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March 2018 Digital Issue

PROFILE At the end of

PROFILE At the end of 2017, CHG had a portfolio of seven restaurant concepts. Its new outposts will bring the count to 13 restaurants in 2018 Planta’s smoked carrot “hot dog” (above); Planta Yorkville (right) love with our Planta brand and experience as well, so it was a great opportunity to leverage that and partner together.” Planta’s Miami location, which is set to open early this year, will be CHG’s first U.S. location. Salm explains the company had been exploring options for U.S. expansion prior to partnership discussions with Grutman, which solidified the location choice. “Having local presence and being super confident in the marketplace is really important for us,” he says. “Having Dave as our partner was an amazing opportunity and, really, the only option we would consider because he brings such tremendous value to validate and support the brand [in that market].” The 200-seat restaurant will be designed by the team behind the original Planta location — Toronto-based East Studio — but will be “a much more tropical version of Planta in Toronto, [with] lots of great textures and materials,” notes Salm. The new restaurant will also include features unique to the outpost, such as a rooftop “farm” and a plant-based sushi bar. As with the original location, “everything will be under chef David Lee’s leadership, but we will absolutely be engaging a sushi chef for this restaurant,” Salm adds. When asked why this was an opportune time to expand beyond Canada, Salm says “I’m not sure there ever is a good time. With what’s going on in the various cities, we saw it as a good time to begin telling our story to different markets. We have obviously settled in within the Ontario and Toronto market and now we are focused on the U.S. a little bit more — just to appeal to a larger audience.” Planta’s Miami opening is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to CHG’s 2018 expansion plans, thanks to a new, first-of-its-kind partnership with Holt Renfrew. The partnership, which was announced in mid-December 2017, will see CHG’s Colette Grand Café concept replace Holts Café locations in Edmonton, Montreal and Vancouver, as well as Toronto’s Yorkdale and Bloor Street locations. “It’s been a great learning and discovery relationship,” Salm says of the partnership. “First and foremost, we had to ensure the companies’ cultures and visions were aligned to craft such a unique partnership. We are very excited to work together.” The original Colette Grand Café location, which opened in 2014, is a French-inspired restaurant located in Toronto’s Thompson Hotel. The restaurant features a dining room, library and lounge, as well as a bakery-café. Salm notes the Holt Renfrew locations “will feature both quick and coursed-meal options, catering to all clientele. The menu will be seasonal, with unique features for each region to suit local tastes.” As part of the partnership, the teams from each of the Holts Cafés set to be replaced are expected to transition through the rebranding of the restaurants, which is expected to begin early this year. The design details for the Colette outposts are yet to be finalized, but further details are expected to be released in the coming weeks. FH 10 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2018 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

FROM THE DESK OF ROBERT CARTER THE PREMIUM-CASUAL EFFECT Premium-casual restaurants are defying Canada’s no-growth reality iSTOCK.COM/3DMASK [NEWTON CRADLE] In 2017, sales at full-service restaurants (FSR) slipped two per cent to a total of $21 billion — another decline in an industry that hasn’t seen any real growth in more than five years. During that time, traffic also fell four per cent to 1.3 billion visits. On the other end of the spectrum, sales at fast-food outlets rose three per cent to $27 billion and traffic picked up two per cent to 4.6 billion visits, according to data from The NPD Group, as consumers migrate to “dining alternatives.” However, despite declining FSR sales, a small sub-segment called “premium casual” (think The Keg, Moxies, Cactus Club, Earls, et cetera) is experiencing strong growth. While it represents only a nine per cent share of casual-dining restaurant traffic in Canada, premium casual has increased traffic by seven per cent and increased sales by eight per cent — no small feat in an industry that has come to accept a “no-growth” reality. Restaurants in this category are a bright spot in the Canadian restaurant market. Boasting some of the strongest customer- THE HOPE IS TO DRAW IN THE PREMIUM- CASUAL CROWD AND TO STAVE OFF THE EFFECTS OF TRAFFIC STAGNATION. loyalty scores of any restaurant chains in Canada and consistently increasing customertraffic rates while steadily increasing sales. This growth is especially relevant to fullservice operators, since premium casual is one of the main sub-segments that is stealing share away from traditional full-service restaurants. Throw in increasing competition from QSR, prepared meals at grocery and new digital-delivery platforms, and you can quickly see why the future looks challenging for traditional FSRs. Another driving force behind the declines is the fact families are seeking new alternatives to FSR. In fact, FSR traffic for “parties with kids” is down significantly since 2012, averaging a four-percent decline year-over-year. And, while families still comprise 23 per cent of overall visits at FSR, they are currently driving 39 per cent of declines. Millennials are also contributing to declines at FSR, as the age demographic of 18 to 34 has seen ongoing annual traffic declines since 2012. Many of these individuals have been drawn to QSR offerings — a troubling trend for FSR operators since the share of millennials will increase in Canada over the next decade, while the share of Boomers (who are currently driving growth at FSR) will decline. So what’s an FSR operator to do? We have seen traditional FSRs stepping up their game in an attempt to “premiumize” their offerings. The hope is to draw in the premium-casual crowd and to stave off the effects of traffic stagnation. While this strategy may prove to be successful for some, others will likely run into the difficulty of being categorized as a “me-too” brand, which is exactly the opposite of what the young millennial cohort craves. FH Robert Carter is executive director, Foodservice Canada, with the NPD Group Inc. He can be reached at robert. for questions regarding the latest trends and their impact on the foodservice business. FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM MARCH 2018 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 11