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Schneiders Canadian Farm-Raised Pulled Meats

Three sandwiches with schneiders pulled meats on buns and toppings

 

 

Made with Natural Ingredients

 

Like many, I've been enjoying Schneiders products for years.  I am happy to share that their pulled meats are delicious!  Convenient and something you can confidently serve your guests.  They are fully cooked (or perhaps I should say slow-roasted for several hours), and they don't come with any sauce which allows you to get creative and make them your own.  

 

One of my favourite features is that all the pork, beef and chicken are Canadian.  The sentiment to support local is higher than ever, make sure you let your customers know that you are purchasing Canadian farm-raised meats.

 

Features

• Canadian Farm Raised pork, beef, and chicken
• No sauce added - versatile
• No preservatives* or artificial flavours
• Fully Cooked - ready for use
• Convenient pack size
• Gluten Free
• Slow-roasted to keep flavour in

 

 

Click here to see the fact sheet

 

 

 

Looking for some inspiration?

Patio Pulled Chicken Flatbread

 

Schneiders pulled chicken with tomotoes olives and other toppings on pizza board

 

Tender Canadian pulled chicken served on a crisp herb flatbread with an artichoke and asiago base with peppers, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese then finished with fresh arugula.  A great starter on the patio.

 

Get the Recipe

 

 

 

Piri Piri Pulled Chicken Wraps

 

Schneiders pulled chicken piri piri wraps on a wood background

 

Spicy piri piri seasoned Canadian pulled chicken wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla with lettuce, peppers and red onion, finished with a lemon vinaigrette and fresh cracked black pepper.

 

Get the Recipe

 

 

 

Italian Beef Sandwich with Goat Cheese & Red Peppers

 

Pulled beef sandwich with onions goat cheese and toppings on a white plate

 

Here’s a hearty sandwich that requires no cooking at all—but is loaded with flavourful ingredients and vibrant colours.

 

 

 

Get the Recipe

 

 

 

Contact your sales representative today for more information.

 

 

 

 

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Using Instagram to stay connected during COVID-19

A hand holding a hash tag sign on a yellow background

 

If you’re not on Instagram, you don’t exist. That’s the hard truth. The social media landscape has quickly become the dominant marketing tool for restaurants to connect globally and directly with existing and potential customers. No biggie, there are just around 1 billion of them.

The “gram” user, combined with Instagram algorithms, continues to challenge restaurants to push creative limits, in order to achieve Follows, LIKES and Comments.

What are some social media tactics your restaurant can employ to develop impactful social campaigns?

 

START WITH A MONTHLY PLAN

Take the time to plan out your key messages and posts for the upcoming month by developing a social media content calendar. Your goal should be to support and highlight initiatives within your restaurant operation that set your brand apart, while reinforcing key brand messages.

PUT YOUR BEST POST FORWARD
During COVID-19, Instagram can be a powerful tool to stay in touch with your loyal customers, to let them know what you're doing:

how you've changed your menu for takeout and delivery
strategies you've put in place to retain staff
gift cards and other loyalty promotions to keep customers engaged while your restaurant is closed to eat-in dining

 

TIMES TO POST
Social media reporting suggests that the social guest is most engaged in the early mornings, lunch and dinner hours, and later in the evening. These moments tend to be when we are taking a "break," which results in spikes in social media activity. Instagram for businesses also provides effective reporting on your social guests' most engaged days and times per day. Utilize this data to identify the optimal days and times of when to post.

#HASHTAG IT!
Hashtags can make or break the effectiveness of your content strategy by how relevant they are to the content you are posting. Digital users can follow hashtags to collect content on their feed that is of interest to them. The goal is to use hashtags that will place your content on the feeds of your target guests. Popular hashtags are identified in the "TAGS" search bar on Instagram by the number of times they have been used in a post.

Follow these five top tips to develop a list of hashtags relevant to your brand content:

  1. Research what competitors and the foodie community are using as popular hashtags.
  2. Identify 30-50 hashtags that align with your menu offerings and location, and are popular, and reference them selectively within your content calendar.
  3. Post hashtags that match the photography or video content you are sharing.
  4. Post the hashtags as a "comment" to your post, versus within the post.
  5. Post between 15 and 30 hashtags from your list per post.

As you monitor the effectiveness of your social campaign, be aware of spikes in your engagement when certain hashtags are used in your posted content, to identify your top-performing hashtags.
 

UTILIZE APPS

Developers are launching innovative useful social media content editing, organizing and
publishing apps on a monthly basis to support small businesses in managing digital campaigns. We recommend downloading a few different apps to test them out and understand which will be most effective in supporting your social media goals.

Using Instagram and Facebook to build a community of engaged brand advocates can seem intimidating, until you realize what makes them work. Implement these tactics to see what a powerful tool social media campaigns can be for your restaurant business.

 

This post was shared in connection with Brand Points Plus, a FREE loyalty program for independent operators.  Easily collect points for amazing rewards, if you're not a member - we highly recommend you become one.

 

 

Learn more about Brand Points Plus

 


By Kate Engineer
Kate Engineer’s agency, Fervid Communications, was recently acquired by The Fifteen Group Inc., a restaurant consulting company with offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

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Brand Points Plus logo with hand reaching for a take out order

Making Food Delivery Easy

Turning to Takeout

 

by Jane Auster

This post was written by Jane and the Brand Points Plus team.  If you're not a member, this is an amazing, no-cost loyalty program.  To learn more click here.

 

Flexible restaurant operators are converting from eat-in to takeout during the COVID-19 pandemic. And whether they're fine dining, QSR or casual eating establishments, they're finding it's not as hard as you may think to revamp an eat-in operation. Also, according to infectious disease specialist Isaac Bogoch, the risk of contracting the virus from takeout and delivery is "so extraordinarily small" – good news for consumers and restaurant operators alike.

 

Here are the top takeaways to ensure your takeout is a success:

 

Make ordering and payment a snap. Many diners, especially Millennials, are already conversant with online and app ordering. Make sure your web and app menu allows for easy ordering and that you're capable of receiving text message orders and app orders from mobile devices. Then add a pre-payment option to make the whole process seamless. Companies like cloud-based commerce platform Lightspeed POS Inc. have set up special resources during the crisis to help restaurants who are converting operations to takeout and delivery.

 

Change up your restaurant layout. Without the need to provide tables and chairs for traditional eat-in dining, you can easily convert that space into takeout/delivery work stations. Think assembly line in the way you organize your takeout operation.

 

Revisit your staffing. There's no doubt you will not need the same number of employees as a full-service restaurant requires. But you will want to retain as many as possible to keep you up and running professionally and prepare for a return to more normal operations. Now is the time to redeploy your talent. You'll still need cooks (short order especially), cleaners, order takers and payment processors, delivery staff, and quality control personnel. You may also need a person assigned specifically to answer customer questions about your menu, takeout and delivery options, payment, and so on.

 

Carefully consider your menu. Not everything on your regular menu will be suitable for takeout and delivery. A takeout menu is more a snapshot of your full offerings. Confine your takeout to top sellers (as long they're not too elaborate or time-consuming to prepare), dishes that will transport well in takeout and delivery, and entries that will still give you a good return on investment.

 

Use the right packaging for the job. No one likes to pick up or receive soggy, leaking, messy or unattractive food packages. Companies like W. Ralston, Novolex and Polar Pak feature packaging specifically for foodservice operations that include takeout and delivery, and also packaging that's size-appropriate. “The packaging a French fry requires for travel is different than a pasta dish. And packaging will also depend on the miles or time it needs to travel,” says John Veder, director of innovation - paper for Novolex North America. Also consider packaging that can be easily reheated without having to be transferred to other dishes.

 

“With takeout, the customer is in control of when that food is consumed,” says Veder. “For delivery, the customer is at home, waiting. Their expectation is that the food is ready to eat. Not soggy. Not cold.”

 

For more info:

View Flanagan's Take Out Essentials catalogue.

 

Image of Flanagan Take Out Essentials Guide

 

Make delivery easy. "Delivery was a growing market segment prior to COVID-19," says foodservice principal Jeff Dover of fsStrategy Inc. "Restaurants have been adjusting delivery menus to include products that hold well and working on takeout containers that hold the food well. Increasingly, they are looking for tamper proof containers. If a restaurant hasn't worked through this yet, they may want to think about it before going full delivery. If they don't normally do takeout or delivery, they will need to get the packaging."  

 

If you're new to delivery, you may want to partner with an established foodservice delivery company like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Foodora, or Skip the Dishes. Uber Eats has announced that the company is waiving its normal delivery fees for customers who order from independent restaurants and allowing restaurants to receive payment daily instead of on a regular billing cycle in order to help their cash flow. Door Dash has said it will be not be collecting service fees for the first 30 days for a new restaurant client. Restaurants who partner with delivery services also benefit from the online exposure on food delivery sites.

 

Do it yourself? Some restaurants are choosing to do their own delivery by training their regular waitstaff to become delivery door-dashers. In the short term this is a great way to continue employing front-of-house staff. But don't forget to check your insurance to make sure your staff are covered for "other" employment within your operation.

 

Plus, ask yourself these questions:

 

What kind of vehicle will you need? Motorized, bike delivery, or via public transit?
What's your radius? How far are you willing to travel for your customers? During this difficult period, literally going the extra mile will make a huge difference and help retain loyalty.


How's your branding? What kind of branding will you use to stand out? The big food delivery companies are able to advertise themselves through their distinctive, logo-ed carry-on packaging. Like the big guys, your new visual identity as takeout and delivery food providers matters. Consider branding your takeout packaging with your company logo and tagline or marketing messages. Market and promote the service on your website as well.

 

Ramp up your social media. Never has your social media been more important. It's your direct conduit to customers, a way to let them know that you are still in business and you value their patronage and support. If you're adding takeout and delivery, you need to spread the word. Social media such as Instagram, Facebook and other community pages can let people know you are open and active. Don't be afraid of doing something different and a little crazy on your Instagram. Get personal, do a virtual meal in your restaurant and film it, sing an aria outside your restaurant and post to your Instagram.

 

You may also want to create an old-fashioned paper flyer with your takeout menu and have a staff member deliver it to your local area. Sometimes old school is the best school. The point is to communicate as often as you can with customers to keep them close. And don't forget to thank them. They want to help.

 

Get creative. Some clever restaurants are throwing in extras with customers' takeout and delivery orders. Have any logo-ed t-shirts on hand? Send one with each order. Do you make any branded food items for sale, such as jams? Add one to each order. A restaurant in Toronto is even offering to throw in a roll of toilet paper to food orders made through Uber Eats.

 

 

 

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Due to recent events, delivery and pick-up orders are increasing rapidly. In challenging time such as this, how can you make sure your restaurant is top of mind for customers? Here are some ways you can stand out amongst your competition and encourage customers to continue to order from your restaurant.

 

Old Fashioned Drive-In Restaurants

Who can forget the experience of an old fashioned drive-in restaurant? When customers would drive up to a restaurant and eat in their cars. Since customers visiting your restaurant can not come in and sit, why not deliver food to them instead? However, make sure your servers are taking proper precautions to wash their hands, sanitize after each meal delivery and keep social-distancing.

 

Create A Loyalty Program

Everyone loves to earn points and win free stuff! Most of us have changed our shopping, eating, and travelling patterns to earn points for our purchases. Therefore, having a loyalty program is a no brainer! The eventual winning of a prize has a lot of influence on people's spending and drives repeat sales! We recommend a digital loyalty program, especially these days, since customers won't be able to present a card physically.

 

Get Personal With Personalized Messages

Something playful that restaurants can add to take-out orders is the option to include a personalized message; offer this option during the time of ordering. The customer can decide what message they wish to send out if they are ordering for family or friends, or they can request funny jokes or pictures. It is an easy and low-cost way of adding some fun into food delivery. Also, you can encourage customers to share their personalized messages on social media with a specific hashtag. This is a great way to promote the restaurant as well as showcase food orders.

 

Take Advantage of Social Media 

Social media is an excellent tool to build your business profile and attract new customers. With social media, you can create videos, promote new specials, highlight limited time offers, feature your employees, offer cooking lessons, interviews with the chef, and give a "behind the scenes" look to your customers. People are craving social interaction more than ever before and making your restaurant approachable is the golden ticket. 

 

Bring The Restaurant To Their Home.

Is your restaurant known for a particular theme or ambiance? Unfortunately, because restaurants patrons can not sit down inside, why not bring the restaurant to them? For example, why not try including a wine list pairing with the food they ordered, a tea light candle, labelled napkins or with each order include paper placemats and crayons for children. If your business includes toys for children at the end of the meal add the toys in as well or the breath mints they could have picked up upon exiting the facility. It is simple things like this that provide an extraordinary experience beyond just receiving a take out meal. Also, don’t forget to add in promotional materials to spark their interest in ordering again. Furthermore, you can create a contest and encourage customers to share their experience on social media and offer a reward such as a discount on their next order.

 

Special Limited Time Offers.

Offering a special limited-time offer is a great way to not only attract new customers but to retain them. This is a wonderful way to tempt people to try out your restaurant. Some examples of limited-time offers can be free meals for kids, 50% off desserts and special fixe prix menus on certain days. Also, you can leverage certain social media days such as, "National Peanut Butter And Jelly Day," this will create traffic to your social media. Here is a complete list of Annual Food Holidays for Restaurants.

 

Ordering take-out is one of the simple pleasures that is still available. Make your restaurant stand out amongst the competition by offering a loyalty program, personalized messages, unique experience, and limited-time offers. Become present on social media and increase traffic to your restaurant during this challenging time. Customers will remember you for it.

 

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Yes, you can deliver food during the Coronavirus pandemic. Here's how!

 

Image depicting the Take Out Essentials document, including a picture of a bowl of ice-cream with sprinkles being dropped on it.

 

In an effort to prevent further spread of COVID-19 people will be social-distancing, and the demand for at home delivery orders will be drastically increasing. How can your business make sure that they are prepared to deliver food to customers safely? 

 

According to the CDC and FDA, COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through food. The possibly more significant issue is spreading the virus from food delivery driver to customer or vice-versa. However, your restaurant can deliver food during the pandemic as long as you take the proper precautions, here's how:

 

The health of food delivery drivers is a priority.

Any food delivery drivers who have been diagnosed with COVID‑19 should be individually asked to self‑isolate by management to avoid any further spread of the virus. As a business, it is in your best interest to remain transparent to customers on your policies regarding sick employees.

 

Follow foodservice best practices.

It is essential to keep up to date with restaurant best practices for food handling at this time. This includes ensuring proper sanitation of surfaces, food handlers and food preparation environments, and that all food is properly sealed in tamper‑evident packaging.

 

Invest in good packaging.

A few extra cents to buy the right to-go packaging will end up saving you in the long run by preventing damaged food and keep items fresh for longer. To stand out amongst competition, you can try trendy ECO-friendly packaging as well. Take a look at our Take Out Essentials Guide. Also, clear packaging allows food delivery drivers to check orders at-a-glance before leaving the restaurant and completing the delivery. This will avoid and confusion or mistakes.

 

Need thermal carriers? We’ve gathered a few for you to review.

 

Encourage customers to leave delivery instructions.

For the safety of your delivery drivers and customers it may be best for them to avoid 1-1 contact with each other. While the customer is ordering food, make a note to ask what their preferred delivery instructions are, and ask if it is possible to leave the food in an alternative location, for example placing food at the door.

 

Wash hands and keep delivery cars clean.

Hand washing is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves and others. Provide food delivery drivers with disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, as well as gloves to help them protect themselves and keep their vehicles clean of any germs. Germs can live on surface, instruments and packaging that people touch, including take-out containers and utensils for nine days. Other recommended hygiene practices include not touching your face with unwashed hands, as well as making sure to cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue. 

 

The health and safety of your food delivery drivers and customers is the top priority in times such as these. Make sure to take proper precautions to keep everyone safe. 

 

If you would like further advice on your safe food delivering options please contact your territory manager.

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Technology has made a huge impact on the behaviour of your customers and how they choose to enjoy their meals. 50% of Canadians now use their smartphone to order food and drinks. Having a presence on third-party delivery apps like Skip the Dishes or UberEats it’s not only convenient to your existing customers, it’s advertisement to potential customers who are debating where they should eat.

 

The apps themselves make it easy for you, too. Long gone are the days of complicated software platforms that are more hassle to use than they are worth. These apps have easy-to-use interfaces and make the process smooth and simple to receive your orders, coordinate delivery times, and accept payment.

 

Menu

Is your menu on ordering apps and your website up to date?

 

The biggest let down for a consumer is to discover that the food they want to order isn’t actually available. SkipTheDishes and UberEats make it as easy as possible to update menu items within seconds and as often as necessary.

 

It’s important to note that though your menu should be up to date on third party sites, your entire menu doesn’t have to be included. Choose a few easy and portable menu items—like sandwiches, soups or salads— and feature those as delivery options. You’ll still benefit from the brand exposure on the platform and the additional revenue stream while protecting the integrity of menu items that don’t travel well.

 

Delivery Charges

These are determined by you. Yes, you do want to make sure that you are covering your costs, but you also need to think strategically. If someone can order something similar from multiple restaurants, their decision will likely come down to cost and delivery time.

 

Remember, today’s consumers don’t have the same level of loyalty as previous generations and will easily switch to somewhere new if it means a more convenient experience.

 

Delivery Time

Skip the Dishes and UberEats allow you to set your own prep time and easily control the pace of your kitchen. You can adjust prep times whenever you need, such as at peak times or on days when you are down staff. UberEats will also adjust it automatically based on order volumes, time of day, and order size.

 

Ensure you stick to the determined delivery times as closely as possible. You don’t want a customer to be waiting longer than expected for their food to arrive, nor do you want their food to arrive cold because it was prepared too early.

 

Packaging

Don’t underestimate the art of good packaging! No one wants to have their order delivered only to find that something has leaked out of its container or that food has gone cold and soggy. Proper packaging is key to ensuring that your establishment’s eating experience transfers to the home. This is a reflection of your brand and your commitment to your diner’s entire experience.

 

Maintain A Strong Digital Presence

Don’t forget—your online presence goes far beyond the ordering apps themselves. Consumers are looking to a whole host of digital mediums when deciding where to order their food, whether they’re eating on or off-site. Making food decisions is usually an “in-the-moment” choice with over half of all dinner decisions being made day-of. Having a strong online presence is imperative to being selected when consumers are doing their last minute (and hungry) searching.

 

Here are some things to consider to ensure a seamless digital experience for your customers:

 

A Responsive Website

A responsive website will adjust in size to display nicely on a mobile phone without users needing to zoom in and out. Include your menu, contact information, and hours of operation. We love Squarespace and have a great post that breaks down (link to https://www.flanagan.ca/blog/8-Steps-to-Creating-Your-Restaurant-Website-on-a-Budget.htm) step-by-step how to get started!

 

Social Media

Social media continues to have a huge influence on food choices. Having an engaging social presence is vital to staying competitive and promoting your brand.

 

Highlight Your Hard-To-Replicate Dishes To Increase Delivery Orders

Consumers may feel that these items are more difficult to re-create at home.

 

A Google Business Page

When someone Googles your restaurant name, this is what appears on the right side of the desktop search results. This is free advertising in a high traffic place! 88% of all desktop internet searches are conducted through Google.

 

Use these tips to increase your digital brand awareness, create another revenue stream, and improve your customers’ online ordering experience.

 

To get started with Skip The Dishes click here and fill out their form and someone will get back to you.

 

To get started with Uber Eats click here 

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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.

 

Why?

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 flanaganmarket@flanagan.ca.

 

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Smiling Flanagan Foodservice team at the annual spring show

Each spring, thousands of people gather at the Flanagan Food Show to visit, sample unique new products, network with industry leaders and get exclusive show deals on a selection of products.

 

It was our 37th year hosting the show, and this year's was amazing. There was a buzz of excitement in the air as members of the industry came together to celebrate and learn about all things foodservice.

 

Because there is so much to see and taste (everyone’s favourite part) in just one day, we’ve recapped highlights of the show for you.

 

We sampled new products, learned new trends from each presentation, and had the chance to chat with vendor reps about what’s new and exciting in the world of Canadian foodservice.

 

Food Show Products

By Jackie Oakes

I’m Jackie, Senior Marketing Manager at Flanagan’s. I was able to visit many booths on show day and wanted to share some of my favourite discoveries:

 

Tamper-Evident Carry Out Bags

Flanagan code: 504489

 

These bags protect food from being tampered with when being delivered.

 

Recently I heard a story where a third party delivery driver was helping himself to some of the food he was delivering. I am sure most drivers aren’t—but this stuck in my head so I was very pleased to see these bags at the show. It is a large bag that permanently seals when the food is packed. Once delivered, the customer simply removes a perforated area of the bag and takes their food out. 

Ralston Tamper Proof Bag at Flanagan Food Show

It has a write-on block allowing operators to identify the customer or order number.They also offer custom print the bags; minimum case order is 250 cases.

 

 

McCain Avocado Wedges and Root Vegetable Medley

Flanagan codes: 199024 and 193039

McCain Deep Fried Avocado and Root Vegetables

 

McCain actually had four new products that I enjoyed sampling, but I forced myself to choose my two favourites to share with you:

 

Avocado Slices

YUM! Menu penetration for avocados are up 32% over the past four years and this breaded avocado is a great appetizer or addition to a burger. This provides operators an easy way to handle avocado, which can be rather temperamental.

 

Root Vegetable Medley

A tasty, unique twist on a traditional fry.  Carrots, parsnips and beets are cut and lightly battered.  Presentation is beautiful on the plate!

 

 

Carole’s Cheesecake on a Stik

Flanagan codes:

Matcha Green Tea – 107921
California Almond – 107919
New York Classic – 107933
Belgium Chocolate – 107934

 

Well HELLO, cheesecake on a stick!

Delicious, only 190 calories each, and available in four flavours: Matcha Green Tea, California Almond, New York Classic, and Belgium Chocolate.

Carol's Cheesecake on a Sick arranged on a plate

This is the perfect product to allow your guests indulge, while not breaking the calorie-bank. Today’s consumers are time strapped and want convenient foods that are easy to snack on. This product would work great in a location marketed as an afternoon snack.

 

 

Mini Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza Appetizer and Chicken Quesadilla Appetizer

Flanagan codes: 187791 and 187785

Brom appetizers

Brom Mise en Bouche was not a company I was familiar with before the show, and I was eager to try their appetizers. With more than 20 years’ experience in food manufacturing, their line of hors d’oeuvres and canapés were delicious!

 

My favourites were the pizza-style mini tartlet with pepperoni and cheese and the tortilla dough cone filled with chicken, strong cheddar, peppers and onions.

 

Strawberry Peanut Stick, Raspberry Chocolate Danish and Sweet Potato Bun

Flanagan codes:

Strawberry Peanut Stick – 107549
Raspberry Chocolate Danish – 107565
Sweet Potato Bun – 126150

 

Bridor Strawberry Peanut Stick

The Bridor story began in the 1970s, when Louis Le Duff moved from France to Quebec and couldn’t find a pastry to equal that in France. He opened in his first bakery in 1980 and has been developing high quality breads and pastries for over 30 years.

 

Bridor just launched a Strawberry Peanut Stick to mirror the attributes of a peanut butter and jam sandwich, which was scrumptious!

 

I am hard pressed to pick between that and the chocolate raspberry Danish. I was very excited about the sweet potato hamburger bun. The taste is very subtle, making this bun ideal for a pulled pork sandwich.

 

 

MadeGood Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip and Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

Flanagan codes: 

Chocolate Chip – 364538
Sweet and Salty – 364539

Made Good Granola Bars and Snacks at Flanagan Show

Made Good has a great story, leaning on healthy food as well as being an inclusive company. Half of their employees—from management to production—are women. Newcomers to Canada and people from under-represented groups enjoy a sense of belonging at MadeGood.

 

With one full serving of vegetables from six different sources, the vegan granola bars are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can help contribute to a healthy digestive and immune system. 

 

Wings' Uncooked Ramen Noodles

Flanagan code: 119450

What is great about this traditional ramen noodle is that the product comes pre-portioned in a case of 24. Each package is 100 grams. It can be used in soups or as a cold noodle salad.

 

Here is a Ramen Chicken Noodle Soup recipe using the product:

Ingredients

4 bundles Wing’s Ramen Noodles
5 L chicken broth
1 inch ginger
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. Wing’s Soy Sauce
1 tbsp. sugar
1 carrot cut into match sticks
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half lengthwise
2 green onions, chopped
4 tsp. sesame oil

 

Preparation

In a large pot, bring chicken broth and ginger to a boil then reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, slice chicken thighs.


Heat canola oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and add chicken.
Once chicken pieces are fully cooked and have a nice sear, add Wing’s Soy Sauce and sugar. Continue frying until chicken evenly coated.


Boil Wing’s Ramen Noodles in lightly salted water. Drain, and portion into serving bowls.
Add chicken broth to noodles, and arrange chicken, carrots, egg, and green onions on top.


Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.

 

Serves: 4

 

I’m Katrina, Marketing Specialist at Flanagan’s.

 

There were so many delicious new products showcased on April 10 at our Kitchener show that I had trouble keeping my summary concise. These were my favourites:

 

Katrina Couto of Flanagan Foodservice

 

 

Beyond Sausage by Beyond Meat

Flanagan codes: 

Original Brat – 177000
Hot Italian – 177002
Sweet Italian – 177004

 

Walking into the show, the Beyond Meat booth was high on my list of vendors to visit. I was so excited to try the Beyond Sausage and it did not disappoint.

 

Though I’m not vegetarian, the Beyond Burger has been my A&W go-to order since it was released. The Beyond Sausage has the same attributes as the burger in that it has a similar texture and taste to that of its animal protein counterpart.

Beyond delicious.

Beyond Sausage Meat at Flanagan Food Show

 

 

Wow! Factor’s Sangria Cake, Reese Peanut Butter Blondie, and Vegan Chocolate Torte

Flanagan codes: 

Sangria Cake – 104169
Reese Peanut Butter Blondie – 104154
Vegan Chocolate Cake – 104175

Variety of Wow Factor Cakes at Flanagan Food Show

Wow! Factor was another booth I didn’t want to miss. I featured the Reese Peanut Butter Blondie in an issue of our New Product Newsletter shortly before the show, and I had to try it for myself.

 

Wow! Factor has released five unique new products for spring 2019, and these products were three of them.

 

The Reese Peanut Butter Blondie tastes exactly as you’d imagine a Reese candy would taste in cake form. In other words, decadent.

 

Their Vegan Chocolate Cake is comprised of mostly plant ingredients, and the Sangria Cake is heavenly, fresh, and chock-full of summer berries.

 

Cavendish DeliverCrisp™ Fries

Flanagan code: 193130

This year, Cavendish debuted their DeliverCrisp™ fries; a skin-on, straight-cut fry that maintains its crispiness for 30 minutes while en route to your customer’s door. 55% of restaurant delivery occasions are incremental orders, and right now French fries are the fastest growing food item in delivery. No matter what serving container these are packaged in, DeliverCrisp™ fries are designed to provide an unprecedented hold time.
Cavendish Deliver Crisp Fries

 

 

 

Fully Cooked Chicken Wings

 

Even better: this product qualifies for Brand Points Plus, and until June 30 you can earn 5 bonus points for each case purchased!

Flanagan code 164494

Reuven International featured their new Fully Cooked Wings (exclusive to Flanagan!), and they were incredibly tasty as is, without any seasoning.

 

These wings are prepared straight from your freezer to the fryer and ready in less than five minutes. Because they’re fully cooked, you eliminate any food safety concerns and minimize fryer oil degradation.

Rueven Fully Cooked Wings

 

 

KIND Bars

Flanagan code: 164494

Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate – 177000

Almond Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate – 177002

Almond & Coconut – 177004

 

Kind, indeed. KIND bars are all about simplicity. With no artificial sweeteners or added sugars, these bars are nutrient-dense without compromising flavour.

 

Speaking of flavour, the three that were featured at the show were delicious; Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate, Almond Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate, and Almond & Coconut.

 

Kind Bars - Dark Chocolate nuts and sea salt

 

 

 

The Deals
Flanagan Team promoting truckload deals at Flanagan Show

Once again, we had a Truckload Deals section in the centre of the show floor that featured one-day-only deals on select products. Flanagan customers placed their orders on the spot, and saved anywhere from $0.50 to $18.00 per case (or portion, depending on the product).

 

Products with deals included Grille & Galley Gourmet steak, Redpath sugar, Gay Lea salted and unsalted butter, High Liner seafood, and a variety of smallwares.

 

Though the Truckload Deals were one-day-only, show pricing applies for six weeks past show date; reach out to your Territory Manager for more information or call Customer Relations at 1-855-FLANAGAN.

 

Thank you to all guests, vendors, presenters and staff for another wonderful show season. We look forward to seeing you in 2020!

 

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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 www.fairkitchens.com.

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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Take out burger in a car

 

In an increasingly time-starved, drive-thru society, time really is of the essence—and perhaps especially so in tougher economic climates when many people are watching their pennies closely. But those same financially prudent folks are opting for quick dinner fixes and have discovered that restaurant-style meals can be taken home to eat. That can be quicker and less expensive for the customer, but it can also mean more money on a restaurant's bottom line.

 

Call it the "pop-in take-out"

According to the NPD Group, average diners in the United States order a take-away meal almost twice the amount of times as eating a meal at a restaurant. While Canadians have a different relationship with their restaurants, we can see similar forces at work here.

 

 In some respects, the grocery store chains have led the charge. If you think about it, they offer a wide variety of prepared meals hot and ready to go when a customer pops in for a panini, a pizza, or a rotisserie chicken with a side of chunky potato wedges and slaw. And they can take those meals home for less money than visiting a restaurant.

 

So shouldn't full-service restaurants take advantage of this trend—the growing expectation by consumers that they can pop in and take-out? John Mitchell, a Flanagan territory manager, thinks so.

 

"I think that restaurants need to keep in mind that those meals are designed for people on the go and who don't have the time to sit down and eat a proper meal. The obvious way restaurants can take advantage is to offer similar meals-to-go."

 

Talk to busy families and you'll hear that they just don't have the time or energy to cook, but at the same time they may not feel like going out to a restaurant due to time or monetary restraints.

 

It's the profile of a changing diner. According to businessweek.com, in the United States take-out sales from restaurants—not merely traditional QSR establishments—is booming. Major casual-restaurant chains are taking orders via Internet, telephone, and even text messages. In fact, some U.S. Outback Steakhouse restaurants say that take-out meals account for nearly a third of all the meals their kitchen prepares.

 

Mitchell's experience working with a large grocery store chain tells him they know what take-away meals can mean to their bottom line: something in the order of five times the profit margin for selling the hot, prepared meal over selling the dish's ingredients off the shelves, he estimates.

 

"The chicken dinner and pizzas-to-go low-ball the average restaurant, partly because they don't have wait staff. And the start-up cost can be low. A hot take-out can be done in very little space."

 

For restaurants to jump in and take a piece of the growing grocery store take-out pie, Mitchell advises to start getting the word out. Build ready-to-go meals and people will come-if they know it's there.

 

"Promotion and advertising is important to reach those customers who are visiting grocery stores for ready-to-go meals. If possible, set up a take-out counter that's different than the main restaurant. Most restaurants are going to have food warmers and such equipment, and there may be set-up cost there, as well they will need proper take-out containers."

 

Take Out Tips

  • Treat your take-out service like your eat-in business with meals that are cooked in a timely manner and packaged properly for a trip home
  • Consider that people will likely order via Internet, telephone, or text message—be able to handle your order process efficiently and conveniently
  • Allocate a staff member to handle order inquiries
  • Put in place a system to ensure that orders are filled accurately
  • If possible, designate special parking areas for take-away customers

 

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October 27, 2020
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