The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) is reinventing its image this year at its annual CRFA Show.
The association is marking its 70th anniversary with a rebranding strategy that is being unveiled today, days before the tradeshow, which is being held March 2 to 4 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.
“Our current name and logo served us well for many years, and a lot of people have strong attachments, but it’s time to change,” says Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the Toronto-based association. Effective immediately, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association will be known as Restaurants Canada.
Change will continue on the showroom floor where operating hours have been adjusted. The event will now run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday.
The new hours will give attendees and suppliers more time to interact. In fact, this year “Discover, Network and Learn” is the name of the game, with 1,200 expected exhibitors, eight on-stage chef demos and a Toronto Culinary Salon competition, presented by the CCFCC. With networking at the forefront, the Celebrate! Industry Night Out event will return to the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex Monday, March 3 with extended hours and more space for making connections. “By extending it an hour, it will give the exhibitors the opportunity to really mingle and network with their peers and with their clients,” says Edwin Cabural, the association’s affable director of Expositions.
And, returning this year are pavilions showcasing Ontario products, coffee and tea as well as new international pavilion additions representing India and Poland.
Meanwhile, alcohol will command attention as part of another new addition to the show, which will host suppliers catering to bars, pubs and nightclubs. “We’re really excited about the alcohol feature — we think it’s going to add something different and really touch on a part of the industry that is not showcased well at the show,” says Cabural.
The education will continue at the show’s seminars. This year, speakers will discuss trends such as gluten-free kitchens, mobile restaurant marketing and brand strategy, while a paid workshop on menu development will be run by Washington-based Barmetrix, a consulting company specializing in inventory management, staff training and management workshops.
A roster of local and internationally acclaimed chefs and speakers will round out the show’s appeal, with guests such as Brad Long, chef and owner of Cafe Belong in Toronto; Judson Simpson, executive chef of the House of Commons in Ottawa; Christina Tosi, chef and owner of New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar; and Graham Tinsley, Wales-based celebrity chef and Member of the Order of the British Empire. “Our goal is to be the centre of partnerships,” sums up Whyte. “We’re connecting international, well-known celebrities with our own national well-known celebrities and chefs and up-and-comers. When I listen to our national chefs, they say their growth happens from travelling to other places, so we’re bringing other places here.”