Week of Jan. 3, 2011

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Chef Jamie Kennedy Earns Order of Canada
Toronto-based chef Jamie Kennedy was one of 54 Canadians honoured last week with the Order of Canada, this country’s highest honour. Known for his culinary skills, the recognition also takes into account his role in the promotion of local, Canadian cuisine. In 1989, Kennedy co-founded Knives and Forks in Toronto, bringing together chefs and restaurateurs with farm producers, which pioneered farm-to-table awareness countrywide. He continues to champion local-food movements through his public appearances, creation of farmers’ markets and a commitment to a network of local producers. Kennedy has also been influential in shaping the restaurant and fine culinary environment in Canada over the past 30 years with critically acclaimed restaurants in Toronto, including Palmerston Restaurant, Jamie Kennedy at the ROM, Jamie Kennedy Event Catering and most recently Gilead Café & Bistro, which opened last year.

2011 Foodservice Sales to Grow by 2.8 per cent
Foodservice sales are expected to grow by 2.8 per cent, rising to $1.7 billion in Canada in 2011 and increasing total annual sales to $62.7 billion, according to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). This compares to a 3.5 per cent increase in 2010 with the downward slide attributed to slower economic GDP growth (of only two per cent in 2011 compared to three per cent in 2010), a struggling U.S. economy and less disposable income. After adjusting for menu inflation of 2.5 per cent, real sales will grow by 0.3 per cent next year. The CRFA forecast includes data from the CRFA’s InfoStats, Statistics Canada, fsSTRATEGY Inc. and Pannell Kerr. Accommodation foodservice is expected to lead 2011 foodservice sales with a 4.7 per cent increase in sales. Institutional foodservice sales are predicted to grow 3.8 per cent due to gains in health care, colleges and universities. Retail foodservice sales (convenience, grocery and department) will rise by 3.1 per cent reflecting this sector’s growing relationship to foodservice. Commercial foodservice sales will be led by quick-service restaurants (QSR), up 3.1 per cent and caterers, up 3.9 per cent, attributed to foodservice growth in health care, colleges and university. Full-service restaurants will see a 2.6 per cent sales increase while drinking venues will grow by 0.5 per cent, due to a decline in number of units and weak consumer demand.

Canadians Respect Restaurants, Food and Tourism Industries
Restaurants, food and tourism industries in Canada are ranked as the second, third and fourth most trusted sectors, surpassed only by medical research, according to the Readers Digest Annual Poll of its readers. The survey, which ranks 29 industry sectors, put the hospitality group ahead of national retail and departments stores (10th), automotive (20th) and cellular phone (28th) and tobacco (29th). To see Canada’s Most Trusted survey, click here.

Popeyes to Expand in Ontario
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (Canada) staff marked the opening of the brand’s 50th Canadian restaurant in December in Guelph, Ont., with a company promise to rapidly expand in Ontario and Canada. “We’re at a tipping point where Popeyes will reach quantum growth over the next five years,” said Harpal Kalsi, regional leader of Popeyes Canada. “We have a robust development plan to bring Louisiana Cajun-style cooking coast to coast by 2015.  The company (previously named Popeyes Chicken & Seafood) reported that Popeyes will continue its growth plan in 2011 with a plan to increase market presence in Ontario. Next year, the brand is expected to expand beyond Ontario into Quebec and Alberta.  

Pizza Hut Marks 1-01-11 with 1,111 Free Pizzas
The American arm of Pizza Hut gave away 1,111 Stuffed Crust Pizzas on Jan. 1, kicking off its launch of a special deal for a limited time — a one-topping Stuffed Crust Pizza for US$10. The tagline on the company’s website and Facebook page was “Become 1 of 1,111 Who Gets a Stuffed Crust Pizza.” To take advantage of the offer, consumers had to “Like” Pizza Hut on Facebook and keep an eye out for a Pizza Hut status update that announced the offer (and terms) on Jan. 1, 2011. The first 1,111 to click on the link on Pizza Hut’s Facebook page, and provide contact information, received a $10 Pizza Hut gift card good toward the purchase of a Stuffed Crust Pizza.

More Food Than is Served is Wasted in Canada
Approximately 40 per cent of all the food produced in Canada, valued at $27 billion, ends up in landfills and compost sites, according to a new study, Food Waste in Canada, issued by The George Morris Centre, Guelph, Ont. Described as “Canada’s Independent Agri-Products Think Tank,” the Centre is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization set up in 1990 to develop critical information and analysis on issues affecting the Canadian agri-products sector. The total food waste “exceeds the amount eaten by Canadians in restaurants. In fact, it equals about two per cent of this country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is higher than the combined GDP of the 32 poorest countries,” according to the study. “In the report, which is based on analysis of known figures that we validated through discussions with processors and retailers, et cetera, we found there’s a whole lot of hidden waste that could be reduced by greater collaboration between businesses along the value chain,” Martin Gooch, one of the authors and the director of the Value Chain Management Centre at the Centre told the Financial Post. “The food waste amounts to wasted profit and opportunities [in the food value chain].” While the report cites genome research and other technologies as tools for reducing spoilage and waste, Gooch points out that, “Food is one of the sectors that is lagging in developing close relationships along the chain and in how effectively it is using technology.” The report isn’t currently available on the George Morris Centre website, but click here to read the complete Financial Post story.

2011 U.S. Trends Worth Watching — Technomic
The top five trends reshaping the U.S. foodservice industry are: Frugality fatigue; Creative responses to deal demands; Segment-blurring brand action; Hotter foodservice competition from retail; and Beyond bricks and mortar as food trucks proliferate around the country.

In a personal statement Ron Paul, founder and president of the 40-year-old foodservice research firm, the Chicago-based Technomic Inc., highlighted these trends, pointing out that, “Consumers’ attitudes and behaviours have changed in key ways, and restaurants that innovated to stay alive are now innovating just as furiously to get out in front, now that the game has changed again.”

Commenting on “Frugality fatigue,” Paul said, “Penny-pinching has gotten old. Those who can afford it will return to more upscale dining in 2011. Flashy high-end restaurants, gastro-pubs and reasonably priced high-experience-value, thrill-a-minute concepts should all do well. In response to the trend focused on Creative responses to deal demands, he said “Despite flashes of extravagance, consumers have come to expect deals and discounts. [Operators] will be more creative in structuring deals with approaches like staggered pricing, creative combos, one-time-only offers and responses to group purchasing websites.” In response to Segment-blurring brand action, Paul thinks, “We’ll see more fast-casual brand extensions by full-service restaurants — either pared-down versions of the parent brand like the Denny’s Café from Denny’s or brand launches like Ruby Tuesday’s Lime Fresh Mexican Grill.”

In terms of the trend towards hotter foodservice competition from retail, the Technomic president said “Retailers have been encroaching on restaurant turf for some time. After a few false starts, they’ve encountered good responses to their upgraded offerings, variety and ambiance. Right now, one area to watch is convenience stores, which have been upgrading the quality, freshness, healthfulness and variety of their foodservice.” Beyond bricks and mortar, is a trend evidenced by food trucks. “‘Land-based’ restaurants are using food trucks as brand extensions and catering aids; food-truck districts and ‘rodeos’ are starting to appear; regulatory agencies are scrambling to keep up. Also unmooring restaurants from their traditional street corners are temporary or seasonal pop-up eateries and kiosks, particularly those that offer local, seasonal fare or promote established chefs,” the founder explained.

Twenty-two per cent of Canadians Say First Job was in Foodservice — Ipsos Reid
The restaurant industry leads all other business sectors for providing Canadians with their first job (22 per cent), according to a recent poll conducted by Toronto-based consumer research firm Ipsos Reid. The study also found that a strong majority of respondents think the restaurant industry teaches transferable job skills with three quarters agreeing that working in restaurants helps young Canadians develop essential skills. Foodservice was followed by retail (16 per cent) and manufacturing (11 per cent) as first-time job sources. The study, commissioned by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), also found that 45 per cent of Canadian adults have a connection to the restaurant industry through an immediate family member who worked in the industry, or they work in a business that depends on the restaurant industry. “This is the first study of its kind in Canada, providing us with a fascinating glimpse into how the restaurant industry is perceived by Canadians,” said Garth Whyte, president and CEO of the CRFA “It is important for policymakers to understand that Canadians have a strong connection to the restaurant industry and value its contribution to jobs and the economy and first-time jobs in particular.” To read the complete report, click here.  

One-Third of U.S. Prepaid Gift Cards Bought at Quick-Service
According to the Atlanta-based global payment-processing company First Data Corp., many [U.S.] quick-service operators and fast-casual restaurateurs are seeing an influx of gift cards. “[Quick-service] is definitely outperforming the rest of the business sectors we follow,” Michael Hursta, vice-president of prepaid services, is quoted as saying in qsrmagazine.com. “These restaurants can expect a lot of gift-card redemptions in the weeks after Christmas.” Gift-card recipients typically spend more than the cards are worth, added Hursta. “They view it as free money,” he said. Other card processors and the National Retail Federation (NRA) have reported similar quick-service restaurant results. NRA’s research firm BIGresearch said Americans were expected to spend an average of $145.61 on gift cards during the holiday season and one-third of the cards were for restaurants, second only to department stores (39.2 per cent). The average quick-serve gift card’s value in 2010 was $14.37, up from $14.04 in 2009, according to First Data, which is just a little more than half as much as the average retail card given as a present. To read the First Data release on its SpendTrend report, click here.

Delta Adds 411-Room Former Crown Plaza to Ottawa Properties
The re-branded Delta Ottawa City Centre, formerly the Crowne Plaza, located across the street from the Delta’s existing property the Delta Ottawa Hotel and Suites will open this month. Delta will assume management of the location, and a $25-million renovation is planned for the  411 guestrooms and suites, 26,000 square feet of meeting space (including a 10,000-square-foot ballroom), and a 26th floor penthouse level reception area, which features floor-to-ceiling windows and overlooks Parliament and the Ottawa River. Other amenities include a full-service restaurant, 101 Café and Lounge as well as an indoor pool, sauna, fitness room and squash courts. “The addition of this new hotel puts Delta among the largest hotel meeting facilities in Ottawa, strengthens our presence in the city and positions us to gain a larger share of the market, particularly with meetings business,” said Hank Stackhouse, president and CEO, Delta Hotels and Resorts. The renovations will start in June 2011 with completion targeted for March 2012. The hotel will remain open and continue to operate throughout the renovations.

 

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