Week of Oct. 25, 2010



McDonald’s Earnings Soar
Third-quarter earnings for McDonald’s Corporation, Oak Brook, Ill., have risen by 12 per cent on a global comparable sales increase of six per cent (U.S. up 5.3 per cent, Europe up 4.1 per cent and Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) up 8.1 per cent). For the month of September, global same-store sales rose 6.1 per cent, U.S. sales rose 5.7 per cent, Europe’s sales increased 4.9 per cent and APMEA’s sale spiked 6.2 per cent. McDonald’s U.S., which represents 35 per cent of global sales, attributes its gains, including a seven per cent increase in operating income, to the nationwide promotion of McCafé frappes and smoothies and the affordability of the brand’s Dollar Menu. McDonald’s customer focus, menu innovation and the ongoing modernization of our restaurants continue to drive our business momentum,” said Jim Skinner, CEO. “As we continue to invest in our business and extend the McDonald’s brand, we will create more ways to satisfy consumers looking for high quality, great tasting food that’s convenient and affordable.” Skinner added, “As we begin the final quarter of 2010, our momentum continues with October’s global comparable sales expected to increase five per cent to six per cent.” Interestingly, McDonald’s shares recorded a session high of $79.48 last week.

Callebaut Loses Namesake Calgary Company
Bernard Callebaut has accepted his fate and is preparing to move on after news that a bid to keep his company fell flat. Callebaut’s nearly 30-year-old namesake chocolate business, the Calgary-based Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, went into receivership in August, as ATB Financial was reportedly owed nearly $4 million. The business included the Calgary factory and headquarters and eight corporate stores. More recently, the receiver, Deloitte & Touche, recommended the assets be sold to a company backed by Callebaut’s former VP of Operations, Brian Beck and a dealer of three stores in Edmonton. The good news is Beck is promising that many of the employees who lost their jobs will get them back, and Callebaut is already talking about his return to the chocolate business. “We [are] going to get out of the ashes and we [are] going to start again. A plan is in the making,” Callebaut was quoted as saying by the Calgary Herald. “My name is Bernard Callebaut. I’m an individual that makes chocolates, and I’m going to keep on doing it.”

Food Allergies Affect Eight per cent of Canadians
Food allergies affect approximately eight per cent of Canadians, according to the national survey A Population-Based Study on Peanut, Tree Nut, Fish, Shellfish and Sesame Allergy Prevalence in Canada, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The study also found that many allergen sufferers aren’t properly diagnosed and continue to be exposed to allergens, leading to increased risk of anaphylaxis. Researchers in Montreal, Hamilton and Ottawa collected data from 10,596 households across the country (for a total of 9,667 individuals) in 2008 and 2009. According to the researchers, hospitalization due to anaphylaxis caused by food allergens increased 350 per cent in the past 10 years. For more information, click here.

Second Canadian Menchie’s to Open in Toronto
The “Mix, Weigh, Pay” self-service frozen yogurt concept, offered by the Encino, Calif.,-based  Menchie’s Group, Inc., is set to launch a second Canadian location in Toronto at 511 Bloor St. West; the first location opened in Vaughan, Ont., in the spring. Each store features a rotating selection of self-service frozen yogurt flavours with many toppings. In May, Amit Kleinberger, CEO of Menchie’s, said the company will have 10 Canadian locations in development in 2010 with more than 100 new units in the next four years.

Poutine Plus Opens in T.O.
Marketing guru Chris Desjardins has made the move from the boardroom to the kitchen, opening a Toronto eatery that celebrates an indulgent staple of Canadian culture — poutine. Poutine Plus is the latest in a string of Toronto poutine shops, but Desjardins has put his stamp on the category by infusing the traditional cheese, fry and gravy dish with everything from Montreal smoked meat to maple hotdogs. Also on the menu are hot sandwiches and Nathan’s Hot Dogs from New York. “Our customers will want to eat in our restaurant, because we’re different than other places. The theme is very Canadian. It’s similar to a traditional Montreal diner with hockey and sporting memorabilia. And, the menu has tastes from Montreal and New York. [We] even have maple sugar products,” says Desjardins.

Nous Aidons Gala Announced; New We Care Website Launched
The 10th Annual Nous Aidons Gala Dinner & Awards, in support of Friends of We Care, will take place Nov. 13 at the Bonsecours Market in the Old Port of Montreal in collaboration with the College Lasalle. This year’s gala will be chaired by Serge Paquette, who’s heading up Nous Aidons and who is president of Agropur Division Natrel; he will honour two industry leaders. For more information, click here.

The foodservice and hospitality industry’s organization for sending physically disabled kids to camp, Friends of We Care Inc., Aurora, Ont., has a new and improved website. Designed by the Sabre Group, it offers links to social media sites, such as Facebook, You Tube, Flickr, Linked In, Twitter and RSS Feed. What’s more, users can make direct donations on the site, which features a new photo gallery and more.

McDonald’s Continues to Green its Units
McDonald’s Corp., Oak Brook, Ill., has opened its fourth LEED gold-certified restaurant in Riverside, Calif., which, along with its certified headquarters, brings to five its LEED units. The honour has been given to less than 250 buildings in the entire country. The prestigious green building awards are presented by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The 44-year-old Riverside McDonald’s re-opened after an extensive remodel to include many green features, such as some 300 photovoltaic panels to generate solar energy power, light-coloured landscaping to reduce heat emissions, native drought-tolerant plants to reduce water consumption and low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage. Other LEED-certified McDonald’s units are located in Cary, N.C., Savannah, Ga. and Chicago.

Chipotle and Oliver Unite Against Processed Foods
Chipotle Mexican Grill, which operates in the U.S and Ontario, has partnered with Jamie Oliver for a $1-million fundraiser designed to highlight, in their words, “the horrors of processed food.” This Halloween, Sunday, Oct. 31, customers who dine between 6 p.m. and store closing, and are dressed as their favourite, or most feared processed food product, will be treated to a burrito, made with naturally raised ingredients, for only $2. Proceeds from the “Boorito 2010: The Horrors of Processed Food” program — up to $1 million — will benefit Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution campaign. “We have begun a national movement to change the way America eats,” says international celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. “The campaign is about making fresh food accessible to everyone in their schools, communities and homes. With help from Chipotle, we can help people make better food choices when they eat out.” As part of its Boorito program, Chipotle will also host an online contest, with a prize for the most horrifying processed food costume. To enter, customers should take a photo in their costumes at a Chipotle restaurant on Halloween and post it online. While the promotion has a light-hearted Halloween theme, the food revolution is nothing new at the Mexican chain. Chipotle’s fresh ingredients include naturally raised meats from animals that are raised in a humane way — on a vegetarian diet without antibiotics or added hormones. The chain also features local and organically grown produce and dairy products made with milk from cows not treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone).   

Dalmore Reveals Six-Figure Bottling
For those rare whisky aficionados, for whom an 18-year-old single-malt simply won’t do, a particularly exclusive offering has recently been announced. And, rest assured, it’s not for the faint of heart, or light of wallet. The first bottle of whisky in the world to break the six-figure price barrier in British pounds was revealed by the Scotland-based Dalmore distillery, which sold two bottles for GBP100,000 each. The 64-year-old Trinitas, named because there were three bottles produced, was acquired by a luxury whisky lover in the U.S. and a renowned whisky investor in the U.K. The third bottle of the record-breaking spirit will be sold at the Whisky Show in London at the end of October, but organizers are keeping the exact details of the exclusive sale under wraps. Trinitas is believed to contain some of the rarest and oldest stocks of whisky in the world, some of which have been maturing in the distillery on the shores of the Cromarty Firth for more than 140 years.

Toronto’s Gourmet Food and Wine Expo Preview
Journalists and food and wine industry insiders gathered last week at Toronto’s Ruby Watchco, for the official media launch of this year’s Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. Hosted by the Food Network’s Kevin Brauch, guests were treated to a delectable selection of nibbles from Ruby Watchco chef, Lora Kirk and a sneak peak of a few InterVin international wine award, gold medal winners. Standouts included Coldhills 2008 Pinot Noir from Australia, Spy 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Ontario’s Norman Hardie, 2008 County Pinot Noir. The full list of winners will be featured prominently at the expo and will also be announced in an upcoming issue of Vines magazine. As an interesting twist to this year’s show, one of the featured wine regions will be the state of Texas. Not known on this side of the border for its viticulture, representatives from Texas Tourism told attendees that the Longhorn State is actually home to more than 150 wineries and is the fifth-largest wine producing state in the union. The main event takes place from Nov.18 to 21 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Sheraton and Westin to Undergo Guestroom Makeovers
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, White Plains, N.Y., is giving two of its major brands, Sheraton and Westin, eco-friendly guestroom makeovers, and Canada’s Sheraton Red Deer in Alberta will serve as one of the prototypes in early 2011. According to a Starwood announcement, the company is presenting changes that are “highly functional, globally relevant and designed to reflect each brand’s distinct personality.” The new room designs, created by Starwood’s in-house brand design team, led by Erin Hoover, vice-president of Design, apply key findings from extensive in-room behaviour research, which indicated a desire for a greater level of stylish functionality — resulting in design specifically targeted to address travellers’ biggest pet peeves. The new room designs will be featured in new hotels and renovation projects globally across both brands.

The new Sheraton guestrooms recognize the brand’s history as a global industry icon, using rich colour palettes with pops of accent colours and modern interpretations of classic herringbone, basket-weave and geometric patterns. The first Sheraton guestrooms to be remodelled include the Sheraton Red Deer and the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center, New York, N.Y., to be renovated in early 2011.

The new Westin guestrooms build on the brand’s philosophy of preserving wellness on the road while evoking a sense of balance inspired by natural elements, and will feature neutral colour palettes, natural woods and stone. The first to reflect the new look will be the Westin Phoenix, which is scheduled to open February 2011 and The Westin Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, which will undergo a full renovation in early 2011.

ORHMA to Offer Pilot Green-Eats Program; Reacts to Good Government Bill
The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) has launched a new pilot program Green-Eats for restaurant members in Toronto. Created in partnership with Toronto Hydro and Enbridge Gas, the goal is to reduce the cost of energy and water by encouraging restaurant owners/operators to retrofit their properties with newer, more efficient equipment. Incentives are available from the local utilities to help defray the cost of energy and water efficiency retrofits. On Oct. 28, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., a free Green-Eats Expo will be held at the Hyatt Regency Toronto on King in Toronto. “We have been active with the ‘energy’ file now and our members are asking — so we are acting on it,” said Fatima Finnegan, ORHMA’s director of Corporate Marketing and Development. For more information, click here.

And, an Ontario Good Government bill has been introduced, which will result in the mandate for the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) being changed for the better for restaurants and bars, according to ORHMA. While ORHMA points to a good working relationship with the AGCO in recent years, there has been disagreement about the AGCO’s role as an adjudicator. ORHMA believes putting the adjudication process in the hands of the License Appeals Tribunal is a better answer. The new system answers the call to move it over to the License Appeals Tribunal.

Canadian Super 8 Properties Garner Accolades
The Super 8 Global conference held in Las Vegas, Nev., gave six Canadian Super 8 staff prestigious awards for outstanding lodging experiences at their respective properties. Tonya Henry of the Super 8 Peterborough, Ont., received the Employee of the Year Award for Front of the House; Kevin Heppner of the Super 8 Saskatoon received the Employee of the Year Award for Heart of the House; Janalyn Smith, Amherst N.S. and Vanessa Kosteroski, Saskatoon, were each recognized as General Managers of the Year for the North and Western Regions. The Top 8 Award for overall property excellence was given to Super 8s in Ponoka, Alta., Camrose, Alta., and Kapuskasing, Ont. “Our Canadian properties are judged alongside their U.S. counterparts, which means that among over 2,000 properties across North America they’ve come out on top; only a few awards are given each year. We’re extremely proud of this accomplishment,” says Ian McAuley, president of Superior Lodging Corp., the Calgary-based territorial developer for the Super 8 brand in Canada.


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