “I’m an equal opportunity employer, so I hire special needs people,” Bilski said. She noted the odds of a special needs person finding work in Niagara Falls are slim. “This is one of the reasons I wanted to create this,” Bilski said. “I see them struggling just to get independence, let alone somebody taking them on.” The other staff members hired at The Geekery all have personal connections to family or friends with developmental disabilities. “Whether they have a sister with Down syndrome, or work at special needs camps, they’re all affiliated somehow with special needs,” Bilski said. “I had well over 200 people apply for these jobs.”

While hiring special needs employees might require extra accommodations, Bilski said the effort pays off as an employer. “They are the hardest working people you can hire as long as you treat them with respect,” she said. “They shine well in certain areas. That’s what you hire them for.” The 106-seat restaurant is split between three rooms and generously decorated with science fiction, comic book and fantasy themes. Local artists have illustrated each tabletop in the restaurant. As well, a comic book store is located within the restaurant. The diner-style menu also carries comic and sci-fi themed items, such as Lord of the Onion Rings. The atmosphere has led to many of the restaurant’s customers arriving in costume or cosplay. “People come here in cosplay, whole families come to eat. Even my mom, who is 71, dresses up. She works for me,” Bilski said. “But you don’t even have to be a full-blown geek. There’s a wave of nostalgia you get when you walk in here.”

Cactus Club opens eastern flagship in Toronto With 28 restaurants throughout Canada, the chain doesn’t plan to slow down expansion TORONTO – More than two years after Cactus Club Café announced its first Ontario location, the doors opened at Toronto’s First Canadian Place. “I like to say that it was 28 years in the making, we have always wanted to become a national restaurant collection,” founder Richard Jaffray said in an email. “But truly, we’ve been working on this concept, space, menu for the past five years. We strive for the best service, food and atmosphere that we can provide and it’s safe to say that we were ready for this opening.” Jaffray opened the first Cactus Club in North Vancouver in 1988 at the age of 23. There are 28 Cactus Club Cafés in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and now Ontario, with the Oct. 27 opening of an eastern flagship location. Occupying more than 15,200 square feet over three floors, the Toronto location has 500 seats in three distinct spaces. “The Rob Feenie Dining Room and Lounge is the one traditional

dining space, Kate’s Bar named for the Mr. Brainwash Kate Moss artwork, with an outdoor patio and amazing cinq à sept vibe, then we have The Deck, our rooftop patio with retractable roof that melts snow, creating our own Miami meets Los Angeles atmosphere,” said Jaffray. Corporate chef Rob Feenie designed a menu including eight dishes for the Toronto opening: Veal and Porcini Pappardelle, Lingcod Cocotte, Duck Confit, Rob’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Lamb Medina, Kale and Grilled Chicken Salad, Double Braised Short Ribs and Feenie’s Beef Duo, a combination of the doublebraised short ribs with a tenderloin steak. “Including eight new Toronto inspired dishes created by chef Feenie felt like a natural move for a space and location like FCP,” said Jaffray. “You have one chance to make a lasting impression and we felt that this unique location was truly a creation unlike any other. So unique in fact that we had to coin

Beef Duo is part of the Toronto inspired menu. a whole new term for the experience – creative fine dining,” Jaffray said. “This creative approach to fine dining has led to an elevated yet approachable menu, a relaxed atmosphere and a vibrant, authentic experience.” The beverage program, designed by sommelier and service director Sebastien Le Goff, includes classic cocktails and a wine list highlighting Canada’s growing wine industry as well as Old and New World labels.

The reserve list also includes many fine cellar wines by the glass using an Enomatic wine dispensing unit, which protects wine from oxidization for up to 28 days. Jaffray said while the company is getting settled in Toronto for the time being, Ontario is a large market. “We have big plans to continue our Western Canada expansion,” he said. “And now have a major focus on Ontario as well.”

Cactus Club founder Richard Jaffray.


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On the clock — FSR behaviour within dayparts By Scott Stewart


ull service restaurant (FSR) operators often view their businesses from the scope of their hours of operation. From open to close, hundreds of guests come through the doors, employee shifts begin and end and, hopefully, a healthy profit is made. While this is all well understood, it is important for operators to consider the changes in consumer behaviour as the day goes on. The shift from daypart to daypart will always be a clear difference in how consumers use the restaurant, but what about the shift from hour to hour? In an FSR market that continues to struggle, operators need to steal share from each other and any competitive advantage is vital to success. Understanding consumer behaviour in order to anticipate and meet demands is an important advantage. By knowing how the consumer acts and what they look for at different times of the day, operators can implement tactics that increase their chance at higher traffic and higher checks at the most opportune times.

Who is coming and when? There are differences in hourly behaviour that may be useful to many operators. For instance, according to The NPD Group, consum-

8 | Ontario Restaurant News

ers over the age of 65 years account for 24 per cent of FSR traffic at 5 p.m., but that number plummets to only seven per cent by 9 p.m. Conversely, in the same period of time, 25- to 34-year-olds grow from eight per cent of traffic to 27 per cent of traffic. To say that older consumers visit restaurants earlier in the evening and younger consumers visit later is likely not an epiphany to many restaurant operators. However, this drastic difference in demographics highlights how different a restaurant can become within only a few hours. This substantial change begs the question: what else changes from hour to hour? Beyond demographics, there is evidence indicating consumers’ visit drivers change as the day goes on. The top driver of visits within FSR overall is convenient location. However, as a share of FSR traffic, it drops from 39 per cent at 1 p.m. to 30 per cent at 5 p.m. and down to 25 per cent at 9 p.m. On the other hand, the share of consumers driven to an FSR by a special taste/craving increases from 13 per cent at 1 p.m. to 19 per cent at 5 p.m. to 23 per cent at 9 p.m. That means the convenience of a location goes from three times more important than cravings to equally important within eight hours. For operators, that means restaurants investing in top-level locations need to capitalize on that advantage

early in the day. And as the day goes on, servers should anticipate consumers are more and more likely to be treating themselves, and suggestions of appetizers, desserts and drinks will likely be more successful with each passing hour.

From date night to party time This shift from convenience to craving is reflected in menu decisions as well, specifically alcohol. While alcohol incidence is always much higher at supper than lunch, there is even a difference at supper depending on the hour of the meal. The share of FSR occasions that include an alcoholic beverage increases from 22 per cent at 5 p.m., to 30 per cent at 6 p.m. and up to 34 per cent by 9 p.m. With this in mind, restaurateurs can anticipate demand and make more beverage suggestions for consumers at later supper times knowing there is a higher probability of a drink order. In line with some of the earlier findings on visit drivers and alcohol, the composition of a party changes as the day goes on. At 5 p.m. in FSR, 55 per cent of all occasions include the consumer’s significant other. That number declines to 40 per cent by 9 p.m. On the other hand, friends are included in about 21 per cent of meals at 5 p.m., but increase to 42 per cent by 9 p.m. These findings indicate that dates are likely to occur earlier in the evening, while more

informal hangouts become more important later in the evening. Keeping this shift in mind will allow operators to properly anticipate the mood of their restaurant as the evening goes on, giving them an opportunity to alter the atmosphere, music and lighting to shift from dates to hangouts as their consumer base changes.

Watching the clock The notion that consumers and restaurants change as the day goes on is not a new insight in the foodservice industry. However, while it may be widely known, many restaurants do not capitalize on the potential advantages gained from anticipating these hourly shifts. By responding not only to the changing demographics, but also the mindsets of consumers as the day gets later, operators will find an opportunity to drive traffic through increased satisfaction, as well as capitalize on opportunities to increase checks with server suggestions. And within a struggling market, every advantage needs to be leveraged for operators to win. Scott Stewart is an account manager, foodservice Canada for The NPD Group. The NPD Group has more than 25 years of experience providing consumer-based market information to leaders in the foodservice industry. For more information, visit or contact him at

Antler restaurant brings the forest to the table TORONTO — The first time Michael Hunter foraged for ingredients while working at the Belfountain Inn, he was hooked. “It was in a forest, so we’d go across the road and pick mushrooms and use them in the features for that night,” said Hunter. “It took me a while to figure out, but it really does satisfy a primal urge. It’s definitively satisfying to go out in nature and find your food.” In Belfountain, Ont., Hunter worked under David McRae, who now owns The Grain Revolution in Guelph, Ont. “He’s probably one of the most passionate individuals I’ve ever met, so he was a big inspiration in my career,” said Hunter. “That was my first job cooking real food; we made everything … That was really where I developed the love of food, working for [McRae].” His cooking has also been influenced by Scott Conant, who Hunter worked under at Scarpetta as chef de cuisine. “Very rustic Italian, but with a contemporary twist and really focusing on quality ingredients,” said Hunter. Most recently the executive chef for SIR Corp’s Reds Wine Tavern, Hunter opened Antler Kitchen & Bar with film producer and photographer Jody Shapiro on Oct. 23 at 1454 Dundas St. West in Toronto. The two are also working on a cookbook together and planning a hunting and foraging series. “We want to build this food brand around nature,” said Hunter. Shapiro’s role will include both front of house and back of house duties, but he also

Michael Hunter and Jody Shapiro. wants to bring his film background to the restaurant. “One of the things that I was really interested in when I met [Hunter] was his approach to nature … and respect for nature,” said Shapiro. “I think there are a lot of lessons to learn from that about where our food comes from and the resources around us.” He hopes to create films about the restaurant’s suppliers. “I just like that idea of being able to still tell stories — the restaurant is telling a story,” said Shapiro. Located in the former This End Up space,

the bar was refinished and the kitchen pass made bigger for a chef ’s table. Inspired by nature and the forest, the decor at the 45-seat restaurant is decorated photographs taken on Hunter’s foraging and hunting trips over the years. “Every photo has a story to it,” said Hunter. Nature is what also influences Hunter’s cooking, which focuses on wild food and Ontario products. “We want to be a part of defining Canadian cuisine,” said Hunter. Dishes include spice ash-crusted rack of deer served on venison stew with parsnip purée and a

burger of wild boar, bison and deer. “I want to inspire people to eat things other than beef or chicken and try new things,” said Hunter. The idea is to be inclusive, however, with chicken and trout making an appearance on the menu and vegetarian items, such as farrow risotto with roasted squash, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga and Parmesan cheese. The cocktail list makes use of foraged items, such as cedar-infused gin and sumac and basil simple syrup. While game must be farm-raised if it is served in restaurants, since it needs to be federally inspected, there is another law Hunter wasn’t aware of until recently when a dinner prepared at Shapiro’s condo was written up in the Toronto Star. It’s also illegal to earn profit from fish and hunted game, although the event was intended to be a promotion for the new restaurant and only covered expenses. “After we did this dinner and Jennifer Bain wrote this article, two conservation officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources came with badges to Reds and gave me a talking to,” said Hunter. “There is a way around it; I have to call them next time.” With a permit in hand, Hunter and Shapiro will be able host dinners with hunted game, with proceeds going to a charity. “There is a lot of care and respect that goes into what we do and there is a lot of care that goes into the food,” said Hunter. “I want to promote wild food and inspire people to eat healthy and teach them about where food comes from.”

More than seafood at nautical-themed restaurant

Jason Romanoff (left) and Jon Vettraino. TORONTO — The Commodore, a first-time venture for Jason Romanoff and Jon Vettraino, opened Sept. 25 in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. The pair were brought on by the project’s two silent partners to create the food and bar menu for the 1,000-square-foot establishment. “We say we’re a seafood-focused restaurant because that’s the easiest way to quantify what I’m doing as far as the menu’s concerned,” said Vettraino, as he prepped chicken skins for dinner service. Vettraino’s most recent positions include two years in F’Amelia’s kitchen, chef at 416 Snack Bar and saucier at Splendido.

“I definitively like cooking with seafood and that’s definitely a focal point,” said Vettraino. The Commodore’s share-friendly offerings include oysters, a seafood tower, but also a board of house-cured meats and a duck confit crepe. “It’s kind of hard to sum up what people are doing these days in the cooking world — the moulds have been broken and we’re kind of just doing something different,” Vettraino said. “I take ingredients that I like from producers that I think are noteworthy and I try to just build dishes around that mixed with, obviously, my experience and things I’ve seen in the past,” he said. Some signature dishes include: swordfish

crudo, served with a soy shallot mignonette, pickled sea asparagus and mustard seeds, shiso leaves and crispy chicken skin, and three-day braised pork cheek and tongue, served with caramelized apples and maple glaze. With about half of The Commodore’s 35 seats at the bar, drinks are an important part of the mix. “We’re not trying to tackle the cocktail revival right now, we want to kind of establish ourselves as a restaurant with a bar in it,” said Romanoff. The bar menu features classic cocktails, two signature creations by bartender Jessica Mili and five red and white wines.

The all-Ontario draft beer lineup is rounded out by two cocktails on tap, mixed and kegged onsite. Designed by Marx Kruis, of Toronto-based Kruisbuilt, the interior was inspired by centuries-old coastal spaces. “We wanted an updated nautical theme, something that was still in that realm, but not tacky,” said Vettraino. The team scoured local antique shops for pieces to incorporate into the design, such as refurbished school chairs and bar stools. Lights from Captain John’s Seafood Harbour Boat Restaurant are arranged above the bar as feature lighting.

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Charcoal Group creates new restaurant brand BRANTFORD, Ont. — When it came time to decide whether Tom Wideman and John Zizzo would renovate Moose Winooski’s in Brantford, Ont., the brand was brought into the Charcoal Group fold. Charcoal Group chief executive officer Jody Palubiski, said while Moose Winooski’s was “a tremendous business for the partners” — who also make up the Charcoal Group’s executive team with partner Tim Wideman — it was time to renovate or evolve. “The decision was made to go in and create a new concept there,” said Palubiski, a Kitchener, Ont. native who joined Charcoal Group in 2003. The new restaurant, Sociable Kitchen & Tavern is slated to open in late November at 45 King George Rd. in Brantford, Ont. The Moose Winooski’s locations will remain in Barrie and Kitchener, Ont., for the time being, Palubiski said. Tim and Tom Wideman’s parents founded the business in 1955 with the purchase of The Charcoal Pit, a 57-seat restaurant. Two years later, the name was changed to the Charcoal

Brantford’s Moose Winooski’s will be transformed into Sociable Steakhouse and in 1962, it was moved to a larger location seating 250 guests. In 1976, it moved again to a 26,000-squarefoot complex in Kitchener, Ont., where it still stands with two other Charcoal Group restaurants, Martini’s Restaurant and dels Enoteca Pizzeria. With 13 operations under the Charcoal banner, brands include Wildcraft Grill and Bar, The Bauer Kitchen and three Beertown Public House locations. “The Sociable Kitchen really is an extension of everything we’ve done,” said Palubiski. Without some of the restrictive factors large foodservice companies are bound to when making decisions, Palubiski said Charcoal Group has an infrastructure that allows it to innovate with respect to design, service and food and beverage. “For us, it’s a constant experimentation and iteration and it’s very much dependent on

where we think things are headed over the next several years,” said Palubiski. “From a market standpoint, there is continuing to be a worldwide fascination with all things crafted and focusing on absolute details of creating interesting products in interesting spaces and taking into consideration the economic factors around us. “What I mean by that is, in our industry, the landscape is changing dramatically and we see all of those things as a real positive for what we can do because of our flexibility.” Working with McMillan Design, based in Burlington, Ont., Palubiski said Sociable Kitchen will have a “unique” look with cargo containers being incorporated into the architecture. “We’re always looking to use functional materials in a clever, interesting way, but at the base of all of that is creating restaurants that function incredibly well,” said Palubiski, adding

it’s important the physical design of a restaurant is congruent with its operations. “For us as the very base, we want to create restaurants that work to provide the level of service that we’re shooting for,” he said. The 8,500-square-foot restaurant will seat about 380 guests, with two patios and a large 35-seat island bar. “The sea containers will make up a large part of the exterior façade as well as house the beer fridge in the dining room,” said Palubiski. Director of culinary operations Eric Pless is creating a menu Palubiski describes as including “a lot of comfort foods with a few surprises.” Bread will be made from scratch daily, bacon smoked and cured from pork bellies and condiments made in house. “We try to look at every element of a product and trace it back when possible,” said Palubiski. He said Charcoal Group would like to open more Sociable Kitchen locations in the future, “provided we can maintain a level of uniqueness in each of them and make sure they are tailored to the communities that they’re in.”

From Little Caesars head office to franchisee HAMILTON — Richard Greville used to oversee Little Caesar’s Canadian operations and recently retired to open his own store in Hamilton. Greville started with the company 25 years ago as a store manager and was asked shortly after to join the corporate team in a real estate capacity, helping Little Caesars find new locations. “I did that for about a dozen years or so and over that time I got the opportunity to meet franchisees, meet corporate staff, work with colleagues in the United States and Canada,” he said. Halfway through his career with the pizza chain, Greville took on the role of vice-president and general manager for the Canadian arm of Little Caesar. Greville retired on Oct. 10, 2014 to open a store with his son, Josh, who also worked for Little Caesars in a marketing role. The pair has a multi-unit development goal. “Over the years, as a vice-president and in the real estate department, I was able to meet a lot of franchisees and I was really impressed how the franchisees would … invest their life

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Josh (left) and Richard Greville. savings and build a great business for themselves,” said Greville. He chosen Little Caesars not only because of his familiarity with the business, but also due

to the support provided to franchisees. “The company, their mindset is always to add value to the franchise,” he said. From the Canadian head office, about five

staff have become franchisees over the last decade, but Greville said there are numerous incidences in the United States. Steve McGregor, former zone manager for Little Caesars Canada, also decided to open three stores of his own in the Hamilton area. McGregor said the long-term franchisees he had contact with over the years at head office encouraged him to take the leap into entrepreneurship. McGregor has spent quite a bit of time in the pizza industry, working with Mother’s Pizza and then taking a position with Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, also owned by the Ilitch family, who founded Little Caesars in Detroit in 1959. While the privately-owned company doesn’t disclose the number of units it has, Little Caesars stated it has hundreds of locations in Canada. “We are excited about the opportunities to grow our business within Canada,” Paula Vissing, managing director for Little Caesars of Canada, said in an email. “We continue to build our Canadian team to support that growth.”

Neal Brothers stir up some Goodness TORONTO — The founders of Neal Brothers Foods are so committed to their latest project they tattooed the name of it on their forearms. Chris and Peter Neal published Goodness in mid-October. The cookbook includes recipes and stories from 37 good food fighters — chefs, entrepreneurs, producers and activists — from across the country with proceeds going to Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC). The duo started Neal Brothers Foods in 1988 under the name Croutons Croûtons in Aurora, Ont. The business has grown to include gourmet salsa, tortillas, pretzels and salad dressing as well as the distribution of a number of specialty food and drink labels. Calling the launch celebration at All the Best Fine Foods food shop in Toronto one of the proudest nights in their business careers, Chris said the Goodness project “really resonated with us, far beyond what we thought it was going to.” A member of a national advisory council for CFCC, Peter said he was trying to figure out a way to add value to the organization. The two areas where help is needed most are awareness and funding, he said.

From left: Chris Neal, CFCC president Nick Saul and Peter Neal at the Toronto Goodness book launch on Oct. 15. “I thought this would be a really great opportunity to combine my friends in the food world (producers, farmers, chefs) and help tell their story of goodness and also inspire more Canadians to practice and stir up some goodness in their own community and also to, obviously, by selling the book, raise some money for Community Food Centres Canada,” said Peter. He said it wasn’t difficult to get participants onboard, but was challenging to ensure contributors were representative of the “diversity of

geography in Canada, gender, ethnicity.” The book features stories and recipes from Canada’s celebrity chefs to CFCC staff. Peter said helping ensure all Canadians have access to good, healthy food doesn’t need be a large time commitment or involve writing a big cheque. “Every little bit helps and that’s what we’re trying to illustrate through the stories. There’s small efforts that people have made in our book and there are people who have made a really big effort and they are all so valuable,” Peter said.



From left: Lora Kirk, Ruby Watchco, Toronto; Todd Perrin, Mallard Cottage, St John’s, N.L.; Renee Lavallee, The Canteen, Dartmouth, N.S.; and Danny Smiles, Le Bremner, Montreal.


Restaurants for Change raised $200,000 TORONTO — In its second year, Restaurants for Change gained momentum with the number of chefs and sponsors involved. Restaurants for Change chair James Chatto called last year’s inaugural event, which saw 30 chefs participate and a total of $120,000 raised, a stunning success. “This year, we’re taking a huge leap forward,” said Chatto as he announced 59 chefs and restaurateurs would donate profit from dinner service on Oct. 21, which came to $200,000, for CFCC. “I’m genuinely amazed at the generosity of the restaurant community,” said Chatto, adding no one gets called on more frequently for donations and time.

“It’s a hugely impressive roll call,” said Chatto as he rattled off the names of 14 chefs from across Canada who gathered in Toronto for a kick-off party in late September. “These are good people, as well as good chefs,” he said. “This year’s participating chefs and restaurants are part of an amazing community who care about where food comes from and also about who has access it,” said Nick Saul, president and chief executive officer of CFCC. With eight centres across Canada — Dartmouth North Community Food Centre, in Dartmouth, N.S. opened Oct. 7 and Neighbour to Neighbour Community Food Centre is being developed in Hamilton, Ont.

— Saul said CFCC will open as many community food centres as possible. Currently, CFCC has operating costs of $4.5 million. Its 2014 impact statement indicated that more than 143,000 meals were served in 1,053 meal sessions. There were also 414 community kitchen sessions and 1,030 community garden sessions. “Food is a human right … no one should feel smaller to ask for help for food,” said Saul. Next year’s event will be held on Oct. 19. Saul hopes the event will continue to grow, but CFCC wants to grow it right. “These chefs recognize their work extends beyond the four walls of the kitchen,” said Saul. “I think chefs have a really important role to play.”


At Bridor Inc., baking is a passion we have shared for generations. 450 641-1265 • 1 800 361-1450 •

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Of Mobile From taking orders to managing inventory, mobile devices are becoming ingrained in Foodservice operations BY BILL TREMBLAY


hen Posera introduced its mobile point of sale (POS) service in 2003, the new technology wasn’t a hit. In the early 2000s, the notion of using a handheld computer to take orders wasn’t resonating with foodservice operators. “We couldn’t figure out for the life of us why people weren’t buying those,” said Shannon Arnold, marketing director for Maitre’D, Posera’s POS software. The business case for arming front of house staff with tablets was obvious. However, the price of the hardware, as well as the ability to understand the product, was out of reach for potential clients. “It didn’t really become as mainstream until Apple released iPads and iPhones,” Arnold said. “Now people are using them for everything in life. I think it’s more natural.” With the price of tablets now falling below $500, mobile POS represents two out of three inquiries for service at Posera. “It’s pretty crazy, now. It never really became popular until the last two years,” Arnold said. Alex Barrotti, chief executive officer of TouchBistro, a mobile-based POS app based in Toronto, said North America is behind in its use of technology in foodservice. “It’s a phenomenon that’s been happening in other parts of the world for years,” Barrotti said. “In both Europe and Japan it’s quite common that someone brings a device to the table to take your order.” However, North American markets are playing catch-up. When TouchBistro first launched about four years ago, it took about six months to land its first 35 clients. Last month, the company signed on 240 new restaurants. Touch Bistro is

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now used by more than 3,000 restaurants. “The most growth was in the last 12 months,” Barrotti said. When the idea of incorporating mobile into restaurant service first began to surface, Barrotti said the technology was received as a gimmick. “The initial reaction was ‘that’s kind of cute.’ It was sort of a novelty, a curiosity,” Barrotti said. “Now people are seeing it more and more and realizing you can actually do work with them.” Mobile management Mobile technology in restaurants has evolved beyond taking orders. Last year, Posera introduced DataBoard to expand its mobile capabilities. The app complements Maitre’D by providing real-time key performance indicators like sales and labour costs, alerts and an ability to monitor several restaurants from one mobile device. “The app allows restaurant managers to manage and monitor operations remotely,” Arnold said. “That’s been quite successful for us. People are on the go all the time now.” SilverWare POS also introduced new upgrades to its mobile options. In the last year, the company released real-time cloud reporting, mobile push alerts and analytics. “The response to these products exceeded our expectations,” said Alex Thalassinos, an account manager with SilverWare.

“We will continue adding functionality and depth to such tools.” SilverWare’s analytics option allows operators to organize data based on the information they want to receive. The information is delivered to a mobile device in a similar fashion as Twitter. “These tools allow our customers to manage their environments in real time from anywhere — from operational decisions to viewing analytical and business intelligence,” Thalassinos said. “This provides the ability to make knowledgeable decisions on the fly.” Mobile ordering While many companies are developing POS apps to assist operators, other foodservice mobile apps focus on the customer. Kabir Das-

wani created Grabb as a solution to waiting in line. Daswani questioned the need for long lineups where production of the product is quicker than the ordering process. “While I was in business school at Queen’s University, ordering something as simple as a coffee would take 10 minutes just because the lineup was so long,” he said. “It was not the production time.” Grabb, which launched earlier this year, allows customers to order and prepay via a mobile phone or tablet. “Essentially, it’s getting rid of the bottleneck that occurs at the cashier,” Daswani said. “It automates the order-taking process and puts it in the hands of the customers.” The customer’s order is received on a tablet and staff “tap” to ac-

knowledge the order is being prepared. A second tap indicates the order is ready for pickup. Users are also provided with an estimated wait time based on previous data. Many of the app’s participating restaurants also set up Grabb lines to expedite sales. At Hero Burger, one of about 100 restaurants using Grabb in Toronto, a regular order takes 45 to 90 seconds more staff time. “Grabb essentially streamlines the process from 45 to 90 seconds to two taps,” Daswani said. The app also provides exposure for a restaurant to Grabb’s 12,000 users. “If we add restaurants, those restaurants are now getting exposure to customers on our app,” Daswani said.

Great TechSPectations OpenTable, a provider of real-time, online restaurant reservations, recently surveyed more than 7,300 diners across Canada about how they use technology before, during and after eating at a restaurant. The survey concentrated on Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The company has also launched its new e-book Technology and Dining Out 2015 – Canada Edition.

Mobile bar inventory Innovations in mobile technology may also assist in completing inventory. Partender, for example, allows bar managers to check their stock using a mobile device. Partender works by taking a photo of a liquor bottle using a mobile device and tapping where the liquid level sits. The app then calculates how much liquor is left in the bottle. “We’ve developed proprietary algorithms based on bottle curvatures, glass thickness and more that lets you just use an image of a bottle to do inventory faster than you ever have,” said Anjali Kundra, Partender’s vice-president of operations. The app boasts a 99.2 per cent accuracy level, and completing a bar’s inventory may take as little as 15 minutes. “We’re a team of food and beverage veterans that also happen to be cocktail-drinking calculus nerds,” Kundra said. “We do the math. We want our industry to be able to have more time, control, and knowledge for success.”

Outside of inventory, Partender allows its user to automate purchase orders and instantly view analytics like usage and beverage costs. The app also helps reduce over-pouring at the bar. “Don’t you count the cash in the drawer at the end of the night?” Kundra said. “What about your liquid cash, which is typically worth thousands more than what’s in the drawer?”

Barrotti added the rise of mobile apps is an evolution of habit. Apps — whether for business management or social media — are becoming ingrained in day-to-day life. “Mobile is becoming the de facto standard in people’s mindsets,” Barrotti said. “You might leave the house without your wallet, but rarely do you leave without your cell phone these days.”

Before the meal • 82 per cent of Canadians view online menus before dining out. • 29 per cent of diners frequently look for deals online before selecting a restaurant. • 90 per cent of diners wish they could use technology to get access to a hard-to-getinto restaurant. • 81 per cent wish they could use tech for an estimated wait time for a table. During the Meal • 64 per cent of fine-dining customers rarely or never use their phone during a meal. • 40 per cent of casual restaurant patrons rarely or never use their phone during a meal. • 23 per cent of Canadians always or frequently use their phones during meals to research what to order or to take a photo. • 6 per cent of diners have used their phone to make a payment. After the meal • 13 per cent share their experience on social media. • 12 per cent of diners interact with a restaurant’s loyalty program using technology. • 14 per cent make post-meal plans. Considering an app? Only six per cent of Canadians are very likely to download the app of an individual restaurant, while 53 per cent are very unlikely to get a restaurant’s app.

Apple Pay is coming to Canada Apple Pay is expected to launch in Canada by the end of the year. On Oct. 28, American Express announced its cardholders would soon have access to Apple’s digital wallet using an iPhone, iPad or the Apple Watch. The feature launched in the United States in 2014. Within a year, 14 per cent of American households were using Apple Pay. “Our customers love their experience

with Apple Pay and we want to bring it to as many of our users worldwide as possible,” said Jennifer Bailey, vice-president of Apple Pay. The mobile feature allows its users to sync their credit card information with an iOS device. Users are then able to tap their phone, watch or tablet at credit and debit terminals equipped with the tap feature. Apple Pay also integrates into apps, allow-

ing users to make in-app purchases with a single touch. The maps app also displays which businesses accept Apple Pay. Credit card numbers are not stored on the phone and use of Apple Pay requires its user to place their finger on the device’s fingerprint reader. To date, American Express is the only credit company or bank within Canada to announced a partnership with Apple Pay.

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graphics designed by Freepik


Harassment: Prevention is the best defence Jay Josefo is counsel for Toronto-based Ricketts, Harris LLP Barristors & Solicitors with a focus on human resource issues.


y grandfather was an executive chef; a tyrant in his kitchen. Today, granddad would likely stand accused of workplace harassment, and likely be guilty. Kitchens are often stressful workplaces. Many people work in fairly confined space, in the heat and under pressure. There are mixes of skills, genders and age-groups, all of which can lead to clashes, misinterpretations and even outright workplace or sexual harassment, neither of which is acceptable nor should be tolerated, and are contrary to law. So, how does a restaurant owner or general manager avoid or mitigate workplace and sexual harassment? What steps should be taken if an employee comes to you with a complaint? First, have a policy which makes it clear that no form of harassment in the workplace is acceptable. The policy should refer to the Human Rights Code and to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and its provisions against workplace harassment and workplace violence. The policy should refer to, among other things, sexual harassment, workplace harassment and a “poisoned atmosphere.”

A policy on its own, gathering dust on a shelf one during the dinner service, the person alor in a manual which nobody reads or is trained legedly doing the bad act should be taken aside on, is worse than useless. It sets an unfulfilled immediately, and told to stop. All of your manexpectation. Therefore, having a policy is just a agers should be made aware that this is an issue start. It should be reviewed and refreshed regu- of much importance, and is taken very seriously. Put “addressing workplace harassment and larly. Employees at all levels must be made aware of the policy as of their hiring, with reminders workplace violence” as items in the performance reviews of your managers and let them know and refreshers periodically. It must be clear, and part of training, that ad- that, for preventable and confirmed claims unherence to the policy, by everyone, is mandatory der their watch, they will suffer financial — and and failure to do so will lead to severe conse- possibly other — consequences. Conversely, for periods of quences, including time absent any dismissal for just claims under cause. “A policy on its own, gathering dust their watch, offer Post excerpts on a shelf or in a manual which a bonus. from certain asnobody reads or is trained on, is Schedule a pects of the policy, worse than useless.” town-hall meetor a summary vering with your emsion of it, in variployees to remind ous places in your restaurant that are employee-only. Post the re- everyone of their obligation to act in adherence minders of the policy, and the need for everyone with the policy. Discuss to whom individuals to operate with respect, prominently in locker can complain, including a reminder of what constitutes “harassment” (all facets of it, includareas, employee washrooms and in the kitchen. As the owner, you should individually meet ing “poisoned atmosphere”) under your policy. If you operate multiple sites, consider a howith your leadership team, starting with your general manager. Make sure that all on the tline or dedicated email address for HR matters leadership team know that, on this issue, they and inform employees of the option to report had better lead. The general manager and chef harassment in the workplace. Ensure a senior should be told, for example, that not only can manager is on duty to offer a timely response to they not be involved in any harassment, ever, such calls or emails. Decide now, before you are faced with a but they must diligently be alert for it when on duty and pro-actively stamp it out. For example, harassment complaint (or another serious HRif a chef observes an employee harassing some- related workplace complaint), who will investi-

gate and how will the complaint be investigated. Typically, two individuals could investigate, including a local general manager and an executive from head office. If you are an owner-operator, consider hiring an outside investigator, who could be retained by your legal counsel. Set out the timelines and parameters for the investigation: start within seven days, interview all parties and witnesses, ensure that all who are spoken to are made aware of what is being investigated so they can provide their first-hand knowledge. Come to a conclusion (with the assistance of legal counsel) of whether the complaint is upheld or not, and communicate your findings. A well documented investigation, which is thorough and accurate, will be useful to demonstrate that the employer took the matter seriously, and worked swiftly to protect the rights of all those involved. It will also likely be helpful if the complainant takes further steps or proceedings. Determine an appropriate punishment for the perpetrator, if he or she is found to have acted contrary to your policy and the Human Rights Code or Occupational Health and Safety Act. If the complaint is unsubstantiated, tactfully inform the complainant of that fact, including her or his right to address the matter with the appropriate authorities. If the complainant is believed to have acted out of malice, making a false complaint (rare, but not unheard of), consult legal counsel. This is a very serious act which cannot be condoned.

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Labatt purchases Mill Street Brewery

Small Talk winery tackles cider

From left: Irvine Weitzman, Mill Street CEO, Jan Craps, president of Labatt, Joel Manning, brewmaster at Mill Street, and Steve Abrams, co-founder of Mill Street. TORONTO – Labatt Breweries of Canada has purchased the Toronto-based Mill Street Brewery. Labatt announced the acquisition on Oct. 9. However, the price and terms of the deal have not been disclosed. “Mill Street has continually distinguished itself with its energy and success in innovation, and powerful commitment to great-tasting quality beer,” Labatt president Jan Craps said in a news release. In an effort to assist Mill Street gain traction with consumers in the craft beer segment, Labatt will immediately invest $10 million into a brewhouse and packaging facility at the Toronto brewery. “Our partnership and investment will accelerate its growth in one of the most dynamic beer segments, while fully preserving Mill Street’s creative character and pioneering spirit,” Craps said. Mill Street CEO Irvine Weitzman, cofounder Steve Abrams and Brewmaster Joel Manning will continue to work with the brand. “Our partnership with Labatt is a natural evolution in our growth that will allow more Canadians to enjoy our beer and secure the legacy of our brands,” Weitzman said. John Hay, president of Ontario Craft Brew-

ers (OCB), applauded the purchase, noting the deal is an acknowledgement of the momentum behind craft beer. “It’s always good news when one of the largest brewers in the world buys one of your members,” Hay said. “It means we have created a winning formula which the larger brewers cannot create in-house and must go outside to buy,” he added. However, as OCB’s mandate is to promote small, independent brewers, Mill Street no longer qualifies for membership. Founded in Toronto’s Distillery District in 2002, Mill Street is an award-winning craft brewery and the largest producer of certified organic beer in Canada. It has won numerous accolades including three consecutive Canadian Brewery of the Year awards. Its brands include Mill Street Original Organic Lager, along with 100th Meridian, Tankhouse Ale, and Cobblestone Stout. “This investment in a state-of-the-art brewhouse that Mill Street will run on a stand-alone basis positions us to reach the very top of our craft,” Manning said. “We couldn’t be more pleased by this fantastic opportunity to further entrench our reputation for innovation and quality, and bring more great brands to more consumers.”

Angela Kasimos. NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — It wasn’t easy for Small Talk Vineyards owner Hank Hunse to find a winemaker who also wanted to craft cider. “A lot of winemakers are committed to grapes,” he said. With a plan to use Small Talk’s production capacity outside of creating wine, Hunse researched the burgeoning trend of cider before hiring Angela Kasimos last May and launching Shiny Apple Cider. “The day that I started, we started crushing apples,” recalled Kasimos, who came on with winemaking experience, but tackled cider making for the first time as part of the new venture. Sourcing nine different types of apples from Norfolk and Collingwood, Ont., the juice is cool-fermented in the style of white wine. The cider was available onsite last June and launched in the LCBO in April. It is also available in 20-litre kegs for bars and restaurants. Shiny Apple is in a handful of restaurants and bars with a focus on craft beer. Hunse said they

are looking to expand this part of the business. Small Talk adapted its grape processing equipment for crushing apples and uses the same press. “It’s not as efficient as an apple press, but it works for us and is giving us really high-quality juice,” said Kasimos. “It’s fermented in the winery as a white wine — that’s how I do it. It’s the same fermentation process, nice and cool to keep all those crisp flavours in there. We ferment it to a higher alcohol content and then we sweeten it up by blending back fresh apple juice.” Kasimos also creates small batch ciders, such as cranberry and cider blended with 15 to 20 per cent pinot noir, available in kegs or growlers. “It’s kind of like a rosé cider — that one’s really popular with restaurants because it’s something a little different,” she said. Part of the Ontario Craft Cider Association, Shiny Apple Cider uses fruit that isn’t commercially perfect, creating a secondary market for farmers.

The Weather Brewery opens in Ottawa OTTAWA – Zach Trynda wants the Ottawa region talking about The Weather, but not in a polite small talk way. The Weather is one of Ottawa’s newest craft breweries, which Trynda opened this summer. “It’s not just a matter of weather’s everywhere and it’s ubiquitous,” Trynda said. “We don’t want to be like that. We want to be releasing beers with the weather theme that people talk about, like tornadoes and hurricanes.” The brewery’s first beer, Sun & Sky (5.1 abv, 20 IBU), is a Belgian-style, saison-style brew. “We’ve come out with a yeast-forward beer,” Trynda said. “It’s peppery. It’s spicy and it has a little fruit characteristic to it.”

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While many craft beers stand out from mainstream brews with bitter flavours, found in hops-forward IPAs, Trynda opted to go in a different direction. “I saw a gap in the market,” Trynda said. “The bitter craft beer is something that really took off as it’s noticeably different from a lot of the other beers available. This one is also noticeably different, just in a different way.” Although based in Ottawa, The Weather is contract brewed at Railway City in St. Thomas, Ont., where Trynda got his start in the beer business. In a few months, Sun & Sky has found a home on tap at seven bars in the Ottawa area.

Trynda recently hired sales staff to help grow the brand. A brick-and mortar-brewery is also in development in Ottawa. “It’s been an interesting challenge learning how to do the sales aspect of it. Prior to that, I was just a brewing expert,” Trynda said. This winter, Trynda plans to release The Weather’s second beer, a full-bodied, maltforward brew, tentatively named Wind & Rain. “It’s to sort of give the two polar extremes of the typical spectrum of beer,” Trynda said. He plans to continue naming his beer after weather events. “It makes a tight theme,” Trynda said. “It’s easy then to identify the specific beer to the brewery itself.”

Trynda said he isn’t certain where the inspiration for the weather-themed name originated. “The processes behind the weather and fermentation itself are a myriad of sciences and disciplines that produce something,” he said. “It doesn’t take any real skill to experience; anyone can drink a beer, and anyone can go outside and get wet.” Craft beer is quickly gaining popularity in Ottawa. Trynda said the number of small brewers in the city has grown to about 30, with three opening since the summer. “It’s become a Mecca for craft beer in the last three or four years,” Trynda said. “It’s definitely booming and attracting a lot of attention.”


Peller Estates opened a really cool lounge, literally NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. — Gloves and a parka are the suggested dress code for Peller Estates’ new icewine lounge. Dubbed 10Below, the lounge was built almost entirely from ice. Staying true to its name, the 300-square-foot room maintains a temperature of –10 C as a way to pay homage to the workers who harvest grapes for the winery’s four types of icewine. “When they’re picking those grapes they have to be outside in those temperatures,” said Chris Martz, keyholder for Peller Estates. “We joke around and say it’s –10 C (in the lounge) without the wind chill.” The lounge features a bar, chandelier, bench and wine bottle sculpture all carved from ice. As well, the secrets of creating icewine are etched into the walls alongside hashtags to promote the space on Twitter. Creating the lounge required 30,000 pounds of ice. “Everywhere you look we wanted there to be something to experience in the room,” said estate manager Tim Coons. Before entering the lounge, guests are provided with parkas and gloves. “We don’t want to kill our guests, we just

Chris Martz, keyholder for Peller Estates. want them to experience something,” Coons said. Peller Estates welcomes about 280,000 visitors each year. The lounge, which opened in late

October wine events Nugan Estate visits George Brown TORONTO — On a visit from Australia to collect a wine award for Nugan Estate, general manager Matthew Nugan made a stop at George Brown College in Toronto on Oct. 26. He led students, staff and media through a tasting of the winery’s 2013 Third Generation Chardonnay; 2013 Frasca’s Lane King Valley Chardonnay, which Matthew Nugan. Nugan called “a serious food wine”; 2014 Alfredo Second Pass Shiraz and 2012 Alfredo Dried of the business when his father died about 30 Grape, the winery’s version of ripasso created years ago. Alfredo Nugan founded the third-generain response to the global financial crisis when “Australia was very uncool,” according to Nu- tion family business after he emigrated from gan; 2012 McLaren Parish Shiraz; and 2006 Spain and started a fruit and vegetable packMatriarch, Nugan Estate’s attempt to make ing company in Griffith, New South Wales. It a 100-point wine — it hit 96 points — and moved into juice production in the 1970s and named for Nugan’s mother, who took the reins winemaking in 2000.

August, has provided a genuine Canadian experience for many of the winery’s visitors from abroad. “A lot of visitors have never experienced a

winter,” Coons said. “They get a better sense of why (icewine) is treasured.” The ice room is the final stop during Peller Estates’ Greatest Winery Tour. The tour, which costs $15, also includes the history of the winery, a visit to the vineyard, wine cellar and samples of Peller’s products. “We wanted to keep true to a tour format, but we wanted to expand on it and make it more exciting,” Coons said. Currently, the tour is the only way to get into 10Below, but Coons said they are considering allowing the lounge to serve as a standalone space. “There’s been so much demand for it, we may look at breaking it out as a separate experience,” he said. “It’s been an interesting ride.” The lounge’s current design won’t last forever. Due to sublimation, the ice will degrade and the lounge must be rebuilt about once a year. Constriction of 10Below takes four workers about 100 hours to complete. However, Coons welcomes the forced redesign. “The exciting part of the process is that although we have an ice room, it will continue to evolve and change,” Coons said.

Wine innovation in Chile TORONTO — Chilean Wine, known for good value, is also leading the way in innovation, according to a seminar showcasing the country’s diversity. A guided tasting and seminar, moderated by Christopher Waters, editor of VINES Magazine, brought together Matias Rios and Marta Bonomo. representatives from 10 wineries at the Wines of Chile event at the Royal Ontario Mu- wines of Chile are coming,” he said. Cono Sur chief winemaker Matias Rios noted seum in Toronto on Oct. 27. “Everyone truly is innovating,” said Waters, Chile has diverse climates, altitude and types of who noted it was hard to narrow the list to 10 soil. “We have a thousand different terroirs,” he said. participants. As winemakers get closer to that terroir, “winMontes Wines has a number of sustainability practices in place, including the use of grazing eries let varieties express the best of its potential,” llamas and sheep and drip irrigation. The 2015 said Marta Bonomo, brand ambassador for ErMontes Spring Harvest Sauvignon Blanc arrives razuriz. As wineries take on the task of trying to grow to market 45 days early in time for spring. Horcio Fuentes, North American sales director for Ven- grapes in new areas, Carlos Miguel, business detisquero, said the wineries in Chile share a col- velopment manager for Casas del Toqui, expects lective goal: continuous improvement. “The best new appellations will be declared in the future.

Toronto tastes Napa Valley TORONTO — California wine producers brought their wares to Toronto with Taste Napa Valley at Roy Thomson Hall on Oct. 26. During the trade and media tasting, 36 of Napa Valley Vintners’ 525 member wineries were represented. According to the nonprofit trade organization, hallmarks of the 2015 harvest include high quality, but low quantity.

Alana Fekete.

November 2015 | 1 7

Christine Manning shares Kickstarter tips TORONTO — Anyone can launch a Kickstarter campaign, but running successful one is a different story. A year after Manning Canning Kitchens opened, Christine Manning shared “Secrets to a Kickstarter Kitchen” in a presentation to Women in Food members at the space at 105 Vanderhoof Ave. in Toronto. Through a Kickstarter campaign, Manning Canning Kitchens raised $35,000, enough to pay for the equipment in the smaller of two rentable commercial kitchen spaces. Through research Manning discovered the goals of successful food campaigns are between $20,000 and $40,000 and it’s important to be realistic with how much a business requests from its backers. “[With Kickstarter] if you don’t reach your goal, you don’t get any of the money,” she said. Launching the campaign in September 2014, three months went into planning and Manning put her digital marketing background to work. “It’s more work than you would imagine,” she said, adding 90 per cent of the labour took place before the campaign went live. She planned incentives — ones that wouldn’t cost a lot to ship, such as aprons or naming preserves after donors. “They need to be exciting,

they need to tie back into the business.” She and her husband James Houston planned a party, blogged, prepared content and changed their social media bios and email signatures to include information about the kitchen and campaign. “Basically, we were Kickstarter crazy,” said Manning. If she could do it again, Manning would have prepared even more content, although they reached their goal in 27 days. “There were times we were scrambling,” she recalled. She suggested putting thought into how long the campaign would run. After 30 days, people lose interest, said Manning, noting, “Once you set your goal, you can’t change it.” The 700-square-foot primary kitchen has three workstations and the smaller kitchen holds two steam kettles and a combi oven. When Manning isn’t making her line of preserves in the smaller kitchen, both are available to small food businesses around the clock. It has cold and dry storage and staff are on hand between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to offer help and receive deliveries. Kickstarter contributors are honoured in the space through a donor wall, many of the names from Toronto’s foodservice community.

“They helped my dreams come true but also the people who use this space,” said Manning. When Manning Canning Kitchens opened on Nov. 1, 2014, Bombay Street Food was its first client and since then, Manning estimates 60 companies have come through the doors. Beverly Lap launched local kimchi and catering business Kyopo Kitchen in April out of Manning Canning Kitchen, which she said is a great community of entrepreneurs. “Not only does Christine manage this kitchen, she’s a mentor,” said Lap. “She really makes it possible for food businesses to flourish,” said Rebecca Wahab, who owns Joli Macarons.

Christine Manning.

Technomic predicts 2016 food trends

Susan Senecal and Tony Chapman.

Focusing on millennials at A&W TORONTO — Not only is A&W aiming to capture the millennial customer, but also the millennial franchisee. At the inaugural A&W food trends forum on Oct. 6, the company announced its Urban Franchise Associate Program, which will require less equity for young business and hospitalityminded people to open a store. “We see it as a way to building bridges,” said chief operating officer Susan Senecal, adding more details will be available in the coming weeks. The fast food chain grew up with the boomer generation and Senecal said the brand has been on a transformational journey over the last couple years. “Some of the most passionate voices around the table were from millennials,” she said. With an interest in quality ingredients and busy lives, Senecal said 18- to 34-year-olds are not just foodies, they are fast-foodies. A&W partnered with millennial marketing

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expert Tony Chapman, who asked the generation what influences their purchasing behaviour. With the boomer generation, marketers simply had to “shout it at them,” but millennials aren’t buying that. They are “making informed choices” and “influencing older generations,” said Chapman. He said marketing for millennials shouldn’t be an addition to a brand strategy, they must be front and centre. Chapman offered three insights into the future of the fast food industry: • While it used to be more or less, millennials want “more and less,” according to Chapman. They are looking for more value and taste with less processing. • “It’s a small, small world,” said Chapman, noting millennials care about a company’s values and supply chain. • Millennials have witnessed the economic struggles their parents faced and are “taking charge, hungry for business opportunities,” he said.

CHICAGO — Technomic, a food research and consulting firm, has laid out 10 trends that may prove transformational for the foodservice industry in 2016. Technomic’s consultants and experts base predictions on site visits in trendsetting cities plus interviews and surveys of operators and consumers, as well as qualitative data from Technomic’s Digital Resource Library and quantitative menu. Their predictions are:


The Sriracha effect

Climate issues, mutating pathogens and increased transportation costs are a few of the challenges that will stress the supply chain. A demand for local and fresh also contributes to issues of consolidation, centralization and shelf life.

Following the success of Sriracha sauce’s ability to add ethnic distinction to a simple menu item, chefs are scouting the world for other flavours that could deliver the same result. Likely contenders for the next Sriracha include ghost pepper from India; sambal from Southeast Asia; gochujang from Korea; harissa, sumac and dukka from North Africa.

Elevating peasant fare The use of meatballs, sausages and multiethnic dumplings, from pierogies to bao buns, is growing. Even food staples like toast and cheesy bread are getting the royal treatment.

Trash to treasure The rising price of proteins is raising the profile of under-utilized stewing cuts, organ meats and “trash” species of fish. The use-it-all mindset is also moving beyond the centre of the plate.

Burned Smoke and fire are recurring themes on menus, from charred or roasted vegetable sides to cocktails featuring smoked salt, smoked ice or smoky syrups.

Carbonation makes light work of the trendiest beverages from champagnes and proseccos to Campari-and-soda aperitifs to sparkling teas.

No to GMO Consumers are saying no to genetically modified organisms. Some diners will prefer restaurants that promote GMO-free menu options. Other consumers will demand GMO labelling on products.

Supply chain modernizing

Fast food refresh Consumers will move towards “better” fast food options, which in turn will lead to a transformation and diversification in the industry. Quick service restaurants with fresher menus and upscale designs will take advantage of a price niche between fast food and fast casual.

Year of the worker In a tight labour market, demand for increased minimum wages will surface. As well, experienced staff members expect proportional raises. However, foodservice technology and automation will help restaurants do more with less staff.

The delivery revolution Order-and-pay apps, third-party online ordering and delivery services will continue to grow.

Health infraction signs planned for eastern Ontario CORNWALL, Ont. — The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is planning to introduce signs indicating whether or not foodservice establishments in its catchment area are safe places to dine. However, the health unit needs the help of its member municipalities to enforce the proposed program. Health unit staff will visit various municipal governments asking for bylaw amendments that would require restaurants to post inspection signs in visible areas as part of a licensing requirement. “The Health Protection and Promotion Act empowers us to inspect restaurants, but it does not include our ability to enforce signage, although we are mandated to disclose to the public,” said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the unit’s medical officer of health. The health It’s a motivator, unit is also askand a green sign is ing municipalito ensure at a good marketing ties least one staff ploy as well, member has completed food Dr. Paul Roumeliotis handling certiMedical Officer fication, trainof Health ing other health units require. “We have small mom-and-pop shops here and didn’t want to cause any inconvenience to any of the smaller places,” Roumeliotis said. Currently, the health unit posts the results of its health inspections online. However, residents have complained the results are difficult to find. “It’s hard to believe, but a lot of people do not have Internet or mobile Internet and can’t check,” Roumeliotis said, adding the provincial government is expected to introduce new rules surrounding onsite notification of health infractions in the near future. The health unit is currently working with the municipality of Cornwall, Ont., to assist with compliance. Roumeliotis said they plan to reach out to the other 16 municipalities soon. The health unit plans to introduce the program early in 2016. “We’ve already sent out letters and information to all food premise owners explaining it and we will have an online guide for them,” Roumeliotis explained. A green “pass” sign will be issued when there is full or substantial compliance when fewer than three non-critical infractions are noted, or infractions are corrected during an inspection. A yellow conditional “pass” sign will be issued when there are three or more non-critical infractions or one or more critical infractions noted. A yellow sign will require a follow-up inspection from the health unit. If an immediate hazard exists, a red closed sign will be issued and the restaurant will not be allowed to reopen until the issues are corrected. Roumeliotis added the sign program is an ideal motivator for foodservice operators to ensure they are in compliance with provincial food safety regulations. “It’s a motivator, and a green sign is a good marketing ploy as well,” Roumeliotis said.

COMING EVENTS Nov. 19-22: Gourmet Food & Wine Expo, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto.

Feb. 28-March 1: Restaurants Canada Show, The Enercare Centre, Toronto.

Nov. 29: Supper with Syria fundraiser, Artscape Wychwood Barns, Toronto.

March 1-2: Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit (CRIS) and Canadian Restaurant Operators Summit (CROS), Hilton Toronto Hotel and Hockey Hall of Fame, Toronto.

Feb. 20-21: The Franchise Show, Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto.

November 2015 | 1 9

Mobile delivery business marries tech and hospitality TORONTO — When Feast opens in November, it won’t simply be a delivery business, nor a traditional restaurant. With its kitchen based out of Jamie Kennedy’s former Gilead Café & Wine Bar space near King and Parliament streets, Feast’s servers will treat Toronto’s streets like the kitchen pass and the front door as its tables. “We’ve decided to take the restaurant model as far as service, and approach the delivery aspect with language and philosophies around hospitality and service,” said Trish Magwood, senior vice-president of food experience. “We’re going to have drivers and cyclists that really represent our brand: our ethos of healthy, local and really represent the fabric of the city.” The culinary team includes executive chef Curt Martin, formerly of The Harbord Room and THR & Co., culinary director Hassel Aviles, founder of the Toronto Underground Market, chef de cuisine Randy Rojas and production chef Veronica Mal. The brainchild of chief executive officer Steve Harmer, Feast’s mobile application allows customers to order houseprepared meals delivered in compostable packaging by bike or electric car in 15 to 30 minutes. “There is a really incredible, exciting technology foundation and core of the business, but Curt [Martin] and I

would say it’s a food business through and through,” said Magwood. “It’s really about offering food that is as close to the source as it can be in the centres that we’re going to be in. We’re looking to build really strong relationships with our growers and our farmers and our producers. It’s really very much about the quality of our raw ingredients.” The idea is for meals to feel homemade, but with restaurant quality. “We plan on mirroring what’s happening currently with food with our menu,” said Martin. Martin plans to keep the menu static to start, offering four items for lunch and five dishes for dinner. The price point is expected to be about $12 for lunch and between $15 and $20 for dinner. “There is not going to be a change to the menu for a month, just to work out the logistics,” said Martin. When at capacity, he expects there to be about 25 people in the kitchen. “It’s going to run like half a contemporary, conventional restaurant, half catering. It’s really like a bit of both,” said Martin. Starting in Toronto’s east end, Feast plans to set up another kitchen in the west this winter. “We’re dividing the city into quadrants; it’s a hub-and-spoke model. We want to be really close to our end consumer,” said Magwood.

Feast culinary team outside Toronto kitchen (from left) Hassel Aviles, Randy Rojas, Curt Martin, Trish Magwood and Veronica Mal.

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Global Food Safety Initiative holds first Canadian focus day MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – The benefits of Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification go well beyond meeting government regulations. That was the message delivered to about 400 food safety professionals at the first Canadian GFSI focus day held during the annual Maple Leaf Food Safety Symposium at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Oct. 6. Through testimonials from several success stories, the conference heard food safety must move from reaction to continuous improvement in preventive measures. “That’s a shift we need to make in the food industry,” said Lone Jespersen, director of food safety and operations learning at Maple Leaf Foods. GFSI recognizes a food safety management plan when it meets international food safety requirements developed by multiple stakeholders. Companies are able to receive GFSI certification when a third-party firm deems food safety is in line with the global requirements. The Canadian focus day was held as the federal government considers new regulations and increased power for food inspectors under the Safe Food for Canadians Act. For the Vineland Growers Cooperative, a Niagara-based collection of more than 50 family farms that supplies fruit to Loblaws Supermarkets, panic was the initial reaction to the change. “Change in any business is tough,” said Matthew Ecker, the business development manager for the cooperative.

To gain GFSI certification, the cooperative hired a food safety manager and developed a food safety manual as well as a fruit tracking system. The changes led to improved input costs, labour management and piece of mind for the cooperative’s client. “We have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but to Loblaws,” Ecker said. For Delta Beverages in Woodbridge, Ont., a beverage packaging company responsible for 120,000 cases of 12 per day, GFSI certification provided a competitive advantage for the company. “This demonstrates our commitment to customer satisfaction, and improves the organization’s image,” said Anwar Yousaf, Delta’s quality assurance manager. “The competition may not have this same designation.” At Fruition Fruits and Fills, a Burlington Ont.-based provider of doughnut fillings for Tim Hortons, a system was in place to manage regulatory risk. However, plant manager Roland Love wanted more assurance the products his company supplied were safe. “It’s not that I thought it wasn’t safe, but I didn’t have that 100 per cent assurance,” Love said. “I don’t want my facility to be the facility that tarnishes that brand.” Fruition moved towards a GFSI model for quality control. The change led to all areas of the company working together towards improving food safety, rather than worrying about their specific department.

Matthew Ecker, Vineland Growers Cooperative. “It’s a pretty big challenge, but it went really well,” Love said. “It really just became part of our culture, everyone took pride in not just their section, but the entire organization,” he added. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) offers several services to assist businesses meet the GFSI requirements. “We noticed some of the small and medium size companies struggle,” Shannon Nguyen, a

food safety advisor with OMAFRA, told the conference. “Now they have a plan of attack to understand the standard.” To help, OMAFRA offers a roadmap to certification including a problem management workbook, detailed examples and the cost and time required to meet the standard. “Some companies come to us thinking these things can be done in three or four months, that’s not the case. It might be a year, two or three years,” Nguyen said.

PRODUCTS Drive thru napkin control

Melamine porcelain

SCA Tork has announced a new product designed to eliminate overconsumption of napkins at drive-thru windows. The Tork Xpressnap Drive Thru Napkin Dispenser, designed for the back of house, dispenses set quantities of napkins with the touch of a button. The set quantity dispenser controls consumption, and therefore costs, while allowing service to move quickly. The high-capacity dispenser requires lessfrequent refills and works with all Xpressnap interfold napkins.

American Metalcraft has released a platter collection that looks like porcelain, but is made of melamine. The platters are lightweight and thin like porcelain without the fragility. Melamine is nearly indestructible. The platters are available in three sizes designed to fit American Metalcraft’s risers and stands.

Potato Gratin

McCain Foods has launched Potato Gratin, a product designed to help restaurant operators create unique ways to serve spuds. The new product is made with shredded potatoes, Parmesan cheese, basil and rosemary, creating a homemade appearance. McCain boasts the product’s largest benefit is its versatility. Potato Gratin can be featured on menus as a side option for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as an appetizer or used as a substitute for English muffins in a breakfast menu item.

High-tech coffee FETCO is introducing the CBS-2160XTS Series Touchscreen Coffee Brewers. The new brewer is available in single or twin three-gallon models and provides flexibility in largescale operations. The Extractor Touchscreen Operating System provides quick and easy setup, programming, diagnostics and daily operational brewing modes. The Cascading Spray Dome lets water flow over the outer surface of the dome instead of through small drain holes that can get clogged with mineral and scale.

November 2015 | 2 1


Benoit Gelinotte

Carlo Curto Sheraton Centre Toronto announced on Oct. 21 the appointment of Carlo Curto as the property’s new banquet chef. He is responsible for designing and executing meal service for events in 60 meeting spaces. Curto began his career with Starwood Hotels & Resorts in 2000 as sous chef at Sheraton Hamilton. This marks his return to Sheraton Centre Toronto, where he was previously garde manger in 2004. In 2005, he joined The Westin Harbour Castle as banquet chef, a position he held for the last decade. He has also held culinary positions at the Fairmont Royal York and King Edward Hotels. “It is great to be coming back to the kitchens at Sheraton Centre Toronto,” said chef Carlo Curto. “I am looking forward to working with the team to prepare distinctive flavors that will create delightful tastes for our valued guests.”

Chef Benoit Gelinotte brings a broad range of experience to his new position as the executive chef with KW Catering & Events in Ottawa. French born and educated with a BA in culinary arts from CFA La Noue, Gelinotte worked in several acclaimed establishments in his native Burgundy before immigrating to Canada in 1992. Having cooked everything from fine dining to short order, plus a five-year stint as a chef instructor at le Cordon Bleu Ottawa, Gelinotte’s most recent roles were in catering with Culinary Conspiracy and Tulips & Maple. As the in-house caterer at the National Gallery of Canada, KW Catering & Events’ foodservice contract encompasses La Cafétéria des Beaux Arts, The Café as well as special event catering.



Scofield Richard Scofield has been appointed president


of Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert. Scofield will report directly to president and chief executive of St-Hubert Group Pierre Rivard and will have the restaurant management team under his direct supervision. After holding several positions within the company over 12 years, Scofield served as vicepresident of sales and operations since 2012.

Gerri Martin-Flickinger was appointed Starbucks chief technology officer as of Nov. 2. In this role, she will lead the global information technology function and play a key role in shaping the technology agenda across the Starbucks business. Most recently, Martin-Flickinger served as Adobe’s senior vice-president and chief information officer, where she oversaw Adobe’s global IT team and played a key role in eAdobe’s transformation to a cloud-based business.

Founded in 1951 in Montreal, Les Rôtisseries St-Hubert Ltée now has nearly 120 rotisseries in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick.

Michael Christiansen wins international young chef competition Michael Christiansen of Pear Tree Restaurant in Burnaby, B.C, brought home the gold medal from the 39th Concours International des Jeunes Chefs (Young Chefs) Rôtisseurs Competition. Held in Budapest, Hungary on Sept. 11, the 2015 competition was open to young cooks under the age of 27 and hosted by La Chaine des Rôtisseurs. Christiansen competed against 21 young chefs chosen through selection competitions in their respective countries. Judged by a panel of 12 international chefs, competitors prepared a three-course meal from black

box ingredients, which included a sturgeon, goose liver, venison, butternut squash, caviar, king mushrooms, plums and white chocolate. Contestants were required to use at least 50 per cent of each required item. Christiansen created an appetizer of confit of sturgeon, parsley emulsion, cured tomato, black caviar and crisp arborio rice. His main course was slow-roasted saddle of venison served with foie gras, pumpkin puree and enoki mushroom. For dessert, Christiansen prepared caramel and white chocolate cremeux served with marinated plums and white chocolate mousse.


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15-10-26 13:12

Leavoy Rowe Beef Co. " Your Tailors in the Meat Business"

Thank You to our customers for your support. INTRODUCING

For more information please contact us at: 905.272.2330 1.866.444.7974


Leavoy Rowe Beef Co. 2576 Wharton Glen Avenue Mississauga, Ontario L4X 2A9

Federally Inspected

HACCP Recognized

EST. #577


Ontario Restaurant News - November 2015  
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