Week of Sept. 21, 2009

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Vancouver’s Ritz-Carlton to Restart Construction in March 2010
Vancouver’s new 58-storey, 127-room Ritz-Carlton hotel is back in play. Construction on the project was stopped last October, leaving a massive excavation where the tower was planned. The $500-million Holborn Group project, designed by Arthur Erickson, has been re-filed at City Hall calling for a slightly higher tower and additional residential density beyond the 123 luxury condos proposed on the top 38 floors. Holborn Group president, Joo Kim Tiah, said in a Globe and Mail story, “We are asking for additional height. We are still going to be high-end, but the price point is definitely coming down.” If the revisions are approved, work could restart by next March, reflecting an expected stop for construction downtown during the Olympics. Ritz-Carlton spokesperson Vivian Deuschl added, “Our company has always been extremely interested in the prospect of a five-star hotel in Vancouver.”

Tim Hortons Heats Up Competition in New York Market
Tim Hortons’ New York City franchisee, the multi-brand Riese Organization, which recently converted 13 stores from Dunkin’ Donuts to Tim Hortons, gave away more than 7,000 US$5 coupons to commuters entering the city last Monday. The annual “Back-to-the-Grind” Riese event featured Tim Hortons for the first time, offering coffee and baked goods. Riese operates some 80 restaurants in New York City under the Tim Hortons, T.G.I. Friday’s, Houlihan’s, Pizza Hut and KFC brands. The Oakville, Ont.-based Tim Hortons also started accepting MasterCard PayPass at all of its 400 U.S. locations in addition to the traditional magnetic-stripe cards. Most Canadian Tim Hortons’ restaurants began accepting MasterCard PayPass in 2007. Customers using MasterCard PayPass to make purchases simply tap their card or device at a check-out for faster transactions, greater payment flexibility and less time spent waiting in line.

Canadian Restaurant Sales up in May — NPD
The Canadian restaurant sector’s sales increased four per cent in May, compared to the same month last year, according to the Eating Out Quarterly report of the NPD Group, Toronto; overall, customer traffic increased by two per cent. All sectors showed gains except for fine dining, which lost 16 per cent in revenue stemming from a 10 per cent drop in traffic. By sector, the market share, traffic and sales figures reported were: QSR — 60.3 per cent, +two per cent, +five per cent; family/midscale — 13 per cent, +three per cent, +four per cent; casual — 14 per cent, +three per cent, +six per cent; fine dining — 0.8 per cent, -10 per cent, -16 per cent; retail foodservice — 11.8 per cent, 0 per cent, +four per cent. “The casual [sector] shows strong growth suggesting customers are not trading down,” NPD reports.

New IHG Program Offers Airline Seats on 400 Carriers Worldwide
InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) Priority Club Rewards has introduced Flights Anywhere, the first hotel loyalty program to offer the flexibility of redeeming points and cash for flights on more than 400 airline carriers. The program is now available in nearly 20 countries, including the U.S., Canada and most countries in Europe. Don Berg, vice-president, Loyalty
Programs, IHG, explained, “Our customers are looking for ways to stretch their wallets when they travel. With Flights Anywhere they can now pay directly for airline tickets using Priority Club points. And they’sll never have to worry about seat availability or blackout dates when redeeming Priority Club points for flights.” Priority Club points can be redeemed worldwide for the entire cost of an airline ticket (including all taxes and applicable fees), or combined with cash for a ticket, enabling consumers to “buy” a ticket at a significant discount. There are no blackout dates or limits on available tickets.

Joey Restaurant Group Debuts First Ontario Unit
Joey Restaurant Group, based in Vancouver, with 18 locations throughout B.C., Alberta,
Manitoba and Washington State, has opened its first restaurant in Ontario, the 9,000-square-foot Joey DonMills grill/lounge at the Shops at Don Mills in Toronto. “Since our inception, the Joey Restaurant brand has become synonymous with an edgy menu, engaging service and contemporary design to create unforgettable experiences for our guests,” said Jeff Fuller, president and CEO. “We have been exploring various outposts in Toronto for our first Ontario location for some time, and chose the Shops at Don Mills because, like our concept, it is groundbreaking in the way it caters to sophisticated yet unpretentious urbanites.” The globally inspired menu is the creation of chef, Chris Mills, with signature dishes such as Ahi Tuna Taco, Lobster Grilled Cheese, Bombay Buttered Chicken and Panang Prawn Curry Bowl. The drink menu offers more than 60 wines from around the world. In addition, 14 red wines and 10 white wines will be offered by the glass using the innovative Enomatic wine-serving system.

Matthew Sparks Joins Wyndham, Responsible for Western Canada
Wyndham Hotel Group, Parsippany, N.J., has appointed Matthew Sparks as senior vice- president of Development for the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand with responsibility for management and franchise agreements in the Western United States and Western Canada. An industry veteran, Sparks was most recently senior vice-president of Global Development for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. He previously held senior and executive level roles at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Marriott International and Westin Hotels and Resorts.

MAFSI and FCSI Conferences Hit Toronto
The 2009 Annual Conference of the Manufacturers’s Agents Association for the Foodservice
Industry (MAFSI), Atlanta, gets underway tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 22, at Toronto’s Westin
Harbour Castle hotel. It runs through Friday, Sept. 25. On Sept. 24 and 25, the Special Super
Regional meeting of the worldwide Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) is also being held at the same venue. One of the keynote speakers in the joint program is the award winning Canadian professor, Ken Wong, marketing and strategic planning expert and researcher at Queen’s University’s School of Business. In January of this year, the 1,500-member FCSI, formerly headquartered in Louisville, Ky, moved its headquarters to Rockwood, Ont. A consultant member of FCSI for 18 years, Scott Legge, president of the Rockwood-based Legge Executive Group, was confirmed as FCSI worldwide executive director.

Radisson Plaza Opens in Mississauga, Ont., Earns HAC Four-Key Rating
The newly built, 100-room, all-suite Radisson Plaza Mississauga Toronto Airport hotel held its official grand opening last Thursday. Owners Ginni and Harpreet Sethi, GM Nick Kochhar and
Carlson Hotels’ regional vice-president, Full-Service Hotels, Sean Shannon, officiated at the opening. This is the first Canadian Radisson to be awarded the prestigious Plaza designation in more than 16 years. The $36-million hotel offers guest rooms ranging from 400 to 1,500 square feet with fireplace, complimentary wired and wireless high-speed internet access, two LCD TVs, IP phones, safe, microwave, mini bar/fridge and complimentary bottled water and week-day local newspaper. The hotel has also been recognized with a four-key rating by the Hotel Association of Canada.

Food Safety Forum Emphasizes Field-to-Fork Safety Compliance
The sixth annual Food Safety Forum, presented by Toronto’s TrainCan Inc., was held last week at the Toronto Airport Hilton. It attracted attendees from foodservice and hospitality, retail grocery and C-stores, public health, food manufacturing and food production sectors. Keith Warriner, assistant professor, Department of Food Sciences, University of Guelph, set the pace with food chain presentations during the course of the day-long event on Field and Transportation; Processing and Packaging; and Retail and Foodservice. Responding to a question from the floor about organic products, he said, “The prices people pay for organics are often a tax on the naive, but, on the other hand, it has opened up new opportunities for small farmers, which is a good thing.”
Joanne Allen, corporate quality manager, Kraft Canada Inc., presented a candid and thorough overview of the company’s integrated quality chain management focus on preventative systems for both food retail and foodservice products. A key factor in operating this system is rapid traceability in the event of any problem. She said the new U.S. FDA mantra is, “24-hour traceability of all ingredients, all process, used in the end product.”
Beth Driscoll, senior project manager, Guelph Food Technology Centre, explained the genesis of The Canadian Retail Food Safety Manual, which was created by a grocery association committee comprised of a handful of industry experts for use in the grocery sector. The manual was launched with a training program in 2007. Although there have been a few setbacks, there has also been much positive feedback.
Mike Byerley, director of Quality Assurance for Compass Group Canada, offered a summary of proper food safety processes – from field-to-fork – on the foodservice level. He touched on everything from purchasing, receiving, storage and cooking/preparation as well as service, offering tips along the way. He stressed the importance of buying from approved purchasers, receiving all food directly from the delivery truck and understanding the health dangers associated with self-serve buffets. As his talk drew to a close, he challenged patrons to think outside the box and avoid falling prey to complacency.
Gene Jochen, training and development manager, Sysco Central Ontario Inc., offered a presentation on the phases of food safety compliance with photos of the company’s Peterborough, Ont.-based facility including receiving, storage and shipping, which provides five different temperature and humidity environments. He pointed out that Sysco is equipped to service 99 per cent of the U.S. and Canadian market and must maintain safety standards exceeding those of any one jurisdiction.

Chilean Wine Tasting, Oct. 7, at Toronto’s Distillery District
The fifth annual Toronto Chilean Wine Tasting for professionals will take place Oct. 7, from
1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Toronto’s Distillery District’s Fermenting Cellar, Building 6. The Trade
Commission of Chile stated, “Chile produces unparalleled wines that continue to prove why it is Ontario’s fastest-growing wine region.” For more information, click here.

Centennial College Hosts Heritage Tourism Symposium, Oct. 7-9, Toronto
Centennial College, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culture and The Culture and Heritage
Institute are hosting the Cultural and Heritage Tourism Symposium, Oct. 7-9, at Fort York in
Toronto. With the theme “Sense of Place and Heritage Trails: Realizing the War of 1812
Bicentennial”, the event includes an international, multi-disciplinary group of more than 20 speakers and panellists. For more information, click here or call (416) 289-5000 ext 3360.

DiRoNA Conference, Oct. 25-27, Dallas
The 2009 DiRoNA Conference of the 800-member Distinguished Restaurants of North
America, will be held Oct. 25 to 27 at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel in Dallas. With the theme
“Stars Above Texas”, the educational session and grand gala will bring together culinary stars from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Highlighting the program will be a wine perspective presented by Guy Noel Stout, one of only 150 master sommeliers in the world. Stout is corporate director of Beverage Education for Glazer’s Family of Companies. For information: dirona@hqtrs.co.

CRFA Urges Industry Petition in Support of Ontario Licensees
“The average profit margin for a drinking place in Ontario is -0.3 per cent — that means they’re losing money just by being in business,” says the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA). In a media release directed at the Ontario government, the CRFA says, “It’s essential that Premier McGuinty understands how the current system penalizes licensees — and it’s time that licensed operators received the fair treatment they deserve.” Since 2000, more than 283 bars, taverns, pubs, cocktail lounges and nightclubs have closed across the province. The province is currently reviewing all of the taxes applied to beverage alcohol as part of Ontario’s sales tax harmonization program to begin in July 2010. An industry petition entitled, “Fair treatment for Ontario licensees…it’s time!” is available here.

Hotel Technology Makeover is Offered in Competition
The Ultimate Hotel Technology Makeover Contest offering free next-generation technology to two winners is open until Oct. 20. Launched at the HITEC show in late June, a group of hospitality industry vendors have come together to deliver next-generation technology for two lucky winners. Full information is posted here. All entrants must answer the question, “Why are you a good candidate for a technology makeover?” Participating vendors are: MSI, Libra OnDemand, Accuvia Consulting and Hospitality Technology magazine. Additional vendors may be joining this group.

U.S. Agencies Urge Ban on Fast-Food Outlets Near Schools
The U.S.-based Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council have released a report recommending that local governments curb childhood obesity by banning fast-food restaurants from operating near schools, playgrounds and in selected neighbourhoods. The report, “Local
Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity,” also recommends taxes on high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks and wants to mandate calorie and other nutritional information on restaurant menus. Restricting development of fast-food operations for health reasons has been implemented in some municipalities, including New York and Los Angeles.

Holiday Inn Marks 50 Years in Canada with Re-launch Campaign
The 126 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in Canada are being refreshed as part of a
US$1-billion global re-launch campaign by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). The event coincides with the 50th anniversary of Holiday Inn’s presence in Canada. In 1959, Holiday Inn opened its first-ever international hotel, the Holiday Inn Montreal Airport, in Montreal. IHG believes the $1-billion re-launch project, which will impact 3,300 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn
Express hotels worldwide, will be completed by the end of 2010. It is the largest in the history of the hospitality industry. As part of the re-launch, Holiday Inn is offering a global “Key to Change” promotion here, giving guests the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to a re-launched Holiday Inn of their choice, anywhere in the world.

U.S. Foodservice Industry to Suffer Second Year of Sales Decline — Technomic
Chicago-based Technomic Inc. is predicting the first consecutive-year decrease in U.S. foodservice sales since the 1970s. Speaking at the firm’s annual 2009-2010 U.S. Forecast and Outlook conference last week, Technomic’s Tim Powell said, “A lot of people are not going to feel good about going out to eat. There’s a ways to go before we see a rebound.” The event was co-sponsored by the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association. The report predicts that U.S. foodservice sales will decline by 3.8 per cent this year to US$588.50 billion, assuming an inflation rate of 2.5 per cent. Looking ahead, 2010 will see a nominal decline in sales of 0.8 per cent, allowing for an inflation rate of 1.5 per cent.

Knights Inn Opens Hotel in Cornwall, Ont.
The twentieth Knights Inn property has been opened in Canada. The Knights Inn Cornwall, owned by Sarwat Siddiqi, was opened in the renovated Cornwall Lodge in Cornwall, Ont. Additional renovations are projected to be completed by the end of this year.

Experts Claim Canadian Sodium Intake Nearing Crisis Levels
A new report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal claims that reducing dietary sodium consumption in Canada “would likely decrease the prevalence of hypertension by 30 per cent, reduce hypertension-related cardiovascular events by 8.6 per cent and save about $2 billion annually in health-care costs, even without considering the impact of other sodium-related health risks.” In Canada, the average daily sodium intake is more than two times the highest recommended level. Adequate sodium intake is 1500 mg/d sodium for those aged nine to 50. The article states, “Although voluntary action by the food industry may be the preferred option to initiate sodium reduction, its absence calls for governments to use their regulatory capacity to bring about change.”

 

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