Week of Dec. 14, 2009

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Starwood Realignment Creates Two North American Divisions
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has realigned its North America franchise business to optimize support for franchise owners and hotels, creating two distinct, committed support organizations. One unit will service Starwood’s Select Service franchise hotel brands — Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Element. The unit will be led by 12-year Starwood veteran, Brian McGuinness, senior vice-president of Specialty Select Brands, who will continue to lead Select Service from a global brand perspective. Select Service Operations in North America will be led by John McGovern, vice-president of Specialty Select Service Franchise, who will report to Lynne Dougherty, SVP of owner and Franchise Services. A separate unit will be dedicated to Full Service Franchise hotels, including Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Sheraton and Westin. In a company press release, president and CEO of Starwood, Frits van Paasschen, commented, “We continue to evolve our business model from an owned real estate to an ‘asset light’ organization. Our franchise partnerships, within both the Select Service and Full Service divisions, are important sources of fuel for Starwood’s expansion. By dedicating distinct resources to both Select Service and Full Service franchise hotels, we are confident that we can further drive revenue and profitability.”
● Starwood’s North American franchise hotels represent 68 per cent of Starwood’s North American portfolio, which is up from 62 per cent two years ago. Starwood’s Select Service franchise category has also seen significant expansion in North America, growing from 30 per cent to 39 per cent in the past two years.

Grande Rockies Resort Previewed in Canmore, Alta.
Metropolitan Hotels has begun “previewing” its newest hotel, the 150-room luxury Grande Rockies Resort in Canmore, Alta., by registering guests on a limited basis in advance of its grand opening in spring 2010; rates start at $215 per night. The property features one bedroom, two bedroom and penthouse suites with state-of-the-art technologies, fully-equipped kitchens, spa-inspired bathrooms, designer décor with eco-friendly amenities, plasma TVs, gas fireplaces and down duvets with Italian Fretté linens. This is the fourth Metropolitan Hotels location, which includes Metropolitan Toronto, Soho Metropolitan (Toronto) and the Metropolitan Vancouver. “We are the first luxury hotel brand to open its doors in Canmore, and we’re very excited to offer this sneak-peek opportunity,” said Henry Wu, president of Metropolitan Hotels.

New Foodservice Trends & Directions Launched at 2010 CRFA Show
The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), in partnership with Technomic, Chicago, Ill., will unveil the Canadian Foodservice Trends & Directions conference at the CRFA Show, which takes place Monday, March 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto. Produced annually since 2001 in the U.S. for operators and industry executives, the Foodservice Trends & Directions conference is designed to provide research insights into consumers, concepts and competition based on exclusive research from Technomic. The first-ever Canadian event will focus on consumer dining-out trends, menu hotspots, how operators can align with shifts in consumer demand and social media opportunities. The conference costs $195 for operators until Jan. 31, after which it rises to $245 and can be booked here. For information: Patrick Noone, director of Business Development at Technomic at (312) 506-3852 or pnoone@technomic.com; or Steve Barber, CRFA vice-president, Expositions at (416) 649-4236 or sbarber@crfa.ca.

Days-Inns – Canada Raises $48,000 for Childhood Cancer
Days Inns – Canada’s 90 hotels raised a record $48,000 in a month-long September fundraiser to benefit the Childhood Cancer Foundation (CCF). This raises their four-year total to just over $223,000. At the recent CCF gala in Toronto, Days Inns was awarded the Gold Ribbon Hero Award in the corporate partner category by CCF in recognition of its achievements. Irwin Prince, president and COO, Realstar Hospitality, commented, “As the exclusive hotel sponsor of the CCF, we look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come.”

HTM at University of Guelph Ranked First in Faculty Publications
The Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) program at the University of Guelph has been ranked first in Canada and 21st in the world by the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, November 2009 issue. The study, which ranks the schools by instances of faculty publications across 11 journals over the period 2002 to 2006, was published by four researchers at the University of Central Florida and entitled, “A World Ranking of the Top 100 Hospitality and Tourism Programs.” The study also ranked the University of Calgary 50th and Ryerson University 95th. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University was ranked in the top position, based on the numbers of instances, authors and articles.
● The authors also updated, modified and extended a previous study as part of a 15-year aggregate snapshot of research output for top-producing institutions broken down by world region where articles originated. They found that the number of articles produced in Asia increased from six per cent of all publications over the earlier 10-year period (1992 through 2001), to nearly 15 per cent of published articles over the past five-year period (2002 through 2006).

Omega Watches Available at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Boutique
Canada’s first Omega watch boutique store opened last week in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver for a four-month Olympic retail venture. Omega, the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games, expects to generate millions of dollars in timepiece sales from the 500-square-foot location. Watch prices will range from $2,000 to as much as $400,000, but Omega brand president, Gregory Swift, expects the majority of inventory to be in the $5,000-to-$10,000 range. “Based on our experiences at the Turin and Beijing Games, this is certainly a revenue exercise [and not just a marketing exercise],” said Swift, in a story published in The Vancouver Sun . Omega has 75 flagship boutique stores throughout the world, with none in Canada until now.

CRFA to Launch Bi-Monthly Magazine, March 2010
The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) is launching a bi-monthly industry magazine, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice News; the first issue is slated for March 2010. The launch is in partnership with MediaEDGE Communications Inc. and will incorporate that company’s existing publication, Foodservice News. The bi-monthly magazine will reach more than 60,000 foodservice professionals across Canada. “Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice News will help us improve communication with our members as well as highlight the people, places and products that make up our incredible industry,” says Garth Whyte, CRFA’s president and CEO, in a statement.  

Quebec’s Hôtel de Glace Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Quebec’s Hôtel de Glace will be celebrating its 10th anniversary from Jan. 4 to April 4. Located some 40 kilometres from Quebec City, the Hôtel de Glace has attracted guests from all around the world with its uniqueness as a venue for visits, weddings or corporate events. To mark the anniversary, it has been completely redesigned to honour its Nordic roots. There is also a new website complete with links to Twitter and Facebook.

Locally Grown “Arctic Kiwis” a Hit in Halifax
Kiwi fruit grown locally in Nova Scotia, dubbed “Arctic Kiwis” by the Halifax Chronicle Herald, are appearing in grocery stores and restaurant menus in the region. The arctic kiwi is a heartier variety that’s smaller and smoother than a regular kiwi and tastes like a strawberry. Growers in the area believe there’s potential for the fruit to flourish. Some manufacturers are already selling “bite-sized Canadian kiwis,” and the fruit can be used in preparing meals like smoothies and pancakes. Local restaurants like the Wooden Monkey in Halifax have taken notice, serving a sorbet that’s made from the ‘exotic’ fruit.

Customers to Tweet While They Eat at Nyood in Toronto
When Toronto diners descend on Nyood restaurant for the city’s annual Winterlicious event, they will be encouraged to use Twitter, and they may even have their tweets projected onto the wall for everyone to see. Executive chef Roger Mooking will also be tweeting and having his messages projected. Nyood, and its tweeting guests, will be taking part in the 8th annual Winterlicious, between Jan. 29 and Feb. 11. In a Toronto Star story, Nyood Manager Sacha Elwakeel commented, “They [customers] can tweet about whatever they want: the food, the music, the ambiance. Usually I really hate people who bring a BlackBerry to the table and use it for work. This is for fun. It takes interactive social dining to the next level.” During Winterlicious, Nyood will be offering a three-course Mediterranean meal for $50 a person. For information on Winterlicious, click here.

“Lip-Smacking” Edible Plates, Forks, Spoons Promised — Designer
According to a Canwest News Service story, a Canadian design professor has developed edible tableware that aims to replace current plastic and paperboard products. Unlike other versions of edible tableware developed in Europe from corn and/or potato paste, which taste like cardboard, the Canadian product is made from vegetable flours, bean flours and fruit powders and can be customized for flavour and texture. Developed by Diane Bisson, who teaches at the Universite de Montreal’s School of Industrial Design, some of the product will be crunchy, with some soft like a crêpe and others jelly-like. “The whole purpose of this is sustainable design,” said Bisson. “It’s all about reducing disposable objects, the cardboard and plastic plates that are in every food court and every home.”

2010 Foodservice Interchange Moves Venues
The 2010 Foodservice Interchange Conference (FSI) will be held at a new venue, the International Centre in Mississauga, Ont., on Wednesday, Jan. 22. With the theme “Navigating Business through Turbulent Times,” the full-day event is presented by the Food and Consumer Products of Canada and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors, and is sponsored by iGPS (Intelligent Global Pooling Systems). Media sponsors are Foodservice and Hospitality magazine and HRI magazine. Principal speakers for the event include: Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.; Ailene MacDougall, senior director of Planning and Insights of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd; Cora Tsouflidou, founder of The Cora Franchise Group Inc. and Foodservice and Hospitality magazine’s editor and publisher, Rosanna Caira. There will also be three breakout sessions presented by the NPD Group. For information, click here.

McDonald’s Reports Second Month of U.S. Sales Decline; Launching $1 Breakfast
McDonald’s Corporation, Oak Brook, Ill., reports that global sales increased 0.7 per cent in November while North American sales declined 0.6 per cent, the second-consecutive month of decline. “In November, U.S. comparable sales decreased slightly amidst the sluggish economy but remained among the best in the industry,” CEO Jim Skinner commented in a news release. “McDonald’s combination of core, value and premium menu options continues to resonate with consumers and supported the month’s results.” The company attributed the decline in part to “prolonged high unemployment, which has eaten into the budgets for core quick-service users, especially at breakfast.”
● According to Nation’s Restaurant News, McDonald’s is launching a new Dollar Menu in the U.S., offering five breakfast items nationwide following tests of its “breakfast-for-a-buck” menu in August. The new menu is expected to include the Sausage Burrito, the Sausage Biscuit, the Sausage McMuffin, a 12-ounce coffee and a hash brown. Technomic Inc. president and CEO, Ron Paul, commented, “The past two months McDonald’s has had decreases in same-store sales, and this is a way to get people in the stores. The hope is that the consumer will trade up and purchase some extras, like coffee.”

B.C. Hospitality Foundation Awards $22,000 in Scholarships
The British Columbia Hospitality Foundation (BCHF) has awarded 11 scholarships, totalling $22,000 to students enrolled in various hospitality programs around the province. Awarded at the recent Hospitality Industry Conference Gala Dinner, BCHF is hosted by the B.C. Hotel Association, the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association and the Association of Beverage Licensees. BCHF awards scholarships and bursaries to students and also provides support for individuals within the hospitality community.

We Care Ski Day, Feb. 5, Collingwood, Ont.
The 2010 Friends of We Care Family & Corporate Ski Day will take place Feb. 5 at Craigleigh Ski Club in Collingwood, Ont.. For information, call (905) 841-1223, or click here.

CDC Refuses to Lower Dairy Prices
The Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) has announced there will be no change to the price of industrial milk in 2010, despite strong representations and lobbying by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). According to a CRFA press release, while dairy production costs have fallen by nearly two per cent this year, the price of industrial milk used to make cheese, butter, ice cream and yogurt has skyrocketed by 60 per cent during the past 15 years, or twice the rate of inflation, making Canadian dairy prices among the highest in the world. “The decision by the CDC to keep dairy prices artificially high does nothing to reverse a long-term trend of falling demand for dairy products. The CDC is pricing dairy right off our menus,” said Garth Whyte, CRFA president and CEO.

CinCin Announces New Wine Director
Sarah McCauley is the new wine director at CinCin Ristorante in Vancouver. In making the announcement, Jack Evrensel, president of parent company, Top Table Group, commented, “Sarah has determinedly worked her way ever upward at Top Table restaurants, while continuously improving her professional wine credentials.” McCauley has experience working at Top Table restaurants West and the Blue Water Café, and she recently completed her diploma and Certified Instructor designation from the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust.

Maple Leaf Foods Forms Safety Advisory Council
Toronto-based Maple Leaf Foods has announced the establishment of a new Food Safety Advisory Council of independent experts that increase access to global knowledge and expertise in areas of food safety practices, microbiology, technology and public health. The council, which includes Dr. Randall Huffman, chief food safety officer for Maple Leaf Foods, will advise senior leaders in all areas of food safety. “The primary mandate of the council is to challenge the status quo of Maple Leaf’s food safety program so we continue to raise the bar ever higher,” said Huffman in a news release. “These individuals bring immense food-safety knowledge to the council and will support our commitment to becoming a global food-safety leader.” The panel also includes: Dr. Harvey Anderson, professor, Nutritional Sciences, Physiology and Medical Sciences, University of Toronto; professor Colin Dennis, chairman, Industry Advisory Group, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd.; Dr. Mansel Griffiths, director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety; Dr. R. Bruce Tompkin, a microbiologist with more than 45 years in the food processing industry and one of the developers of HACCP; and John Weisgerber, former director of Quality for a major North American meat processor with nearly 40 years experience in quality and food-safety management.

Canadian and U.S. Resort Development Associations Partner
The Canadian Resort Development Association (CRDA) has formed a new working relationship with its counterpart in the U.S., the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). According to CRDA’s president, Ross Perlmutter, ARDA and CRDA intend to work together on various initiatives to further their respective mandates to represent the shared ownership product to governments and consumers, and to enhance the level of professionalism in the ever-evolving industry. “We’re extremely excited about the endless possibilities presented via this special relationship with our friends at ARDA,” said Perlmutter. “We are fully committed to working alongside their talented team towards achieving the North American industry’s goals, and we are truly looking forward to their assistance and association with events such as conferences, membership, legislative issues and other projects.”

 

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