A big welcome to our new President and CEO, Shanna Munro!
Today is the day! We're happy to announce the official start date of our new President and CEO, Shanna Munro. A big thank you to our outgoing President and CEO, Donna Dooher for her tireless work to help bring Restaurants Canada to the forefront of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice scene.
In honour of Shanna's arrival, we sat down with her to get a look into what's to come for Restaurants Canada - and what challenges our industry will face in the upcoming future.
What drew you to your new role with Restaurants Canada?
SM: First of all, the opportunity to make a difference in an industry I love, and where I have spent the better part of my career. There is a definite fit between the current needs of Restaurants Canada and the experience I’ve gained in the restaurant industry as an operator who understands the need to not only deal with immediate priorities but also anticipate strategic opportunities on the horizon.
What space does Restaurants Canada occupy in the restaurant and foodservice industry?
SM: Restaurants Canada was founded – and continues to be funded - by foodservice operators who want a voice to government, and who understand economies of scale. We provide services and research to our members that they can’t access on their own. Above all, we represent the industry with all levels of government, and they will not hesitate to get us involved when considering regulations affecting our members. This is an important role that independent operators and even chains cannot achieve on their own. We’re there to assist and remind regulators of the importance and the size of our industry.
As the industry changes, our role needs to evolve, and how do you see that happening?
SM: Technology and new processes are shaping consumers’ expectations and impacting how we do business. There are even more reasons now to join forces and integrate innovation amongst all players in the industry -- from farmers to restaurateurs -- to continue to wow our guests when they give us the opportunity to serve them. Our “SHOW” is a great example where all stakeholders in the industry have the opportunity to meet and to discover the latest in food, technology and equipment trends. This is the best forum the industry across Canada has to exchange ideas and plan new initiatives to continue to thrive. There is lots to learn in a comprehensive and fun environment.
What challenges do you think restaurant and foodservice owners and operators will face in the near future?
SM: Rising operating costs and tighter margins are obvious, but keeping pace with the demands of the new demographics is as challenging as it is exciting, and represents tons of opportunities for us. The Canadian population is changing and so are their needs and expectations. We must cater to millennials and baby boomers who both love to dine out but have very different needs and desires. The cultural landscape is also very different. Adapting is a must but anticipating the latest trends is the key to sustainability.
You just returned from the National Restaurants Association show in the US. What differences do you see between our organizations and are there things that the NRA is doing that we can do better or learn from?
SM: In fact, we are similar in a number of ways -- similar mission, challenges, opportunities -- and yet quite different. Our Canadian culture, for one, is unique, which largely explains why it can be so challenging for American companies to penetrate our market and vice versa. We also have governments with different approaches tolegislation and regulatory processes. In that regard, one of my priorities is to encourage provincial associations and others alike to join forces and represent all foodservice operators with an even more powerful voice at all levels of government. We can all benefit from the synergies of a more integrated approach across Canada for the benefit of our members and our industry as a whole.
We saw an outpouring of support coming from the Canadian restaurant industry during the Alberta wildfire disaster. How do you think the restaurant community contributed and how can we mobilize in the future to help communities and Canada?
SM: Our mission as restaurant operators is to be of service to our communities, and how we rallied to help the residents of Fort Mac is a good example of how committed our foodservice people are. We have members in pretty much every Canadian community and when challenges arise at the local level, we are quickly able to join forces with our local operators to see what we can do to help. In the case of Fort Mac, we are proudly sharing the stories of those in our industry who have been fundraising or otherwise assisting with the relief and recovery efforts. We have also taken action to represent our members’ interests to government and industry partners during this crisis. The industry’s response to Fort Mac really underscores the importance of our industry to communities across the country. That’s a story I look forward to sharing and being a part of.
We look forward to what the future holds for not only our organization, but the industry at large. Interested in learning more about Restaurants Canada? Check out our website for our latest updates and more!