Ontario foodservice lunch and learn recap

Published July 6, 2018

On June 19, Restaurants Canada hosted the first event in our 2018 Foodservice Lunch & Learn Program, in partnership with Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). The event brought together food and beverage suppliers who were looking to learn how they can better:

  • Connect with foodservice operators
  • Understand the needs and priorities of today’s foodservice operations
  • Grow their business volume distribution

“For people who are looking to expand their foodservice sales, they need to understand what it is that their products bring to the consumer, to the customer,” said Marg MacDonald, Business Development Consultant, OMAFRA. “Not just the store or the restaurant that they are selling too, but actually who’s sitting down, enjoying the products.”

The agenda featured a full morning of learning, including:

  1. Insights on the latest Canadian foodservice trends from Chris Elliott, Restaurants Canada’s Senior Economist
  2. Insider tips from a panel of industry leaders (moderated by award-winning marketing expert, Tony Chapman), including:
    • Andy Sennin, Drake Hotel Properties
    • Peter Vale, Recipe Unlimited (formerly CARA)
    • Brad Heard, Flanagan Foodservice
    • Simon de Groot, Foodservice Sales Professional
  3. Education on the benefits of leveraging local from Barb Smith of Foodland Ontario
  4. A chef-catered lunch experience by Feast On®, followed by an intimate networking session

“We’re thrilled again to be involved with Restaurants Canada, as well as OMAFRA, and this incredible event today for the food and beverage industry,” said Christine Kuzyk, Feast On® Program Manager with Ontario Tourism Alliance. “Our [Feast On®] chef ambassadors did an incredible job highlighting some of the local trends that we’re seeing with Ontario-grown food and beverages.”

Industry professionals also expressed appreciation for what was shared at the event.

“[It was] interesting to hear despite differences between companies, such as CARA [Recipe Unlimted] and ourselves, and distributors such as Flanagans—there’s a commonality that runs between all of us,” said Andy Sennin, Director of Finance at Drake Hotel Properties.

“We’re all experiencing some of the same challenges right now but we’re also presented with the same opportunities,” he said. “We’re seeing the same movement across the industry for local, supporting local and sustainability. It was nice to have that connection across the industry and bringing us together even though we’re quite different companies.”

Restaurants Canada is looking forward to hosting future events with other partners across the country as part of our ongoing Foodservice Lunch & Learn Program.


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