Maple Leaf Canadian and Family Owned


Appetizing picture of burger and fries

Menu change can be daunting.


But using LTOs (limited time offers) can provide a culinary playground for adding innovation without the commitment. Successfully executing an LTO offers a potential sales lift of as much as 20%, and can bring back old customers while enticing new ones.


LTOs are an opportunity to offer your customers a new experience while giving your operation a great testing ground and increasing your marketing opportunities.


So, how do you make LTOs work for you?

Start with Purpose

First ask yourself why you are you adding an LTO. If you don’t know what you want from it—new customers, increased check size, acceptance of bolder flavours on the full menu—how will you know it was successful?


Shalit Foods Business Development Chef Kira Smith reminds us that to be successful, “You really have to do LTOs mindfully.” The seasoned chef, who works directly with operators to integrate new and engaging ingredients and menu items, understands the formula to win big.


Smith remembers a Mini Cheesecake Dessert Parfait a casual chain in Western Canada used as an LTO that was so tasty it moved from temporary to the permanent menu. Why did it work? “It fit with consumer interest, was easy to execute, was within their back-of-house capabilities…and was profitable,” she notes.


“There’s no point in doing an LTO if you can’t do it well,” Smith stresses. “And it must be profitable. Because what if it is successful? If it can't be done profitably don't add it.”


Plan and Execute

“For an LTO to be successful, an operation must plan in advance,” notes Kyla Touri, corporate chef, Canada, for Unilever Food Solutions. “Operators must also be attuned to trending menu items, product/ingredient availability, and, most importantly, maintaining their brand image.”


Push at the boundaries acceptable to your customers’ preferences by experimenting with bold flavours or new cuisines. Change doesn’t have to be crazy. Start smaller and work up to bigger flavour experiences. 


There is more than just the food to consider. LTOs also offer important marketing possibilities. Think of them as conversation starters: at the table or counter, online, via social media, and business to business. Plus they’re an opportunity to increase engagement with your customers and employees. Ensure the message about your LTO is clear and consistent across all your communication channels. 


Expect to increase the pantry list, add to the skillset and push the kitchen’s ability to execute the LTO. Your entire team needs in on the plan to ensure consistency without compromising the existing full menu.


Get the Timing Right

The frequency with which you implement LTOs will depend on your operation. However, at a minimum, Tuori suggests, “Every season. This timing gives an opportunity to plan properly and execute.”


Customers are programmed to search for change seasonally. So a seasonal LTO naturally allows for use of local and seasonal ingredients that might be too expensive to use on a full menu.


LTOs need a defined end date. “There is power in scarcity,” says Kira Smith. Use your customers’ fear of missing out to your advantage and time your LTO. It doesn't mean you can't make it a permanent addition – adding an LTO to the full menu gives you yet another conversation starter.


Talk and Listen, Measure Results

As you wipe your brow and flop in a dining chair on the final day of your wildly successful LTO, remember you aren’t finished yet. Due diligence is necessary. Was all the extra work worth it?


Talk with your customers and your front and back of house employees. They will have something to say. Listen and learn from their observations. “If you are communicating about your LTO, which you should be, you have to follow up,” Smith advises. Listen to the praise (and criticism) and respond.


Consider using a social media survey to ask your customers for their feedback. Offering a gift card to your restaurant will sweeten the incentive for them to volunteer useful comments – and come back for another meal.


Finally, return to the original purpose of your LTO. Did it meet your criteria? If not, what didn’t work? How would you do it differently next time? If you did meet your goals, pat yourself on the back and then start planning the next one. And if you won BIG going off menu, you might need to change your old menu after all. Now are you ready for the playground?


A seasonal LTO naturally allows for use of local and seasonal ingredients that might be too expensive to use on a full menu.


Top tips to roll out a successful LTO

  • Give your LTO ample planning time as you may need to source new ingredients, plan for menu changes, and pay for advertising.
  • Consider using customer comment cards, then focus on providing something new that people want.
  • Utilize social media and your restaurant’s email marketing as a tool to promote your limited time offer.
  • Keep it simple. LTOs don’t need to be complicated; the easier they are to describe, promote and sell, the better.


Article by Cherie Thompson


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Frozen ProduceFlanagan Foodservice Blog Frozen Produce

By Alasko Foods



When it comes to nutrition, fruits and vegetables have always been the go-to in terms of healthy eating. Tried and true, their combination of practicality, taste, and nutritional benefit are second to none. However, frozen rather than fresh produce has several unique benefits which make them a clear choice for the resourceful restaurant operator.


Here are five reasons why:


1) Always in season

Frozen fruit is actually richer in nutrients on average than their fresh counterparts, according to a study by the University of California-Davis.¹ This is because of its enhanced preservation through a unique freezing method. Companies like Alasko, which utilize IQF (individual quick freezing) technology, do so because it locks in freshness, flavour, colour, and taste.


Individual quick freezing takes single pieces of food and, as the name suggests, freezes them individually at extremely low temperatures. This prevents the formation of large ice crystals that conventional freezing would cause, and preserves the high-quality state that the food is currently in.


IQF fruits and vegetables are always in season, simply because that’s the state at which they are frozen in.


2) Always available

Thanks to worldwide sourcing—which market leaders such as Alasko benefit from due to their extensive global supply network—it is feasible to obtain the best possible product from whichever region it happens to be currently in-season. Using IQF technology, the produce that ends up in your recipe and menu items is as fresh as it was when picked.


3) Convenience

Frozen produce has a lot more potential to it than meets the eye.


Rather than having to peel, chop, and prepare a fresh fruit or vegetable, IQF produce is frozen in a state that is ready to use. Simply toss fruits in a blender to make a smoothie, chop them up and make a salsa, or incorporate them into a smoothie bowl. Easily mix vegetables into a stir fry or casserole, or into a dip.


The possibilities are extensive!


4) Extended life

The disadvantage of fresh produce is that it needs to be consumed in a certain window of time before it starts to become overripe. This can put a lot of pressure for you to make use of it as quickly as possible. (Granted, frozen produce still has this window as well, but it is far lengthier—typically 24 months, as opposed to a week or so.²)


Simply take out the portion you need, and put the rest away where it will remain frozen and unspoiled.


5) Cost efficient

Using frozen fruits and vegetables minimizes your expenses in the areas of labour and food waste. Frozen produce is already cut, washed, and ready to toss in a recipe, and unused quantities can be put right back into the freezer. Even better, frozen produce can be less costly than their fresh counterparts.³


When it comes to the ingredients to put in your recipes, you are constantly faced with choice. Frozen fruits and vegetables have several benefits that are often overlooked in comparison to the alternatives. Whether it’s the heightened nutrition, convenience, or cheaper cost: frozen fruits and vegetables are definitely worth it.


For delicious IQF products to use in your next recipe, contact your Flanagan Foodservice sales representative or call our Customer Relations team at 1-855-FLANAGAN.


About Alasko

Alasko Foods is a leader in global sourcing of conventional and organic frozen fruits and vegetables, with a reputation for providing superior, world class service to customers across Canada, the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Committed to delivering the safest and highest quality products, without compromise, Alasko Foods will source, process, pack, label, brand and distribute the best fresh-frozen fruits and vegetables the world has to offer. Learn more at



[1] Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture c 87:930–944

[2] U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 2015;

[3] United Stated Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2016


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Close up butternut squash soup


Working with soup bases can save you time, labour and money. Two experts share their chef tips and soup-er recipes. 


A good soup base can be an immeasurable asset to the foodservice kitchen. It adds depth of flavour to dishes, can be built upon to create signature recipes and eliminates the cost of raw ingredients required to make a consistently flavourful stock.


There are many advantages to using a soup base as the platform for soup innovation:


1. Time- and labour-saving

Making the switch from scratch recipes to “speed scratch” recipes, including those using and building on a good soup base can mean significant time and labour savings for operators. “Scratch made stocks, and sauces derived from these stocks, can take hours of skilled labour,” says Kyla Tuori, corporate chef at Unilever Food Solutions.


“The cost of raw ingredients used to make a consistent flavourful stock can be a hassle, as well as the storage needed for these raw ingredients.”


2. Cost-saving

On the rising cost of labour across North America, Gerald Drummond, executive chef, North American Foodservice, Campbell Soup Company, says, “As minimums continue to increase, chefs and operators need to be creative in driving down costs while continuing to give customers creativity. It’s always a delicate balancing act.


3. Inventory-saving

“Having a good-tasting and well-balanced base helps the operator have greater variety on the menu while not increasing their inventory,” Chef Gerald continues. “It allows for the ability to offer multiple menu items while using the same product, as well as being able to stay relevant when it comes to food trends.”


4. Creative

What makes a good soup base? Beyond lending great flavour and aroma to dishes, Chef Kyla says, “a good commercial base is a concentrated product meant to be diluted to mimic a scratch-made stock (yet is also) so much more, and can be used for seasoning, marinating, and enhancing other scratch-made recipes.”


When it comes to which base(s) to choose, knowing what you want to achieve will help dictate what is important to look for. “Not all soup bases are created equal, or alike,” she continues. “With the variety of formats, ingredient decks, and (nutritional or special diet) claims, there is a base for every application and operator.”


5. Versatile

Beyond soup, many soup bases can be used in a variety of applications. Chef Gerald suggests turning a cream soup base into sauce for flatbread or pizza, Alfredo sauce for pasta or as a rich and flavourful base for chicken pot pie. “Powder bases can be used in their raw form for seasoning dishes,” says Chef Kyla. “Since these bases are often ‘salt first’ in the ingredient decks, they can add a lot of flavour where it may otherwise be lacking.


“Paste bases, due to their consistency and ‘ingredient/meat first’ ingredient decks, are great for rubs and marinades,” she adds. “They will adhere easily to the item that you are marinating and infuse it with flavours. Liquid concentrated bases can be used for seasoning dishes, marinating, glazing, and as a finishing enhancer. They are the most versatile of bases due to their consistency and flavour complexity.”


It's time to soup up your creativity in the kitchen, as well as your profit margin, with the addition of soup bases.


A simple way to make soups feel fresh

Garnishing is a simple way to make soups feel fresher, more premium and more delicious. Patrons perceive garnished soups as higher value, so you can charge up to 25% more!


Step up your presentation with these garnishing ideas using Campbell’s Signature Soups:


Beef Pot Roast

Add texture with sautéed garlic chips, crouton lardons, creamy aioli or horseradish. Sprinkle with minced thyme and marjoram for extra flavour.


Broccoli Cheddar

Go for the green with broccoli florets, green onions or chives. Add indulgence with sharp Cheddar cheese crisps.


Buffalo Style Chicken with Blue Cheese

Top with sour cream and minced chives. Or make it hearty with sliced chicken tenders, hot sauce and blue cheese crumble.


Chicken Corn Chowder with Sweet Peppers

Amp up the colour contrast with diced red pepper, fresh corn kernels or chopped chives.


Chicken Tortilla

Up the authenticity with tortilla strips, sour cream, queso fresco or avocado.


Classic Chicken Noodle

Garnish with chopped parsley or a parsley sprig for a pop of flavour and colour. Add rotisserie pulled chicken or fried noodles for culinary flair.


Harvest Butternut Squash

Amp up the flavour with toasted pumpkin seeds, butternut squash frites and a dollop of crème fraîche.


Hearty Beef Chili with Beans

Balance the spice with sour cream or shredded Cheddar. Brighten the bowl with scallions, green onions or chives.


Loaded Baked Potato

Re-load with Cheddar, sour cream, bacon, green onions, chives or waffled fries.


Sautéed Mushroom and Onion Bisque

Add key ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, fried or diced onions or leeks.


Southwestern Vegetarian Chili

Top with fresh avocado and tortilla strips, sour cream and minced cilantro for authentic flavour.


Tomato Bisque with Basil

Add indulgence with sour cream, tomato concasse or fresh basil.


Vegan Vegetable

Add freshness with julienned carrots, diced smoked or sautéed tomatoes, and roasted red peppers in balsamic syrup.


By Alison Kent


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Hand holding phone and taking picture of their food

As long as you post on social media, whether it be Twitter, Instagram or Facebook or a combination of any channels then you’re good, right?


Not necessarily! Posting is a great start, but engaging your followers is how you create strong brand awareness, encourage repeat visits from loyal customers, and attract new guests to your establishment.


What is social media engagement anyway?

It’s not about interacting with every single customer. It is about building relationships with your customers over time, much like we do offline.


Social media is where people connect, relate and learn from each other and businesses alike.


How can you increase your social media engagement and promote?

There are hundreds of ways to grow your business using your social channels; we're sharing ten that you can implement today.


1. Post frequently, when your followers are most active

Check the analytics of each of your social accounts (a helpful explanation by Twitter on how to check your analytics) to learn when your followers are most active, their basic demographics and more. You can do this for the major social platforms. 


You'll discover valuable data that can help shape your posts to your target audience in terms of content, timing, and type of post (video, photo, etc.).


Social media is like a plant, you have to keep "watering" it (with content) to grow your audience and increase engagement. The more accurately you can do this, the better it'll be for business.


Sweet & Sticky Inc. posted this soup suggestion at 3:34 PM, right around the time their followers are wondering what to make for dinner. 


Posting a delicious entrée photo at a similar time will help convince your followers to skip making dinner altogether and go out to eat at your restaurant instead.


Example of a social media post showcasing a bowl of soup


2. Invite followers to join the conversation

One of of the best ways to drive engagement is to ask your following a question.

Conversion shouldn't always be the goal of your social channels. Engagement in itself is just as important; your followers are a community, and people enjoy sharing stories and offer thoughts and opinions.


Here are a few things you can do to get the conversation started:


Pose a question alongside a photo, or just as a post on its own

  • "Local or organic? Why?"
  • "We're serving up our homemade macaroni and cheese this chilly Friday afternoon. What is your favourite winter comfort food?"
  • "It's the first day of summer! How are you celebrating today?"

Ask for photo shares ("Asparagus season is here! Show us how you’re cooking Ontario asparagus at your house.")

Use Twitter Polls to collect some insight, or use it just for fun

  • "Which of these two menu items would you prefer to see as part of our Canada Day special?"
  • "Help us settle this debate once and for all: is a hot dog considered a sandwich?"

Sapsucker asked their Instagram followers how they're celebrating the long weekend as the caption to a beautiful photo of their Sapsucker Lemonade (with a recipe, too!):


Social media post sample with refreshing lemonade


3. Show appreciation

Social media is a two-way interaction, not just a one-sided conversation. 


If you're looking to increase foot traffic to your restaurant and strengthen (or maintain) the relationship you have with your customers, showing your customer appreciation on social media is a effective way to reach a wider audience above and beyond the four walls of your operation.


Here are a few ways to let your customers know that you're grateful for their business:

  • Reply to a customer who posts a photo of your product - Use “@” to reach more of their followers
  • Give a shout out to customers celebrating an event at your restaurant (with their permission, of course). Maybe you have a group celebrating a milestone birthday or a company holiday party; ask for a group photo and share the celebration; they'll be likely to share it on their own pages
  • Please and thank you go a long way; if a customer expresses how much they enjoyed a meal, say thanks!
  • Offer an exclusive deal to followers of a certain social network

Vancouver Island Salt Co. gave their Twitter followers the chance to win a branded hat and their smoked sea salt product by asking them to post a specific photo on Father's Day:

Social media example by Vancouver Island Salt with a picture of a hat (free giveaway)

Bay Meats Butcher Shop offered this exclusive deal to followers of their Facebook page:

Example of a social media post offering a limited time deal


4. Stay connected, stay current

Whether it’s around the globe, an industry event, or holiday, people love to get in the spirit and be involved.


At the Restaurants Canada show in February, Henry's Tempeh shared a post with photos of their booth and the products they had sampled (which we tried—delicious!). They tagged Restaurants Canada and let followers know to stop by if they happened to be walking the show.



5. Acknowledge mentions, questions, and yes, complaints

Whether you have a few thousand followers or a few hundred, each follower likes to feel as though they have a voice and can contribute in some way.


If one of your customers has taken the time to express a thought, good or bad, reply with a personalized message. It lets your customers know you care.


Acknowledge any complaints as soon as possible with an apology and offer to sort out the issue offline ("Message us your contact information and we'll be in touch with a solution to resolve this issue.")


When we promoted 1847 Stone Milling products on Twitter as a supplier of the Flanagan Market, they responded to the post with their thanks:


Social media example of saying thank you to someone who mentions you in their post


6. Promote your partners

Some ideas about giving your partners some recognition:

  • Post about a great time you had hosting an event together
  • Share with your customers how your partners have influenced or impacted your business
  • Thank them for their contributions

Here's an example of Rootham Gourmet Preserves sending thanks to their partner Barrie's Asparagus on Facebook, while also promoting their seasonal Asparagus Smokey Antipasto and Honey Garlic BBQ products:



Social media example post where one business helps promote a partners business


7. Use hashtags to connect

Hashtags are used to index a specific topic on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Clicking a hashtag brings up a collection of all posts with that hashtag. You can now even follow hashtags within an Instagram account.


Try the following:

  • Create your own signature, branded hashtag
  • Use existing hashtags that relate to your business on whichever social platform you're using (#OntarioFood #OntarioProduce #TorontoFood)

Top Shelf Collection's use of hashtags during Game 6 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs put them right in the centre of the conversation, reaching not only their followers but a like-minded community of hot-sauce-loving hockey fans:


Example of social media post using hashtags to connect with audience



8. Post the good things happening in your community

Raise awareness about causes your restaurant is passionate about (it's also great to see the faces and personalities behind the scenes of your establishment!)


Share photos of your staff participating in events. It connects you to your customers and is a way to promote your brand's reputation as giving and a contributor to the community.


We proudly shared our experience volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in 2018 and 2017 on our social channels (you can find that blog post here):

Example of a social media post where business uses social media to promote community involvement



9. Ask for feedback

Test a new product idea and ask what your followers think. If you can't decide on something, let your followers choose!


Pose the question using Twitter Polls, ask followers to answer in Instagram comments on a post, or in the comments of a Facebook post.


10. Host a "Chat with [Your Business Name Here]" session

This is an exciting method of generating engagement, especially on Twitter. Post and tell followers that for 15 minutes, they can ask you anything and you will reply.



It helps people connect with you on a more personal level and encourages a high level of engagement from your followers. It's fun to participate in real-time.

Try hosting a live video on Instagram and engage with your followers who are "tuned in."


If you have suggestions about growing your business using social media, we'd love to get your feedback—share your thoughts in the comments below.


This blog post was originally created and published by Local Line. Vendors listed in this post can all be found on the Flanagan Market, though their delivery cities may vary; not all suppliers on Flanagan Market deliver Ontario-wide. If you have any questions, contact


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Smiling chef in a restaurant kitchen

#FairKitchens is a movement to inspire a new kitchen culture. A positive culture means your staff will be stable, your team will be happy and productive, and your guests will receive the best quality offering your team can provide.


Restaurant industry needs to change

The foodservice industry is facing a challenge: despite people eating out more than ever before, we’re losing talent. Great chefs are leaving the industry and young people are less likely to want to work in professional kitchens than any previous generation.


Research by Unilever Food Solutions reveals a serious wellbeing issue within professional kitchens: 74% of chefs are sleep deprived to the point of exhaustion; 63% of chefs feel depressed, and more than half feel pushed to their breaking point.


Michael Gulotta, owner of New Orleans restaurants Maypop and MoPho, is an advocate of paying employees back with a positive and supportive work place. Michael explains the importance of being a supportive business owner—possessing the ability to listen, share your skills and instilling passion within the workplace:


How does #FairKitchens work?

The #FairKitchens Code is the starting point of the movement. Its values are the ingredients of a happy kitchen: passion and communication, teamwork and time for individuals.


Let’s work as TEAMS:

T: Talk Openly

We speak out when we have something to say, and we make sure others do the same.


E: Excite Passion

We train, mentor and inspire the next generation. We fuel their flame.


A: Act As One

No matter our ethnicity, gender or religion, we share the same goal. We respect each other, hold back from abuse and ask “Are you okay?” when we think someone’s not.


M: Make Time

We make time for breaks—for fresh air and daylight. We rest, relax and recharge where we can.


S: Say “Good Job”

When one of us does a good job, we say it because a pat on the back can make their day.

Join the movement

The #FairKitchens code is supported by training videos, advice and tips by chefs for chefs, and short guides on topics including improving communication and supporting team members experiencing a personal crisis.


Chef Gilles Perrin, Culinary Director of Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai, has experienced first-hand the consequences of being too tough in the kitchen. Now, his family values stretch from home to kitchen, sustaining a belief for team collaboration, creative passion and collective value:


Join the movement to access your starter kit today. The kit includes the #FairKitchens Code, advice to use the Code with your team, and a #FairKitchens sticker.

Explore the #FairKitchens website to find training, tips and guides to help you understand more about how chefs run a “Fair Kitchen” and discover how you could learn from them.

Receive a regular e-newsletter highlighting new insights, tools and training at

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and share your experiences using #FairKitchens.


More than 1,400 chefs have already joined! Take the pledge and start your journey towards running a fair(er) kitchen.


Let’s bring mental health out to the pass and help build a brighter future for the foodservice industry.


Sign up to get your starter kit and receive regular inspiration, advice, and tips by chefs for chefs:


Be Part of the Change


Copy and #FairKitchens content provided by Unilever Food Solutions.

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Iphone showing 7 shifts software and logo

As a teenager, Jordan Boesch was a “sandwich artist” at a popular quick-service restaurant, an experience in a family business that eventually spun itself out as 7shifts, a North America-wide company he founded in 2014.


“My dad ran Quiznos locations, and I worked for him. I understood early the pains of managing and running restaurants firsthand,” Boesch says.


At its most basic, 7shifts is a labour management and communications platform with a mobile app for restaurateurs which provides tools for controlling labour costs and scheduling staff, among other functions.


Save time and money at your restaurant


  • 7shifts saves your restaurant considerable time and money
  • The software helps your employees provide shift feedback


Those experiences inspired 7shifts and its on-boarding platform with a support team and live-chat link which can help restaurants get started with the program and use its full capacity and value. “We’re self-serve and simplified. Along with the machine learning, we have differentiated ourselves in the scheduling and labour management market,” Boesch says. 


While 7shifts is not a revenue-driver for restaurants, it saves them considerable time and money, according to Boesch. He notes that saving $10 is the same as making $10, so restaurateurs shouldn’t only be in revenue mode. “The platform gives managers a chance to see if they are going to go over or be under those labour and budget targets in real time,” Boesch says adding that the system assists with forecasting sales and predicting costs. 

On the other hand, it also helps employees communicate with managers and provide shift feedback too. 


“If I had to bundle it all together, I would say that we’re not only a platform for managers but also for employees to help them be more engaged with their work place.” 


Eliminate scheduling chaos 


  • 7shifts operates in 20-plus countries and services more than 250,000 restaurant pros around the world
  • With different offerings tailored to your business, their software pricing ranges from free–$70/month


The family business was the crucible: Boesch saw up close the chaos that is the typical hourly-worker scheduling process. “There were always a lot of sticky notes and papers everywhere, and hand-written notes about shift-trading and when people could or could not work. It got me thinking about improving the situation.”  


Starting with a small program that uploaded an Excel schedule to a website so employees could download it, 7shifts evolved over time to where it is today.  
Saskatchewan-based and primarily serving North American restaurants, the company operates in 20-plus countries and over 7,000 restaurants—everything from single- and multi-unit independents to large corporate franchises. 


“We can tailor our software precisely to a restaurant’s needs. We’re mostly used by independent restaurants and growing franchises,” says Boesch. They charge from free (basic platform functionality for restaurants with 10 or fewer people) to $150 per month at their premium offering.


Schedule the right people at the right time 


  • It's not a matter of scheduling more people, but the right people at the right times
  • Match shifts with employees who work well together
  • Work less on scheduling, and more on working with staff and driving sales for your restaurant


Labour management is a central focus of 7shifts, and Boesch stresses it’s not a matter of just scheduling more people; it’s a matter of scheduling the right number of people at the right time. 


“We draw on historical sales data from a Point of Sale (POS), and we look at weather patterns and seasonality. We look at all these variables that could influence how much labour you would need to service the demands of your restaurant at a particular time. We build that out for the restaurant, and they can make adjustments as needed depending on the insights.” 
Behind the scenes, machine learning—the algorithms and models used by computer systems which continuously improve their performance over time—takes place, as it does in most of today’s technologies. The company draws on their own in-house machine learning team and data science team, which optimizes for the various efficiencies as they relate to weather and seasonality, but also the skill level of staff members.


Boesch points out that that one result is good for employees and for the business in that it can match shifts with people who work well together, as well as account for availability and vacations. “From this, we’ve gained a lot of traction and adoption in the industry because it means managers work less on scheduling and more on working with staff and driving sales for the restaurant.”


Reduce turnover rate

“If $5,000 worth of meat disappeared from your fridge, you’d probably be checking cameras, yet operators have become almost complacent and see high turnover as normal.” 



  • Better manage your employee life-cycle in your restaurant (hiring, training, scheduling, retaining)
  • 7shifts saves between 1 and 4 percent on overall labour costs as a percentage of sales
  • Reduce time spent scheduling by 80 percent


At the same time, the platform helps managers better manage the “employee life-cycle” in the restaurant – hiring, training, scheduling and retaining. Employee turnover in restaurants is the highest of any private industry in North America, according to Boesch, and it has continued ramifications for restaurants. 


“Restaurants are now starting to look more closely at turnover rate and its costs from a macro-level. It’s quite expensive, ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 when you lose an employee and upwards of $20,000 when you lose a manager,” he notes. “If $5,000 worth of meat disappeared from your fridge, you’d probably be checking cameras, yet operators have become almost complacent and see high turnover as normal.” 
Boesch says that 7shifts saves between one and four percent on overall labour costs as a percentage of sales: a restaurant doing $1 million in sales will save between $10,000 and $40,000 annually. 


“The ROI for 7shifts is substantial in just being able to help operators schedule better,” he says, adding that some of that is saved by preventing early clock-ins that quickly add up. 


The platform can also reduce the time spent scheduling by 80 percent. 

“It takes some of the work out of the manager’s hands and gives employees the responsibility of determining the shifts they can work. The manager is involved only when approval is needed.” 


7shifts features a free labour cost savings calculator on its website:


Graphic showing a sample of 7shifts restaurant labour savings
7shifts can also assist management with labour regulations and compliance where they apply.


For instance, regulations in some areas stipulate that scheduled employees who report to work only to find they have been given fewer than three hours, must be paid three hours at their regular rate of pay. 


The “7punches” time-clocking system makes it easy for managers to reconcile the time worked with payroll requirements. The platform runs a report for hours worked, then notes all results showing fewer than three hours. This can then be manually adjusted in payroll to reflect the appropriate payout. 


Restaurants and cloud technology 

Is 7shifts itself a shift in approach that restaurants should consider? Boesch thinks so. 

“It’s becoming more common that restaurateurs are using technology. It has largely been an industry that’s slow to adopt technology, but that’s also meant that there is a lot of technology companies with a lot to offer the industry,” he says. Boesch sees that trend continuing as a younger demographic of restaurateurs and food-business operators enter the industry. “Cloud-based technology is where they are going to look first. It’s an exciting trend, and I think it is going to grow.” 


As we roll into a new year, Boesch says it’s a good time to think strategically about the next 12 months. 


“Think about how you engage staff and manage your labour. Doing things the same way could mean leaving dollars on the table.”


Learn more about 7shifts at


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Group of children celebrating Canada with fireworks

Proudly Canadian owned, we're recognizing a new Canadian invention each week as we celebrate our great country's 150th year!


Paint Roller

Blue wall with blue paint rollers

1940: In 1940, Torontonian Norman Breakey came up with the idea of a painting tool that allowed anyone to easily paint walls, not just professionals who have time and patience to create a smooth finish.


Breakey envisioned a device that was shaped like a “7” that would hold a fabric-covered cylinder. He created the first roller, using it with a tin tray to hold the paint. Sadly, Breakey was unable to persuade investors to back his invention, and he lacked the funds to produce a significant supply of rollers. Manufacturers were able to easily duplicate his idea and produced their own (very similar) versions of the roller.


Breakey was never given credit for his invention, and did not reap any financial benefits. He may not have been recognized during his lifetime, but his work absolutely changed the lives of painters.




Blue insulin machine

1922: Insulin is a protein hormone that causes cells in your body to absorb glucose and use it for energy. Diabetes occurs when your body does not use or produce insulin properly. Though diabetes has been a medical condition for well over a thousand years, the discovery that diabetes is due to an insulin deficiency didn’t occur until the 1920s in Canada.


In 1921, Frederick Banting and Charles Best conducted a series of insulin manufacturing experiments at the University of Toronto. In January 1922, a diabetic teenager in Toronto received an injection of insulin, the first person to do so. He improved dramatically, and one year later in 1923, insulin became widely available (after the University of Toronto gave pharmaceutical companies license to produce insulin free of royalties). Many lives were saved as a result.


In that same year, Frederick Banting and John Macleod (a biochemist and physiologist who provided his laboratory to Banting for testing) received the Nobel Prize in Medicine.



Instant Replay

Old film reels

1955: George Retzlaff invented instant replay while working for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada in 1955. He used a “wet film” (kinescope) replay of a goal which was then rebroadcast within thirty seconds. (Kinescope is the recording of television on motion picture film; the lens is directly focused on the television screen and then re-broadcast.)

Though the replay was not quite instant (as it was rebroadcast after 30 seconds), it was a pivotal moment in the history of sports broadcasting. Retzlaff also pioneered innovative camera angles that are still used today.



Butter Tarts

Three butter tarts

1900: The first recipe for butter tarts was published in the beautiful city of Barrie, Ontario in 1900. Wikipedia refers to butter tarts as “one of Canada’s quintessential desserts.” 


The actual origin of the dessert (prior to the recipe being published) dates all the way back to the 1600s, when the idea of mixing syrup, eggs and dried fruit was more about using the ingredients on hand than intending to create a delicious treat.


The tart slowly evolved from there, and is now one of the few authentically Canadian recipes that exists on paper (and a personal favourite).


In case you’ve never tasted this delectable treat (!), butter tarts are made using just a few ingredients: a butter pastry shell, super, syrup, and eggs. Raisins or pecans are optional, but encouraged.



Five-Pin Bowling

A person wearing bowling shoes

1909: Thomas Ryan, born in Guelph, Ontario, moved to Toronto in 1905 with hopes of “making it big”. He opened the first ten-pin bowling club in Canada located in downtown Toronto (the intersection of Yonge and Temperance Streets). It was an elite establishment.


At the time, bowling was a “gentleman’s game”, and the men who worked near the bowling club would bowl during their lunch hour. They complained that the ten-pin game took too long; they would be too tired for the rest of the day after lifting the heavy bowling balls.


Ryan adapted the game to have five, lighter pins and a ball that weighed just 2.5 pounds: five-pin bowling was officially born.



Java Programming Language

Picture of computer code

1995: Java is a widely-used, general purpose computer programming language. It enables programmers to write computer code using English-based commands, rather than in numeric codes.


Java programming was created in the early '90s by a small team of engineers (called the “Green Team”) led by James Gosling. They initially created Java for use on digital mobile devices, though when the programming language was released in 1996, it became more centered to use on the Internet. It allowed developers to create animated webpages.


Today, Java is the force behind many smartphone apps, e-business solutions, and navigation tools.




Picture of a toy Superman focusing on his symbol

1933: Superman (and his alter-ego, Clark Kent) was created by Toronto-born Joseph Shuster and Jerry Siegel of Cleveland. Shuster and Siegel were both high school students when they created the superhero and his story.


Initially, Superman was a villain determined to dominate the world. Siegel later re-wrote the character to be a hero, and spent the next six years searching for a publisher.

Superman’s debut appearance as a comic was in Action Comics in 1938, and the following year, a self-titled series was launched. Superman appeared in the McClure Newspaper Syndicate in 1939, and became a radio serial in the 1940s (1940-1951). In the '50s, a Superman television series was aired, and in 1978, Superman: The Movie is released, the first of many Superman-centered films.


To date, there have been 7 live-action television series, 7 animated television series, and 10 films about Superman and his story.



Trivial Pursuit

A picture of trivial pursuit gaming symbol

1979: Once called “the biggest phenomenon in game history” by TIME Magazine, Trivial Pursuit was invented in December of 1979 by Chris Haney and Scott Abbott while they played a game of Scrabble. Though they came up with the concept of Trivial Pursuit in only a few short hours, the game was not commercially released until November, 1981.

Initially, the game was being sold at a loss; it cost $75 to manufacture the game, and the game was being sold to retailers for $15. In 1983, Trivial Pursuit was licensed to Selchow and Righter (a major U.S. game manufacturer), and after a successful public relations effort the game became a household name.


To date, more than 100 million copies of Trivial Pursuit have been sold, with varying editions like the Star Wars Classic Trilogy Collector’s Edition (1997), Totally ‘80s (2006) and Trivial Pursuit for Kids (Volumes 1 to 6).



Computerized Braille

A picture of brail words

1972: The printing of braille was a slow and expensive process before Roland Galarneau, a legally blind Québécois, invented a new, efficient solution. In May of 1972, after the idea had come to him in a dream, Galarneau developed “Converto-Braille”: an electromechanical computer linked to a teletype machine that scanned and translated texts into Braille at a rate of 100 words per minute (ultimately eliminating the need to know Braille in order to transcribe a book).


At the time of Galarneau’s idea, microcomputers had yet to be invented. For the next five years, Galarneau built (from scratch!) the computer that could transcribe written texts into contracted Braille. He received a grant which went toward installing a micro-chip into the computers, which led to the publication of The Regional, a weekly newspaper in Braille.


Today, braille translation software can transcribe most languages as well as math and music.



AM Radio

old style radio

1906: Reginald Fessenden, chief chemist for Thomas Edison and pioneer of wireless radio, invented AM voice transmission (later used as AM radios) as we know it today.

In 1897, after much research trying to improve the Morse code system without any luck, Fessenden took a break and was vacationing near Peterborough, Ontario to clear his head. During his holiday, ripples on a lake sparked the idea that perhaps sound could travel out from a centre continuously in the same way.


He spent the next nine years perfecting his idea in Massachusetts, and in 1906, Fessenden achieved 2-way voice transmission by radio between Machrihanish, Scotland, and Brant Rock, Massachusetts. It was Christmas Eve that Fessenden successfully made the first public broadcast of music and voice.


Despite his success, Fessenden did not receive recognition for his invention, and many of his patents were later adopted without his consent during World War II. Finally, in 1928, the US Radio Trust paid him $2.5 million in recognition of his contributions to radio technology.



Nanaimo Bars

1952: The Nanaimo Bar originated in Nanaimo, British Columbia – but that’s about all its residents can agree on when it comes to the origins of the chocolate, custard and coconut-graham base squares. Some say that the bar originated with Mabel Jenkins of Cowichan Bay, B.C., who submitted the recipe to a community cookbook in the 1950s. Others say the Edith Adams’ Cookbook published the inaugural recipe in 1953.

Nevertheless, this delicious treat is a treasured Canadian invention. The city of Nanaimo features many adaptations and variations to the favourite dessert, including deep-fried Nanaimo bars, martinis, lattes, cupcakes – even Nanaimo-themed pedicures!


In 1986, the city of Nanaimo held a contest to find the ultimate Nanaimo bar recipe. Joyce Hardcastle’s recipe was the winner of almost one hundred entries. The recipe is now holds the title as the official Nanaimo Bar recipe of the city. Her secret ingredient to the prize-winning treat? Unsalted butter; it mellows the sweet flavours of the bar.

Nanaimo bar image provided by The Original Cakerie.

Original Cakerie Nanaimo Bar


The Snowblower

A man using a snowblower in a winter storm

1925: Dairy farmer Arthur Sicard invented the snowblower almost one hundred years ago in Saint-Léonard-de-Port-Maurice, Québec. During the winter, roads to the local town were too snow-covered for Sicard to deliver milk. In the summer, Sicard took note of the farming combines that would cut wheat and eject straw from the back of the vehicle. He was determined to create a vehicle or machine that could do the same thing to snow.


Sicard’s first few attempts were failures, and his neighbours thought him to be crazy. Finally, he created a vehicle that worked: a blower was attached to the front of a truck chassis and was propelled by a motor, with an adjustable chute. Despite initial mockery of his invention, Sicard was hired to clear the streets of the town.


A dairy farmer no more, Sicard patented his invention, founded Sicard Industries Ltd., and sold his first commercially-available snowblower to the town of Outremont, Québec. This invention allowed operators to propel snow (soft, hard, or packed) over ninety feet from the blower or directly into the back of a truck. In the 1950s, the first “walk-behind” snowblower was invented.

Though he passed in 1946, Sicard’s name lives on; Sicard Group (located in Québec and New York) supplies a complete line of industrial snowblowers, runway sweepers, and other related products to airports, municipalities, and military bases worldwide.



The Goalie Mask

A hockey goalie standing at a hockey net

1959: Initially considered a coward by hockey fans and purists, Montréal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante was the first player to wear a mask during a game.


After a particularly bad hit to the face with a shot by Andy Bathgate of the New York Rangers, Plante left the ice to be stitched up. When he returned, he brought him with the homemade fiberglass mask he would wear during practices. Though he was mocked, Plante continued to wear the mask, and the Montréal Canadiens went on to win eighteen consecutive games that season. The goalie mask was officially born!


Since Jacques Plante’s fiberglass creation, the goalie mask has gone through many different designs to drastically improve players’ safety. (Plante had experienced over two hundred stitches and had his nose broken four times before he decided to protect his face.)


Today, all goalie masks are made of fiberglass, feature a “cage”, and can be decorated with cartoon characters or other designs.


It's no wonder we are proud to be Canadian!


Canadian Media Director’s Council Media Digest; Canadian Consumer Insights. 2014-2015.


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people in busy restaurant enjoying a meal

Upselling: on the one hand, it might seem like you are being pushy; on the other, think of it as an education process and one that gives your customers information about menu items they may not be thinking about (or were afraid to ask about).


The sooner your wait-staff recognize the value of upselling and can upsell with sincerity, the sooner your bottom line will be healthier. Another bonus: your staff will be happier when their cheque average increases along with their tips.


It’s a question of psychology as much as anything else. People are shy, timid, and can feel guilty when it comes to ordering dessert after a meal. When you ask them point-blank if they’d like dessert, it leaves them with an easy “yes” or “no” answer. It will be much harder for them to refuse a server’s pleasant story about a dessert told with a wink and a smile. For example: “I love our chef’s chocolate mousse cake. It’s made for chocolate lovers. People have said it has changed their lives.”


Know your menu and be suggestive

Suggestive selling is a sales technique that might encourage your customer to purchase an additional item (like a side or dessert) – it is used to increase purchase amount.


When it comes to dessert, customers may be a little more hesitant to outright ask, especially after a substantial meal. By prompting customers with dessert item suggestions, recommendations and personal favourites, it breaks that silence.


Effective suggestive selling means being knowledgeable about the food you’re selling. Does your staff know the menu as well as you do? Can they make recommendations that will result in a sale? It’s important that your wait staff try everything on the menu from entrées to desserts.


Recognize that guests attend your restaurant for an experience that they cannot recreate at home, whether it be your signature appetizer or upscale, fine dining atmosphere. In order to get this experience, customers are eager to talk to your restaurant staff to learn more about the menu and its special dishes; if your wait-staff delivers, therein lies the upsell.


When all is said and done, staff training is key, especially in light of more educated customers who refer to themselves as “foodies” and ask with confidence about menu details and for suggestions from staff. You do not want to get caught not seeming to know what the menu items are like and how they are prepared.


Of course, the wine list and beer and cocktail menus also require attention when it comes to server knowledge and upselling. If you have wine suppliers visiting your restaurant, take advantage; ask them to discuss their products and do some tastings.


Talk and get your just desserts

[Supersize Guest Cheques blog_cake image] Ah, desserts: they are the last impression—visual and taste—that your customer has of your restaurant. So upsell guests on dessert and make sure that what they buy positively dazzles on the plate.


It is also important to focus on plate presentation. It doesn’t have to be overly dramatic, but a brownie on a plate at a restaurant has to look much more enticing than what customers could eat at home. He suggests working with wait-staff a bit on plate presentations for desserts that add entertainment value.


As well, give your customers dessert menus at the right “dessert moment” – don’t include them with the food and beverage menus. Make sure wait staff are talking about coffees and special coffees with dessert as they are clearing the table at the end of a meal. It doesn’t need to be a hard sell, just a suggestion before walking away. When you return, the response can be surprising; you may see your dessert and coffee sales jump 20 per cent if your staff does this for each table.


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Smiling waitress holding a tray of glasses

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how delicious the food is, how ambient the room looks or how reasonable the prices are; if a guest walks in and some small behaviour rubs him the wrong way, he may never eat there again.


Everyone knows someone who has walked out of a restaurant and stated, “I can’t believe what just happened—I’m never going back!”


When people initially see a small piece of your restaurant, that’s all they know about your operation and your brand.


What should you do to make a good first impression for guests?

Have a meeting with your employees and create the following list: “Top Ten Reasons a Guest Would Leave Our Restaurant and Never Want to Come Back.” Then, brainstorm solutions and ways to prevent those problems. You can even site specific incidents from past customer problems. Once the list is finished, make copies for everyone and post an abbreviated list in the kitchen, the bathroom stalls, the break rooms and the smoking area.


What can result in a bad first impression for a restaurant? How do you avoid making those mistakes?

It primarily is because of one simple error: forgetting that the job isn’t about you. Some days a server will be stressed out or upset. (Hey, it’s part of the job!) But sometimes a server will “spill” his or her emotions on his customers instead of putting their emotions aside. The bottom line about first impressions in the hospitality industry? It doesn’t matter if you have a bad day, it only matters if the guest has a good day.


Differentiate between the things your employees should do to make a good first impression when seating, answering the telephone, and interacting with new guests at the table.


Seating guests

When seating guests, take the few seconds walking them to their tables to strike up a conversation. While doing so, the host may discover that there’s an anniversary or birthday to be celebrated. Wouldn’t it just the guest’s day if the waiter came over and said, “Happy 35th! My name is Jack and I’ll be taking care of you tonight”?


Answering the telephone

Anyone who answers the phone needs to know the entire menu, hours of operation and most importantly, directions on how to get to the restaurant from all parts of town. A good suggestion is to post directions on the host stand, or have an easy-to-grab reference available so hosts can avoid the “Let Me Find Someone Who Knows How to Get Here” trap.


Interacting with guests at the table

When a new guest comes to your table, it is best practice for servers to introduce themselves by name, or wear a name badge. Name tags are vital tools for service providers. A name tag makes it easier for customers to gain the attention of an employee from whom they need service should something arise.


Sigmund Freud said that a person’s name is the single context of human memory most apt to be forgotten. By wearing a name tag, you put customers at ease because they know your name. As a result, you are more approachable to them. A couple of chains actually teach their servers to write their names upside down in crayon on the tables, which makes an unforgettable first impression, not to mention keeps their names in front of guests during the meal.


If you want employees to connect with guests, they need to get to know them. The most effective way to establish a connection is by asking open-ended questions allowing the guests to share a little bit of who they are. An example could be as simple as, “what are you gentleman up to this weekend?”


Approachability is the key to making unforgettable first impressions.


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Back and white photo of happy people watching a game

The Super Bowl and food go together like, well, Tom Brady launching one to Julian Edelman. The big game is arguably the largest single sporting event on the planet. That translates to millions of dollars in business for the city and state where the game will be played, and restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia will get a nice, tasty piece of the football pie on Sunday, February 3. However, your restaurant can share in the party even if it is located in a different time zone and a different country.


Create a party around the game

Build a stadium atmosphere at your restaurant and reap the benefits. Perhaps unlike any other television spectacle, the Super Bowl is itself a “destination” for family and friends, not just an event, says Greg Fash, vice-president of marketing at Cavendish Farms. He says your restaurant should plan carefully in order to really boost your completion percentage.


“Restaurants are uniquely positioned to create the party around the game without the work and hassle of having the gang over to someone’s house,” Fash says.


He paints a larger picture of the gridiron gala: it represents a perfect opportunity, by virtue of its winter-time scheduling, for Canadians to get out and enjoy a warm and exciting diversion from snow and frigid air.


“It’s the first event to bring people together since Christmas and break mid-winter boredom,” said Fash.


“Everyone is looking for a bit of an escape in February without waiting for Valentine’s Day, and the Super Bowl is the perfect reason to look for good times with friends.”


Prepare your game plan

Like a good offence, customers are anticipating a Super Bowl atmosphere that is dynamic and energetic - an experience that they just can’t duplicate at home, according to Fash. Recognize before you start planning that expectations are high.


“Don’t disappoint. Engage and activate the experience from the minute they arrive. If possible, schedule additional service staff to manage any special entertainment that does not involve food and beverage,” says Fash.


Take a moment to select a theme around the game itself. Do some research into the location and see if there’s a food or beverage that is distinctive to Atlanta, Georgia—this year’s Super Bowl city.


Provide “close coverage” of your theme

If you pick a theme, engage customers immediately when they arrive and stick with it, says Fash.


“If you have premiums with the Super Bowl team logos, make sure they get them immediately and create a game-like atmosphere,” he adds. “Servers, signage and games need to be high energy and consistent with the theme you’ve chosen. Remember that people could have stayed home and watched on their own big screen entertainment centers. That, in part, is your competition.”


Fash suggests promoting the event in January, and if possible, give away door prize tickets and appetizer discount coupons that could be used at the Super Bowl party.

There are many variants of pools and games throughout North America focused on the Super Bowl. “Do your homework to understand if there is a local market preference, Fash says. “Build a contest around the game that might offer a discount for declared Patriots fans, for example, on a specific platter if they’re ahead at the quarter.”


Another approach may be to team up with local sports associations and other organizations that may be looking for new and clever ways to fundraise and raise awareness.


“A local team or association may be able to assist you in organizing the in-restaurant Super Bowl contests in return for a portion of the proceeds. Just make sure that you’re associating with adult teams or associations if the event includes alcohol,” Fash says.

Despite the food, for many customers, the game comes first.


It may not be enough to merely serve what is on your regular menu. He suggests special dishes that are specific to the game location. “You need to build a game-day menu. Like the famous television Super Bowl commercials, make the food memorable."


“But at the same time,” continues Fash, “recognize that people aren’t at a Super Bowl party generally to have big meals. They want fun food frequently. Offer appetizer specials every hour and focus on sharing platters. What is important is that you get people engaged and that you activate their experience.”


Appetizers and beverages are a natural fit with friends and fun. Create shareable appetizers that offer a variety of tastes and textures which—"and this is key," adds Fash—allows a restaurant to customize for the game and will encourage multiple orders.

“Work with your suppliers to feature, or even get support to sample, new and interesting appetizers that your customers may not have had a chance to try before. It gives the restaurant the opportunity to evaluate potential for new menu additions. Linking appetizers and beverage specials throughout the evening is a natural, of course.”


Regardless of the food choices, make sure your restaurant affords great sight lines for the fans (that is, your customers), Fash recommends strongly. “If you don’t have enough screens consider acquiring additional ones. It’s all about atmosphere.”


There is a caveat, however, he notes, and that is to know your clientele and decide whether you have to divide your space between rabid fans who want a loud and raucous “tailgate party” environment and those customers who will nevertheless enjoy the game but want the spectacle to be a little more low key.


But, ultimately, with the hype of the Super Bowl and 30-second television commercials going for somewhere around $3.5 million in the U.S., low-key is going to be hard to come by for this annual sports spectacle.


The Super Bowl by the Numbers

  • After Thanksgiving, the Super Bowl is the second largest day of food consumption in the U.S.
  • More than 150 million people will watch the game
  • 1 million: the number of residents and visitors that came through Super Bowl City, the 50th Mile and Super Bowl Experience in 2016
  • Economics studies pegged revenue generation at several hundred million dollars
  • 69 million lbs. of avocados (mostly in guacamole) are eaten
  • With 475 locations nation-wide (U.S.), Wingstop anticipated selling 5 million wings on Super Bowl Sunday
  • Spectators will drink more than 325 million gallons of beer and eat 90 million lbs. of chicken wings, 14,500 tonnes of potato chips and 4,000 tonnes of popcorn.
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Jackie Oakes
March 8, 2021
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Flanagan Foodservice
December 5, 2019

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