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P A C I F I C / P R A I R I E February 2017 | Vol. 23 | No. 1
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Susan Senecal President and COO of A&W Food Services of Canada
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Susan Senecal, president and chief operating officer of A&W, used to call herself “an accidental restaurateur.” Growing up in Montreal, she enrolled at McGill University, with the intent to build the knowledge base needed for a career in science. “I had the intention of going ahead and having a career in human genetics,” Senecal explained. However, by the time she graduated, her career focus had shifted to business. She landed a job as an assistant manager trainee at a quick service restaurant. “I thought I could learn a little bit about business, and then be able to start a career,” Senecal said.
After a few weeks in the hospitality business, she realized she had found her calling. “It was thrilling and meaningful. I got the fever, and knew I had found the line of work I wanted to go into,” she said. “I never looked back and went on to my career in the restaurant business.” She joined A&W in 1992 as an area manager for a dozen corporate stores in Montreal. “A&W is a great place to work. I was able to get a number of opportunities to learn about real estate and franchising,” Senecal said. From there, she led the company’s eastern Canadian operations and continued to climb the restaurant’s ranks to vice-president of operations for Canada, eventually landing the role of chief marketing officer. In 2015, she became president and chief operating officer for the
quick service chain. While her role is a far cry from a geneticist, her education in science has contributed to her approach to the restaurant business. “You set yourself up to define what it is you care about and what you’re trying to achieve,” Senecal said. “It calls on us to understand internal and external factors that influence the future. There’s a lot about my studies that did equip me well, but obviously that’s dwarfed by the amount I’ve learned actually by being in the restaurant business.” A&W’s franchisees help provide her ongoing education in the industry. The company invests heavily in its “working climate” to ensure knowledge is retained and shared to encourage the business to thrive. Continued on page 5
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Straws are off the menu in Tofino HALAL
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By Bill Tremblay TOFINO, B.C. — Restaurants in Tofino are putting the issue of plastic waste on the table, by self-regulating the use of drinking straws. In early 2016, the Pacific Rim chapter of the Surfrider Foundation was looking for a way to contribute to the global organization’s Rise Above Plastics program. While many chapters work to eliminate the use of plastic bags, the Tofino-based group decided drinking straws were a more identifiable symbol of single use waste items. “We decided it would be perfect for Tofino and Ucluelet. We’re a small community of 1,800 people that live here year round,” said Michelle Hall, chair of the local Surfrider chapter. “During the summer, we get up to 30,000 tourists a day and we’re a huge foodie town. The restaurant scene is really big.” While plastic waste was a common nuisance found during the group’s beach cleanups, straws were abundant at restaurants. “What we were seeing was people sit down at their table and be greeted with a glass of water with a plastic straw in it,” Hall said. “You’d see people pick the straw up and leave it on the table.” Surfrider launched the Straws Suck campaign, which included an online video questioning the actual need for straws. “We kind of made fun of the idea of having to use straws. Restaurants loved it and they picked up on the idea right away,” Hall said. Wolf in the Fog was the first Tofino restaurant to sign a Straws Suck pledge, followed by Long Beach Lodge. “And on it went, this domino effect,” Hall said. “They started challenging each other on social media.” Surfrider found 25 of the town’s 40 food-
Chef Ian Riddick. Photo courtesy of Westerlynews.ca service establishments offered straws to their guests. By Earth Day (April 22), the group had a signature from every restaurant pledging to remove plastic straws from their inventory. “Some used up what they had left, others got rid of them right away,” Hall said, adding some straws were donated to local schools for art projects as well as a nursing home in Victoria, B.C. At Long Beach Lodge, signing the Straws Suck pledge eliminated the use of about 12,000 straws per year. “It fell in line with our environmental message from the lodge, and we’re on a pristine beach, we want to keep it that way,” said Long Beach Lodge head chef Ian Riddick. “From a restaurant perspective, the cost savings is there for sure.” With neighbouring restaurants challenging each other to take the pledge, getting community-wide consensus wasn’t difficult.
“No restaurant wants to get left out on something like this,” Riddick said. “If you can get four or five of the big players working towards a common goal, nobody wants to be left out.” Part of the campaign’s success was creating a solution, rather than demanding a government-enforced ban. “We did it without government; it was boots on the ground, knocking on doors,” Hall said. “We’re finding our community is really engaged, it takes a community to make this work.” The approach appealed to restaurateurs, Riddick explained. “A lot of times when things are legislated, we get our backs up and you take the opposite position, because maybe you’re afraid of the worst,” he said. “Surfrider was fun to work with. It’s a great way to move new initiatives forward.” Removing straws from beverages didn’t elicit
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much of a response from guests, Riddick added. “Sometimes in restaurants we over-prepare for backlash. It was actually underwhelming how much people cared that we didn’t do it,” Riddick said. “Certain guests absolutely applauded us for the decision, and we did have guests who thought it was a little bit strange.” For customers unable to drink straight from a glass, restaurants keep biodegradable straws on hand that are distributed upon request. “There are some people that need a straw for medical needs, but generally we don’t need straws,” Hall said. The successful campaign in Tofino has drawn interest from communities in Guelph, Ont., San Francisco and Costa Rica. “It’s great to be able to share something like this,” Hall said. In Tofino, Surfrider continues to work with restaurants to ensure the Straws Suck pledge is honoured. “We have dedicated volunteers that work on the campaign to check in with restaurants now and then,” Hall said. “We take it pretty seriously.”
Edmonton creates its own chapter of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs By Kristen Smith EDMONTON — Members of Edmonton’s food community have united to form a local chapter of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR). The volunteer-led organization aims to connect and support women in the food and beverage business. The Edmonton arm was founded by Bobbi Beeson, president of The Cheesecake Café, and Caitlin Fulton, RGE RD partner and general manager, following a trip to the WCR National Convention in Los Angeles last April. Beeson was first introduced to the WCR at a one-day conference in Calgary in 2015. “I just found it really exciting and certainly something that I have never been to before even though I’ve been in the industry forever. I was also taken aback by how connected industry people were in Calgary,” she said. “What I found at that conference was people were talking my language and saying things that I’ve always felt.” Being somewhat insular in her
own business — with busy days and long hours — Beeson often felt she was alone in the things she was experiencing and the issues the business faced. She discovered everything isn’t always “fine” or “great” — the standard answer in this competitive industry.
“The average restaurant only lasts five years, so it can’t be great, right?” she said. “Everybody is actually going through the same thing. I found it was an awesome way to have this group of people come together and just sort of talk about it.”
Beeson thought bringing a WRC chapter to Edmonton would be a great way for the industry to support each other, mentor those starting in the business and share knowledge. “If some of those businesspeople who have been around, some of those matriarchs, if they could be helping
some of the people starting out, I think everybody benefits,” she said. WRC Edmonton — which has more than two dozen members — launched in 2016 and holds monthly “plug-in” events at locations around the city. The next two events take place Feb. 27 at Vivo — which is open to industry only — and on March 6 in conjunction with Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s chef in residence program. NAIT’s guest chef Amanda Cohen, owner of New York’s Dirt Candy, is also a WRC United States board member. “What we’re hoping to bring to the community in Edmonton is, first, just a networking connection — let’s all get to know each other,” Beeson said. “We want to start working with different groups, whether it be NAIT or the Edmonton Women’s Show, in order to try to connect WRC with the public and the students so that we can raise the profile of women in our community and what they’re doing to contribute to the food scene.”
February 2017 | 3
P A C I F I C / P R A I R I E
The tipping question runs deep As business advisors with clients and family in the hospitality industry, Steve Mendelssohn, Paul Pittman and Jan ver der Hoop have been following the conversation about tipping, fascinated by how it’s unfolding. Concerned the conversation doesn’t seem to be addressing some important considerations, they conducted research with Bruce McAdams, assistant professor at the School of Hospitality, Food, and Tourism Management at the University of Guelph, and some industry leaders. In part, the research is clear that whatever a restaurateur’s decision on tipping, every other element (including staffing choices) must be aligned behind it.
estaurateurs are facing all sorts of pressure – from the rise of fast casual to increases in minimum wages and legislation governing operations. The tipping debate has mainstream and industry panel focus across North America, in the wake of bold moves by New York City restaurateur Danny Meyer and other industry influencers. Many proprietors haven’t yet realized how complex an issue this is. The topof-mind issues driving the question focus on issues of wage balancing, navigating legislative changes and competitiveness. Co- authored by Jan van der Hoop, human capital specialist and president These considerations are just the start, of Fit First Technologies; Paul Pittman, founder and president of The Human though, when considering whether to impleWell; and Steve Mendelssohn, founding partner at Watershed LLP. ment a no-tipping policy. Whether to stray from or stay with the status quo should be in to the approach, especially if it involves a country operator interviewed made the move evaluated comprehensively and this is a great change. Employees wanting fixed pay may be to no tipping last year. For the first time, there opportunity to revisit the restaurant’s goals more attracted to service-included establish- was no territorial behaviour with servers and land on the approach that best supports ments and those preferring independence will guarding the best sections or the biggest tipbe inclined toward tipping establishments. pers. They functioned as a unified team, foits sustainability. Consider what your decision will say to If you move away from tipping, expect for cused on a single objective: guest satisfaction. The biggest surprise was less stress for evyour clientele, your staff and suppliers? Will those Friday and Saturday night shifts to be it continue to reinforce who you are and what less popular. Be ready for both voluntary and eryone, including the half-dozen times servers you stand for? Here are the topics we think all induced departures and plan how to limit the reported guests who were treating them inaprisk of losing your best employees. propriately to management. operators should consider: Changing your tipping philosophy (if In past years, staff felt like they had to enCommunication – You cannot assume customers, employees and suppliers will au- that’s what you decide) will affect every aspect dure inappropriate behaviour as a condition tomatically understand the logic simply be- of your business, from brand perception and of the tip. Taking the tip off the table allowed cause there has been extensive media cover- guest experience to business culture and how for a healthier, more wholesome working cliage. How do you plan to communicate your staff interact with each other and your guests. mate. Count on there being some surprise outThe restaurant industry can learn from decision to stakeholders? Don’t be fooled into thinking that doing nothing means “no comes. One high-profile seasonal, cottage other industries that have been through similar transitions. Historically, employers change.” Others are changing and that may warrant an explanation Staff Attracted to Different models relied exclusively on pay to secure retention and motivate performance. More as to why you are not. have different DNA Workplace Culture – You *A study of servers at a Toronto restaurant that switched to ‘No Tipping’ highlighted recently, employers have had to create must consider how the tipping the differences between those who performed well in a tipping environment (Ts) and new ways to improve productivity. These chose to leave and those who are thriving in the new non-tipping (NTs) culture. industries learned a lot through this proquestion lines up with your busicess and can provide insight. nesses, core philosophies and valRegardless of the direction taken, ues. How will customers benefit it will now be less problematic to align from your decision and will their staffing with compensation practices. experience change? What does this A service-included model will necesmean for the workplace and the sitate a revised pay strategy to address work habits of front of house staff retention. Improving balance and fairand the back of house team? How ness will motivate collaborative work. will you and your management Rewarding team behaviour (rather than team change your behavior to lead individual activity) with a share of the the staff through the transition? additional value created will help attract The Choice – Will a flat serlike-minded people. vice charge percentage work or will A positive workplace culture will alyou build service into menu prices, most certainly improve productivity. A and if so, by how much? To change workplace where people can connect or not is a critical consideration in with what they are doing will foster a the context of your value proposipositive environment that will do more tion and needs careful thought. for retention than pay. Treating people Pay – If you elect to move tofairly should be a critical objective, espewards a no-tipping model, or a hycially with a younger workforce. brid option, how will you manage Building an employment brand will the subject of compensation? Do be as important as creating your cusyou plan to pool service fees coltomer face. lected and divide them equitably Candidates should be screened for among those working a particular cultural fit as outlined in the example shift? That may be the simple apabove and the traits that will deliver proach, but simplest isn’t always your brand promise. Those who don’t best, or the most sustainable. You will poison the culture and undermine will need to accommodate schedthose efforts. Equipping your staff to reuling allocation, e.g. busy nights, spond to questions raised by customers business cycles and special events is invaluable in reinforcing culture and ,in order to share proceeds equibrand. tably. These are the folks who control the Consider whether rewarding message to your customers, media and based on a number of factors such potential new employees. as job duties, skill and ability, etc., *In summary, a tipping environment may better suit the server who is individualistic, The choice is yours, but a thoughtful, is important and what new behav- self-focused and motivated by immediate recognition. A Non-Tipping environment operationally oriented review will lead to iours you expect to see. is better suited to folks who are want to be part of a team that shares their desire to deliver a superior guest experience. a sustainable conclusion. Staffing – Not all staff will buy
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RockWood brings smoke to Winnipeg WINNIPEG — The founders of Rock Creek Tap and Grill have added a new smoked food concept to their restaurant lineup. RockWood Urban Grill opened in the Sage Creek area of Winnipeg in November. “We felt that the industry had too many similar concepts and we were all swimming in the same competitive set fishing for the same dollar,” said Rock Creek president Stu Rathwell, who plans to franchise the new RockWood brand. For future developments Rathwell said they are considering a test footprint of between 4,200 and 4,500 square feet with 120 to 130 seats. There are six Rock Creek Tap and Grill locations: five in Saskatchewan and one in Lloydminster, Alta. Drawing on the decade of experience with Rock Creek, Rathwell and the team are bringing elements of the design and operations to the new smoke-centric restaurant concept. Some of the more popular menu items from Rock Creek have also been incorporated onto the new menu with a smoky twist, such as Texas Firecrackers, jalapenos stuffed with a prawn and herbed cream cheese and wrapped with smoked bacon. “The market right now is so competitive, you’ve got to find ways to stay ahead of your competitor and offer the
customer something that’s a little bit different,” said RockWood director of marketing CJ Katz. Rock Creek corporate chef Lloyd Frank led the development of RockWood’s menu, which includes items such as mussels and smoked sausage; house-smoked brisket and chicken wings; pork or beef ribs in mesquite-apple barbecue sauce; cedar plank salmon with a maple soy glaze and wild mushroom ricotta ravioli. There is a selection of salads and sandwiches and steaks cooked on RockWood’s 1,000 F hickory, oak and maple wood-fired Champion Tuff Grill. “The centre-piece of RockWood is this grill,” said Katz. However, not everything on the menu is smoked, she added. She said RockWood doesn’t fall into the category of a traditional barbecue joint, which is often associated with red and white checkered tablecloths and a down home feel. “We wanted to change that and offer the same environment we have at Rock Creek, but bring in the element of this wood-fired grill,” said Katz. “There’s something that really speaks to that primal part of us with good smoky food.” The menu is mounted on a piece of wood, which is also used heavily throughout the restaurant’s decor. “If you go into the lounge, there is this big U-shaped bar with live edge wood going all the way around it,” Katz said.
A team approach to franchisees Continued from cover “From my perspective, an essential part of A&W’s success is really the partnership we enjoy with our franchisees,” Senecal said. “A lot of our operators are in minute-to-minute touch with our guests and have a fantastic understanding of what it takes to run a successful business.” Working with franchisees led to A&W launching a recruitment drive to attract more millennials to franchise ownership. When the company studied its successful urban locations, they discovered a recurring theme. The success of the restaurant chain’s urban concept was tied to millennials in senior leadership positions. To capitalize on its research, A&W began offering its urban franchise stores for about $125,000 to $150,000. In comparison, the classic version of the restaurant costs about $300,000 to $400,000. A&W’s first urban franchise associate will open a new location at Keele and Dundas Street West in Toronto this month. “We have a number of other millennials in various stages of training. It’s been a fantastic learning program,” Senecal said. “We’ve had a lot of interest from millennial franchisees, and we continue to have big demand from that area.” Several changes at A&W were millennial-driven. Opening urban locations 24 hours a day was an idea pitched by one of the brand’s young franchisees. As well, the move to source beef raised without hormones or steroids, antibioticfree chicken and Canadian-farmed eggs were influenced by input from A&W’s younger customers. At the end of 2016, the company announced 100 per cent of the protein it serves would be sourced from animals raised as naturally as possible. “We do stand out there as being first and only,” Senecal said. “The interest that consumers have for (natural) food, we really see that trend evolving in various places, from grocery stores to fine dining.”
Throughout last year, A&W also began matching all-day breakfast with its all-day burgers at about 40 locations. In January, the company announced all of its 870 locations would no longer separate its menu items based on daypart. The all-day breakfast menu will launch Feb. 27, and includes the Bacon & Egger, Sausage & Egger and Cheese & Egger breakfast sandwiches as well as its breakfast wrap, coffee and hash browns. “The response was tremendous, particularly from millennials, and we know that breakfast is something Canadians don’t limit to just the morning,” Senecal said. By 2020, A&W plans to open 75 new urban locations with 25 owned by millennial franchisees. The restaurant concept is designed for densely populated areas with high pedestrian traffic. Each urban concept is open 24 hours a day, requires 1,500 to 2,000 square feet and seats about 45 guests. The design aims to accommodate young families that are migrating to urban areas. “Cities used to be regarded as a place where people went for shopping and maybe fine dining. Today, it’s increasingly a place where people are living and where they’re spending their leisure time,” Senecal said. “We see a lot of opportunity for growth in urban restaurants.” A&W growth will also target new locations in Ontario and Quebec. “While Western Canada continues to offer us opportunities every year, the biggest areas of growth are Ontario and Quebec,” Senecal said. While all of A&W’s protein options have a naturally raised guarantee, Senecal explained they continue to work with suppliers and farmers to enhance menu options in an effort to meet the interests of their patrons. “We’re far from being at our final destination; we keep finding new opportunities and continue to evolve,” Senecal said. “There will be lots to come.”
February 2017 | 5
Some like it
Canadians are enamoured with bold flavours from abroad. Operators can incorporate exciting new tastes on restaurant menus to add value to the customer experience. By Kristen Smith
ach year, Canada’s food scene becomes more influenced by ethnic flavours and ingredients. With increased competition in the fight for food dollars, menu innovation is critical. The New Year is a time for flavour forecasts and trend reports. An annual tradition, the 2017 McCormick Flavour Forecast was unveiled in December. “What we’re seeing as a trend here at McCormick is that consumers are looking for bolder and more exciting global flavours,” said Juriaan Snellen, executive corporate chef for McCormick Canada. As consumers are being exposed to ethnic-inspired cuisine through travel and food television, Snellen explained the Canadian palate is becoming more adventurous. Developed over the course of 12 to 14 months, the Flavour Forecast is intended to inspire both home cooks and chefs. “They can take elements as they see fit into their own menus by adding LTOs (limited time offers), where they can essentially try one of those new flavours and see if it sticks with their core customers,” Snellen suggested. For 2017, there is a strong focus on Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, but Snellen noted McCormick isn’t necessarily identifying Mediterranean or Middle Eastern as a trend in itself. “What we’re referring to is modern Mediterranean, modern Middle Eastern, which is essentially a melding of two different cuisines — the classic European infused with Eastern Mediterranean flavours,” he said. For example, baharat seasoning can be used in familiar dishes. Through its forecast, McCormick highlights specific flavours and dishes as inspiration. With global breakfast bowls, skhug hot sauce is incorporated to create a meal with ground meat, chickpeas and roasted veggies. Plancha cooking — using a cast iron slab on a barbecue — is inspired by methods from Spain and the Basque region of France. An accompanying flavour includes espelette pepper, which is smoky, sweet and mildly hot, as well as bold sauces: mojo verde, adobo negro and romesco. “[With plancha] you’re going to get the best of
both worlds. You have a lot more surface area versus a traditional barbecue, this allows you to really sear and lock in the flavours, but it also gives you the benefit of a traditional barbecue,” Snellen said. Eggs are moving beyond breakfast with Mediterranean vegetable shakshuka, sunny-side-up egg yolks simmered in a tomato and vegetable sauce, infused with a spice blend of smoked paprika, cumin, pepper, cayenne, turmeric and caraway. “Eggs are no longer just served in a traditional way, but they’re actually deconstructing the egg and using the egg yolk, for example, curing it and using that as a garnish,” Snellen said.
Sweet peppered with spice For the last couple years, McCormick’s forecast has focused on heat, specifically chilies. “For 2017, there is going to be a refocus on the peppercorn and it’s going to be used in a bit more of an unconventional way,” said Snellen. “We are going to see a lot of pepper being incorporated into sweet desserts, pastries, smoothies, just to kind of give that little pepper burn and heat in the back and add a bit of a savoury element to a normally sweet or dessert pastry.” He said the trend is twofold, as it includes the use of natural sweeteners, such as exotic fruits or ube, a purple yam often used in Filipino cuisine. “Pepper adds a surprising element to any kind of dish or drink and that is what consumers are looking for nowadays; more excitement, more layers of flavour,” Snellen said.
Evolution of ethnic SIAL Canada expert and consultant B.K. Sethi has witnessed the evolution of the ethnic food business. He started a food distribution business in 1982 selling products from countries such as China, Mexico, Jamaica, India and Pakistan, to mainstream grocers and foodservice businesses. He saw opportunity in the growing market as people immigrated to Canada. He uses the term ethnic to refer to visible minorities, those people who hail from countries outside of Europe.
“They were really visible; they were not coming from the same culture. It was a little bit difficult and awkward for them to feel comfortable immediately,” Sethi explained. He convinced major grocers to stock items familiar to ethnic populations in Canada in an effort to bring the growing cohort in the door. About 20 per cent of Canada’s population was born in another country, the highest proportion among the G8, according to Statistics Canada. The ethnic population in Canada is projected to reach more than 30 per cent by 2030. “This is a growing segment of your consumer and you cannot ignore it,” said Sethi, noting the second generation should be taken into account as well. In addition to flavours being introduced to Canadian menus by way of newcomers, Sethi noted people are travelling overseas more often. “When they travel, they bring back the taste, they bring back the culture,” he said. “Canadians by nature are now demanding more variety in their food and their palates are changing — they are more accepting of hot food,” Sethi said, noting the proliferation of hot sauce in North America. Hot sauce is one of the fastest growing segments in food and foodservice with sales growing 150 per cent between 2000 and 2014, according to a growth in condiments report from Quartz. Sethi said the millennial population is especially demanding more variety and flavour experiences from restaurants, and about 40 per cent of this age group is multicultural. “Non-ethnic are trending toward ethnic, ethnic are trending toward mixing with the mainstream,” Sethi said.
Opportunity for operators Sethi sees an opportunity for foodservice operators to incorporate ethnic ingredients on menus. He particularly sees opportunity in the pizza category, where he feels there are better ways to steal share than discounting. “Add some poblanos, add some Sriracha,” he suggests. Sriracha — which McCain North America culinary director Brooke Brantley calls “a 20-year, overnight success” — has enjoyed mainstream popularity for years. “Whether it’s consumers or restaurant operators — everyone wants to know what’s the new Sriracha going to be?” said Brantley. While he doesn’t have a crystal ball, Brantley has a few ideas. Perhaps it will be one of the staples in his kitchen, gochujang, a Korean table condiment made from chili peppers, glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice), fermented soybeans and salt. “I like sweet things, so it’s kind of like a ketchup with a kick and some texture to it,” said Brantley. “There are a lot of people who say this is going to be the next Sriracha replacement, because it’s got some of the same notes. It’s got kind of a well-rounded flavour, it can be a condiment or it can be an ingredient.” Offering a dipping sauce with a new flavour is less intimidating to guests than an unfamiliar entrée. “It’s adventurous, but it’s kind of cautious adventure. I’m putting one toe in the water and if I like it, I’ll put my whole foot in,” Brantley said. Graham Hayes, director of culinary for McCormack Bourrie Sales & Marketing/French’s Food Company, corporate chef Canada, said Canadians are receptive to the appropriate use of bold flavours. He said the key to introducing new bold flavours to guests requires finding the right platform, one guests will accept.
“If I wanted to try a bold, unique flavour in my [Jack Astor’s] days, I’d put it on a burger. People will try new things as long as it’s on a platform they understand,” Hayes said, noting this logic applies to restaurants on the chain level. “When I’m creating dishes, I’m trying to create layers of flavour and some of it’s bold, some of it’s crunch.” Hayes noted that while LTOs are a prime way to play with new flavours, it’s important to maintain focus on the restaurant’s core menu. “People will try the LTOs, but the kitchen won’t execute their normal food right because they’re focused on these LTOs,” he explained. Hayes suggests limiting the number of items depending on frequency. If it’s once every three months, focus on three items, for example. Brantley said it is important to recognize what sets a restaurant apart from its competition when determining how to bring in new flavours. “How do you bring in those influences and blend it with what you have staked your claim against? It’s finding what you have equity in and bringing those flavours in,” he said. Brantley suggests sampling new creations to regular customers. “People feel like they are on the inside of the tent, they’re getting a peak under the tent and they’re helping with menu R&D,” he said.
The spectrum of bold Traditionally, when new or trendy ingredients made their way through the foodservice chain, there would be an acceptance curve, explained Brantley, starting in fine dining in the form of identification. He said the proliferation of pop-ups and food trucks have interrupted the traditional path of acceptance. “We’re getting those global flavours right out to the person on the street,” he said. “It’s not this trickle down from fine dining anymore, it’s now also coming from upscale supermarkets, they’re bring those flavours in and making them very accessible to consumers.” When Brantley worked in New England in the mid-‘90s, the chipotle pepper was the hot ingredient. Rather than getting hung up on authenticity, chefs in the area realized customers weren’t ready for the naming convention. “New England cuisine wasn’t ready for chipotle, so we used to call it spicy red pepper sauce,” he said. “Give it to them in a way they understand, educate them on where it comes from and let
Plancha cooked steak with espelette rub.
them see if they like it or not.” For Hayes, bold flavours needn’t be spicy or exotic. “People often confuse bold with spice,” he said. “Bold is totally in the eye of the beholder. For some people, bold can be ketchup.” He views bold flavours in categories: aromatic, such as lemongrass or ginger; earthy, for example rosemary and truffle; and spicy. When it comes to flavours from around the world, Hayes is keeping his eye on Peruvian, Malaysian and Filipino cuisine. “I really like that Pacific Rim area, anything around Malaysia, Hawaii,” he said. “They take a combination of sort of everything — they use smoke, they use Asian flavours, they use marinades to create all these bold flavours.” Hayes noted today’s parents have grown up trying new things. “They’re letting their kids try even more than their parents let them try,” he said. “I think the younger generation are the ones who really embrace this globalization of food, globalization of bold flavour.”
A legend of bold flavours Baharat seasoning: fragrant Middle Eastern spice blend, which typically contains black pepper, cumin, cardamom, cloves, coriander, nutmeg and paprika. Each region puts its unique stamp on the seasoning. Skhug sauce: also spelled schug or zhug, contains cumin, cardamom, coriander, Thai bird chilies, garlic, parsley, cilantro, olive oil and lemon juice. Mojo verde: Spanish green sauce with cumin, cilantro, parsley and green chilies. Adobo negro: hybrid Mexican sauce that borrows from spicy adobo and complexly flavoured mole negro sauces, made with stout beer, black sesame and chili pepper. Romesco: mildly spicy, nutty Spanish sauce made with roasted red pepper, smoked paprika and almonds. Gochujang: a Korean table condiment made from chili peppers, glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice), fermented soybeans and salt.
Chickpea breakfast bowl with skhug hot sauce.
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Lending with hospitality BY COLLEEN ISHERWOOD, SENIOR EDITOR
Canadian Western Bank Group (CWB) has launched a new division dedicated to the hospitality (hotel and restaurant) sectors across Canada, named CWB Franchise Finance, based out of Mississauga, Ontario. Restaurant News (RN) sat down with Ed Khediguian, senior vice president of the newlyestablished branch, to discuss the transaction that brought him and the team over to CWB, the approach being taken in creating their programs for the industry, and the vision for the business in the upcoming years.
RN: Ed, it sounds like it’s been a busy year, can you tell us first about the background of your group and the sale from GE Capital to CWB? It has been a roller-coaster couple of years actually. Back in April of 2015, GE announced that it was unwinding its finance arm, GE Capital, and intended to exit through sale of all its capital divisions, and reposition the parent company back to its industrial roots. The Canadian Commercial Real Estate division was first to be sold to Wells Fargo and Blackstone, followed by the Equipment Finance platforms which were acquired by Wells Fargo and BMO. It wasn’t until early in 2016 that CWB entered into a purchase sale agreement for the Canadian Franchise Finance portfolio. The transaction closed on July 1, 2016 with CWB not only acquiring the portfolio but also hiring the entire Franchise Finance team as part of the transaction. We had been lending to restaurants since 2001 and hotels since 2002, so we’ve got a very experienced group in both of these sectors and CWB was excited to acquire our portfolio as well as the expertise of our team.
CWB FRANCHISE FINANCE TEAM
WATCH OUT FOR CRIS 2017 The Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit is an annual investment and economic conference in Toronto produced by CWB Franchise Finance and driven by our commitment to provide restaurateurs, lenders and investors with the resources, knowledge and vision to help make better restaurant and franchise investment decisions. This year, the Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit moves to the Fall. Stay tuned for exact dates and location!
RN: So why was CWB a good fit for your group, and vice versa?
The team from left: Cameron Woof, Account Manager, Hotel Finance; Ed Khediguian, SVP; Trish Halliwell, Account Manager, Restaurant Finance; Patrick Schofield, Portfolio Manager; Tara Mascitelli, Risk Manager; Dimitri Mazur, Account Manager, Restaurant Finance; Wendy Black, Documentation Specialist; Ian Ricci, Account Manager, Hotel Finance; and Jacob Mancini, Senior Manager, Restaurant Finance.
CWB is a Canadian-based financial institution offering business and personal banking, equipment financing, trust services and wealth management across Canada. They’re well known for the common sense approach they take to business, and their emphasis on a relationshipfocused strategy; this is particularly important for us in the hospitality sectors and is well-aligned to the spirit and culture that our team has always worked with.
RN: What differentiates you from other lenders? We take a centralized, specialized, and national approach to lending across both the hotel and restaurant sectors. We are the one-stop financing solution for recapitalization and growth capital for both franchisees (unit level financing) and franchisors (corporate lending) and work to establish a deep understanding of the segments, brands, and the markets that they operate in. Clients do not have to explain their sector to us; we live and breathe it side-by-side
with them because of the focused nature of the mandate. While hospitality is a small part of larger portfolios of larger financial institutions, the focused specialization approach inherently makes it all we do, and our raison d’être. Bigger, more broadly-based institutions can get mired in bureaucracy, and now that we have set up this division within CWB, we can be nimble, entrepreneurial and creative to match the needs of our clients.
RN: What kinds of brands and operators are you looking to work with? We work with both the larger players as well as the smaller high-growth companies in the Canadian market. In fact, some of our most successful client relationships are with clients who started from a small base, and worked with us to develop their portfolios and brands. We’re seeking companies with high growth potential. The first step we take in establishing a financing program is to sit with the franchisors and make sure we know
all we can about the system, performance, and development goals and needs so that we can align financing structures accordingly. We do not take a cookie-cutter approach to lending within a brand, which is a key differentiator; and can be limiting to a multi-unit franchisee with embedded equity that wants to grow faster. We take the time to assess each brand and the specific operator needs within them.
About Ed Khediguian, Senior Vice President Well known on the conference circuit and on social media sites, Ed has more than 20 years of experience in the lodging, hospitality and restaurant industry. Prior to joining CWB, Ed led GE Capital’s Franchise Finance division for more than 12 years. He has both a Master’s of Management in Hospitality from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Management and a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from McGill University.
RN: So once you have vetted the brands, what kind of transactions do you look to do? We provide term lending for recapitalization, acquisition, or shareholder buyouts of assets and businesses, development lines for new store and hotel development, and for remodels and construction financing. In the restaurant sector, we also provide corporate lending for small to large regional and national high growth franchisors and
corporate store system companies, focused on providing the growth capital to the up and coming concepts. Now that we’re part of CWB, we are able to offer clients even more in terms of a complete banking relationship with cash management, deposits, and wealth management as well.
RN: Where do you see the business in five years’ time? Our goal is to establish a brand equity and awareness centered around specialization to the hotel and restaurant sectors, a high level of capability in execution, and consistency throughout the cycle. We want to be the lender that takes the right swings with a value-creating product for the right operators, and brands that are growing. We expect to grow our book rapidly in a prudent and diligent manner over
the next few years. Solid credit quality comes from taking the time and effort to understand what is going on in the industry, from both a micro and macro perspective. We’ve got the right team, the right alignment under CWB, and we’re ready to provide accretive financing structures and products for restaurant and hotel operators across the country.
CWB’S CORE VALUES “Joining forces with the CWB Franchise Finance team was a big win for CWB in 2016 as we continue to deliver on our established commercial banking growth and geographic diversification strategy,” says Chris Fowler, CWB’s president and chief executive officer. “Our competitive strength has always been based on specialized industry knowledge and a targeted approach to niche markets, so it’s a great fit that allows us to expand our client offering. We’re also proud of our unique, award-winning culture that is based on putting people first, something that we also share with Ed and his team.”
Inventing a new restaurant model EDMONTON — At Ben Staley’s sister restaurants Alta and Alder Room the cooks will also be the servers. Staley is quick to note he doesn’t have a grudge against servers, but feels cooks have more of a connection to the food they make and the stories behind it. “Being a restaurant itself is the smallest part of our project; we’re aiming to kind of change what we feel is a broken industry, the restaurant industry,” said Staley, a co-owner with five partners. To that end, wages start at $18 an hour, staff will be given three weeks paid vacation annually and will have full benefits. “We’re really trying to focus on having a very healthy work environment,” Staley said. “Essentially, I’m approaching this from the mindset of a cook, rather than the mindset of an owner. I got really fed up and tired of working in an industry where I got taken advantage of and was underpaid and overworked, so we’re trying to promote a very healthy work/life balance.” In turn, he thinks the approach will be beneficial to the business by promoting employee longevity within the restaurants. “If you take care of your staff then your staff are going to stay longer and perform better,” he explained. Staley, who was the opening chef for North 53, has been working on his concept for Alder Room — which will strictly serve a tasting menu — for more than two years. When Staley found the location on Jasper Avenue formerly occupied by the Wee Book Inn, the 5,300-square-foot space was too large for Alder’s 18-seat concept. Wondering whether the landlord would consider splitting the space, Staley called to enquire about the lease. “That night, a light bulb went off in my head. Why don’t I just open two?” he said with a laugh. “Make my life extra difficult, now open-
ing two restaurants with the budget of one.” At both Alder Room and Alta all ingredients will be sourced locally. “We wanted to challenge ourselves so we set these very intentional limitations by not reaching outside of our region to the point that we don’t use vanilla, we don’t use black pepper, we don’t use olive oil or citrus or anything like that,” said Staley. When cooking, Staley would catch himself thinking that a dish could use a touch of lime, but that was off limits. “We kind of have to force ourselves to be creative to find an alternative and it’s completely shaped the way we cook. Now, I don’t even think about lemon or anything like that, it just kind of comes naturally,” he said. “With the Alder Room, we wanted to create an environment where that fit seamlessly.” Modelled on the experience at Alinea in Chicago, there will be two seatings each evening with diners buying tickets in advance. “It’s just like going to a concert or sporting event, you pay in advance. You come and you have your meal and everything is included and when you’re done, you just get up and leave,” said Staley. “You’re completely eliminating the worst part of any meal, essentially.” The Alder Room’s seats are situated around a U-shaped bar, occupied by four cooks, three of whom are in direct communication with six guests for the duration of the meal. “Say in my section, those are the only six seats I ever deal with. So I’m doing your meal from start to finish; I set your cutlery, I pour your water, I pour your wine, I plate your meal and present your plates,” Staley explained. Each evening, Alder Room will have no more than 36 guests at the two seatings, which can be booked between 5 and 6:30 p.m. or between 7:30 and 9 p.m. “We’re capped out at 36 forever,” said Stal-
Chef Ben Staley is opening side-by-side restaurants in Edmonton. Photo by Daniel Wood. ey. “It’s kind of luxury being a cook and doing that few people while also it being feasible as a business, but that’s where Alta comes in.” Alta, which will open first in February, will share the same address and phone number as Alder Room, which is slated to open in April. The two restaurants also share washrooms, a dish pit and prep area. “The philosophy is exactly the same at the two restaurants; we pull from the same pantry, we pull from the same producers, preserves kind of dictate the menu on both sides,” said Staley,
who brought on chef de cuisine Spencer Croteau to help him run the Alta kitchen. The differentiator is the level of casualness at Alta. The walk-in only restaurant will have 32 seats and a standing bar. “It’s traditional in the sense that you are sitting at a table and someone is waiting on you, but that person who’s serving you is a cook,” said Staley. “You have direct contact with the person who’s making your food … We wanted to cut out the middle man; instead of servers, we just have more cooks.”
Winnipeg natives get brewing WINNIPEG — Opening a brewpub was Tim Hudek’s ticket back to his home city. The Winnipeg native moved to Toronto at the age of 24 for school and found a career in corporate and securities law. However, he began looking at business options that would allow him to return home. “Winnipeg is a very strange city; when you grow up here, you kind of have a hard time fitting in elsewhere, you’re always kind of missing Winnipeg,” Hudek said. He has teamed up with another Winnipeg native, chef Jon Burge, to open One Great City Brewery Co. (OGC) at 15 Ness Ave. “When I thought the brewpub was the way to go, he was the first person I reached out to,” said Hudek, who had been introduced to Burge through mutual friends. During his time in Ontario, Hudek witnessed the growing popularity of craft beer in the province. “This was a good opportunity for me to bring back part of that experience I had in Toronto and create something for the people in Winnipeg,” he said. The decision was made easier by recent changes in
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Manitoba liquor legislation allowing restaurants to sell beer made onsite to other restaurants, liquor stores and from its own retail store. “With the capital requirements for equipment, it’s very difficult to spend that much money on equipment and only sell your beer in-house. It’s hard to recoup that way,” said Hudek. “There have been brewpubs in Winnipeg before, but they haven’t lasted. This change in legislation really helps us with the bottom line and allows us to stay profitable.” Also leading the Winnipeg brewpub scene is Nicole Barry, who co-founded Half Pints Brewing Company. She opened Peg Beer Co. brewpub in 2016. Peg was the first to open its doors under the new legislation. Once a smaller market with just two local craft breweries (Half Pints Brewing Co. and Fort Garry Brewing Co.), craft beer is growing in Winnipeg with the recent additions of Barn Hammer Brewing Company and Torque Brewing. A handful of brewery projects are also in the works. For OGC, Hudek and Burge turned to Olds College two years ago looking for a head brewer who was also from Winnipeg. They found Josh Berscheid who was merely months into the brewing program. Now
a graduate, he has been developing One Great City’s flagship brews at home on Half Pints’ system. On tap at OGC, is a pale ale, extra special bitter, milk stout, Belgian wheat beer, American blonde ale and a double IPA. As well, the brewpub will offer seasonal brews as well as two guest taps for other brewers in the city. “The idea is, whenever you come to the restaurant there is always something new,” Hudek said, noting Winnipeg brewers are friendly with each other. “Our philosophy is we’re not competing against each other, we’re just trying to get more people to buy craft beer.” When One Great City Brewing opens — expected within the first quarter of this year — it will have 123 seats and another 50 on the patio. Hudek describes the decor as “industrial chic” with exposed ceilings and polished concrete, softened by the use of plenty of wood. Doing much of the construction work and making the furniture themselves, Hudek and Burge created a bar top made from reclaimed lumber. “The atmosphere that we’re trying to create is one that hasn’t been in Winnipeg before, but one that’s not so off the mark that people are unfamiliar with it,” Hudek said. “We want to be a little bit adventurous, while still being accessible.”
Customers line up to try Jollibee’s first Canadian restaurant.
A massive bucket of chicken helped celebrate the Winnipeg store’s opening.
Jollibee plans to open four Canadian restaurants by 2018 WINNIPEG — Jollibee is turning to Filipino expats to secure a footing in the Canadian fast food market. With more than 3,000 locations worldwide, the first Canadian location for the Filipino fast food chain opened at Ellice Avenue and Milt Stegall Drive in Winnipeg in December. “As we enter into a new market, it’s really to bring the taste of home to Filipinos,” said Jose Miñana, Jollibee Foods Corporation’s group president for North America and foreign franchise brands. “Our strategy is quite clear in North America. Our primary target market is the Filipino community and we know there is a big number of Filipinos in Canada.” The interest in Jollibee opening in Canada,
mixed with subzero temperatures, presented new challenges for the company when its doors opened at the 80-seat Winnipeg restaurant. As temperatures reached -26 C, and customers began lining up at 6:30 a.m., Jollibee responded by renting heated trailers for their hopeful guests. The restaurant also implemented a maximum $50 limit on orders and a ticket system so customers would not lose their place in line. “We had to find ways to make sure that all these people coming in throngs would have a comfortable place while waiting for their turn,” Miñana said. “I’ve been with the company since 1993. I’ve opened hundreds of stores and I have never experienced anything like this. It was a
first time for us to have that kind of weather.” The company plans to open its second location in Scarborough, Ont. by the end of the year. In 2018, a second Winnipeg location will open at Northgate Shopping Centre, as well as restaurants in Mississauga, Ont. and Edmonton. “I was really excited about what I saw in Canada. There’s a huge mix of nationalities and concepts from other places,” Miñana said. “I don’t think a chain like Jollibee will be as foreign as it sounds.” All Canadian locations will be corporate stores, as Jollibee establishes its supply chain and operating systems. “We will see as it goes, and if we could ex-
plore franchising over there,” Miñana said. Jollibee’s menu, including its flagship fried chicken, spaghetti and peach mango pies, was imported unaltered for the Canadian market. “It is exactly as it tastes back home,” Miñana said. “It would almost be a mortal sin for us to change what they’ve been looking forward to.” However, the company is testing menu items that may broadly appeal to a Canadian audience. “We do introduce products for the local market,” Miñana said. “I think with the adventurous qualities of people living in Canada, it may give us an opportunity to cross over.”
Fast casual spurs growth for Nando’s MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — With a revamped format to serve its peri-peri chicken, Nando’s is expanding throughout Canada. Nando’s opened 12 restaurants in Canada in 2016. The company’s 42nd Canadian location opened in London, Ont., in December. This year, the restaurant chain plans to open seven to 10 locations in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. The South Africa-based restaurant company opened its first Canadian location in Richmond, B.C. in the mid 1990s. “We look at ourselves as a 20-year startup,” said Ron Cecillon, president of Nando’s Canada. “We were relatively unknown for the first 20 years, now we’re slowly expanding.” When Nando’s entered Canada, its business model mimicked the quick service restaurant format used in South Africa, where its first location opened in 1987. However, the company has moved to a fast casual format developed in the United Kingdom. “The most successful country for Nando’s is the U.K. They really were on the leading edge with fast casual,” Cecillon said, noting the chain now has a presence in 24 countries. “It comes out of that pub culture, where people have to get some of their own things in the U.K.” Under its fast causal model, guests are seated by a hostess and presented with a menu. Orders are then placed at the counter, and front of house staff deliver the meal. “We believe it is a blend of speed from fast food and the quality and design elements of casual dining. It’s a really nice blend for us,” Cecillon said. “For cus-
tomers, the biggest thing is comprehension and understanding it.” Under its quick service restaurant model, Nando’s sales were split evenly between takeout orders and dine-in customers. Since moving towards fast casual, the dining room now accounts for about 70 per cent of its business. “We’re seeing our dine-in business grow significantly, compared to where it was in our old style restaurants,” Cecillon said. By the end of the year, all of Nando’s Canadian locations will be renovated to fit the fast casual format. While all restaurants will soon have the same service model, Cecillon explained each location is unique. For example, all art featured in the restaurants are original works from South Africa. “We design art right into our restaurants, instead of saying ‘that’s a great wall for art’,” he said. “Nando’s owns the largest South African art collection outside of Africa. We’re now over 22,000 pieces globally.” Outside of its art, Nando’s decor aims for a natural look, using imperfect wood and worn leather. “If it looks perfect, then it’s really contrived. We love the uniqueness of the wood and furniture we put in our locations,” Cecillon said. Although Nando’s plans to open up to 10 new locations this year, the company is closed to new franchisees. Currently, about 15 of its restaurants are franchise locations, and new openings will be corporate stores, or operated by existing Nando’s owners. “We’re culturally rich,” Cecillon said. “It takes a great deal of time to understand the Nando’s culture.”
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Tap Takeover The number of consumers tapping their phone or card as a method of payment is rapidly growing and is expected to become the new norm for transactions in Canada. By Bill Tremblay
martphones have already eliminated the need to carry a camera, map and mp3 player. Now, the cherished digital device is moving to render wallets obsolete. The addition of Near Field Communication (NFC) to mobile devices has allowed hardware and software developers to create mobile wallets, which allow consumers to pay for purchases by tapping their phone to a properly equipped payment terminal. At Centennial College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, the onsite restaurant and café, The Local, began accepting Apple Pay, one of the leading mobile wallet options. The move to accept mobile wallets aims to ensure the students running the restaurant stay on top of the latest payment technology available. “We want them to go with the most up-to-date technology; it changes so fast,” said Amanda Tarrant, the college’s general manager of the restaurant and events. “That’s kind of a goal in all of our operations — to use the newest systems and be up to date with those options.” Aside from having a tap-equipped payment terminal, accepting Apple Pay was relatively easy to adopt. “It wasn’t something we had to enable. It was already capable within the Moneris machine,” Tarrant said. The only concern that has arisen from accepting mobile wallet payments is integration with The Local’s point of sale (POS) system. While many POS software systems will recognize if a mobile wallet is using a debit or credit card for payment, the software used at The Local requires staff to ask which method of payment is linked to the device. “If somebody pays by Visa, we have to put into our system that they paid by Visa,” Tarrant said. “It takes that extra step for our student to ask ‘is that Visa or debit?’ We don’t know the cards they’re tapping.”
North America’s largest credit and debit processors. In 2013, about 10 per cent of transactions in Canada were contactless. The following year, that number doubled, and grew to 25 per cent in 2015. In 2017, so far, about one in three transactions are made via a tap function. According to a recent Moneris survey, 55 per cent of Canadians prefer to use a contactless payment method. Within the millennial demographic, that number grows to 67 per cent. “We consider contactless acceptance to be new normal, rather than a trend, and expect that half of all transactions will be tapped by the end of 2017,” said Rob Cameron, chief product officer at Moneris. “Restaurants and bars will see increasing popularity in the number of customers using contactless payment methods to settle their bills quickly and seamlessly.” In 2013, Moneris made widespread investments in its infrastructure to support the acceptance of contactless payment. The same year, Moneris partnered with Interac and McDonalds to process the first contactless mobile debit transaction in Canada. “This was a major turning point for contactless acceptance as consumers could now use either debit or credit cards to tap at the majority of terminals,” Cameron said. Today, about 85 per cent of Moneris merchants have payment terminals equipped with NFC and are capable of accepting contactless payment from a card or mobile wallet. As well, Moneris offers the ability to add a tip to contactless transactions. “This will continue to drive adoption in restaurants and bars as those merchants who were not accepting contactless, due to the lack of a tip feature, can now do so easily,” Cameron said. While contactless transactions are growing, Tarrant noted The Local still sees cash used for about half of its transactions,
A growing trend Mobile payment was included in Technomic’s 2017 Canadian Trends Forecast as a development that will continue to solidify its position throughout the year. In its top five predictions for this year, the company outlined how operators will pay closer attention to Generation Z, what they call a “maturing cohort of ethnically diverse digital natives” who are used to constant convenience and a fast-changing world. “I do think it is the future,” said Alex Barrotti, chief executive officer of TouchBistro, the top grossing iPad restaurant POS app in 37 countries. “I might leave the house without my wallet, but I won’t leave the house without my phone.” Canadian consumers are embracing the speed and convenience of contactless payment, according to Moneris, one of
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JOEY PAY app.
despite the college’s dominant millennial customer base. “You don’t have to have money change hands anymore, but I’m actually surprised at how much cash we still see,” she said.
Other ways to mobile pay Mobile wallets are not the only way to avoid physically exchanging cash. Barrotti categorizes mobile payments into three camps: geo-location, mobile wallets and apps. “They’re all trying to do away with credit cards,” he said. Touch Bistro’s first mobile payment partnership was with PayPal, which used geo-location to check into a store and pay. After checking in, the customer’s photo and name would appear in on the TouchBistro system. Android Pay slate. “The first time I used it, I went to a local coffee shop, and I had never known the gentleman’s name. He said, ‘Hi ing mobile wallets work with TouchBistro’s POS. However, mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay or Alex, I’m Miles.’ That was really cool. It was a nice way to Samsung Pay are built into the phone. feel like a small community again,” Barrotti said. “Everyone is going after that industry, I doubt someMany restaurant chains are turning to mobile apps to times if there is room. When your phone comes with a built handle ordering and payment. This spring, Tim Hortons and Burger King plan to in wallet, why would I use another wallet I have to downlaunch a new app that will allow customers to pay through load?” Barrotti said. “There’s going to be a huge shakeout and consolidation as to whatever habit forming one works their smartphone. Last year, JOEY Restaurants launched the iPhone-only the best.” As a POS vendor and developer, Barrotti said TouchJOEY PAY, which allows their customers to enter a code on their receipt into the app to pay via credit card. Guests are Bistro is studying the potential market for new mobile payment technology before integrating it into their system. then notified if their payment was successful. “We’ve tried other mobile payments in the past, and Starbucks was one of the first corporations to introduce an app to order and pay. It debuted in Canada in late 2015. spent a lot of time and money integrating with them just to “It works great for Starbucks, but not everyone has the see them not flourish in the market,” he said. “We have to ability to create a Starbucks-like experience,” Barrotti said. look at each solution to see its value.” The demand from TouchBistro’s customers for mobile With the mobile wallets, many tech companies are trying to secure a piece of the emerging payment option by wallet use is obvious. Whether or not TouchBistro is comcreating their own wallet. Barrotti understands why, since patible with mobile wallets has become “a checkbox” for mobile wallets are compatible with a variety of businesses possible new clients. “You still have to accept cash, it’s the law, but there’s from vending machines to fine dining restaurants. “I use Apple Pay almost every day. I find it very con- a lot of restaurants that are popping up that are trying to venient, it’s very habit forming and it basically works any- do way with cash,” Barrotti said. “I totally understand the where that accepts an NFC payment,” Barrotti said, add- hassle and the headache.”
Android Pay Like Apple Pay, Android Pay is also a mobile wallet that utilizes the tap function at payment terminals. It is available on phones equipped with an Android 4.4 KitKat operating system or higher. Alongside credit and debit cards, Android Pay also allows its user to store loyalty cards. For security, a lost device may be remotely deactivated. The wallet began to roll out in Canada early this year.
Coming soon: ClickDishes A new app that allows customers to order and pay using their smartphone has launched in Western Canada. In January, ClickDishes launched the beta version of its app at 15 restaurants in Calgary, including Carls Jr. and select Opa Souvlaki of Greece and Koryo Korean Barbecue locations as well as 10 restaurants in Vancouver. Vicki Zhou, vice-president of ClickDishes, explained the app allows independent operators compete with chain restaurants. “Large chains are developing their own order and pay apps. This is convenient for smaller restaurants that want to compete with chains. They don’t have the resources to develop a separate technology product,” said Zhou. “By using this, they can focus on what they’re good at and leverage our technology and support.” The app also allows its user to order from several different restaurants. “Instead of having customers download each individual app, we create a platform for our customers to use for different restaurants,” Zhou said. “It’s really redundant to have one app for one restaurant.”
Samsung Pay Samsung Pay, available only on select Samsung products, and like Apple and Android wallets, may be used with tapequipped terminals. However, the Samsung wallet is also capable of processing a payment via regular credit and debit card readers, thanks to magnetic secure transactions (MST). The MST feature allows Samsung Pay to be accepted wherever credit cards with magnetic strips are accepted. A pin or fingerprint may be used to secure the use of Samsung Pay.
For quick service restaurants, ClickDishes allows customers to avoid lineups by placing their order via the app. The in-app payment allows customers to skip the ordering process altogether. “Once you arrive at the restaurant, your food is ready and your payment is processed,” Zhou said. “All you need to do is grab the food.” At full service restaurants, ClickDishes users are able to order, as they’re ready, and split the bill with their table when they finish. “Our app reduces the amount of time the server has to worry about getting the order right and they can actually spend more time interacting with the customer,” said Vlad Sharpe, chief technology officer for the com-
pany. “You can keep eating and ordering new items; at the end, tap your phone and you’re done.” There are no fees for restaurants or consumers to use the platform. ClickDishes instead takes a percentage of the order total on their pay-asyou-go model. All partner restaurants get access to the ClickDishes dashboard, which comes with a free tablet, stand and receipt printer. As well, the service includes backend analytics and reporting, allowing operators to see what items are popular in real time. The app, available for Apple and Android, is expected to expand to all major Canadian cities by the end of 2018.
Apple Pay Apple Pay launched in late 2015 in Canada and is available for iPhone 6 and above. 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, allowing 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 the device’s fingerprint reader enables use of Apple Pay.
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Canada Unleashed 2017 RC SHOW TORONTO — Gone are the days of putting out a fishbowl for business cards at trade shows and expecting sales. Restaurants Canada is aiming to unite the country’s foodservice and hospitality community at its annual trade show. Dubbed Canada Unleashed, the RC Show runs Feb. 26 to 28 at the EnerCare Centre in Toronto. Based on 2016 numbers, Restaurants Canada expects more than 14,000 foodservice professionals to visit this year’s RC Show, as well as about 1,000 exhibitors representing multiple brands. “It’s the largest foodservice show in Canada and it’s growing this year,” said Troy Taylor, vice-president of operations/Groupex at Restaurants Canada. “Trade shows are transforming right now. Anyone can go online and buy a blender; you don’t need to come to a show to buy a blender where you would have had to years ago,” Taylor said. “I can go buy my knives, I can go buy my blender, I can even go buy my stove online if I want to, but I want to learn from the best.” Taylor believes it’s the interaction with professionals and opportunity for education that will draw visitors and make for successful vendors. “I don’t need to come here to buy a blender, but I need to see how that blender is going to make a drink that will cost X and I can make Y,” he said. The transformation began two years ago, when Taylor and the team began approaching exhibitors to help with the evolution of the Restaurants Canada show. “Help me bring your brand to life,” he said. “I’ve give you the stage, I’ll give you the forum and I’ll give you the people.” In an effort to draw more people to Toronto for the event, Restaurants Canada partnered with international shows, such as Host Milano, as well as other Canadian organizations, including Terroir Symposium. “We’ve got to make Toronto a destination. In order to do that, we have to give people more value than coming to see the proverbial blend-
er,” said Taylor. “We’re putting on a bunch of seminars, educational [presentations] and events around the show, so it will now become part of what we’re calling Hospitality Week.” Instead of running a trade show with a handful of events attached to it, over the course of a few years, Taylor envisions a slew of events “that happen to have a trade show.” The industry association tasked chef Charlotte Langley with reaching out to the Canadian culinary community. The idea, she said, was to get “fresh faces” involved with the show. Langley plans to showcase regional products from across Canada, as well as shine a light on Ontario agriculture. As for new blood on the RC Show stage, Langley’s lineup includes chefs who are not necessarily celebrities in the food television sense of the word, but famous within the industry. “They are the influencers, they are setting the tone, they are creating the trends,” she said. From across Canada, this includes: Newfoundland & Labrador’s Todd Perrin of Mallard Cottage; Robert Belcham of Campagnolo, Vancouver; co-chefs/owners of CHARCUT Roast House, Connie DeSousa and John Jackson; Renée Lavallée, chef/owner of The Canteen in Dartmouth, N.S. “I’m trying to showcase more gender equality; there are female chefs out there, we just don’t know about them,” said Langley. She isn’t playing the feminism card, but simply creating a mix of great chefs. The Canadian chefs will craft signature regional fare to highlight the country’s culinary landscape at RC Nation’s Feast, a ticketed event being held at Casa Loma. Also new to the 2017 show is a leadership conference for single-unit operators on Feb. 26 and multi-unit operators on Feb. 27. Moderated by marketing expert Tony Chapman, the half-day conferences feature panels focused on catering to millennials, making a first impression, reaching potential customers, as well as a session by Joe Jackman on branding. This year, the Shake & Sling Pavilion will feature a new tasting lounge and beer garden.
Chef Charlotte Langley is the culinary curator for the 2017 RC Show. On the menu innovation side, culinary demos will include seafood, waste-based cooking, Canadian beef and cooking with eggs. As in past years, the RC Show will also include an opening night reception, culinary and beverage competitions and Breakfast With Champions. Being held on Feb. 28 at Liberty Grand, the annual breakfast seminar will feature two keynote addresses examining key issues affecting the foodservice industry: Sara Monnette, vice-president of research and insights at Technomic, will discuss new rules for competing in a global foodservice world; and Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, will address how the Canadian psyche is changing, and how operators should respond. A panel discussion will feature Bill Gregson, CEO Cara Operations, Nick Di Donato, CEO Liberty Entertainment
Group, Alexandra Blum, vice-president, global public relationships and partnerships, FRHI Hotels and Resorts, and Jeremy Bonia, owner of Raymond’s Restaurant, St. John’s, N.L. Taylor and the RC Show team have reached out to the provinces, suggesting they invest international development dollars in sending companies to the trade show. Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island got involved this year, while other provinces said they would in 2018. In addition, Restaurants Canada is applying for international show designation to enable provinces to use funding earmarked for international export, Taylor explained. “The biggest challenge we have now is putting this show back on sort of the national psyche of all the restaurant operators in Canada, they should be here,” he said.
We Care appoints Tiana Rodrigue executive director MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Members of the hospitality and foodservice industry gathered Jan. 16 to wish Kevin Collins luck in his new role at Easter Seals Ontario. Collins, who served as executive director of Friends of We Care for more than 17 years, took the position of president and chief executive officer of Easter Seals Ontario in late January. During his time at the helm of the nonprofit organization, Friends of We Care raised more than $20.5 million to send Easter Seals kids to barrier-free camps. Last year, the organization raised $1,386,155, the highest net amount in the history of Friends of We Care. Board chair Jim Greenway spent a great
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deal of time thinking about his speech at Collins’ farewell party. “Honestly, when I tried to put some words to paper, I had an awful lot of trouble,” Greenway said to those gathered to pay tribute to “over 17 years of loyal and unparalleled service.” We Care ambassador Taylor Hanson thanked Collins on behalf of the campers for helping them create positive experiences. “We’ll never forget the impact you’ve had,” she said. To commemorate the legacy of a man who has touched many lives, the Kevin J. Collins Scholarship was created for post-secondary study in the foodservice industry and announced at the event. “It’s amazing what these kids can accom-
plish by just giving them an opportunity,” Collins said, noting the key is to “focus on their abilities and not their disabilities.” Tiana Rodrigue has been appointed the new executive director at Friends of We Care. She joined the organization in 2012 and was most recently the senior manager of fundraising and development. “She has already made many positive, lasting impacts on the organization,” said Greenway. Rodrigue will work closely with We Care stakeholders while transitioning to her new position. “I am excited by the opportunities before us and am honoured to be leading Friends of We Care into the future,” Rodrigue said.
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