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Participants of the upcoming RC Show 2022 hospitality trade event share their views on emerging challenges and opportunities.


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Jennifer Ménard-Shand, Founder & CEO, Director, Client Happiness, Staff Shop Inc.

There is a monumental societal and workforce reset happening right now. We are listening to our frontline workers and making adjustments one day at a time rather than trailblazing without a clear sense of direction – since we’ve seen companies and leaders act hastily and need to backtrack, creating doubt and mistrust among their teams.

Yet despite the current uncertainty, there are some important steps we need to take to enhance outcomes for businesses, employees and society at large.

As a First Nations Ojibwe and French Canadian female entrepreneur, I am committed to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion. This includes reducing barriers to entry as well as improving retention for Indigenous talent. Since this is a priority for us, we are supporting organizations with a dedicated Indigenous Retention Representative, who helps to ensure alignment between businesses and Indigenous staff during their probationary period.

At Staff Shop, we recruit and deploy thousands of people across Canada (with additional clients in the U.S. and the Caribbean). Our goal is to attract and retain the right talent, and that’s not just a question of skills but requires core value alignment. We use a custom core values assessment that helps us place people in the right roles.

Purpose-driven talent is key to the success of any business, which makes finding – and investing in – team members whose values are aligned all the more critical. It is also important to paint a clear picture of an employee’s future in the organization that goes beyond a short-sighted materialistic vision (like salary or job title).

Shared value, a meaningful mission and remote work are at the top of job seekers’ lists these days. I strongly recommend creating safe spaces where employees can share experiences, offer suggestions and bring forward concerns. Other impactful tools are mentorship programs and resources for personal development.

It’s our belief that if you have B or C players on your team, they are in the wrong roles, since everyone has the potential to be an A player. Join us in our mission to showcase the value in people and help them achieve their full potential.


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Trevor Lui, Co-Founder of Quell And Author of The Double Happiness Cookbook

Are you curious about the food you eat? Are you interested in digging a little deeper, beyond nutritional information, to find out where your favourite dish comes from and how it came to be part of Canadian cuisine?

The past decades saw an influx of people from different parts of the world, bringing their culture, traditions and food. And a considerable number of these newcomers got their start in the food and restaurant industry. They’ve helped to shape a vibrant and diverse food scene, but often don’t get the credit they deserve.

Many Canadians enjoy culinary offerings that originate elsewhere. People in Toronto likely grew up eating Jamaican beef patties, while sushi would have been a staple for residents of Vancouver. I grew up in a North American Chinese restaurant, where working with my family inspired a deep appreciation of Chinese food.

Food is essential – it is also known to create community. Yet we often stay away from topics like equity, inclusion or food sovereignty. Quell is hoping to change this.

The goal is to shift the focus from appropriation to appreciation, and leveraging this change for creating more favourable conditions for diverse voices. Quell, which I co-founded with Stephanie Lui-Valentim one year ago, is turning the spotlight on under-represented leaders in our industry and working with governments and brands on strategies for becoming more relevant and inclusive.

One example is our work with Health Canada, where we brought the expertise of subject matter experts who have traditionally been under-represented – including Indigenous, African and Asian chefs – to bear on the new food guide.

In order to advance education and activism as well as help our clients achieve sustainable change, two elements need to be in place. One: it’s important to acknowledge that there are gaps and barriers that need to be addressed. Two: there needs to be a genuine willingness to follow through and take action.

We need to be committed to doing better. Just consider the importance of new Canadians who are the backbone of the restaurant industry and often work as first cooks, dishwashers, barbacks and bussers.

Those who aspire to become chefs or restaurant owners need to see others who look like them in these positions. We need to create pathways to success for diverse voices, because representation matters.


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Mark Ambler, Infection Prevention Specialist at Diversey

While cleanliness has always been an important component of running a restaurant, the pandemic has helped to bring such efforts into the spotlight. Customers are now demanding an explicit and visible demonstration that businesses are prioritizing their health and safety.

We’re all familiar with the term “dive bar,” where clientele may have overlooked dingy facilities or smudged surfaces in favour of a certain atmosphere or great deals on food or drinks, but standards for cleanliness are much higher today – and this means that even such venues will have to meet new expectations.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the foodservice industry in Canada has reviewed – and thoroughly enhanced – surface cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection efforts as part of a three-pronged approach to enhancing comfort and safety.

Canadians are now accustomed to sweeping public health measures for gathering in indoor spaces. They include: one, verifying that customers (and staff) are vaccinated or have recovered; two, that spaces are well ventilated (since COVID-19 is an airborne virus); and three, that surface and facility cleaning contribute to infection prevention and control. Taken together, these three key components are inspiring customers to come out and frequent foodservice businesses again.

At Diversey, our primary concern is with the third component. Advancing health and safety through cleanliness has always been a central pillar of foodservice operations – and we welcome the recognition of its crucial role in protecting staff, guests and the brand. We’ve also seen and welcomed the opportunity to support heightened commitment to staff training and education.

When you’re walking into a foodservice facility today, you’re much more likely to notice efforts to present a cleaner venue. You will also encounter staff members who are familiar with what we call a more holistic approach to better foodservice operations – through cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection.

This is a legacy we hope will continue: that organizations prioritize staff training and education as well as recognize the important contributions of team members who have historically been undervalued.

The pandemic represents a turning point for the cleaning industry. We welcome the heightened attention on infection prevention and control and believe the direct correlation – between visible cleanliness and consumer confidence – is here to stay.

Restaurants Canada is preparing for the RC SHOW 2022, the hospitality trade event of the year, held February 27 to March 1. Visit rcshow.com.


Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with Restaurants Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved