Kelly Higginson Appointed New President & CEO of Restaurants Canada


TORONTO — Kelly Higginson has been appointed president & CEO of Restaurants Canada, effective immediately. Higginson has been COO at Restaurants Canada since August 2022 and was an active member of the Restaurants Canada Board of Directors prior to that. Christian Buhagiar, former president & CEO, has left the organization.

Prior to her roles at Restaurants Canada, she served as the executive VP of Operations at The CFW Group, leading operational strategy for North American hospitality brands like ki modern japanese + bar, The Shore Club and Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House. During her time with The CFW Group, Higginson had first-hand experience navigating copious challenges as she worked to further the development and retention of employees through the global pandemic.

“It’s truly an honour to be taking on this role. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the business of hospitality is an integral part of who I am now, and who I’ve been for a long time,” says Higginson. “Canadian restaurants have hit a pivotal moment in our industry’s post-pandemic recovery. With this, we need to offer our members strong leadership and advocacy to retain those already in foodservice, while also looking forward to elevate our sector entirely, reminding Canadians that foodservice is a $100 billion industry and the fourth largest private-sector employer with more than 1.2 million employees. As the new president and CEO, I will embrace the opportunity to represent and advocate for the industry to restore stability and predictability to our sector’s business environment.”

“Kelly not only brings a wealth of knowledge from her years in Canadian foodservice, but also has an incredible passion for developing strong and inclusive teams to maximize impact; something our members need from us now more than ever,” says Jeremy Bonia, Chair of the Board, Restaurants Canada. “We are fortunate to have Kelly jump into the role of president and CEO. Her vision is clear, and we look forward to supporting her as Restaurants Canada works to build the industry back stronger than ever.”

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