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Key Takeaways From the Foodservice Event of the Year

CRFA ShowOur team is now back from a terrific week in Toronto at Canada’s largest foodservice industry event, the CRFA Show organized by the now rebranded Restaurants Canada.

FoodTender President & Co-Founder Andre Pellerin has been attending these types of shows for the past 25 years and says this week’s event didn’t disappoint.

“The Direct Energy Centre is a beautiful facility to host a show of this importance. It was extremely well organized, and the event staff was incredibly helpful.” he says.

Aside from the obvious benefits; connecting with foodservice professionals, and enjoying some incredible food, a few key takeaways emerged that will better guide a digital strategy for simplifying the food buying and negotiating process for Canada’s foodservice industry.

The Importance of Keeping Trendy

Easier ways to source unique products and niche-market food suppliers is a challenge many restaurateurs we spoke with would like to see addressed. This was reinforced for us this week with the release of the Restaurants Canada 2014 Chef’s Survey.

Locally-sourced food is still an important issue for restaurant chefs, however, the top trend is now gluten-free/allergy conscious menu items. Quinoa, a gluten and wheat-free product, checks in at number two to reinforce that point. These trends have us excited about some of the additions made to an ever-growing list of suppliers in our online marketplace.

Canada’s Competitive Food Market 

It’s been encouraging to read recent reports that restaurant sales are expected to grow in every province in 2014. Trade floor conversations, however, also confirmed that food costs and an increasingly competitive market weigh ever more heavily on Canada’s restaurateurs and chefs. The Restaurant Operations Report for 2013 did note that cost of sales is still the largest expense faced by restaurants at 36% of operating revenue. After three days of intense networking, it’s clear that there is a real value in digital solutions like FoodTender, which makes for an exciting future.

Suppliers Face Challenges as Well

Canadian food suppliers are facing their own set of complications. VP & Co-Founder Andre LeBlanc notes that “supplier’s sales agents are struggling with time management as the larger city centres can be traffic nightmares that tend to limit personal face time with clients.” There is serious value to be found in any solution that reduces windshield time for these reps.

We’d like to extend a big thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth this week (and wore one of our buttons), and a huge thank you to Restaurants Canada and the city of Toronto for a great learning experience. We’ve uploaded a photo album devoted to our Toronto Adventure on Facebook, be sure to take a look!

Interested in becoming a part of the online marketplace? No problem! Food suppliers can join at no cost, while food establishments enjoy a 30 day free trial membership. Just click the button below to join today.



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