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Hospitality Week: Bringing our community together

The last few weeks have been a flurry of excitement and idea sharing in the Canadian restaurant and foodservice industry! What we’ve officially dubbed as “Hospitality Week” was a success. From our Restaurants Canada Show to the Breakfast with Champions, and finally, to the much anticipated CRIS+CROS summit, we were able to help bring people together from all different parts of the industry to connect, grow, and learn.

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The  7th Annual Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit (CRIS) and the inaugural Canadian Restaurant Operators Summit (CROS), came together last week to extend learning opportunities to a larger base. Despite uninspired weather conditions, CRIS+CROS had the biggest turn out to date. Restaurants Canada was happy to work alongside GE Capital to host the event and to bring a lively discussion and a positive outlook to our industry about what’s to come.

CRIS+CROS featured talks that ranged from investing to real estate and even to legal issues and best hiring practices. The conference had an all-star line up of speakers who brought interesting, and expert perspectives to the table.

During the opening remarks, Donna Dooher, our President and CEO spoke to the changing environment and the need for our industry to work together – more than ever before.

Ed Khediguian of GE Capital started off the conference with a very positive thought about our industry:

“Product and experience cannot be bought tangibly. Deliver the experience and they will come.”

Khediguian spoke to the wonderful ability of our industry – that despite economic uncertainty throughout the country, the restaurant and foodservice industry is still able to create and bring beautiful experiences to our clients and guests.

Our Senior Economist Chris Elliott gave the attendees a chance to work their brains out with his Overview of the Canadian Economy presentation, which gave us a global context for the recent shifts in economy. Check out his presentation here, and don’t forget to follow him on Twitter for more relevant information.

Some other soundbites from the conference:

When discussing the best way to reach millennials and changing up branding:

"Digital has breath and it has a nice way of targeting the right people to talk to" - ‪Mo Jessa of Earls Restaurants Ltd.

When it comes to tipping, Darcy MacDonnell of the Farmhouse Tavern believes that:

“We don't respect ourselves, or our industry enough” – Darcy MacDonnell

On dynamic pricing: Mike von Massow of the University of Guelph says:

"The difference between a discount and a premium is just the direction you're looking at it from" - Mike von Massow

Increasing labour costs are the #1 concern for restaurant operators in North America. Here are the rest:


We learnt the impact of all-day breakfast on the American market from the McDonald’s experiment and wondered if that would ever come to Canada:


The CRIS+CROS conference is an essential for those in the Canadian foodservice and restaurant industry. From networking, to connecting and informative sessions, don’t miss out on next year’s event!

Here is a list of the speakers from this year’s conference, and their presentations, including a very relevant talk on the upcoming changes to Ontario’s menu labels presented by our VP of Ontario, James Rillet.


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Restaurants Canada is a national, not-for-profit association representing Canada’s diverse and dynamic restaurant and foodservice industry. We're here to help you succeed!

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