FH0320

cjenk16

EARLY

EATS

Breakfast and brunch

operators are upping

their game

DEMAND

DRIVEN

Taking control of the

digital-ordering experience

CANADIAN PUBLICATION MAIL PRODUCT SALES AGREEMENT #40063470

COOL

OPERATORS

Ice machines take centre

stage in restaurants

MARCH 2020 $4

Sunset Grill draws

on the past to build

future success

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES


Find your

Italian Inspiration

Growing up in Torino, I was spoiled with authentic Italian cuisine. That’s why I insist on using

Italy’s number one cheese brand, Galbani, for my creations at Johnny Rocco’s Italian Grill. My

famous Margherita pizza, topped with slices of delicate and creamy Galbani Professionale

Mozzarella Fresca, is every bit as flavourful and authentic as the pizza you’ll find in Italy.

- Daniele Uccheddu, Chef and Pizzaiolo, Johnny Rocco’s Italian Grill

Find more Italian Inspirations at parmalat-foodservice.ca

Trademark owned or used under license by Lactalis Canada, Toronto, Ontario M9C 5J1


VOLUME 53, NO.3 | MARCH 2020

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES: EXAMINING INDUSTRY DISRUPTION

IN THIS ISSUE

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES

12

30 STAND AND DELIVER Restaurateurs

are grappling with the increased

demand for third-party delivery

32 GAINING GROUND Customer

experience and convenience

are driving the popularity of

food-retail offerings

14

34 WASTE LAND The restaurant

industry is putting its best foot

forward to address food waste

FEATURES

36 LABOUR RELATIONS To attract

and retain talent in today’s market,

employers need to stand out from

the crowd

48

DANIEL ALEXANDER [COVER: STELIOS LAZOS, COO OF SUNSET GRILL RESTAURANT LTD.]

9 TOP CHOICE Shining the spotlight

on the inaugural winner of F&H’s

Employer of Choice Award

12 HOT CONCEPTS Fishbone brings

a taste of Portugal to GTA diners

14 MORNING GLORY Changing

demographics are causing a

breakfast-and-brunch evolution

27 TRIED AND TRUE Sunset Grill

continues to find success by

sticking with what works

45

38 SAFETY FIRST Food-safety remains

a top priority for foodservice operators

41 CHILL FACTOR New technology is

making ice machines the stars of

the show

45 ORDER AHEAD Restaurant operators

are taking control of the digital-

ordering experience

47 BREWING COMPETITION Big beer

brands still dominate the market,

but craft breweries are closing the gap

DEPARTMENTS

2 FROM THE EDITOR

5 FYI

11 FROM THE DESK OF NPD GROUP

48 CHEF’S CORNER Greg Laird,

The Tempered Room, Toronto

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 1


FROM THE EDITOR

JACK BE

NIMBLE,

JACK BE

QUICK

In today’s marketplace, where change happens on a dime,

resiliency and innovation are proving paramount to success.

Certainly, the foodservice-and-hospitality industry is no

stranger to challenges. Looking back on the past 50 years,

one can see how the industry has been forced to evolve, due

primarily to a number of challenges it’s had foisted on it. During

that time, the industry has had to deal with labour shortages

(minium-wage increases), no-smoking legislation as well as

ingredient-labelling legislation.

But as serious as those challenges were, they seem to pale

in comparison to those that have hit the industry in the past

decade. Perhaps they appear more serious because the rate of

change is so much quicker, which means operators are barely

able to deal with one challenge when yet another one hits them.

What’s an operator to do? And, how can they find success

in such a fluid marketplace where the rules change every day?

The good news is that where there are challenges, there are also

opportunities for growth (see story on p. 30) — partly because

challenges have a way of forcing us to look at creative solutions.

In talking to several operators recently, it’s clear many issues

keep them awake at night — whether it’s the continuous labour

shortages, the impact of changing demographics

and the disruption it’s fuelling or the

significant changes technology is creating for

customers and businesses alike.

At the end of the day, these challenges are

forcing operators to get more creative and

resilient — whether they want to or not —

because the reality is, if you don’t change,

and do it quickly, your company becomes

irrelevant. As one Top-100 president told me

recently, with the velocity of change so much

more pronounced these days, operators are

being forced to become more agile and adaptable.

That spells good news for customers, who

have more choices available to them than ever

before. But from an operator point of view, as

important as it is to be nimble and adaptable,

any planned change has to make sense from a business point of

view. After all, not every trend makes sense for every business.

As Vince Sgabellone, foodservice industry analyst, The NPD

Group, says in this month’s retail challenge story (see p. 32),

restaurant operators walk a fine line between sticking with

what they know and evolving to keep up with the competition.

“Focusing on your core customer is key — who they are and

why they’re coming to you. Stand out in the market, do what is

best for you and your customers. If you’re not speaking to your

customers, somebody else will.”

ROSANNA CAIRA rcaira@kostuchmedia.com

@foodservicemag

facebook.com/foodservicehospitalitymagazine

instagram.com/rosannacaira

NICK WONG, LOCATION PROVIDED BY VIA CIBO

2 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


EST. 1968 | VOLUME 53, NO. 3 | MARCH 2020

EDITOR & PUBLISHER ROSANNA CAIRA

ART DIRECTOR MARGARET MOORE

MANAGING EDITOR AMY BOSTOCK

ASSOCIATE EDITOR DANIELLE SCHALK

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT NICK LAWS

MULTIMEDIA MANAGER DEREK RAE

DESIGN MANAGER COURTNEY JENKINS

DESIGN ASSISTANT JACLYN FLOMEN

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER/EVENTS

CO-ORDINATOR JHANELLE PORTER

DIRECTOR OF SALES CHERYLL SAN JUAN

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DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS

DEVELOPMENT, U.S.A. WENDY GILCHRIST

CIRCULATION PUBLICATION PARTNERS

CONTROLLER DANIELA PRICOIU

ADVISORY BOARD

FAIRFAX FINANCIAL HOLDINGS LIMITED NICK PERPICK

FHG INTERNATIONAL INC. DOUG FISHER

JOEY RESTAURANT GROUP BRITT INNES

MTY GROUP MARIE-LINE BEAUCHAMP

PROFILE HOSPITALITY GROUP SCOTT BELLHOUSE

SOTOS LLP ALLAN DICK

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS JUDSON SIMPSON

THE MCEWAN GROUP MARK MCEWAN

UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH, SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY

& TOURISM MANAGEMENT BRUCE MCADAMS

WELBILT MARY CHIAROT

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MONTHLY NEWS AND UPDATES FOR THE FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY

SIAL CANADA [PHOTOGRAPHY AND ADVERTISEMENT]

BIENVENUE

AUX GOURMETS

SIAL Canada returns to Montreal

The only event of its scale in

Canada, SIAL’s 2020 event

in Montreal will bring

together more than 1,200

national and international

exhibitors from 50 countries and

host more than 18,500 buyers from

Canada, the U.S. and 60 other countries.

The event runs from April 15

to 17, 2020 at the Palais des congrès.

The SIAL Montreal subsidiary

of the global SIAL brand, launched

in 2001, was the brainchild of three

event shareholders — the ADAQ, the

Agri-Food Export Group Quebec-

Canada and Comexposium — and

offers a complete range of food

categories, including foodservice,

retail, catering and food processing.

SIAL also shines the spotlight regional

specialties from around the world.

In 2009, SIAL Montreal rebranded to

SIAL Canada to reinforce its national

and international position.

During the three-day tradeshow,

SIAL boasts more than 50 activities

and events centred around market

SIAL

CANADA

FAST|FACTS |

240,000

SQ. FT.

OF EXHIBITOR

SPACE

25,000

PROFESSIONAL

VISITORS

1,200+

EXHIBITORS

50

EXHIBITING

COUNTRIES

trends and the latest innovations.

Conferences and panel discussions are

held by industry experts to provide

business inspiration.

Events include The SIAL

Innovation competition, an international

competition that rewards the

best innovations in food and nonfood

related products.

“The landscape of our industry has

changed considerably,” says Xavier

Poncin, executive director of SIAL

Canada. “Whether you’re looking at

market concentration, the arrival of

new players, changes in consumption

habits with increasing focus on digitization

and personalization, or even

developments in international trade,

for manufacturers, it’s no mean feat

finding the right solutions. With our

buyer programs, series of conferences,

product lines organized by type, central

experts’ hub and special events,

SIAL Canada is the ideal platform to

help you understand and meet the

challenges of tomorrow.”

In 2010, SIAL Canada started alternating between an edition

in Montreal and one in Toronto, Canada’s economic capital.

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 5


COMING

EVENTS

BEYOND

BE GONE

MARCH 1-3 RC Show 2020, Enercare Centre,

Toronto. Tel: 800-387-5649; email: theshow@

restaurantscanada.org; website: rcshow.com

APRIL 1-2 16th Annual North American

Summit on Food Safety, Old Mill, Toronto. Tel:

416-236-2641; website: foodsafetycanada.com

APRIL 21 Vision 20/20 Conference hosted by

KML, Sheraton Centre Toronto. Tel: 416-447-

0888, ext. 235; email: dpricoiu@kostuchmedia.

com; website: kostuchmedia.com

April 4-5 Franchise Expo Vancouver,

Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver.

Tel: 800-891-4859, ext. 231; email: danielle@

nationalevent.com; franchiseshowinfo.com/

vancouver

FOR MORE EVENTS VISIT

foodserviceandhospitalitycom/events/

TIM HORTONS has officially dropped

all Beyond-Meat products from its

menu. The announcement was made

in late January — less than a year after

the products debuted on its menu. In

the summer of 2019, Tim Hortons

began rolling out a number of plantbased

menu options across its nearly

4,000 Canadian restaurants, including

the Beyond Meat sausage patty

and Beyond Meat burger patty. A few

months later, the company scaled

back availability of its plant-based

products, offering them exclusively in

its B.C. and Ontario locations. A Tim

Hortons spokesperson indicated the

company may circle back to Beyond

Meat and other plant-based products

in the future, adding “the product

was not embraced by our guests as we

thought it would be.”

COMPETITIVE EDGE

iSTOCK.COM/MAXIMFESENKO [BARTENDAR WITH WINE]

ALCOHOL NB LIQUOR

(ANBL) announced a

new rebate program

for New Brunswick bar

and restaurant licensees,

which will come

into effect April 1, 2020.

“We’re very pleased

to be able to offer this

milestone program

in response to the

hospitality industry’s

long-standing request

for more competitive

beverage-alcohol pricing,” says Patrick Parent, CEO, ANBL. “We value our partnership

with all licensees — they’re significant contributors to the province’s economy with more

than 25,000 related jobs — and we’re very supportive of efforts to help their industry

grow.” The rebate program is part of ANBL’s new three-year plan to become more competitive

with neighbouring jurisdictions. Once in effect, ANBL will offer a five- to 10-percent

rebate on licensees’ wine and spirit purchases and a one-per-cent rebate on certain

categories of beer products and ready-to-drink products. This program was developed

alongside Restaurants Canada and the New Brunswick Restaurant Association (RANB/

ARNB). Further program details will be shared with licensees at a later date.

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


RESTOBUZZ

A few months after the closure of Rose and Sons and Big Crow, Anthony Rose and his team have

opened The Grand Elvis on Dupont Street. The menu boasts large appetizers such as Griddled

Mac & Cheese ($15), ricotta dumplings ($16) and mains such as beef stew ($27), buttermilkfried

half chicken ($25) and the Banquet Burger ($21)... Toronto’s La Fenice has announced a shift

in ownership. Rita and Rocco Fosco have sold the restaurant to Toronto-based technology company,

IN BRIEF

Denny’s has added a Beyond Meat Burger

to its core menu across Canada and the U.S.

following a successful launch in the brand’s

Los Angeles restaurants. The Denny’s Beyond

Burger features a 100-per-cent plant-based

Beyond Burger patty topped with tomatoes,

onions, lettuce, pickles, American cheese and

All-American sauce on a multigrain bun...Edo

Japan, has announced it’s opening two new

street-front locations in Winnipeg...Mr Mikes

SteakhouseCasual has opened its new Portage

La Prairie restaurant, marking the company’s

45th national location...The Works Gourmet

Burger Bistro has announced four new limitedtime

menu items under its new “Burgertarians

Unite” promotion...Starbucks Canada opened

Givex, which has been a provider

of point-of-sale technology

for more than 20 years and has

been an investor in La Fenice for

the past two years...Gusto 501

opened its doors February 4. The

innovative Italian restaurant is

a collaboration between Gusto

54 executive chef Elio Zannoni

and Gusto Green chef Michael

Magliano. Gusto 501’s Trattoria

menu will integrate muchloved

favourites from Trattoria

Nervosa and Gusto 101, as well as fresh takes on contemporary Southern Italian fare...Bar Biltmore

and Osteria Rialto opened their doors in the Paradise Building in Toronto earlier this year. At the

helm of the bar is Robin Goodfellow, formerly of Little Bones Beverage Company and Bar Raval, who

will serve as bar director. Osteria Rialto is located on the first floor of the Paradise Building and

boasts a traditional Italian menu, featuring dishes such as Triangoli alla Norma, Tuscan sausages,

Bistecca alla Fiorentina and Semolina Polenta. The new restaurant will be helmed by executive

chef Basilio Pesce, chef de cuisine Ryan Baddeley and executive pastry chef Jill Barber.

Opening a new restaurant? Let us in on the buzz

Send a high-res image, menu and background information about the new

establishment to nlaws@kostuchmedia.com

Gusto 501

its first Canadian Pickup store February 4 in

Toronto’s Commerce Court. Designed for the

on-the-go customer, the new pickup location

is only the second of its kind in the world,

following the concept’s debut at New York City’s

Penn Plaza in November...Zaatar W Zeit — a

name synonymous with Lebanese street food

— is officially open in Canada. The first North-

American outpost is located at 531 Granville

St. in Vancouver. The brand boasts more than

70 locations in five countries throughout the

Middle East...McDonald’s Canada has partnered

with First Book Canada to donate 400 brand new

books in each province across Canada, 300 of

which are to be donated to local community

centres and 100 will be given away at McDonald’s

Family Night...Fuwa Fuwa, Toronto’s first

specialty soufflé pancake shop, has announced

nationwide expansion could be on the horizon.

The announcement comes after several new

franchise groups have signed on with the brand.

The company plans to expand across Canada

in 2020, with 10 new stores planned for Ontario

and Western Canada...Le Cathcart Restaurants

et Biergarten at Montreal’s Place Ville Marie

(PVM) opened January 23. The expansive

35,000-sq.-ft. food hall features a range of

culinary offerings, including three full-service

restaurants, nine food kiosks, two cafés with

a total of 1,000 seats and a biergarten located

under the PVM’s 7,000-sq.-ft. glass pavilion.

PEOPLE

Katia Marquier has joined the board of directors

of Sportscene Group Inc. Marquier is currently

the Chief Financial Officer of marine carrier

Fednav Ltd....Peter Van De Reep of Vancouver’s

Campagnolo won Best Sommelier of B.C.

competition, while Leagh Barkley of Toptable

Group placed third.

SUPPLY SIDE

Egg Farmers of Canada has been named one

of the country’s top youth employers. The

award recognizes employers who offer some of

the best workplaces and programs for young

people looking to start their careers...Subway

Restaurants has partnered with Adyen, a global

payments platform. The partnership makes

Adyen the exclusive payment platform for

Subway restaurants across North America...

Winston Industries’ board of directors has

selected Shaun Tanner as president and Chief

Executive Officer, effective July 1, 2020. Tanner,

an 18-year veteran of the company, currently

serves as its Chief Sales Officer, overseeing

two of Winston’s three divisions — Winston

Foodservice and Winston Manufacturing...

Vulcan, provider of commercial cooking

equipment, and parent company ITW Food

Equipment Group (ITW FEG), has named Chris

Stern as its vice-president and general manager

of Cooking, North America, effective February

10...Alto-Shaam has promoted Ryan Norman

to director of Consultant Services as part of

restructuring plans that focus the organization

on strengthening its relationships and support

for the consultant community.

8 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


EMPLOYER OF CHOICE

iSTOCK.COM/SARAWUTH702 [GOLD MEDAL], CHARU SHARMA [AWARD WINNERS]

TOP

CHOICE

F&H crowns

inaugural winner

of Employer

of Choice Award

BY DANIELLE SCHALK

As the first winner of the

Foodservice and Hospitality Employer

of Choice (FSHEOC) Award, Yummy

Catering Services Ltd. has built a company

culture based on communication, engagement,

trust and respect.

The Toronto-based company, which

focuses on nutritious, home-style recipes

for childcare centres and schools, is recognized

as a leading catering company for

children in the Greater Toronto Area.

On its mission to create employee

loyalty, Yummy Catering is focused on

conveying its values, goals and strategies,

while ensuring employees feel involved

and their opinions valued. To achieve this,

the company works to ensure all channels

of communication are open to employees

and management/department meetings

are used as a platform for team building,

brainstorming and communicating the

company’s values and goals.

Yummy Catering has positioned diversity

and inclusion as the cornerstone of its

culture and a fundamental component of

the company’s overall growth strategy. This

initiative is further supported by providing

career development and job accessibility

to new immigrants, as well as building and

maintaining an inclusive supply chain.

To build a culture of engagement, the

company’s leadership has cultivated a

sense of community, motivating employees

with positivity and encouragement. It also

leverages ongoing training to keep staff

motivated and productive and provides

opportunities for employees to test new

skills. This effort is furthered by offerings

such as rewards and recognition programs,

employee-referral programs, competitive

wages and flexible working arrangements.

And, recognizing there’s always room for

improvement, Yummy Catering is currently

working to expand its benefits to incorporate

initiatives such as pension plans, RRSP

contributions, paid personal days, dental

and eye-care coverage and mental-health

support. FH

The Foodservice and Hospitality Employer of Choice (FSHEOC) Award is the first national award to recognize Canadian

hospitality and foodservice organizations as employers of choice. This program provides recognition and valuable insights to help build better places to

work and strengthen corporate brands. By carefully analyzing an organization’s human-resources and leadership practices through a company profile and

by anonymously surveying employees, the FSHEOC program comprehensively evaluates markers, including compensation and benefits, morale, employee

engagement and more. The follow-up report and continuous-improvement action-plan worksheet help organizations build on best practices and address

challenges, reducing turnover, attracting top talent and helping them build better, people-focused cultures. To achieve this award, companies must attain

a minimum Employer of Choice score of 75 per cent.

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 9


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FROM THE DESK OF NPD

WHAT’S IN A (BRAND) NAME

Branded products continue to be attractive to restaurant guests

iSTOCK.COM/DILOK KLAISATAPORN [5-STAR RATING]

There’s no shortage of icons in the

foodservice industry. These include

Colonel Sanders, Ronald McDonald

and Canada’s own Tim Horton.

Each of these names elicits a

response from consumers — feelings of trust,

respect, quality and many other emotions and

behaviours — based on years of nurturing

and promotion.

Within this crowded restaurant universe,

packaged-goods brands struggle to make their

names heard. Restaurants — particularly

those with well-established brand identities

— don’t necessarily need or want the support

of outside brands to help them tell their food

stories and attract customers. But, according

to the latest Omnibus Study from The NPD

Group, this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact,

according to the survey, Canadian consumers

are interested in accessing their favourite

retail-food brands while dining out at their

favourite foodservice establishments.

Almost one quarter of all restaurant visitors

are influenced to purchase items that are

branded and offered as new or limited-time

offers. The most common reasons for purchasing

these branded items are perceptions

of higher quality and good value. This is

not at all surprising, since two of the fastestgrowing

influencers for choosing a restaurant

are food quality and price. Per-capita

restaurant visits are flat this year, which

means Canadians aren’t going out any more

frequently than in prior years. Consumers

are eager to maximize their value-for-money

on every restaurant visit and purchase and

ordering branded items off a menu helps

provide a degree of reassurance. Or, as one

quarter of survey respondents say, branded

items can be trusted. Men, in particular, are

even more likely to be influenced by branded

menu items.

Branded items aren’t new to the restaurant

landscape — beverage brands in particular,

such as soft drinks and alcohol, have always

been displayed proudly by their host restaurants.

And so, it’s not surprising respondents

feel branded cold beverages are a suitable

option when they dine out. Coffee is the only

menu category that respondents say is even

more suitable for a branding opportunity.

Hot tea, condiments and salad dressings and

cheese are the other menu categories where

consumers can be expected to respond well

to branded items.

Product branding can help build trust in

an item in the eyes of the consumer. This can

be especially true when a restaurant is selling

an item not necessarily associated with

its core offerings. A prime example of this

is evident in the proliferation of branded

plant-based protein items on Canadian

menus over the past 18 to 24 months. And

yet, survey respondents say they don’t expect

to see branded plant-based items on menus.

This could be a factor of the unfamiliarity

with the brands appearing in this space or

maybe that these items continue to appeal

to a niche audience. Clearly, the plant-based

brands have a lot of work to do to build

brand awareness and achieve widespread

acceptance. It also means restaurants introducing

these items may be just as successful

in promoting their own brands, rather than

these unfamiliar entities.

From quick-serve coffee shops to casualdining

restaurants, as much as half of all

respondents say they feel branded menu

items would be appropriate. The only restaurants

where branded items might be less

expected are high-end concepts, since consumers

will have a greater expectation that

their food items are prepared fresh. And yet,

it’s higher-income Canadians who show a

greater likelihood of ordering branded items

when dining out. While the study didn’t

delve into pricing for branded items, this

does suggest branding will bring the possibility

of premium pricing, along with the

perceptions of quality, trust and value. FH

Vince Sgabellone is

a foodservice

industry analyst with

The NPD Group. He can

be reached at vince.

sgabellone@npd.com

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 11


HOT CONCEPTS

FISHBONE

The Mediterranean seafood concept has set its sights on bigger ponds

STORY BY NICK LAWS

When Pedro Pereira emigrated from

Portugal at 18 years old, becoming a chef

and CEO wasn’t on his mind. In fact, it was

soccer that brought him to Canada.

Cooking was initially a means to supplement

his income after his coach told him

he needed to get a job, but he ultimately fell

in love with food. Fast forward a few years

and Pereira opened his first restaurant,

Fishbone, in Stouffville, Ont.

Humble beginnings characterize both

restaurant and owner, as the now-booming

restaurant started as “just another neighbourhood

restaurant” simply known as

“Pedro’s.”

Fishbone is carving out a name for itself

based on its high standards of hospitality.

“Fishbone is a product of my many years

in the business, working with some of the

best in the industry — day in and day out

— perfecting the craft of hospitality,” says

Pereira. “Like painting or music, everyone

can do it, but not necessarily well. It’s about

making a guest feel like they would be coming

into your own home; like they’ve know

you forever.”

Fishbone specializes in fresh seafood

with the menu focused on what the nearby

market has to offer.

“It’s nice to know a fish shipment from

New Zealand or Portugal was line caught

24 hours ago,” Pereira says. “You need to

stay connected to the source and heart of

the product.”

The catch of the day is displayed on ice,

cooked fresh and deboned tableside —

unique in Canadian dining.

“Deboning fish tableside for as long

as I did and being such a staple in

Portuguese cuisine, I found the name

Fishbone to be extremely fitting,” Pereira

explains,” I knew I was ready to jump

back into the upscale-dining scene with

my own restaurant, with my own philosophy,

standards and expectations.”

Those standards are high, with the

Fishbone restaurants focusing not just

on the product, but the guest experience.

“Our ability to create and foster relationships

with our guests is a big component.

The initial greeting, lighting, music choices

and volume, our verbiage, pulling the

chair out as they’re being seated… [it’s

all important]. We don’t just look at it as

a business transaction, it’s hospitality,”

Pereira says.

Nine years after the first restaurant

opened its doors in Stouffville, Fishbone

has five locations, two of them in the

Stouffville area, with other locations in

Aurora and Innisfil, Ont. One of the

Stouffville locations, Fishbone-On-The-

Lake, sits on the shores of Musselman’s

Lake and boasts a spectacular patio. The

restaurant is situated right on the water and

is open only during the summer, averaging

Quick Facts

ESTABLISHED: 2010 in Stouffville, Ont.,

AVERAGE LOCATION SIZE: 2,975 sq. ft.,

averaging 90 seats per restaurant

AVERAGE CHECK: $65

EXPANSION PLANS: The brand recently

opened in California and hopes to grow its

presence in the U.S. and southern Ontario

ARCHITECT: Den Bosch + Finchley, Toronto

PARENT COMPANY: Peartree Holdings

(clockwise from top) Pedro Pereira, owner of Fishbone;

grilled octopus; fresh fish features prominently on all

Fishbone locations’ menus; Fishbone restaurants boast a

light and airy feel; Fishbone Kitchen & Bar in Aurora, Ont.

12 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


Menu Sampler

The menu is built around Portuguese flavours,

while offering non-traditional items such as

steak, Cornish hen and pizza.

APPETIZERS

Guests can choose from staples of

Mediterranean cuisine, such as warm olives

($8), or venture off and try some of the

best-selling items such as deep-fried

brussels sprouts ($14), seared crab cakes

($18) and chicken croquettes ($12).

FRANK CUTRARA [FISHBONE PHTOTOGRAPHY]

more than 400 guests a day for lunch and

dinner services during peak season.

The restaurants’ design — the work of

Toronto-based Den Bosch + Finchley —

boasts a Portuguese motif, with elements

from back home blending with the design

elements of the restaurant’s location.

Pereira explains he tries to align the restaurant

with the scenery around it. “If it’s

closer to water, I add more nautical themes;

if more urban, then more intimate and dark

themes are at play.”

Portuguese and Mediterranean influence

is evident in all the locations, whether

it’s the general ambiance of the room, the

tiles, the furniture or something as simple

as a mural on the wall featuring Portuguese

terminology.

“This type of cuisine targets every demographic.

We’re fortunate to cater to anyone

and everyone from local residents, CEOs,

professional athletes such as NHL player

Steven Stamkos, to Hollywood, music or

modelling icons such as Cindy Crawford,”

Pereira says.

While the menu includes Portuguese

staples, such as Arroz a Valenciana and fresh

seafood, Pereira says he doesn’t want to

offer only traditional flavours.

“Our menu is not traditional Portuguese,

but we add that identity wherever and

whenever possible. I love promoting my

country,” Pereira says. “And just like back

home, we emphasize the freshness of the

product and then play with the five elements

crucial to our food — acid, salt,

spice, sweetness and texture.”

Those five pillars are evident throughout

Fishbone’s menu. From its starters to

its entrées, each menu item boasts its own

unique flavouring. Fishbone also features

vast and flavourful wine cellars, with most

of the selections being Portuguese.

Despite not having formal culinary

training, Pereira created the Fishbone menu

and serves as executive chef for all his restaurants.

His goal is to lay the foundation for

more locations and says his restaurant concept

could be at the forefront of the next

big trend.

“Portuguese cuisine is ready to be the

next big trend; it just needs to be pushed

through to the masses, especially in the

U.S.,” Pereira says.

The future looks bright for Fishbone

as it continues to expand its presence. In

fact, the concept opened its fifth and newest

location in Laguna Beach, Calif. last

September.

“We wanted more consistency in

our customer traffic and weather has a

significant impact. California is the fifthlargest

economy in the world and has a

beautiful coastline, so it was a perfect fit,”

explains Pereira.

As the brand grows, Pereira plans to stick

with the same fervent attitude towards food

and hospitality he’s had since day one.

“People can get food anywhere, but

they’ll continue to choose places that offer

them something more, an experience of

sorts, like a great book, a great movie and a

great concert. As they approach the restaurant,

the stage curtain opens and it’s your

show to perform,” Pereira said. FH

PIZZAS

If ordering off the lunch menu, guests can

enjoy one of three pizzas: the classic

Margherita, made with tomato, basil and

fresh mozzarella ($16); the Veggie, topped

with mushrooms, piquillo and arugula ($19);

and the Picante made with red onion,

Anaheim chilies, oregano and hot

soppressata ($21).

ENTRÉES

The mains menu has tastes of Portugal

throughout without offering many traditional

dishes. Guests can chose from signature

seafood dishes, such as shrimp and crab linguine

($26), seared Itsumo tuna ($29), grilled

Moroccan octopus ($27) and Arroz a Valenciana

($29). Fishbone also offers its specialty, freshfrom-market

fish at select locations, as well

as a half Cornish hen ($23) and an eight-oz.

chuck flat-iron steak ($29).

Prices vary by location

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 13


FOOD FILE

Breakfast-and-brunch trends are shifting

to meet the demands of a changing demographic

STORY BY JANINE KENNEDY

Anticipating the needs of an increasingly diverse population isn’t easy, but that’s

exactly what breakfast and brunch operators need to focus on. Today’s diner wants high-tech

user-friendliness with a homestyle feel; quick-service, on-the-go meals with local, ethically

sourced ingredients; and satisfying health-forward menu items.

Operators also need to be aware of generational shifts and the associated diner preferences.

Packaging, ingredient sourcing and menu diversity have become paramount business

and marketing decisions. Where once breakfast-and-brunch items consisted of pancakes,

maple syrup and “two-eggs-any-style,” diet, lifestyle and increasingly adventurous appetites

now demand consideration.

“Gone are the days of mass production as we move to an era of mass personalization,” says

Toronto-based Nourish Food Marketing’s 2020 Nourish Network Trend Report. Well-known

brunch restaurant Lady Marmalade, with locations in Victoria, B.C. and Toronto, built a

thriving business on this once-niche segment in 2005 by making personalization a part of

its business model.

Lamb Weston’s

hash browns

served with

crispy bacon (left),

eggs benedict from

Lady Marmalade

(opposite)

14 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


FOOD FILE

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FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 15


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FOOD FILE

Traditional bacon

and eggs remain a

breakfast favourite

“While a large proportion of our guests

still consume breakfast in the morning,

the all-day breakfast offering has had

a positive impact on McDonald’s”

— CATHERINE CROZIER, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF MARKETING

AT McCAFÉ AND McDONALD’S CANADA

Focusing solely on brunch made with locally sourced ingredients,

Lady Marmalade’s menu is extensive and varied, with a fully customizable

eggs-benedict feature. Starting at $12.50, its Build-Your-Own-

Benedict option includes an array of ingredients (including cured

salmon, $5; mango salsa, $2; and queso fresco, $2.75) combined with

Hollandaise sauce and served with home fries and salad.

Lady Marmalade also forgoes alcoholic beverages. While many still

consider brunch and cocktails — such as mimosas and Caesars — to

go hand in hand, others, such as Nourish Marketing president Jo-Ann

McArthur, beg to differ.

“We know there’s a new generation of drinkers who

are rethinking alcohol,” she explains. “That doesn’t

mean they don’t want ‘drinks with benefits’ or aren’t

willing to pay for them.”

In fact, alcohol-free cocktails enhanced with nootropics

— cognitive enhancers — such as caffeine or

adaptogens (plant-based de-stressors such as turmeric)

are becoming increasingly popular with today’s younger

diners and Nourish’s 2020 report also shows “fun

drinks,” such as soda, are making a comeback.

In downtown Toronto, The Depanneur has been

running pop-up-style food events for the past nine

years — including its Newcomer Kitchen, which

brought newly arrived Syrian-refugee families into the

kitchen to share their culture, food and earn an income

— as a non-profit social enterprise.

“Brunch [at The Depanneur] is a little atypical in

that we’re not licensed,” says founder and owner Len

Senater. “It’s not a luxury experience and we’re not

catering to the hungover crowd with heaping, greasy

plates of food. Our brunch is more locally focused.”

True to its pop-up image, The Depanneur’s brunches are run by

different chefs-in-residence each year. For 2020, diners are invited to

experience the Filipino flavours of Mama Linda’s chef Maria Polotan.

Featuring traditional dishes such as silog (garlic-fried rice with sunnyside-up

egg and green-papaya pickle, $8) and tocino (Filipino-style

bacon, $5), as well as Filipino hot drinks salabat (ginger tea with

honey and lemon, $3) and tsokolate eh (Filipino hot chocolate, $5),

these are the brunch dishes modern Canadian diners crave — hearty

and comforting, but with vibrant, global flavours, that offer a new

food experience.

“[Polotan] is a phenomenal cook,” Senater says. “I spent many years

wondering why I couldn’t find great Filipino food. Everything I knew

about the area — the location, the cultural influences — indicated to

me that the food should be fantastic, but every time I encountered it, I

was disappointed. Then I noticed a few different places that are doing

something special.”

“Mama Linda’s was at the Withrow Park Farmers Market when I

asked [Polotan] to take on the brunch for 2020,” he continues. “She

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FOOD FILE

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I had invited her to host some one-off events and her food really blew

me away.”

While Canada’s changing breakfast-and-brunch climate may reveal

alcohol-weary diners looking for exciting new food experiences, QSR

breakfast-offerings remain popular as breakfast continues to be one

of the few growth areas in the segment, according to research by

Toronto-based NPD Group.

At McDonald’s Canada, breakfast has been on the menu for more

than 40 years. Catherine Crozier, senior director of Marketing at

McCafé and McDonald’s Canada, says the key to its breakfast success

over the years has been allowing the breakfast menu to evolve; adding

small but impactful changes over the years while maintaining the

older favourites.

Since the launch of its McGriddle breakfast sandwiches in 2003, the

past two decades have seen, perhaps, the most significant changes to

McDonald’s breakfast menus. In 2011, it launched its McCafé brand,

successfully introducing a full range of specialty coffee drinks. In

2015, the company announced it would use only cage-free eggs in its

breakfast-menu items and then, in 2017, breakfast-menu items were

made available throughout the day.

“While a large proportion of our guests still consume breakfast in

the morning, the all-day-breakfast offering has had a positive impact

on McDonald’s,” Crozier says. “Our classic Egg McMuffin sandwiches

continue to be our most preferred item on our breakfast menu, with

breakfast-bagel sandwiches also generating strong [sales]. While

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FRANCIS FONTAINE [CHEZ MUFFY]

breakfast is typically associated with savoury,

the gap to fill at McDonald’s is its sweet menu

offerings. For example, the expansion of our

bakery menu with new McCafé L’il Donuts

has seen early success, tapping into previously

unmet demand in this space.”

“Our own consumer research also reinforces

the importance of loyalty programs for coffee

and breakfast among our guests,” she adds.

“McCafé Rewards is one of the top programs

in Canada, [whereby] our guests can earn and

redeem in-restaurant, at drive-thru and even

when ordering ahead on the My McD’s app.

McDonald’s is currently testing two new

limited-time menu items in Alberta, Northwest

Territories and Lloydminster, Sask. The Chicken McMuffin and

Chicken McGriddle both feature peppery, seasoned Canadian chicken,

while the McGriddle takes on the classic flavour profile of chicken

and waffles. McCafé L’il Donuts, recently tested in B.C. and Atlantic

Canada, are available in five flavours and boast 180 calories or less.

“Both are something our guests have been asking for and the tests

in market are going well,” Crozier says.

In Quebec City, Chez Muffy, located in the award-winning Auberge

Saint-Antoine Hotel, is a family-friendly, farm-to-fork restaurant in

a historic warehouse, which dates back to 1822. While the ambiance

Chez Muffy in Quebec City’s

Auberge Saint-Antoine Hotel

Bunn_FoodserviceHospitality_Spring2020.pdf 1 2020-02-13 9:19 AM

is classic Québécois comfort — original wooden beams and a warm,

inviting atmosphere featuring views of the St. Lawrence River — the

menu highlights the best available local products.

Boasting its own organic vegetable garden on Île d’Orléans, located

20 kms from the restaurant, chef Romaine Devanneaux works closely

with garden manager Alexandre Faille to plan for seasonal-vegetable

use year-round — even during Quebec’s harsher winter months.

While the growing season runs from April to December,

Devanneaux and Faille work to ensure the food grown can be used

throughout the year through methods of fermentation and preserva-

TM


FOOD FILE

(at left) Lamb

Weston’s hash

brown with

avocado, the

brioche bagel

breakfast sandwich

tion, among others. “We work with techniques like lacto-fermentation

so we can preserve many of the vegetables from our garden,”

Devanneaux explains.

Chez Muffy’s offers a full-service menu and valet parking for all

hotel and restaurant guests — a rarity in Old Quebec — and its

Sunday brunch buffet, with its unusual array of foods, has become

popular with local and visiting diners.

“It’s not a typical brunch; our menu is not just [centred on] eggs,”

general manager Guy Lombard says. “Ours is an epic buffet. We prepare

the food fresh and our offerings include homemade pastries and

tarts, vegetables from the garden, duck confit, maple-glazed ham and

salmon with béchamel. We plan to continue working with the vegetables

from the garden.”

At $50 per adult ($20 per child), the expansive buffet also features

an eggs-benedict station with the choice of toppings, local cheeses and

other Québécois specialties such as cretons. Buffet food quality can be

difficult to maintain, but Chez Muffy has it down to a science.

“[We’re offering] a high-end brunch buffet,” says Lombard.

“Everything has to look brand new at all times. Heat source is

very important. Using traditional chaffing dishes often means

you cannot regulate the temperature, so we’ve invested in induction

chaffing dishes for consistent heat distribution. [Overall], we achieve

a cozy ambiance. We want our guests to have a relaxed and enjoyable

dining experience.” FH

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PROFILE

TRIED

AND

TRUE

Sticking with tradition is

driving Sunset Grill’s success

STORY BY NICK LAWS

DANIEL ALEXANDER [STELIOS LAZOS OF SUNSET GRILL RESTAURANT LTD.]

Stelios Lazos, COO

of Sunset Grill Restaurant

Ltd., says the chain

attributes its success

to sticking with

the classics

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 27


PROFILE

Sunset Grill recently

updated its design to

incorporate open kitchens

and warm, pine

interiors, (middle) the

chains original location

in Toronto’s Beaches

neighbourhood

hile we’re used to

hearing that breakfast

is the most

important meal of

the day, data from

Toronto-based NDP Group proves

that regardless of category (QSR, FSR

or total commercial foodservice),

breakfast has been, and continues

to be, a strong growth driver — and

Sunset Grill is cashing in on the

exploding popularity of the daypart.

When it concerns breakfast,

Sunset Grill is setting the pace, doing

business the same way it did when

founder Angelo Christou launched

the concept in 1985. The first location

— named after the Don Henley song,

Sunset Grill — started as a one-shift

breakfast-and-lunch restaurant in the

Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto.

And although the concept has

evolved, the business philosophy —

and menu — have remained almost

the same.

“The menu hasn’t changed much

in 35 years,” says Stelios Lazos, COO

of Sunset Grill Restaurant Ltd., adding

“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

And Sunset Grill’s business model

is far from broken — the company

has grown exponentially over the

past 10 years. In 2009, there were 30

franchised units across the country.

At the beginning of 2020, there were

200 — a growth rate of 666.7 per

cent over the course of the decade.

The chain is showing no signs

of slowing down, with another 15

locations in the pipeline for 2020.

How does it continue this torrid

pace? Lazos says it’s simple, “while

others try to keep up with trends, we

stick with the classics.”

“[This is what makes] us unique

from other [breakfast restaurants],”

he says. “We stick to a traditional

breakfast. Bacon and eggs go hand

in hand — they have for a hundred

years. You’ve got to stick to what

you know.”

Almost all of Sunset Grill’s

signature menu items fall under

the all-day-breakfast category, with

close to 90 per cent of its sales

being attributed to these items. The

brand is known for its home-style

breakfasts, such as three eggs with

bacon, home fries and toast ($9.75);

the Sunset Super with sausage, two

pancakes, three eggs and home fries

($11.75); and Eggs Sunset — three

eggs over easy with peameal-style

bacon on English muffins served

with Hollandaise sauce and home

fries ($13.25).

The brand also offers a few select

lunch offerings, such as the Sunset

Sandwich made with peameal-style

bacon, egg and cheddar cheese,

served with home fries and vegetables

with dip ($8.25); the Sunset Western

Sandwich with ham, onion and two

eggs ($7.75); and the Banquet Burger

— an eight-ounce patty with bacon

and cheddar cheese ($12.75).

Despite the trend towards veganism,

Sunset Grill offers only a few

vegan options — such as Southwest

Vegan Breakfast Hash ($9.99) —

choosing to focus on its traditional

dishes instead. “We don’t have a huge

demand for vegan food,” says Lazos.

“There’s only so much you can do

and it’s based on demand.”

RISE AND SHINE

NPD Group foodservice analyst

Vince Sgabellone says over the past

five years, the breakfast daypart has

grown by approximately five per cent

per year and operators such as Sunset

Grill are reaping the rewards.

“[Its] menu is the perfect fit —

breakfast is trendy and brunch is on

trend in full service,” says Sgabellone.

“Canadians also love their coffee,

and breakfast and coffee go perfectly

together. In Canada, when

we roll together all those morning

coffee occasions, our morning meal

— which is breakfast, brunch and

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UBER EATS

snacking lumped together — is the

biggest, most-popular daypart. It’s

in only two countries in the world

where that’s the case.”

Sunset Grill also differentiates itself

with its focus on fresh ingredients,

commitment to detail and excellent

customer service — all factors Lazos

says are instrumental in keeping the

company thriving.

“Everything we do is five-star

inspired — no preservatives in our

orange juice, our potatoes and fruit

salad are prepped daily. We have

an emphasis on high-quality fresh

products and commitment to detail,”

Lazos says. “There’s no singular thing

you do to be successful — it’s all

about the little things.”

That meticulous attention to

detail is reflected throughout every

facet of Sunset Grill’s operation.

From store location — the company

prefers to be near thoroughfares and

main roads in order to attract more

customers — to the design of its

restaurants, where function is just as

important as style.

“We’re a California-style 1970s

breakfast restaurant,” says Lazos.

“We like to incorporate pine to keep

things relaxing; we want it to be

warm. People who go to restaurants

want to be around people, there’s

a certain experience to it, but at

the same time, you want your own

space with a certain level of coziness.

We try to find the fine line between

the two.”

Most Sunset Grill locations are

located in the Greater Toronto

Area, with the majority found in

Mississauga, Brampton and Vaughan,

but expansion throughout Ontario

is on the books in the coming year.

The company also plans to reach as

far as Calgary and Los Angeles for its

upcoming ventures.

The units average 100 seats with

a footprint of approximately 2,200

sq. ft. — a large portion of which is

devoted to the brand new signature

Traditional breakfast fare such as bacon and eggs

are still big sellers on the Sunset Grill menu

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SIZE

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NUMBER

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100

open-concept kitchens. The kitchens

are meant to give customers a

window into the behind-the-scenes

operations, but also to reduce frontof-house

labour by giving servers and

hosts a better idea of what’s going on

in the back of the house.

While the menu has remained

relatively unchanged throughout its

35-year history, the chain’s hours

of operation have evolved to meet

changing demands. When the first

restaurant originally opened, it was

open until the early evening and

did not serve all-day breakfast. But,

when late-afternoon sales didn’t

pack as big a punch as anticipated, it

began opening at 7 a.m. and closing

between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

While the future is bright for

Sunset Grill, no company succeeds

without overcoming some adversity

and, for the breakfast chain, Lazos

says adversity came in the form of

trying to get its fresh ingredients

to its restaurants. When the

company expanded nationwide,

its original supplier found it hard

to ensure ingredients reached all

of the new locations.

“We were with a smaller distributor

who couldn’t reach some of our

restaurants, but then it was bought

by Gordon Food Service, which

ended up simplifying operations for

us on the supply side,” explains Lazos.

All of Sunset Grill’s 200 locations

are franchised, which places the

commitment to quality in the hands

of its franchisees. Lazos says the

company takes pride in choosing

franchisees who work hard and feel

the same passion for quality that’s

inherent throughout the company.

“Just because you’re buying a

franchise doesn’t mean cheques

are going to start rolling in. It’s a

business — it’s your business —

and you have to make your money.

On Monday when the fridges are

empty, get in there and check it out,

smell it, touch it — only serve food

to your customers you would serve

to your kids.” FH

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 29


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BY DEMAND FOR THIRD-PARTY DELIVERY BY DANIELLE SCHALK

The Challenge |

Much has been written about the proliferation

of third-party restaurant delivery and

its impact — actual, perceived and potential

— on the foodservice industry. As a young,

evolving market segment, it poses a number

of challenges for operators. “It’s not necessarily

a mature market,” says Sylvain Charlebois,

professor, Food Distribution and Policy,

Faculties of Management and Agriculture at

Dalhousie University. “Technology is affecting

all sectors within foodservice. This is a disruptive

phenomenon and it’s going to be interesting

to see how things go.”

As operators attempt to navigate this

disruption, there are concerns about putting

elements of quality and guest experience into

the hands of couriers. In fact, “quality/service

control” was identified among the top-three

negative aspects of doing business with thirdparty

delivery services in Restaurants Canada’s

Q1 2019 Restaurant Outlook Survey.

However, Alan Bekerman, founder and

CEO of Toronto-based iQ Food Co., feels

customers understand the compromise they’re

making in order to benefit from the convenience

of delivery.

“We recognize there’s an element of trust

and, ultimately, risk [involved] when you have

somebody you don’t know delivering food

and representing your brand…[But,] customers

understand this courier is just doing their

job…they’re running around the city dropping

things off.”

On the other side of the delivery-courier

coin, the growing pains associated with the

gig economy as a whole are also impacting

third-party restaurant delivery.

As the couriers working under these

companies are classified as independent

contractors, they don’t fall under traditional

labour laws and aren’t ensured standards such

a minimum wage and health benefits. This

has resulted in app-based workers around

the world launching protests and pushing to

unionize.

“People are concerned about the rights

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CHALLENGES &

OPPORTUNITIES

of contract workers — or workers, depending

on how they’re defined in the law,” says

Charlebois. “[We’re] still at the beginning

of this movement and it will probably

impact how the model becomes, or remains,

competitive, because it will eventually have an

impact on cost.”

And, ultimately, the cost of taking part in

the third-party-delivery market is a chief challenge

facing restaurants.

“I’ve never met a restaurateur who’s

unhappy with the volume delivery represents,

but I’ve also never met a restaurateur who’s

happy with the economics,” says Bekerman.

“Servicing delivery orders that represent

lower-margin business, at peak times, out of

expensive real estate, isn’t a particularly

sustainable strategy.”

In an industry where margins are already

tight, paying a commission of 30 per cent or

more on delivery orders is a taxing endeavour.

But, many operators don’t feel they can afford

to ignore demand for delivery.

“The reality is, it’s not a story of delivery

companies gouging restaurants, the story is

that delivery is just expensive,” says Ray Reddy,

CEO and co-founder of the Toronto-based

mobile-ordering platform Ritual. “If you’re

going to pay [someone] to move something

from point-A to point-B in less than 20 minutes,

that’s going to cost you a lot of money

in North America, where people have a lot of

choices and minimum wage is not low.”

And, with the increasing popularity of

these services, the challenge of integrating

these third-party platforms into a restaurant’s

operations is only exacerbated. There are an

increasing number of platforms available and

restaurants are feeling pressure to have a presence

on multiple platforms to maximize their

reach. But this also means added channels

to maintain and update and, if a restaurant’s

POS system doesn’t support the integration

of these platforms, it can result in multiple

devices that need to be actively monitored.

Not to mention the majority of restaurants

weren’t designed to accommodate high

volumes of order-ahead meals, with limited

counter space for completed orders and a

structure that often forces couriers to cut

through lines to reach the order-pickup area.

The Opportunity |

There’s no doubt delivery is a convenience

that resonates with customers. According to

Ipsos Foodservice Monitor, Canadians spent

$1 billion on meal-delivery apps in 2018, and

Charlebois says this number is now near $2

billion.

Restaurants Canada’s Foodservice Industry

Forecast 2018-2022 also indicated off-premise

sales increased at both quick-service and fullservice

restaurants in the first half of 2018,

driven by demand for delivery. During the

same period, on-premise visits declined at

QSRs, with off-premise orders accounting for

71 per cent of this segment’s traffic.

Having a presence on third-party platforms

can expand a restaurant’s visibility and customer

base. And, as Charlebois points out, can

even help mitigate the industry’s sensitivity to

weather conditions.

“You have the potential to connect with

somebody who otherwise would never have

entered your restaurant,” says Bekerman, noting

this requires a bit of a balancing act. “[It

requires] figuring out how to connect with

people who otherwise wouldn’t come to your

restaurants [without] cannibalizing yourself

by turning your loyal walk-in customers into

delivery-only customers.”

He points to in-restaurant incentives and

limiting the modifications available on delivery

orders as strategies put in place at iQ to

help ensure such a balance. “Limiting modifications

for delivery helps simplify order preparation

and reduces the potential for errors,

which are a lot easier to solve in restaurant,

versus somebody who’s waited 45 minutes for

their food to come to their doorstep.”

The nimble nature of digital platforms

also makes them an ideal avenue for menu

testing. “It’s a soft way to experiment,” says

Charlebois. “You can do promotions, for

example, much more [easily] with digital.”

Virtual- or “ghost-restaurant” concepts

are also being examined as a way to make the

most of the delivery boom. This deliveryonly

operating model allows restaurants to

maximize existing real-estate and labour costs

by delivering a secondary concept/menu on

delivery platforms. This also provides an

opportunity for low-risk experimentation and

a chance to capitalize on diverse segments.

Toronto-based Hero Certified Burgers

offers Hero Certified Seafood and Hero

Certified Chicken menus exclusively on thirdparty

platforms. And, while these brands were

originally run out of Hero Burger locations,

they’re now being made available to outside

operators across the country to operate as

virtual delivery-only concepts.

Some companies — such as U.S.-based

Cloud Kitchens and Toronto-based Ghost

Kitchens Canada — have even chosen to

go fully virtual, taking advantage of lessexpensive

real estate and operating multiple

concepts out of a single kitchen.

“Ghost kitchens are a very interesting

phenomena,” says Charlebois. “We have 50 or

60 now in Canada and it’s growing.”

And, Bekerman adds, “[these concepts]

have an opportunity to solve a part of

the problem.”

iQ and others have gone yet another route,

building small-footprint take-out focused

concepts with very limited or no seating.

There are also brands that have placed their

focus on removing pain points associated

with third-party delivery through in-restaurant

features such as pickup portals.

All the opportunities and solutions related

to third-party delivery are not yet clear — and

that in itself is a source of opportunity. Those

nimble businesses that can discover and successfully

implement optimal operating models

stand to reap the greatest rewards.

“We’re at an assessment stage,” Bekerman

says. “The dynamic and the relationship has

to change, but we’re [not] going to know

what that really looks like for another 12 or

18 months.” FH

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GAINING

G R O U N D

THE EXPERIENCE FACTOR IS HELPING

GROCERANT CONCEPTS STEAL SHARE BY NICK LAWS

The Challenge |

A decade ago, a ‘grocerant’ — a hybrid grocery/restaurant

offering — was rare and the

concept of grocery delivery and meal kits was

almost unheard of. Today, the global meal-kit

market is estimated at approximately $2.2

billion, according to Time magazine, and grocerants

represent approximately four per cent

of total commercial foodservice dollars (six

per cent of total visits) according to Torontobased

NPD Group.

Billy Arvanitis is vice-president of

Operations at Foodtastic, but his industry

experience spans decades. He says at the

beginning of the food-retail uprising, there

was a common concern.

“Initially, when [grocery stores] introduced

our core products, there was a lot of fear,

wondering if the two would ever intersect or

if would we cannibalize our own market.”

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CHALLENGES &

OPPORTUNITIES

There are four pillars linked to the success

of both meal kits and grocerants: flexibility of

offerings, freshness of products, the experience

factor and convenience.

But Vince Sgabellone, foodservice analyst

at NPD Group, says one pillar trumps them

all. “Convenience. People who are buying food

through grocerants are time strapped, so it’s

all [about making it] quick and easy,” says

Sgabellone. “They’ve found a niche for themselves

between QSR and FSR — full-service

quality with quick-service convenience.”

This convenience applies not only to customers

grabbing a quick bite to eat in grocerants

while doing their weekly grocery shopping,

it also extends beyond the supermarket.

Meal kits provide the much-needed convenience,

with the added luxury of not having

to leave your house — a key factor helping

the segment steal share from restaurants, says

Sgabellone.

“One third of all meal-kit customers [we

surveyed] said they would have purchased

food from a restaurant that night had they

not had a meal kit,” says Sgabellone.

George Bachoumis is the general manager

of The McEwan Group — the largest

independent grocerant in Canada — and has

worked in the foodservice industry for more

than 30 years. He says while convenience

plays a role, the real driving force behind the

success of grocerants is their flexibility and

freshness.

“Our chefs will come down to the grocery

level, shop all the fresh ingredients they

need and then bring them to the [in-house]

restaurant and create these dishes,” says

Bachoumis. “There’s variety — within our

space we have Asian-inspired, Indian-inspired

and Mediterranean — whereas restaurants are

limited in what they can offer. Every customer

that comes into our store has a different need

and the added flexibility of being a hybrid

store allows us to meet most of those needs,

with chef-inspired foods.”

This freshness and quality of food is another

reason why Sgabellone thinks we saw a sudden

rise in grocerant traffic a few years ago.

“Grocery stores have been upping their

game in terms of quality, breadth and types of

offerings. It was no longer just convenient, it

was good. It was restaurant-quality food that

you could grab at the grocery store,” he says.

According to Jessica Rodrigues, director of

Communications at The McEwan Group, the

next logical step for grocerants is to expand

into the event sector.

“Instead of having a Christmas dinner at a

restaurant, you come to a hybrid like McEwan

and have that sit-down meal, but also get

cooking demos and a shopping night with

discounts,” says Rodrigues.

It’s these after-hours events that pose a real

challenge to restaurants, many of which lack

the space to host them. And, while most holiday

parties start at a restaurant and conclude

elsewhere, grocerants are able to accommodate

the entire event.

Ennio Perrone, vice-president of Marketing

and Business Strategy at Eataly, a European

grocerant concept that recently entered

Toronto, cites customer experience as a reason

for the brand’s success.

“Being able to create an experience where

guests can eat, shop and learn about authentic

Italian ingredients and regional Italian dishes

has been an important part of every Eataly

location since we opened our first location in

Torino 13 years ago,” says Perrone. “Moving

from a purely transactional food-retailer

model of products stacked on shelves to offering

the opportunity for customers to experience

more — to see the food they’re buying

being turned into delicious dishes in the

hands of experienced chefs, in a space where

they feel comfortable and can learn and do

new exciting things in every visit while having

fun — are fundamental pillars,” says Perrone.

The Opportunity |

While the challenges arising from food-retail

competition have caused some restaurateurs

to lose sleep, the sky is not falling just yet.

NPD Group reports growth of the meal-kit

and grocerant segments has slowed in the past

few years. “[The segments] were trending up

in 2016 to 2017, but the last two years it’s flat

lined a bit,” says Sgabellone.

This has created new opportunities for restaurants,

such as branded meal kits — a partnership

between meal-kit-delivery programs

and restaurants — or advanced restaurant

loyalty programs that reach beyond the

traditional coffee shop to larger chains.

Branding products seems to be the biggest

opportunity for restaurants looking to combat

the rise of retail, as Arvanitis puts it, “if you

can’t beat them, brand them.”

“Marketing dollars are stretched very thin,

so when I see branded product in stores readily

available, it creates a lot of brand awareness,”

says Arvanitis. “When it’s done responsibly,

it’s a good marriage.”

And, while a study conducted by NPD

Group and Nielsen showed 38 per cent of

surveyed Canadians had purchased some

type of meal kit for dinner in the past year,

attracted by the convenience of the offering,

delivery — the great equalizer — is now

giving restaurant operators a leg up on the

competition. Whether through a third-party

or in-house, delivery systems are the Achilles

heel of the meal-kit and grocerant segments,

says Sgabellone.

“What’s easier than a few taps on your

phone and ordering delivery to your door?

Delivery has taken away some of that convenience

aspect that was the calling card of

grocerants,” he explains.

“If you’re not on board with delivery services,

you’re missing the boat. That’s the way

we’re trending. Whether its mobile apps or

other players, it’s here to stay,” adds Arvanitis.

But, Sgabellone warns, restaurants walk

a fine line between sticking with what they

know and evolving to keep up with the competition.

“Focusing on your core customer is

key — who they are and why they’re coming

to you. Stand out in the market, do what’s

best for your customers. If you’re not speaking

to your customers, somebody else will.”

“A brand needs to embark on new trends

when it makes sense for their brand to do so.

Eataly shines in the store, where you get to

live the experience in its entirety. That’s the

entry point for people to get to know and

interact with our brand,” says Perrone.

“You have to keep evolving, because everyone

else around you is changing all the time,”

adds Bachoumis.

Looking forward, the market will continue

to evolve and, when it does, operators on both

sides of the coin need to be ready to collaborate

or be left by the wayside. FH

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WASTE

LAND

FOOD-WASTE SOLUTIONS ARE NOT

A ONE-SIZE-FITS ALL PROPOSITION

BY DENISE DEVEAU

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CHALLENGES &

OPPORTUNITIES

The Challenge |

You’d be hard pressed to find any foodservice

operator who isn’t looking at their food-waste

practices — from delivery and prep processes

to serving sizes and disposal. Some are well

entrenched in tackling their food-waste issues,

while others are just starting to take a serious

look at what can be done. There are common

concerns every operator faces; however,

strategies can vary considerably. A vegan

restaurant or fast-food chain would have a

different perspective than a steakhouse or

institutional cafeteria.

Location can also factor into the decision.

Urban operations can easily tap into local

services, such as food banks and composting

programs, to support their efforts. Those in

more remote locations or smaller municipalities

may have to rely more heavily on inhouse

resources.

Budget limitations are another differentiator,

as solutions can range from basic

recycling programs and local donations to

advanced analytics and POS integration.

Tackling food waste isn’t a one-size-fits-all

proposition, says Chris Knight, consultant

at The Fifteen Group in Toronto. “Everyone

has a food-waste problem, from QSR to fast

casual to full service.”

The constant in the equation, however, is

food waste is not only an important social

and environmental concern, it’s also a drain

on the bottom line in a world where margins

are tighter than ever.

“Everything wasted is money out of our

pockets,” says James Rilett, vice-president,

Central Canada for Restaurants Canada

in Toronto.

A contributor to those shrinking margins

and renewed examination is the rising minimum

wage, he adds. “That’s when waste really

started [appearing] on their radar. There

might have been a time when profit margins

were high enough to absorb some costs,

so they didn’t get too microscopic on their

operations. Now they’re looking at everything

relating to costs.”

Key pain points that come up in Rilett’s

food-waste discussions with restaurants are

ordering and preparing the right amount

of meals. “Most waste comes from having

too much food that has to be thrown out.

Obviously that’s lost profits. But it’s a hard

line to walk between having too much and

running out too soon.”

Bruce McAdams, associate professor,

School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism

Management at the University of Guelph,

says when it comes to food waste, operators

are clearly willing to make changes. “Chefs

and kitchen managers are highly motivated

to minimize the amount of spoilage and

products going out of rotation and most do a

pretty good job of that.”

In his mind, one of the biggest generators

of food waste is serving overly large portion

sizes to convey value, particularly at mid-scale

and full-service restaurants. The other is disposal

at closing time. “We speak to many chefs

who end up throwing out unused product at

the end of the day when they could make better

use of it.”

An important challenge being overlooked

is organic waste going to landfill, McAdams

notes. “People talk about reusing and donating

food, which is great, but a lot of plate and

food waste is still going to landfill and not

being composted.”

A 2019 Second Harvest report, The

Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste notes food in

landfill produces methane, which is more than

25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in

terms of greenhouse-gas emissions.

“It has an incredible impact on our

carbon footprint,” McAdams says. “When

we do create food waste, we need to make

sure it never goes to landfill. We lost our way

a bit there.”

The Opportunity |

Sending waste food to landfill is a non-starter

at Fox Harb’r Resort in Wallace, N.S., says

Shane Robilliard, executive chef and director

of Food & Beverage. “We’re a medium-size

operation so there’s going to be food waste.

The biggest challenge for us is our remote

location, so there are only certain opportunities

available to deal with that.”

As such, all food waste is managed internally,

which is relatively easy given the resort

has acres of gardens and greenhouse facilities.

“We compost it all and turn it into fertilizer

for our golf course, gardens and greenhouse,”

he says. “All of it is done using natural processes.

The only challenge is when there’s a

bounty, we have to adapt and get creative.

In tomato season, we do a lot of canning

and freezing.”

Composting is a natural fit for a plantforward

operation such as Copper Branch.

“We do have a lot of scraps from prep, but

all that easily goes into composting,” says

Rio Infantino, president and CEO. Because it

operates in urban locations, the chain works

with composting services, since its restaurant

don’t have the space to manage their own.

The brand has also been able to get its

ordering processes down to a fine art. Core

items are ordered flash frozen so they can be

defrosted on demand.

“It ensures food stays intact, gives us better

control at the store level and minimizes

waste,” says Infantino. Fruits and vegetables

are ordered four times a week to help mitigate

potential food loss.

The key for any restaurant seeking the right

food-waste solutions is having the right tools

in hand. These can range from basic recycling

and staff training, to more complex exercises,

including analytics, Knight says.

One critical metric that’s often ignored

in targeting food-waste issues is calculating

actual versus theoretical usage, he says.

“There’s often a difference between the two.

If you find out someone is hacking an inch

off the end of an onion and two layers of peel

for example, you now have 50 per cent versus

a 70- to 80-per-cent yield. It’s surprising how

quickly your margins start disappearing. In

some cases, operators discover there can be as

much as a five- or six-per-cent swing between

the two.”

There are also advanced systems that can

help operators with available budgets and

time, from POS integration to inventorymanagement

software, Knight adds. “Really,

you can take costing [and analysis] to the

ends of the earth.”

Ultimately, planning should start with

three important basics, he adds. “Skills training,

recipe costing and portion control can

make massive differences in controlling food

waste overall.” FH

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L A B O U R

RELATIONS

TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN TALENT IN TODAY’S MARKET,

EMPLOYERS NEED TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

BY AMY BOSTOCK

The Challenge |

According to Restaurants Canada, labour

issues remain the top challenge for foodservice

operators, with 59 per cent of those surveyed

reporting the shortage of good talent is

keeping them up at night.

Ryan Smolkin, founder & CEO, Smoke’s

Poutinerie Inc., says staff turnover, along with

the higher minimum wage, “has been a big

hit to our entire industry. Our labour costs

increased by 30 per cent and we also find

ourselves competing with more players [for

staff].”

Restaurants Canada’s Restaurant Outlook

Survey Q3 2019 states “turnover is also a

constant problem for restaurants, especially

with a low unemployment rate. While some

roles have a low annual turnover rate, it can

be as high as 300 per cent for some positions.

There are also the hidden costs around

finding and replacing employees that must

be considered.”

“That puts pressure on management

— especially in quick-service operations —

to be more operationally involved in the

business than I’ve ever seen in my 30 years

[as a recruiter],” says Michael Sherwood,

VP Recruitment Lead (Consumer Goods/

Foodservice) at Toronto-based Anything Is

Possible (AIP).

Smolkin agrees, saying managers need to

be even more self-aware in today’s climate,

ensuring employees feel nurtured and valued.

“We should be doing that anyway,” he clarifies,

“but it’s even more evident now because

there’s zero loyalty [among staff] these days as

[employees] are always looking for the next,

better job.”

And, while smaller operators are hit even

harder by the labour challenge than larger

chains with the budgets to invest heavily in

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CHALLENGES &

OPPORTUNITIES

hiring and human resources, Smolkin says the

entire foodservice industry is facing the same

challenge — with competition coming from

within the industry, as well as from outside

competitors, including retail chains and

grocery stores.

“[Restaurant operators] realize everybody’s

up against the same [labour] challenge,” he

says, noting hiring practises need to change to

address the problem.

Sherwood agrees. “The days of posting a

job on a whiteboard and expecting to find

that individual — especially in the restaurant

space — is impossible.”

The Opportunity |

While better benefits, work/life balance and

increased employee engagement are all key

to keeping staff, finding them to begin with

is another matter entirely. For some outsidethe-box

thinkers, the shortage of home-grown

talent has offered up the opportunity to look

farther afield for qualified labour pools.

Starbucks, which has a long-standing history

of working with social agencies and

government bodies to create hiring programs,

developed the Opportunity For All Youth

coalition. In Canada, the company announced

in November of last year it would hold a firstof-its-kind

refugee hiring event. “Starbucks

is the leading employer of refugees and made

a commitment to hire 1,000 refugees by

2020,” says Luisa Girotto, VP Public Affairs

for Starbucks Canada. “We’re currently ahead

of our five-year goal, having hired about 500

refugees in less than three years.”

Closer to home, word of mouth and using

your existing team as recruiters can also be a

good way to attract new staff, says Sherwood.

“If your organization is successful, vibrant

and doing all the right things, then it goes

without saying you’re going to have referrals

[from existing staff]. They become your

brand ambassadors.”

Post-hiring, Smolkin says it all comes

down to training — and doing it in a way

that appeals to your staff. Gone are the days

of training manuals and written tests. Today’s

foodservice workforce is younger, more tech

savvy and has been raised on digital.

At Smoke’s, management is seizing the

opportunity speak to their employees in new

ways by introducing online training modules.

“It’s not standing up with a PowerPoint slide

— it’s all interactive. They’re on the [iPad],

passing modules and tests. We can grade them

and give them [online] badges for doing well,”

explains Smolkin.

Kevin Hulbert, recruitment specialist at

AIP, agrees recognizing the current generation

of people entering the workforce is drastically

different in terms of how they communicate

with one another is key to keeping your staff

engaged. He says operators need to find ways

to incorporate technology into the workplace

to engage staff.

“It sounds trite, but their cell phones are

their world,” he says. “There’s vastly different

approaches to how people communicate and

the way they connect with one another.”

Smoke’s has also incorporated Winnipegbased

7shifts into its operations to manage its

labour across its franchise network.

With the 7shifts app, staff can communicate

with each other directly to swap shifts

or managers can leave notes about tasks needing

to be completed. Smolkin says it goes

beyond just a scheduling and labourmanagement

system.

“It also has the engagement and communication

that demographic loves. They love

to voice their opinion, they love messaging

back and forth. But the underlying part of it is

their manager/franchisee will be using it as an

instructional tool as well.”

Beyond engagement, Smolkin says it’s

important for operators to understand

employee goals and help them achieve them.

“What [do your employees] want to get

out of [the job]? What was their goal on day

one — do they want to be a supervisor or

a manager? Do they want to own their own

franchise someday? Our employee demographic

wants to see that you genuinely care

about them and want to see them advance.

You’re not going to be naive and think they’re

going to be there for five years — it’s a stepping

stone to put themselves through school a

lot of times. You need to show them you want

to help them get there and there’s no hard

feelings when they’re ready to go.”

Hulbert agrees clear opportunities for

growth or “even something as simple as a title

change — some sort of responsibility shift —

can be motivating for some people.” He also

notes the importance of “not just leaving staff

in a position forever so they feel they have to

go somewhere else to advance.”

He says chains such as Joey and Earls have

really embraced this philosophy, offering

training, advancement opportunities and

even the chance to relocate to new parts of the

country to work in their different restaurants.

“They’re moving their people around,

they look after them as well,” says Hulbert.

“They’re impacting the industry —

that’s the bar they’ve set [for the rest of the

foodservice industry].” FH

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S A F E

PASSAGE

STAFF TRAINING IS KEY TO MAINTAINING FOOD-SAFETY

STANDARDS IN FOODSERVICE BY NICK LAWS

The Challenge |

The road from farm to fork is a long one,

with food passing through many hands before

landing on customers’ plates. And when food

is travelling along the supply chain, safety is

top-of-mind at every touch point.

Billy Arvanitis, vice-president of

Operations at Montreal-based Foodtastic,

says food doesn’t make it into his restaurants

unless it’s passed safety tests at every step.

“[Food safety] is paramount. Where you’re

sourcing products from a supplier, the companies

they partner with have to be federally

licensed and inspected by a reputable corporation.

The safety of the product when it

comes in is first and foremost,” says Arvanitis.

“I know there’s a lot that goes into running a

restaurant, but it all starts there.”

Ensuring restaurant food is safe is a lengthy

and meticulous process, but as Domenic

Pedulla, president of the Calgary-based

Canadian Food Safety Group says, it’s a

necessary one.

“Not meeting safety standards could be

devastating to your business; it could sink a

lot of small businesses,” says Pedulla.

While the logistics behind keeping food

safe varies at every level — from supplier

to restaurant operator — the one constant

is training.

Ruth Pertran, Ph.D. is a senior corporate

scientist of Food Safety and Public Health at

Ecolab and in her experience, it’s about the

people, not the equipment.

“Food safety is all about behaviours performed

by everyone along the food supply

chain, from farm to fork,” says Pertran.

This need for intense attention to detail at

every step is compounded by the fact food

is being shipped from companies scattered

across the globe, she adds.

“Today’s long, globalized food supply

chain creates many opportunities for food

to become contaminated. And large-scale

production and distribution can lead to broad

infection, potentially affecting foods served at

your restaurant.”

Experts agree training is the best way to

mitigate most, if any, food-safety concerns at

any facility. Whether in the distribution ware-

iSTOCK.COM/DIMA_SIDELNIKOV

38 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


CHALLENGES &

OPPORTUNITIES

house or the restaurant kitchen, it all comes

down to staff.

However, this can cause problems, as staff

training can be costly, with Pedulla saying services

can cost up to $100 per staff member.

This puts a crunch on many small businesses,

forcing them to cut corners in some

situations — something Pedulla knows hangs

over the industry like a dark cloud.

“Money is a barrier for a lot of companies

since margins are notoriously thin in foodservice.

It’s a barrier to the smaller businesses

that have to do it on their own.”

Arvanitis sees the choice as an easier

one — money is only a problem if you make

it one.

“It’s pretty easy. A lot of the [practices]

that truly help keep your guests safe don’t

cost very much. It just takes discipline to follow

procedures put in place,” says Arvanitis.

“Equipment comes into play eventually, but

training and tools come into play first.”

“Smart” equipment has become trendy in

the industry, with some larger, more financially

capable companies opting for the newest

technology but, according to Arvanitis, the

best solution to the problem — with a few

exceptions — is training the people

who operate the equipment, not replacing

the equipment.

“There are exceptions where foodservice

equipment is not up to par or not working,

but most of the time the things that help keep

you safe are about the discipline of the staff,”

says Arvanitis. “You hope everybody follows

suit, but when there’s proper training in place,

it become automatic.”

The challenges associated with food safety

extend beyond equipment and training costs.

For those who don’t meet the standards put in

place across the country, an intangible penalty

is laid down — and it could be harsher than

any fine.

“There’s no question, we won’t talk to

somebody that has a questionable reputation

for food safety — that would be completely

illogical. We want to partner up with reputable

companies so we have traceability,”

says Arvanitis.

“For companies focused on food safety,

protecting their reputations and reducing the

risk of losing customers is how they capitalize

on the issue. Ensuring they’re protecting

customers from foodborne illnesses or food

contamination is critical to staying in business,

building their reputation and maintaining

repeat customers,” adds Pertran.

The Opportunity |

On one side of the proverbial food-safety

coin is staff training and habits, which are at

the forefront of food safety in the restaurant

industry. And with more certification programs

available, restaurant operators have a

chance to stand out from the crowd by going

above and beyond the call of duty.

Ontario recently passed a law mandating

restaurants have at least one person on each

shift who is safe-food-handling certified.

Pedulla’s company does training for these

certificates and, while he says it’s a step in the

right direction, he doesn’t believe it’s enough.

“That doesn’t seem high enough, right? We

want to make training affordable for everyone,

not just managers and supervisors.”

The Canadian Food Safety Group is

addressing the gap by offering certification

at a lower cost. High-school students can

become fully certified for just $15 and other

members of the industry pay only $25.

“We don’t make a lot of money at this, but

it’s not about that — what’s important is that

it’s accessible for everyone,” says Pedulla.

The other side of the coin is equipment

and technology and how operators incorporate

innovation into their operations to promote

a healthier, safer foodservice industry.

Practices as simple as having a hygienic

design on meat processors, which allows for

employees to easily dismantle and clean the

machine without using extra tools, or installing

an automatic door bottom — a rodentproof

auto-retracting door bottom to keep

pests out — will help eliminate problems.

More intricate equipment offerings include

the Steam Infusion Vaction Pump, a device

that sits within a cooking vessel and uses

steam to simultaneously heat, mix and pump

liquids without particulates, or the HFPC 120

robotic food-handling system, which uses a

modular approach to match the requirements

of operators’ food-processing line.

While efficient equipment can help

operators save money and time and training

can help stave off bad habits in employees,

food safety in and of itself is non-negotiable.

“As a restaurant owner or manager,

preventing foodborne illnesses is perhaps

your most serious responsibility. Not only is

it important to your customers’ safety and

satisfaction, it’s critical to your business,” says

Pertran. “The many federal and provincial

regulations aimed at protecting consumers

from tainted foods can be used to hold restaurateurs

strictly liable for serving contaminated

foods that make someone sick. Failure to take

food safety seriously can result in negative

publicity, expensive lawsuits and, in some

cases, criminal charges.” FH

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 39


INTRODUCING

TUESDAY, APRIL 21 ST , 2020

THE SHERATON CENTRE

TORONTO HOTEL

SHIFTING THE NARRATIVE

A day-long summit that brings together today’s and

tomorrow’s foodservice and hospitality leaders to shift the

narrative and shape a new landscape. Find out how they’re

tackling the economic and social challenges of the day while

focusing on the future.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Icons & Innovators Panel

Keynote by Mark Brand, Social Entrepreneur/

Restaurateur

Luncheon Keynote Address by award-winning chef

Daniel Hadida, Pearl Morisette, Niagara-on-the-Lake

Panels featuring a mix of Top 100 leaders who

examine the challenges of the day, and Top

30-under-30 leaders who discuss how they plan to

elevate the industry and change the world.

And, breakout sessions featuring industry leaders

speaking on important issues such as:

• Sustainability

• Gender Equality & Diversity

• Future Trends

• Mental Health & Wellness

• Generational Shifts

• The Changing Face of Work

• Food Waste

• Innovation

Presentation of the Top 30 Under 30 Awards, now

under the KML umbrella.

Heather McCrory

CEO, North and Central

America, Accor

KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Mark Brand

Social Entrepreneur/

Restaurateur

Don Cleary

President, Marriott

Hotels of Canada

Michael Smith

Chef and TV Personality

LUNCHEON SPEAKER

Daniel Hadida

Chef, Pearl Morisette

To register, or for more information, visit

kostuchmedia.com/shop/vision-2020/

foodserviceandhospitality.com

hoteliermagazine.com


EQUIPMENT

ICE AGE

New technology allows

ice machines to evolve

from behind-the-scenes

heroes to the

stars of the show

STORY BY JESSICA HURAS

t first glance, an ice machine may seem like a

straightforward piece of restaurant equipment.

But, from cooling ingredients to complementing

a cocktail’s presentation, ice performs a diverse

variety of functions in the kitchen and behind

the bar. As the technology behind these foodservice foot

soldiers advances, operators are looking for machines that

don’t just perform the requisite cooling, but allow them to

enhance customer experience.

BAR KISMET/HOSHIZAKI CANADA

CHILL FACTOR

The three basic types of ice produced by ice machines are

cube, nugget and flaked — each of which offer different

characteristics for operators to leverage. Cube-ice melts

slowly, making it ideal for minimizing dilution in cold

drinks and cocktails. Nugget-ice can also be used in drinks,

offering slow-melting qualities along with a softer texture

that makes it easy to chew. Flaked or shaved ice is moldable

and soft, so it’s well suited to displaying chilled meats and

seafood.

“Nugget ice is super cool and is going to be one of the

emerging [varieties] of ice you’re going to see more of,” says

Josh Wolfe, director of Sales in Ontario for Food Service

Solutions. “It has more to it than just cooling effect; it has

great texture and is fun to chew. It soaks up the flavour.”

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 41


EQUIPMENT

Nugget ice was first popularized

by U.S. fast-food chain Sonic,

with “Sonic ice” garnering a cult

following for its crunchy, chewable

texture.

“The overall trend is toward

nugget ice,” agrees Trey Hoffman,

Hoshizaki America Inc.’s product

manager for Ice and Water.

Hoffman notes nugget-ice

machines are more expensive and

require more maintenance than

cube-ice machines, but also offer

a way for operators to stand out

in a competitive market. “If you

have four people in a car and,

all things are equal, one of those

people is an ice chewer, they’re

going to say ‘let’s go to Sonic’

because they have that chewable

ice,” explains Hoffman. “Those

little differences can make a big

difference overall.”

Both Wolfe and Hoffman agree

the ability of nugget ice to absorb

the flavour of its surrounding

liquid has potential beyond

quick-service chains. “I’ve begun

playing around a little bit with

cocktails [served] with nugget

ice,” says Wolfe. “After you drink

your cocktail on the rocks, you

can spend a few minutes chewing

on this ice to have a secondary

experience.”

Wolfe adds there are now

various small-sized nugget-ice

machines on the market that

can easily fit under the counter

in most bar set-ups — a smart

choice for bars interested in producing

a small volume of nugget

ice to complement a few select

drinks in their cocktail program.

Ice is a key part of the drink

program at Braven, Oliver &

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Bonacini Hospitality’s (O&B)

steakhouse in the JW Marriott

Edmonton ICE District. Julien

Lavoie, O&B’s director of

Operations in Alberta, says the

restaurant uses a combination of

ice machines and hand-chipped

ice for its cocktail menu. “The ice

actually changes the dynamic of

the drink,” he explains. “You mix

the same ingredients over a large

cube, rather than in a shaker with

an ounce of shaved ice, and it’s

going to taste very different.”

In addition to its current cubeice

machine, Lavoie says Braven

will soon be adding a flaked-ice

machine to its arsenal. “We’re

going to be introducing a cocktail

with shaved ice and champagne

— almost like a champagne snow

cone,” he says.

Like most bars and restaurants,

Braven makes its large-format

ice cubes (cubes that are bigger

than about one inch) by hand;

however, Hoffman says Hoshizaki

is aiming to change that. “Right

now, the large-format-ice market

is not served by machines; it’s

served by people hand-making

this ice with molds or presses,”

explains Hoffman.

In Q2 of 2020, Hoffman says

Hoshizaki will be introducing

a sphere-ice machine that can

produce balls of ice around 1.8

inches in diameter. Marketed

toward bars and restaurants with

high-end cocktail programs, the

sphere-ice machine aims to automate

the time-consuming process

of making large-format ice by

hand.

At a projected list price

of US$12,000, the sphere-ice

machine is a bigger investment

than most ice machines, but

Hoffman says it could be a gamechanger

for the right operators.

KEEP ON KEEPING ON

New technology is making it

easier for operators to detect

From the

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and solve problems with their

ice machines. Many Hoshizaki

ice machines now incorporate

remote monitoring, allowing

operators to check on the status

of their machines in real-time via

an app.

“You can see how much ice it’s

making and, if there’s an error,

you’ll get a notification,” says

Hoffman. “Remote monitoring

gives you the ability to do predictive

maintenance. You can find

out there’s a problem when it

occurs and respond accordingly,

so it’s going to prevent downtime,”

he adds.

In spite of technological

advances, cleaning continues to

be one of the biggest maintenance

challenges for operators. “[Ice

machines] have all the magic

qualities you need for biological

growth,” explains Hoffman.

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2020-02-11 10:19 AM

42 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


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EQUIPMENT

“They have water and they have

oxygen; if they’re [located] in a

restaurant, especially a pizza or

a fried-chicken restaurant, they

have plenty of nutrition in terms

of flour.”

Hoffman says while most ice

machines need to be cleaned

every six months, machines set

in restaurants where a lot of

flour is used are at particular risk

for developing mould and need

to be cleaned more frequently.

Cleaning and maintenance routines

for ice machines are not

one-size-fits-all; they vary based

on the environment in which the

ice machine is located.

“I’m looking for that magic

bullet of a technology that prevents

biological growth in ice

machines so you don’t ever have

to clean it or you have to clean it

very infrequently,” says Hoffman.

“But of all the technologies available

to us right now — none of

them do it 100 per cent.”

As Wolfe points out, regular

cleaning and maintenance may

be a short-term inconvenience

but, in addition to preventing

potentially unhealthy conditions,

they ultimately save operators

money over the long-term. “The

better you clean the machine, the

more efficiently it will run,” says

Wolfe. “That means environmentally,

the cost goes down and,

to the operator, it also means

the operating cost goes down.

It means more money in their

pocket.”

OLD RELIABLE

While new technology opens up

opportunities for operators to get

creative with ice, many continue

to be satisfied with basic, wellmade

ice machines that can hold

up to the wear-and-tear of highvolume

service.

Zac Woo, head bartender at

Toronto restaurant Baro, says

the restaurant uses three ice

Big Little Ice

Josh Wolfe, director of Sales

in Ontario for Food Service

Solutions, says the introduction

of small, entry-level-priced

ice machines — such as the

Simag by Lancaster, Pa.-based

Scotsman — has been one of

the most innovative developments

in the ice-machine market

in the past few years.

These models have allowed

smaller foodservice establishments

that previously may

not have had the money or

retail space to invest in an ice

machine to enter the market.

“For the smaller mom-andpop

shop — people who, in the

past, were used to buying ice

— they can put a 50-or 60-lbs.

machine in and, over the course

of the lifetime of the machine,

save a huge amount of money

over buying ice,” says Wolfe.

“They’re looking at a 15-inch,

small footprint they can count

on. No more running to the

store, no more waiting for an ice

delivery and no more paying for

ice every day.”

machines (two Kold-Drafts and a

Hoshizaki) across its four floors

to keep up with its large demand

for ice. “As a bar manager or just

an operator, things that matter

to me about an ice machine are:

Is it reliable? Does it produce

enough ice? Is the ice consistent?”

says Woo.

He says for busy establishments

such as Baro, the most

important feature of an ice

machine is its dependability

during busy service times.

Ultimately, the best ice

machines offer consistent cooling

as well as the ability to elevate an

operator’s offerings, adding new

textures and dimensions. FH

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


TECHNOLOGY

iSTOCK.COM/RIDOFRANZ [YOUNG MAN USING PHONE]; RIDOFRANZ [YOUNG GUY WITH A BACKPACK AND CAP]; M-IMAGEPHOTOGRAPHY [YOUNG MAN WITH PHONE]

RESTAURANT OPERATORS

ARE TAKING CONTROL

OF THE DIGITAL-ORDERING

EXPERIENCE BY DANIELLE SCHALK

Digital ordering is top of mind

for many industry players, with brands

striving to take control of their customers’

digital-ordering experience.

Starbucks is often looked to as a

leader within the mobile-order and

pickup space, having entered the game

early (launching across the U.S. in 2015)

and investing significant resources into

the development of its “digital-flywheel”

approach, which incorporates rewards,

personalization, payment and ordering.

“Over the past five years, we’ve

invested significantly and systematically

to build a powerful digital flywheel that

today enables more than one-billion

digital customer occasions a year,” Kevin

Johnson, president and CEO, Starbucks,

explained during the company’s Q3 2019

earnings call. “The digital strategy we’re

executing against ensures we maintain a

direct relationship with our customers

and avoid getting disintermediated by

third-party ordering apps. It also enables

us to deliver personalized marketing

directly to our most loyal customers in

an efficient manner.”

Other large franchise leaders —

including Tim Hortons and McDonald’s

— have since launched their own digital

infrastructure to support this offering,

as have brands such as Swiss Chalet,

Smoke’s Poutinerie and Blaze Pizza.

Rather than develop their own

platform, a range of foodservice

establishments have opted to partner

with third-party order-ahead services

such as Ritual and ClickDishes. Big

third-party delivery players, including

Uber Eats, DoorDash and foodora, have

also started offering pickup through

their platforms in recent years.

“Whether it’s first party or third party,

people love the ability to order ahead

and skip the wait — and they don’t

want to pay extra for that convenience,”

says Ray Reddy, CEO and co-founder

of Toronto-based Ritual, which boasts

a presence across Canada, the U.S. and

additional international markets.

As Reddy explains, it makes sense that

order-ahead is an in-demand service in

urban centres. “Drive-thru sales in the

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 45


TECHNOLOGY

suburbs make up [about] 70 per cent of store

sales, but that’s true because they’re free to

use,” he says. “We think about mobile order

ahead as the equivalent of what the drive thru

is in the suburbs.”

Reddy’s comparison may prove an increasingly

apt one, as Chipotle Mexican Grill

announced plans in December to begin testing

a new restaurant design featuring walk-up

windows to better support its billion-dollar

digital business.

Beyond the convenience of skipping the

line, mobile-ordering platforms also have the

added benefits of easy order customization

and allowing customers to save their favourite

orders to simplify future purchases.

Ritual goes a step further to facilitate what

Reddy refers to as a “peer-to-peer delivery

network” within office environments through

the platform’s “Piggyback” feature. The social

group-ordering feature allows a user to offer

pickup for their team when they place an

order and notifies team members so that they

can join. Ritual even incentivizes those who

pickup orders for their team members by

offering them extra rewards points, which can

be used towards future purchases.

For operators, digital-ordering platforms also

unlock insights and marketing opportunities,

including direct marketing and personalized

offers/incentives.

“We can finally answer questions for restaurants,

such as how many new customers

do you get every week, how many of them

return and, for those who return, how often

do they return? Also, what makes them

return?” says Reddy. “That’s invaluable data

for merchants.”

As with any new technology, its introduction

has resulted in a unique set of challenges.

“Many legacy POS systems don’t

have integration ability,” Reddy

notes. In these cases, the company

provides restaurants with a device

for managing orders. “And, they can

either input [orders] into their POS

in real time or download monthend

or week-end reporting for

accounting purposes,” says Reddy.

Efforts are also being made to

streamline the pickup experience

in restaurants.

“Menus become pointless when

60 to 80 per cent of people have

already ordered; what you need is

traffic control,” says Reddy. “You see

a lot of people coming into stores

wondering, where’s my order?

When is it going to be ready?”

The solution: displays detailing

orders in progress. These can

already be found in many McDonald’s locations

and Ritual retrofits restaurant partners

with tablets that serve the same purpose.

There are also a number of low-tech

restaurant features being rethought, including

store layouts and the design of order-pickup

areas. “The reality is most stores weren’t

designed for a mobile-pickup experience,”

says Reddy. “When you enter a

store…typically the first thing you do

is wait in line to order and then move

over to the pickup area. But, when

you have a lot of people coming in

that have already ordered, making

them cut through a busy line doesn’t

make sense.”

Some brands have developed

innovative in-restaurant solutions to

streamline the pickup experience. For

example, Little Caesars introduced

the industry’s first heated, self-service

mobile-order pickup portal in 2018, which

it launched in Canada in October. The

brand’s Pizza Portal pickup has attracted

attention as an innovative technology and

received accolades from the International

Franchise Association.

Customers who order through Little

Caesars’ app or website can bypass the line

when arriving at the restaurant and retrieve

their orders from the Pizza Portal’s secured

compartments using a provided three-digit

pin and QR code.

Last December, Chipotle began testing new walk-up windows,

Little Caesars’ Pizza Portal Pick-up (below)

Independent brands have also been developing

their own strategies to accommodate

demand for mobile orders. Vancouver-based

Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods launched a

new pick-up-only concept — Tractor Digital

— in June 2019, developed in partnership

with digital-product studio Apply Digital.

Leveraging intuitive design and AI, the Tractor

Digital platform offers advice and incentives

during the ordering process, optimizes menu

options and tracks customer satisfaction and

quality control.

“It’s an interesting time because we’re asking

ourselves where we think customers see

value and how people prioritize their purchases

for quick-service food,” says Meghan

Clarke, the company’s co-founder. “In the

heart of urban centres, the [Tractor Digital]

concept will probably, over time, be the format

that will really sing with customers.”

“My sense is that [digital ordering] is going

to become one of the most important dimensions

for restaurants to win on,” agrees Reddy,

pointing to the shifts that have taken place in

retail over the last decade as a road map of

what’s to come.

“It’s not about who ran the best store, it’s

about who embraced digital and understood

the game has changed. The same thing is

going to be true in the restaurant world.

Winners and losers are now going to be dictated

by those who understand and optimize for

digital versus those who don’t.” FH

46 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


POURING FOR PROFITS

BREWING COMPETITION

Big beer brands still dominate the market,

but craft beer continues to gain ground BY NICK LAWS

RAWPIXEL [CRAFT BEER]

The Canadian beer

industry continues

to be dominated

by a select

few large players,

but as customers’ palates

diversify, the market is

seeing a rise in smaller

craft breweries.

In 2016, the craft-beer

segment represented six

per cent of total beer

market share in Ontario,

but over the past three

years, it’s shown continuous

growth — reaching

8.9 per cent in 2018 —

and forecasts show the

segment was expected

to grow by 10 per cent

or more through 2019,

according to Torontobased

Ontario Craft

Brewers (OCB).

A number of factors,

including advancements

in technology and the

introduction of beer in

grocery stores, have given

craft beer a much-needed

boost. There are currently

375 grocery stores

selling beer in Ontario,

NEW BREWS

Strong Patrick

Beau’s Brewing

The luscious and malty ale pours

brilliant red with a creamy head. Its

aroma conjures notes of caramel,

whiskey, oak and malts.

with 15 per cent of beer

sales being attributed to

craft products, according

to OCB.

There is, however,

concern surrounding the

potential for over saturation

of the craft-beer

market, as more local

operations seek to ride

the wave of its new-found

popularity.

But Jeff Dornan, president

of All or Nothing

— a craft brewery located

in Oshawa, Ont. — and

chairman of the OCB,

says while some may have

a gloomy outlook on the

state of craft beer, he sees

a bright future ahead.

“I still see nothing but

growth. When you look

at our volume in percentage

of market share

in Ontario, we’re barely

scratching the surface.

There’s a lot of excitement

and growth yet to occur,”

he explains.

For now, national

brands are controlling the

Canadian beer market,

with two breweries —

Molson Coors Brewing

Company and Anheuser-

Clementine White IPA

Field House Brewing

Inspired by the flavour of the citrus fruit,

this Northeast-style IPA pairs citrus-forward

hops with freshly zested clementines

for a bright and bold beer.

Busch InBev SA/NV —

representing just under

half of the Canadian beer

market. According to a

2019 study done by U.S.-

based IBIS World, the two

brewing behemoths control

49.8 per cent of the

Canadian beer market.

The Molson Canadian

and Coors Light brands

currently hold a 33.3 per

cent share of the entire

Snooze You Lose Brown Ale

All or Nothing Brewery

market, while Anheuser-

Busch controls 16.5 per

cent of the market with

popular brands such as

Budweiser, Stella Artois

and Labatt. The thirdhighest

market share of

any brewery in Canada

belongs to Moosehead

Breweries — Canada’s

oldest independent brewery

— with a 3.9-per-cent

market share.

This offering from the Oshawa-based craft

brewery uses Ontario wildflower honey. It’s

medium-brown in colour and has notes of caramel,

chocolate, coffee, malt and sweet honey.

While these big names

continue to lead the pack,

craft breweries continue

to forge ahead, aided by

each beer’s distinct flavour

and each brewery’s

unique feel.

“There’s a sense

of adventure, says

Dornan. “We get people

constantly coming in as a

tourist attraction. Every

brewery has its own kind

of flavour profile — you

could taste two lagers

from two different

breweries and they taste

completely different —

and that adds a sense

of adventure.” FH

FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM

MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY 47


CHEF’S CORNER

DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

Chef Greg Laird’s culinary talent is as layered as his croissants

BY NICK LAWS


Rough, stupid and funny,” are three words chef

Greg Laird uses to describe his 19-year-old

self. From a kid who started at McDonald’s, to

becoming the owner and head chef of a popular

Toronto pâtisserie, Laird has a come a long way.

His culinary journey started after high school, when

he left McDonald’s with no plan for the future. “I was a

bit of a delinquent. I finished high school and didn’t have

much direction in my life,” says the 29-year-old chef.

Ultimately, he decided to go back to what he knew

— cooking. As a line cook at a Tilted Kilt location in

Toronto, he learned to make “real food, in a real kitchen,

working with a real chef,” and the experience triggered

something in Laird.

“When I started at the gastro pub, I stepped back

and thought maybe I could become a chef,” says the

Scarborough, Ont. native, who quickly climbed the restaurant

ladder, eventually ending up at The Tempered

Room with then owner, Bertrand Alépée.

The pâtisserie had been looking for a chef de cuisine

and, while Laird had been offered a job as head chef at

BITS & BITES

WHAT WOULD

YOUR LAST MEAL BE?

“My mother-in-law’s

dum kebab. It’s the

most delicious thing

I’ve ever had.”

FAVOURITE

COUNTRY TO EAT IN

Japan: Tokyo or Osaka.

“I love Japanese food

and culture; the

respect they put into

every dish is amazing.”

FAVOURITE

INGREDIENT

“I love using liqueurs

in my pastries;

they add a depth

to your food that many

ingredients can’t bring.”

FAVOURITE DISH

“Any sort of braise —

beef cheek, short ribs,

pork belly.”

another Toronto restaurant, he

wanted to broaden his horizons and

learn the pastry side of the kitchen.

The Tempered Room had gained

notoriety for its light, flaky and

perfectly layered croissants — which

are the result of a long and arduous

process. “The croissants are our figurative

and literal bread and butter,”

says Laird. “Bert started me on the

croissants and, to be honest, I [was

nervous] in the beginning.”

The croissant became the crux

of Laird’s learning and he wanted

to master it. Alépée also taught him

various French techniques on the

savoury side “and I learned through

osmosis.”

Under the tutelage of Alépée,

Laird began to grow as a chef.

“Bert’s been a true mentor, he took

me under his wing from the time I

got here,” he says. “He’s one of the

most impressive chefs I’ve ever worked with.”

Laird’s approach to cooking is clinical and methodical.

“There are two aspects to cooking — the art and the science.

The art is apparent in the final product and it’s what

attracts customers. The presentation is how it looks on

the menu, how it’s plated, but before you can get to that

step, you need to understand the science,” he explains.

“Everything from emulsifying an aioli, to the ratio of the

butter to the acid to the eggs. It may look great on the

plate, but when you start to eat it, if the science wasn’t

there, the taste won’t be either.”

Today, his culinary philosophy is a delicate balance

between the art, science and love of food.

“I want to create something approachable, yet elevated.

It comes down to caring — you want to put that attention

to detail in everything you do,” says Laird. “I feel

like a lot of the time people want to be mad scientists and

they lose that homey, lovely feeling of just sitting down to

a meal and enjoying it.”

So how does Laird describe himself now?

“Rough, a little less stupid and caring.” FH

THE TEMPERED ROOM

48 FOODSERVICE AND HOSPITALITY MARCH 2020 FOODSERVICEANDHOSPITALITY.COM


It’s time to celebrate the care that goes into every Canadian egg.

The new Egg Quality Assurance (EQA) program shows your

customers, right on the menu, that their eggs are produced by

Canadian farmers dedicated to delivering a top-quality product

that meets national food safety and animal care standards.

Visit eggquality.ca and add the EQA symbol to your menus today!


Ventless

Convection

Ovens

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