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Restaurants Canada Appoints Kelly Higginson as New President and CEO


As former Chief Operating Officer of Restaurants Canada and over 25 years of experience in hospitality operations, Higginson steps in to deliver impact

Today, Restaurants Canada (RC), the not-for-profit member-based association representing Canada’s foodservice sector, has announced Kelly Higginson as new President and CEO, effective immediately. The news is also accompanied by the announcement that former President and CEO, Christian Buhagiar, who joined RC in 2022, has departed from the organization.

“It is truly an honour to be taking on this role. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the business of hospitality is an integral part of who I am now, and who I’ve been for a long time,” said Higginson. “Canadian restaurants have hit a pivotal moment in our industry’s post-pandemic recovery. With this, we need to offer our members strong leadership and advocacy to retain those already in foodservice, while also looking forward to elevate our sector entirely, reminding Canadians that foodservice is a $100 billion industry and the 4th largest private-sector employer with over 1.2 million employees. As the new President and CEO, I will embrace the opportunity to represent and advocate for the industry to restore stability and predictability to our sector’s business environment.”

Kelly Higginson takes on the role of President and CEO after serving the organization as Chief Operating Officer since 2022. Prior to this, she served as the Executive Vice President of Operations at The CFW Group, leading operational strategy for North American hospitality brands like ki modern japanese + bar, The Shore Club and Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House. During her time with The CFW Group, Higginson had first-hand experience navigating copious challenges as she worked to further the development and retention of employees through the global pandemic.

“Kelly not only brings a wealth of knowledge from her years in Canadian foodservice, but also has an incredible passion for developing strong and inclusive teams to maximize impact; something our members need from us now more than ever,” said Jeremy Bonia, Chair of the Board, Restaurants Canada. “We are fortunate to have Kelly jump into the role of President and CEO, her vision is clear, and we look forward to supporting her as Restaurants Canada works to build the industry back stronger than ever,” added Bonia.