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  • Mad about food: Amanda Ray, Chef de Cuisine, Biff’s Bistro
    burbs So I did just that It was the first big fine dining restaurant that I ve worked at It was a hugely intimidating and nerve wracking experience but something that you need to do to start any kind of career After a four and a half year stint at Auberge Ray moved on to O B s Canoe location spending five years working in different stations eventually moving into a Junior Sous Chef role Ray worked under Chef Tom Brodi who was Chef de Cuisine under Anthony Walsh Proven in Provence During that time the company offered Ray a three month internship in France where she worked at Hotel Crillon le Brave in Provence I was working with a French chef in an all French kitchen I had some basic French from high school and public school but nothing that would get you in there and involved in what you need to know says Ray But with cooking you don t need to know the language all the time it s more somebody is showing you and teaching you by example The first month was challenging because most of the kitchen staff were men and they were thinking Who is this girl She doesn t speak French she doesn t know anything That was what it seemed like But I worked hard and proved myself I had an amazing three months Ray moved into a full Sous Chef role shortly after returning to Toronto Then in 2012 Walsh approached Ray with the opportunity to become Chef de Cuisine at Biff s Bistro A tale of two cities Biff s Bistro defines itself as 1930 s Paris meets fresh London cool The atmosphere is casual upscale and the restaurant s beautiful patio and nightly 1 oysters are a huge draw Several times per year Biff s influenced by Ray s love of travel reaches beyond its regular focus on French cuisine We work through all the regions of France and then we start moving into these different countries that have French influence says Ray Next week on Tuesday we have a Morocco dinner and that s also a way for us to do new things and try something that s just a bit outside of the French vein Those are the sort of things that make Biff s exciting We want people to come in and enjoy the patio and see what else we re doing because we re more than just buck a shuck Fosters personal growth In both launching and developing her career at Oliver and Bonacini Ray credits the company culture as a big part in why she has become a 13 year veteran For me one of the biggest draws was that Anthony Walsh has been my mentor for many years He s such a humble chef and leader It was always a real inspiration because there can be abrasive attitudes in this industry and that doesn t always work for everyone I think the culture

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/AmandaRayBiffsBistro.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Perfect presentation: Following the trends in tableware design
    in other aspects of food and beverage service such as specialty cocktails or beer tasting is also leaving its mark on tableware design Today s chefs have access to ingredients cooking techniques and presentation styles that are global in influence says Nick Mowat president of dinnerware manufacturer Churchill Canada The larger dinnerware manufacturers are continuing to develop new and exciting ways for the resulting dishes to be presented Function and form Two major trends affecting the appearance and function of tableware are the increased interest in portion control and a preference for retro or vintage styled glass and dinnerware Portion control for example can influence the design of a glass or dinner plate based on a variety of factors including the current shift towards more small plate food items or an emphasis on moderate alcohol consumption We are seeing a continued popularity in the use of smaller dishes and bowls for small plate menus and concepts to encourage community style dining especially if the decor allows for bench style seating says Mowat Don Sousa national sales manager of glassware producer Libbey Canada says portion control is also a concern when it comes to vessels such as wine glasses Portion control is trending high so we are being asked to apply a visual marking on wine glasses such as a line or logo as a control reference point says Sousa Vintage is in Vintage or retro influenced tableware is another area where manufacturers are paying particular interest Whether it is the use of specific shapes or colours on plates and glasses or a desire to infuse the dining table environment with a more down home feel the vintage look is in Customers are now looking for influences that they may see within a home environment being carried across into the restaurant world especially with a vintage or retro slant from patterned china like Churchill s Vintage Prints collection through to classical styles of glassware and serving vessels says Mowat Among the other popular trends influencing the latest tableware designs are more naturally toned vessels such as wooden platters as well as a move to new shapes that address the specific features of the products they are intended to contain such as custom beer and wine glasses Coming on the back of many years of plain white china we are seeing increasing demand for warmer natural tones which tie into the continuing popularity of farm to table or locally sourced dining trends says Mowat Tabletop innovation is being driven by a variety of materials coming to market from wood slate cast iron or other metals all of which help to raise the food presentation and allow the operator to update their tabletop without having to switch out all their core tableware items Technology improves Sousa says that although glassware composition has not changed much over the years the technology to produce glassware has become more efficient We are able to produce shapes that we were not able to produce effectively in the

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/trendsintablewaredesign.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Five key focus areas on your restaurant's path to sustainability
    most cases the earlier and more broadly you apply it the better and more numerous the positive impacts including those traditional single bottom line cost savings Although some see the entire sustainability issue as just another passing fad i e green is the new black or the next big thing to revolutionize the restaurant industry LaRivière says nothing could be further from the truth Sure green seems to be the consumer bandwagon of the moment and every business sector is jumping to get on board However underlying this phenomenon are motivating factors unlike any others in recent history the global effects of climate change mounting environmental impacts and other threats to our collective future Plus a growing number of consumers are demanding that businesses get real on this issue Those who do will earn their loyalty while those who persist in business as usual risk losing the support of not only consumers but business and governments as well Lowers costs LaRivière believes that beyond the customer the business benefits of sustainability as proven by global corporations for more than a decade are numerous and clear from improved staff recruitment and retention to more efficient production and lower operating costs And these days building on that experience the good news is that measuring success on a triple bottom line social environmental and economic is a much easier task for any size business For foodservice the news is even better in that the majority of actions or investments that qualify as sustainable often come back to what most every chef or general manager would recognize as simply good operating practice and smart business management Is it hard to do Not really but it means always considering the bigger picture and typically doing some research For most people the essential change in perspective needed for sustainability involves being aware of and responsible for the full impact of the choices they make and then making the right choices says LaRivière For example that can mean considering the entire life cycle of a product from well before it arrives at your kitchen door or loading dock to long after it leaves your premises via a drain dumpster or doggy bag Of course given the scope and variety of choices that every foodservice operator faces daily that s a lot of perspective to both understand and shift Taking stock LaRivière believes one of the best ways to get organized is to review your business operations via the five basic areas used to categorize and measure sustainability Here are a few of his recommendations for getting started Solid waste management and reduction Adding a full recycling program is essential but so is organizing the kitchen or better yet designing restaurants with dedicated systems spaces for handling and storing recyclables particularly organics for compost And one of the best ways to add sustainability is by reducing waste on the input side for example working with the local seafood supplier to find washable returnable delivery containers to eliminate the

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/focusareassustainability.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Simple and cost-effective strategies to reduce energy consumption in foodservice
    our design and we will continue to invest in equipment and ingredients to achieve our mandate of being the right choice for our customers says Gould Reaping the rewards By exploring more of the available options in green energy supply Bullfrog believes that foodservice operators stand to reap a number of significant benefits that go beyond winning industry awards including reducing their greenhouse gas emissions supporting the development of new and renewable power generation and sending a powerful message to customers employees and the community about their commitment to sustainability Not to mention the fact that it relatively is easy to do What many foodservice operators may not know about choosing renewable electricity is that no new wiring or special equipment is required explains Anthony Santilli vice president of sales and marketing for Bullfrog Power In fact you can bullfrogpower virtually any facility as long as the site draws electricity from the grid The next big leap If helping to reduce GHG emissions is the first step then the next big leap for restaurants looking to improve their environmental profile appears to be reducing their actual day to day energy consumption On that front one of the most recognizable faces of premium energy efficiency is that of ENERGY STAR Appearing on an ever increasing number of consumer and commercial appliances and equipment the ENERGY STAR symbol has become synonymous with energy efficient equipment around the world While there are currently no federal or provincial regulations on energy efficiency in commercial dishwashers or cooking equipment in Canada ENERGY STAR recommends voluntary energy efficiency standards for a variety of commercial kitchen equipment In fact the organization has just released its ENERGY STAR Guide for Commercial Kitchens to help restaurant operators make better more informed choices when outfitting their kitchens Although there are specific tips to reduce energy consumption for each piece of equipment the first consideration should be to purchase ENERGY STAR qualified equipment says Nancy Fecteau account manager major appliances and commercial equipment at ENERGY STAR Purchasing ENERGY STAR qualified products saves money because they use less energy to achieve performance that is equal to or better than that of conventional alternatives While the up front cost may be higher in some cases they can provide rapid paybacks and significant ongoing energy and water savings opportunities over the product lifecycle ENERGY STAR s top energy saving tips Commercial ovens Ensure the oven door seal is tight a loose seal will leak heat and waste energy Use the oven window to check on cooking progress whenever possible an oven loses approximately 20 percent of its heat when opened Commercial griddles Purchase a griddle that is the correct size to match typical food loads for your operations Turn off the griddle when it is not in use most griddles take less than 15 minutes to preheat Similarly if the griddle has multiple sections unused sections should be turned off Commercial hot food holding cabinets Cabinets should be turned off when not in use

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/reduceenergyconsumptionfoodservice.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Top restaurant operators focus on the important, not just the urgent
    your business For most operators staff and management turnover costs the businesses tens of thousands of dollars by the time you post the job peruse resumes host interviews and hire and induct the replacement The best run restaurants have limited turnover and we find it is based on one key element they hire for fit with the workplace culture not based on past experience Just because someone was a top performer in another business does not mean that they will be in yours Tip When hiring new managers and staff have them mystery shop your locations during a peak shift before hiring them Ask them to report back to you on the three things they feel you are doing well and the three things they would change immediately New management hires should present their findings to members of your leadership team at the final stage of the interview New frontline staff can present their findings via email or phone Understanding how the incoming candidates see your business before they are hired will ensure they fit your culture and are aligned with your goals All potential new hires would receive a gift card from the venue 50 for managers and 10 for staff for conducting these mystery shops and providing the findings This simple process can save your business thousands of dollars this year in turnover expenses Meeting rhythm Many businesses I work with say they are too busy for meetings or have very few meetings each week or month The top operators meet frequently and have a calendar that is set in stone For your business to perform at peak levels everyone in the organization needs to be aligned Whether you re a staff of 10 or 100 it is critical that your meeting structure confirms that everyone is on the same page Each meeting needs to be purposeful and outcome focused when this happens incredible momentum ensues Tip Great businesses look to host daily huddles 10 to 20 minutes as well as meeting weekly 60 to 90 minutes monthly two to three hours quarterly full day and annually off site When it comes to these meetings Cameron Herold author of Double Double says it best No agenda no attenda Top operators always have a clear meeting agenda that is issued before the meeting and everyone comes prepared to contribute You need to nominate an individual to record minutes and manage the timing so that the meeting stays on topic and on track By capturing the actions and sending the results to all attendees you will streamline your communications and multiply your output This process will help hold people accountable Guest satisfaction measurement Social media is a powerful and potentially dangerous tool in our industry today Customers have the ability to leave your property and before they even get home post feedback online that can potentially result in lost revenue Rather than be reactive to online feedback I encourage you to put proactive measures in place All great businesses have

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/Restaurantoperatorsfocusonimportant.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • Compensation survey for independent restaurants
    Kristin Menas Liana Robberecht Jordan Knox Go Staffing Wages Salaries Compensation survey for independent restaurants November 1 2010 Leave a comment To attract and retain skilled employees restaurant operators need to have a competitive compensation package Participating in the 2010 Canadian Tourism Sector Compensation Study can provide valuable information on compensation in the restaurant sector CRFA encourages independent operators to take part in this 10 to 15 minute survey on

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/Compensationsurveyforindependentrestaurants.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • CRFA’s chain compensation survey
    Training Recruitment Retention Workplace Safety Business Finance Accounting Business Plans Success Stories Franchising Business Strategy Buyers Guide Restaurants Canada Buyers Guide Q Would you enter into a promotional partnership with other local businesses Link Click here Diane Chiasson Chris Elliott Roger Mittag Janine Windsor Devon Peart Chad Finkelstein Kristin Menas Liana Robberecht Jordan Knox Go Staffing Wages Salaries CRFA s chain compensation survey November 1 2010 Leave a comment Chain restaurant companies are invited to participate in CRFA s annual Chain Compensation Survey beginning in January 2011 This confidential survey conducted by the experts at Canadian Compensation Resources includes detailed information on cash compensation for corporate services ops management and restaurant level positions The survey is guided and funded by participating companies who have exclusive access to the results The survey typically covers the following areas but the list may vary depending on the needs identified by the participating companies 1 Positions Surveyed 40 corporate services positions including executives 9 operations management positions 8 quick service unit level positions 8 family casual fine dining restaurant level positions 2 Compensation Components Surveyed Base salary job rate policy ranges Actual base salaries actual hourly rates Incentive plan targets and maximums Actual incentive

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/CRFAschaincompensationsurvey.aspx (2016-02-14)
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  • The changing compensation landscape in the Canadian restaurant industry
    the assessment of market competitiveness a relatively more complex task In the past salary change so closely paralleled inflationary change in the broader economy that it was possible to feel confident about competitive position by checking the salary market every few years Now most companies feel much less comfortable without more frequent readings of the market This need for better information available with greater frequency led the CRFA to change its chain compensation survey from a bi annual to annual focus in 2006 Long term Incentives Long term incentives take in a variety of compensation programs including stock options restricted stock share appreciation rights and a host of related share based or multi year cash plans Where most cash based variable pay plans are focused on performance periods of one year or less long term incentives are usually tied to performance over periods of three or more years The incidence of these kinds of plans has been climbing steadily and has reached the point where long term incentives have become very much the norm for senior staff within the industry The importance of such plans is tied as much or more to the value of grants as to their growing incidence and that value is far from insignificant Some companies have introduced programs for a broad range of staff levels Others have restricted plan participation to their most senior staff levels Still others have initiated their programs exclusively for their most senior staff and have then pushed their programs down to other staff levels as experience with long term incentives has developed While not generally reaching down to hourly staff at least one chain has provided share based compensation to virtually all staff including hourly categories Hourly Wages Hourly wage rates and policies have always been driven strongly by provincial minimum wage levels and changes Nonetheless for much of the last decade we witnessed many chains efforts to differentiate pay significantly for hourly staff in terms of personal performance and or service tenure The nature and pace of provincial minimum wage changes in the last few years however have changed that model for many companies As rapid changes have taken place compliance with new minimums has been made but old differentials have not been maintained The result has been much greater pay compression among hourly staff despite differences in tenure and performance At the same time we have not seen much growth in the use of variable pay for hourly staff While such programs are not unheard of there has been very little expansion of those kinds of plans over the course of the last decade Insured Benefits and Retirement Plans As with cash compensation programs the last decade has shown a great deal of change and expansion of insured benefits and retirement plans in the industry Many companies that had offered little or nothing for many staff levels now have very significant non cash programs in place Other companies that had previously offered relatively modest plans have chosen to

    Original URL path: http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/Thechangingcompensationlandscapeinthe.aspx (2016-02-14)
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