Bill Allen of Aulac, New Brunswick was elected to a one-year term as Chair of the Board of Restaurants Canada (formerly CRFA) at the association’s annual meeting on March 1, 2016.
Bill is president of Fresh Casual Restaurants, a multi-unit franchisee representing several brands throughout the Maritimes, including five Swiss Chalet restaurants, one Harvey’s location, and the Aulac Big Stop Travel Plaza, located in the centre of the Maritimes near the New Brunswick – Nova Scotia border.
He first joined the Restaurants Canada Board of Directors in 2008.
Born in Mississauga, Ontario, Bill moved with his family to Winnipeg, Manitoba and Scarborough, Ontario at a young age, and then on to the East coast as an adolescent in 1976. He took an interest in the food industry at an early age. When he was 13, his grandfather taught him the local art of putting cold smoke on herring and mackerel, and Bill began his first business selling smoked fish. Soon after, with the help of his father, he moved into farming cash crops such as corn, turnip, cabbage and potatoes.
When his family opened a small restaurant in Timber River, New Brunswick called the Lobster Barn, Bill quickly developed an interest in the foodservice industry. He pursued this interest by enrolling in the Hotel and Restaurant Management program in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, administered by New Brunswick Community College, and graduated in 1985. While there, he received several accolades and awards including the Canadian Hospitality Foundation Merit Award and the coveted Seagrams V.O. award of Excellence.
After college, Bill learned the ropes of the foodservice industry working in various roles for JF Food Systems. Next, he joined Judson Foods, a regional foodservice distributor, where he held various positions including sales and marketing manager for Atlantic Canada. In 1993, his entrepreneurial spirit was a driving force motivating him to leave the corporate world and venture into operating full-service truck stops and travel plazas.
Bill’s restaurants employ more than 300 people and have received several industry awards, including Irving Big Stop sales and service awards and Swiss Chalet achievement awards. In addition, several of the Fresh Casual Restaurants have won Readers’ Choice Awards in their cities.
As an instructor of the National Food Safety Training program and the Canadian Code of Practice for Food Safety, Bill enjoys teaching food safety.
Bill is the father of three boys and is a proud grandfather. He and his wife Tracy reside in Aulac, New Brunswick where they have a hobby horse farm.
March 1, 2016