Hard to believe Foodservice and Hospitality has been publishing the Top 100 Report for almost half a century. During that time, the comprehensive statistical report has become the leading source of data on the industry’s top chains.
And while over the years the report has evolved to reflect the ever-changing trends and news impacting this country’s vibrant foodservice landscape, it’s also remained a constant. In many ways, the report mirrors the industry. Despite the wholesale changes that have taken place and the challenges that have presented themselves, the Top 100 has always been the barometer of growth in this industry. Clearly, it’s about who’s on first and who follows (see story on p. 34).
But, scratch beyond the surface of the numbers and you’ll see a great deal more bubbling below. This report is about more than who’s growing and who’s declining, it’s also about who’s been able to better understand the changing marketplace; who’s been able to take advantage of market shifts; and the impact of trends in fuelling sales. Beyond that, the report is about how these companies measure up on societal issues — from ethical choices, to sustainability, to gender equality and wage parity.
And don’t kid yourself — how companies respond to those types of societal challenges increasingly makes the difference between a successful company and one that just follows without purpose. One need only look at how several of the leading companies have dealt with these concerns in recent years to see that they do, in fact, matter. For example, McDonald’s has made serving local and sustainable Canadian beef not only a priority, but part of its business mandate; A&W has removed plastic straws from its product lineup, both as a cost-saving initiative but also as an environmental statement; and most leading companies have worked to harness the power of technology to provide better customer service.
But one area that hasn’t been dealt with as effectively as it should is the issue of women in leadership roles. Take a look at the list of Top-100 companies and you’ll be hard pressed to find many women leading the pack. Women are everywhere in the industry (close to 80 per cent of the industry’s workers are female), except in the C-Suite. And, in 2019 — at a time when women’s issues have become everyone’s issue — that’s simply unfathomable. It’s time the powers that be at these leading companies make gender equality and wage parity the priorities they are. Anything less is just not good enough.