Week of Oct. 5, 2009


July Foodservice Sales Up 0.5 Per cent Over June — CPI Statistics Canada
According to Statistics Canada, July sales of Canadian foodservice and drinking places increased 0.5 per cent above the June level, reaching just over $4.0 billion. StatsCan also reported that the price of food purchased in restaurants in July increased by 0.2 per cent as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Sales increased in full-service restaurants by 0.7 per cent, while limited-service sales rose 0.6 per cent. Sales declines were reported in the contractors, caterers and mobile foodservices sector, which fell -0.9 per cent and sales at drinking places declined -0.7 per cent.

Consumer Confidence Up for Seventh Month in a Row — Conference Board
Canadian consumer confidence rose for the seventh month in a row in September, according to the Conference Board of Canada. This is the longest streak of consecutive increases since 2002. The monthly survey found that confidence rose 2.5 per cent during September, lifting the Index to a reading of 90.9 after falling to 67.7 late last year. The Conference Board of Canada is also reporting that more consumers feel optimistic about future employment opportunities and that now is a good time to make a major purchase. The number of respondents who feel good about their current financial situation increased, but there was also some pessimism about the future. By contrast, consumer confidence in the U.S. in September dropped to 53.1 from a revised 54.5 in August, according to the U.S. Conference Board. The drop is attributed in large part to rising unemployment, which has been forecasted to hit 10 per cent this year (although the monthly rate of job losses has been slowing). Meny Grauman, senior economist, CIBC World Markets, commented, “The Canadian household experience is quite a bit different from what’s going on in the U.S., [where the] consumer is still struggling to adjust after a very difficult period that has seen home prices collapse. Many are still in a very difficult financial situation even though a recovery is starting to get underway.”

Canada’s Economy Remained Flat in July
As a result of mining shutdowns, and a drop in construction activity, Canada’s economy remained flat in July, according to Statistics Canada. This follows economic growth of 0.1 per cent in June, which was the first month of expansion since July 2008. “There was an increase in the accommodation and foodservice sector,” the report reads. “The strength of the manufacturing and wholesale trade sectors was attributable to a rebound in motor vehicle and parts production.”

Vancouver’s Cascadia Hotel is Canada’s First 100 Per cent Zero-Waste Property
Vancouver’s Cascadia Hotel & Suites, an extended-stay hotel, has become the first hotel in Canada to be a 100 per cent Zero-Waste property, according to the environmental services firm WasteLess. Under a program launched in May 2009, the hotel has successfully eliminated all waste previously sent to landfills and has become an industry leader in eco-accommodation. The hotel has achieved a 100 per cent landfill-diversion rate, saving 53 cubic yards of landfill. The program calls for colour-coded service containers to make it easy for hotel guests and employees to recycle a variety of materials. These included: mixed container recycling for commonly recycled materials; organic recycling containers in kitchens, lunchrooms and washrooms; and alternative recovery for non-recyclable materials that are redirected to a Waste-to-Energy facility that converts garbage into steam and electricity. Other materials such as electronics, batteries, paint and old equipment are collected on an as-needed basis and then recycled. Cascadia Hotel & Suites GM, Dan McIlhone, commented, “The feedback from hotel guests has been very positive and our employees are also excited and amazed by the volume of recyclable and organic material the hotel produces.” The Cascadia Hotel & Suites is one of 25 properties managed by SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts, based in Vancouver. SilverBirch’s focus is on mid-market to upscale, full-service and extended-stay hotels.

Fairmont Opens Three Hotels on Ancient “Silk Road”
Toronto-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of three new properties along the ancient “Silk Road” trade route across Asia. The properties are the 567-room Fairmont Nile City, in Cairo, Egypt, the 200-room Fairmont Yangcheng Lake in Kunshan, China, and the 369-room Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Fairmont plans additional Silk Road properties in 2010, adding hotels in Makkah (Mecca, Saudi Arabia), Jaipur, India and the Fairmont Peace Hotel, a Shanghai landmark for over a century. Fairmont currently has more than 20 new properties in development, including London’s The Savoy, which will re-open within the next year following an extensive restoration program.

Amex to Offer Reward Points; Targets Canadians 25 and Older
Restaurant and retail store customers are being targeted by American Express Co. in a major marketing initiative to be launched October 12. Amex is planning to appeal to a broader demographic than its traditional “luxury” class cardholders, reaching all Canadians aged 25 years and older by offering rewards such as Aeroplan Miles, Air Miles, cash back and its own proprietary program that includes a variety of options. In announcing the new initiative themed “Realize the Potential,” Denise Pickett, president of American Express Canada, said, “Canada is one of the most important international markets for American Express, and I think it’s because we’ve grown as a market.” Amex chairman and CEO, Kenneth Chenault, explained to a July investors’ meeting, “Just as in prior recessions, our aim is to be in position to gain competitive advantage once the economy begins to improve. ”Canada’s multibillion-dollar credit card market is dominated by bank-issued credit cards. Despite criticism from the Canadian Bankers Association, about new Federal rules to protect consumers coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2010, several banks have announced new credit card initiatives. In spite of the recession, the authoritative Nilson Report shows that purchase transactions generated by Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards in Canada increased 9.3 per cent to $2.65 billion in 2008.

Coke’s Far Coast Coffee to Get 2010 Winter Olympics Boost
Coca-Cola’s Far Coast Coffee, currently sold in more than 200 restaurants, theatres and sporting venues across Canada, will get a major Canadian and international boost at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Coca-Cola has a monopoly of all Olympic venues as the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage provider. Only Coke’s soft drinks, juices and bottled water and its Far Coast coffee, tea and cocoa will be allowed to be served at the Games. Far Coast Coffee was launched in September 2006 through concept stores in Toronto, Singapore and in and around the company’s Atlanta headquarters; these prototype locations are now closed.

Ronald McDonald House Toronto to Triple Capacity
Ronald McDonald House Toronto (RMH Toronto) has launched a public $30-million campaign to build a new “House”. At 96 bedrooms, it will be triple the size of the present house and the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world. Currently RMH Toronto is unable to accommodate 70 per cent of families who apply each year. The average length of stay at Ronald McDonald House Toronto is 51 days. To date, through various generous donors such as Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Ontario Provincial Government, RMH Toronto has raised $20 million. The campaign must reach commitments of $24 million before ground can be broken at what’s now a parking lot located at 240 McCaul St., steps away from major hospitals. The campaign’s theme is: What Does Healing Feel Like? For more information, click here.

Maritime Tour Marks CRFA’s 65th Anniversary
As part of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s (CRFA) 65th anniversary celebrations, CRFA chairperson Brenda O’Reilly of St. John’s and Halifax restaurateur Chris
Tzaneteas presented Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter with a personalized chef jacket. The event also introduced CRFA’s new president and CEO, Garth Whyte, who has led the association since mid-June. The meeting was part of a Maritime tour that includes meetings with P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz and New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham. “The restaurant industry makes a huge contribution to employment, tourism and sense of community,” said Whyte. CRFA maintains an Atlantic office headed up by vice-president Luc Erjavec, and the association owns and operates the annual Apex foodservice expo serving the Atlantic region.

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Launches Canada-Wide
Starbucks VIA Ready Brew instant coffee is now available at all Canadian Starbucks locations.
Priced at $1 a cup, it was promoted through the weekend and into today with the Starbucks VIA Taste Challenge. The Challenge invites customers to taste Colombia Starbucks VIA alongside fresh-brewed Pike Place Roast coffee and guess which one is the instant brew. The launch also marked the end of the 15-day Starbucks VIA Road Trip, which featured comedian Erin Foley, who travelled coast-to-coast to preview the new coffee. (The trip is featured here.) The new instant product is made through a proprietary process from 100 per cent natural roasted Arabica coffee beans. In introducing the product, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, told the media, “There’s a dramatic difference. It’s the difference between fresh-squeezed orange juice and frozen concentrate.”

Starbucks Testing iPhone Payment and Store Locator Systems
Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. is testing Apple’s latest iPhone payment and store locater systems in selected stores in Seattle and San Francisco, according to The Daily Telegraph. This is the first time Starbucks has released an application for the iPhone. The Starbucks Card Mobile App gives users instant access to their Starbucks accounts, which they can use to pay for their lattes and balance their accounts. The payment system uses an electronic barcode that, when read by a compatible device, brings up pre-set information that appears on the iPhone’s screen and is then scanned by the Starbucks barista, automatically debiting the correct amount from the user’s Starbucks account. Starbucks has also launched a second iPhone app called myStarbucks which will plot the location of nearby Starbucks’ stores on a map. It will also tell users the calorie content of their favourite latte.

Tourism Spending Down -0.8 Per cent — StatsCan
Tourism spending in Canada has fallen for a fourth consecutive quarter, dropping -0.8 per cent in the second quarter, according to Statistics Canada. Over these four quarters, tourism spending fell -2.9 per cent. Spending by international visitors to Canada declined -1.6 per cent in the second quarter, the sixth quarterly drop in a row and the 15th decline in 18 quarters. Spending by Canadians on tourism within Canada also declined -0.6 per cent, following three quarters of more modest declines. Employment in the sector fell -0.9 per cent, affecting the accommodation, air transportation and travel services industries. These changes were acerbated by the cancellation of Canadian flights to Mexico after the H1N1 influenza outbreak and the introduction of new passport requirement rules at the U.S. border on June 1.

JSP Industries Celebrates 40th Anniversary with New Website
To celebrate 40 years in business, JSP Industries Inc., based in Ste-Melanie, Que., has launched a new website. The Canadian manufacturer of fine hotel furniture for North American and international hospitality markets has supplied furnishings for hundreds of thousands of guest rooms. The improved site is easier to navigate and provides a wealth of information and a substantial gallery of images of its entire product line.

B.C. Foodservice Trans-Fat Limits Now in Effect
British Columbia restaurants and foodservice operations are now required to limit trans fats in menu items. The new regulation came into effect last Wednesday, Sept. 30. The new rules require establishments to restrict the amount of trans fats in the food they serve to two per cent of total fat in margarines and under five per cent total fat content in other foods. These limits reflect the recommendations of Health Canada’s Trans Fat Task Force.

Canadian Business Travel Spending to Rise 15 Per cent in 2010 — American Express
Travel by Canadian businesses will lead to an increase in travel spending by 15 per cent in 2010, or approximately $18.6 million, according to a forecast by American Express. It also calls for travel spending to surpass the peaks reached in 2008 within two years. Amex’s Canadian outlook in the 2010 Global Business Travel Forecast significantly exceeds that of the U.S. (+1 per cent) and the declines expected across Europe. “This year has really been a change of focus for a lot of companies,” said Herve Sedky, vice-president, Amex Global Advisory Services. Speaking in a conference call for media and analysts, he added, “The current environment has really become the new normal.” In 2009, Canadian companies cut the amount they spent on travel by 18 per cent.

Delta Hotels Employees Find Favourite Hidden Gems for Guests
Employees at 44 Delta Hotels and Resorts across Canada are sharing their interests, tastes and experiences with guests through the Delta Recommends program. Employees’ personal recommendations on the best places to eat, browse, workout and relax are shared. Selections are posted here. For example, in Calgary, employees at Delta Bow Valley, Delta Calgary Airport and Delta Calgary South chose 100 Wines by David Walker as one of the city’s best kept secrets. Also selected were Dairy Lane Café and MacKays Ice Cream. In Montreal, employees at Delta Centre-Ville and Delta Montreal chose Le Fouvrac, a fine-food store that also serves as a coffee shop.

McCain Launches New Grab-And-Go Breakfast Solution
McCain Canada has launched a new breakfast product called Early Risers, a hand-held meal for restaurants that it believes will become more popular than the more traditional breakfast sandwiches. “Early Risers are perfect for quick-service restaurants and their customers,” said Cindy Wennerstrom, customer marketing manager at McCain Foods (Canada). “They’re quick and easy to prepare, there are no messy dripping sauces, they are crispy when baked or fried and they are ultra-portable, so they can fit with even the most hectic morning routine.” Early Risers come in two flavours in both a patty and nugget format.

Four Points by Sheraton Cambridge Opens — 100th Four Points in North America
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has opened the 124-room Four Points by Sheraton Cambridge. This property is the 100th Four Points by Sheraton to open in North America. The hotel is also the third Four Points by Sheraton prototype to open so far this year, which is a key part of the brand’s comprehensive global rejuvenation campaign. Owned by Preston Hospitality Inc., Four Points by Sheraton Cambridge offers 1,500 sq. ft. of flexible meeting facilities. The hotel’s Preston Lounge & Bar also serves breakfast and dinner daily.

ORHMA Partners with OTEC as Exclusive Training Supplier
The Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) has partnered with the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) to be the exclusive training company for ORHMA. Tony Elenis, president and CEO of ORHMA, commented, “In doing this we are building a stronger hospitality industry in Ontario. OTEC possesses the tools, the talent and a wide spectrum of training topics to deliver quality training.” He added, “Training provides large financial benefits to an organization and managers must not regress over short-term thinking of cost. Our most important resource is people.”


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