Dammit Jim! Where’s the waiter?

The use of robots can make the restaurant sector more robust financially and more secure from a public health perspective

Dammit Jim! Where’s the waiter?Canada’s first server-free restaurant has opened its doors in Toronto. Box’d is a fully-automated restaurant designed for life during a global pandemic. It’s an interesting concept but it makes you wonder what role humans can and should play in the food industry. Being aware of the new risks, we need to boldly move forward to…

The rise of the night owl: a convenience store giant

Alimentation Couche-Tard has become one of the largest convenience store chains in the world by converting gas dollars and foot traffic into more food sales

The rise of the night owl: a convenience store giantTaking over the world, one convenience store at a time, was Couche-Tard’s plan from day one. There are two types of convenience stores: Mom-and-pop stores, often operated by local people or newcomers seeking a better life in their adopted country. Stores that are part of enormous multinational conglomerates, which streamline operations by supporting thousands of…

The great protein parade gains momentum

If A&W is seen as a disrupter in food service, McDonald’s could become the exclamation mark in an era of protein plurality

The great protein parade gains momentumWhen McDonald’s makes a move, everyone pays attention. That’s just the way things are in the food service industry. For months, rumours swirled around when McDonald’s would launch a plant-based product. We now know McDonald’s will enter the plant-based game by running a 12-week pilot in Ontario. This is a global first for McDonald’s. That’s…

Beyond Meat should look beyond meat

Beyond Meat’s fixation on replicating the taste and texture of natural products like beef has become the company’s greatest weakness

Beyond Meat should look beyond meatBeyond Meat lost almost $10 million in its second quarter, but it beat expectations on revenues. Regardless, Beyond Meat is now worth US$14 billion U.S. and is Wall Street’s best-performing initial public offering (IPO) so far this year. But it does face challenges. Beyond Meat’s stock price has increased by more than 800 per cent…

Working in the post-retail era requires a reset

There are still plenty of jobs at the low end of the pay scale. But wouldn't it be a better idea to simply upgrade your skills?

Working in the post-retail era requires a resetOne day you head out to your favourite store and it isn’t there anymore. It could be a local specialty shop, part of a major chain or even a department store like Sears, whose stores and catalogues have been around seemingly forever. Retail outlets are disappearing all over, along with the jobs they provide. In…

Can RBI reboot Roll Up the Rim and revive Tim Hortons?

RBI blames the Canadian dollar, franchising turnover issues and the weather. You can add environmental concerns to the pile

Can RBI reboot Roll Up the Rim and revive Tim Hortons?Restaurant Brands International’s (RBI) less-then-convincing results in the last quarter suggest the company’s turnaround isn’t working – at least not yet. Overall sales were up slightly but the drop in same-store sales of about 0.6 per cent caught many by surprise. For stores outside Canada, same-store sales dropped a whopping 2.6 per cent, compared to 0.4…

‘We Treat You Right’? Not according to this DQ franchisee

The Supreme Court is examining a case that has significant implications for franchisees and parent companies

‘We Treat You Right’? Not according to this DQ franchiseeThere’s nothing sweet about the court battle between Dairy Queen Canada Inc. and M.Y. Sundae Inc., which upholds the franchisor’s right to a “superior bargaining position.” So far, the dispute – now before the Supreme Court of Canada – has gone in favour of Dairy Queen, leaving the mom-and-pop owners of a franchise in Richmond,…

Food industry struggles to serve up convenience

Here's why consumers are spending more on food, even though food prices may be decreasing

Food industry struggles to serve up convenienceFood inflation at the grocery store continues to be an illusion in Canada, but Canadians are paying more for food. That's because restaurant prices are going up – way up, as is traffic at restaurants. According to Statistics Canada, food prices have dropped once again over the last month, by almost one per cent. Retail…

Serving up an unpalatable business model

Restaurants are struggling to find staff and keep profit margins healthy. But automation and careful management can help

Serving up an unpalatable business modelIf you’re going to a restaurant, don’t go hungry. Just about every coffee shop and eating establishment in and around Vancouver has a Help Wanted sign. They could be short of servers, which means it will be a while before anyone even takes your order. The kitchen could also be understaffed, so your meal isn’t…

RRRoll Up the Rim to Win so imperfectly successful

The Tim Hortons campaign has been so successful the company’s new owners are sticking with it

RRRoll Up the Rim to Win so imperfectly successfulIn its 31st year, Tim Hortons' RRRoll Up the Rim to Win still attracts more business and more attention than any other campaign in the Canadian food industry. It's one of the few campaigns that transcends generations. And people have even attempted to steal boxes of Tim Hortons cups just to get their hands on a prize. The campaign is a…