The Leadership Roundtable: Coming Together


The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new world order for individuals and companies around the world. Closer to home, the foodservice and hospitality industry has been greatly impacted by the effects of COVID-19, and, with a lack of clarity from government as to when it will re-open, the reality is that this industry is at great risk.

Now, more than ever, the foodservice industry needs to come together in order to move past the uncertainty and work collaboratively so its voice is heard by all levels of government to ensure the industry can survive and thrive.

To this end, earlier this week, Foodservice and Hospitality magazine assembled a group of 11 foodservice leaders from across Canada, as part of a Leadership Roundtable, to discuss an action plan of what the industry needs and how it can move forward. The panel included:

  • Mike Hancock, COO, Tim Hortons
  • Jason Brading, COO, QSR, MTY Group, Montreal
  • Ken Otto, CEO, Redberry
  • Nick Di Donato, President & CEO, Liberty Group Entertainment 
  • Ryan Smolkin, Founder & CEO, Smokes Poutinerie
  • Alex Rechichi, President, Crave it Restaurant Group
  • Michael Doyle, President, Top Table Restaurants, Vancouver
  • Mohamad Fakih, CEO, Paramount Fine Foods
  • Charles Khabouth, CEO, INK Entertainment
  • Ramy Sallal, President, Arlington Estate, Vaughan, Ont.
  • Domenic Primucci, President, Pizza Nova
  • Amy Bostock, Managing Editor, Foodservice and Hospitality magazine

The panelists represent various segments of the foodservice industry ─ from QSRs to casual dining to delivery concepts and event venues. Each segment faces a distinct and unique set of challenges, perspectives and approaches, but their message is unified — more needs to be done and it needs to done NOW.

While the health and safety of Canadians is number-1 on everyone’s agenda, these operators are confident they can provide a safe environment and do it while adhering to government restrictions. And, they’re willing to work together with government to find solutions to move the industry forward on the road to recovery. But, they need, and want, their voices heard.

It’s my pleasure as editor and publisher of the industry’s leading publication to bring this conversation forward to shape the discussion that needs to occur between industry and government so restaurants can safely re-open and resume business during these challenging times. 

Please keep in mind that this conversation is unedited and unfiltered to convey the passion, the frustration and the anger operators are feeling during these unprecedented times. And, also, keep in mind we’re producing this video remotely with certain limitations of Zoom technology. 

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Rosanna Caira
Rosanna Caira is the editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality, and Hotelier magazines. In her capacity as editor of Canada’s two leading hospitality publications, Rosanna directs the editorial and graphic content of both publications, and is responsible for the editorial vision of the magazines, its five websites as well as the varied tertiary products including e-newsletters, supplements and special projects. In addition to her editorial duties, Rosanna also serves as publisher of the company, directing the strategic development of the Sales and Marketing, Production and Circulation departments. Rosanna is the face of the magazines, representing the publications at industry functions and speaking engagements. She serves on various committees and Boards, including the Board of Directors of the Canadian Hospitality Foundation. She is a recipient of the Ontario Hostelry’s Gold Award in the media category. In 2006, Rosanna was voted one of the 32 most successful women of Italian heritage in Canada. Rosanna is a graduate of Toronto’s York University, where she obtained a BA degree in English literature.

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