Change, change, and more change.
Change, change, and more change. Two decades after Foodservice and Hospitality presented the inaugural Man of the Year Award to George Cohon of McDonald’s fame, our Pinnacle Awards program has come of age (see story on Pinnacle winners on pg. 45 of the December issue of Foodservice and Hospitality).
It’s hard to believe 20 years have passed since that auspicious milestone. The year was 1988, and the industry was reeling. The Black Monday stock market crash of 1987 had a serious long-term impact on the industry, forcing many businesses to streamline their operations, but not all the news was bad. The Calgary Winter Olympics shone the spotlight on the country and we basked in the glory of excellence, putting our best face forward to the world.
Back in those early days, the Man of the Year Award was presented to individuals who had significantly impacted the industry. Two decades later, the memories of that legendary luncheon remain indelible as a select group of 25 industry leaders, representing our magazine’s editorial advisory board, gathered at Toronto’s posh Windsor Arms Hotel to salute excellence and celebrate achievement.
It wasn’t until 1996 that we renamed the awards, choosing a name that reflected the very bestÃ¢â‚¬’sthe Pinnacles.We also broadened the scope of the program, expanding the categories to include Company, Entrepreneur, Independent Restaurateur and Supplier of the Year awards. And, after many years of hosting an exclusive lunch to honour the winner, we invited the industry to participate in the celebration. At the same time, as sister publication Hotelier was gaining momentum, we expanded the awards to include several hotel categories in the mix.
How times have changedÃ¢â‚¬’slast year’s Pinnacle Awards luncheon at the Royal York Hotel attracted 550 industry executives, proving the industry has embraced the program and all it represents. Certainly, the Pinnacles would not be the success they are today without the countless support of so many individuals and companies that have contributed by attending our event and through their invaluable sponsorships. We are all the better for it.
Interestingly, the growth of the Pinnacles mirrors the industry’s own evolution.Much has changed during the past two decades, and as the industry struggled with important issues such as labour shortages, the introduction of the GST, or smoking bans and food safety, it has also become more educated and sophisticated in the process, infinitely improving with the changes that have been foisted on it.While the lessons learned through each of these touch points have been challenging, they’ve made operators better equipped to deal with change and position their companies for the future.
Remarkably, the one theme that has remained constant throughout the past two decades is the importance of people. As we proudly present this year’s collection of Pinnacle Award winners (see pg. 17), it’s gratifying to see that theme repeat itself through each of the individual Pinnacle profiles. This year’s winners have achieved success through a combination of factorsÃ¢â‚¬’sa solid product offering, strong business acumen, and sometimes for being at the right place at the right time. But interestingly, and unfailingly, when asked to define their success, all of the winners credit the people behind the brand.
As the last magazine edition of 2008, and on behalf of our presidentMitch Kostuch and our dedicated team, who work tirelessly to produce each and every issue, I’d like to extend our best wishes for a healthy, happy and magical holiday season.As we wind down the year, and slow down to spend time with family and friends, let’s focus on all we have to celebrate in this industry and in this amazing country of ours. Though we live in an unprecedented time of change, let’s do all we can to make 2009 a great year.