Sept. 14, 2016, Toronto, ON — Kostuch Media Limited, publisher of industry magazines Foodservice and Hospitality and Hotelier, has announced its 2016 winners of the prestigious Pinnacle Awards. Toronto-based McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada is this year’s Company of the Year winner for Foodservice and Hospitality magazine, while Calgary, Alta.-based Superior Lodging has been named Company of the Year for Hotelier magazine.

Other category winners for Foodservice and Hospitality include Thornhill, Ont.-based Paramount Fine Foods for Regional Company of the Year; Calgary’s BMeX Restaurant Group takes top honours as Independent Restaurateur while Anthony Walsh, corporate chef of Toronto’s Oliver &Bonacini Group, is this year’s Chef of the Year. Rounding out the winners for F&H magazine is King City, Ont’s Beretta Farms as Supplier of the Year.

On the hotel side, this year’s winner of the Regional Company of the Year is Toronto-based Sunray Group.Mandy Farmer, president of Accent Inns and the fledging Hotel Zed is this year’s Hotelier of the Year and Toronto-based Avendra wins as Supplier of the Year.

Over the past year, Company of the Year, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, has benefitted from significant innovations to its business. Late last year, the QSR behemoth introduced its Create Your Taste platform, which offers customers the flexibility to customize its menu options through the introduction of self-order kiosks, and allows them to have orders delivered to their tables. As part of the company’s expanded offerings, guests are now able to choose from 30 quality burger toppings. “The self-order kiosk is a game changer from the industry point of view,” says Jacques Mignault, COO. “This is really about creating an unmatched guest experience.” Along with other menu introductions and innovations, the company managed to increase its 2015 sales to close to $4 billion sales with a total of 1,443 units.

This year’s Regional Company of the Year, Paramount Fine Foods, is a relative newcomer to the foodservice landscape, launching its first unit in 2007. Since then,the halal Middle Eastern restaurant chain has had a meteoric rise. By the end of 2016, the company is projected to have a total of 55 units open, mostly in southern Ontario. Additionally, the company also has a gourmet butcher shop, food factory and a food truck.

The Independent Restaurateur of the Year award is presented to BMeX Restaurant Group, a Calgary-based hospitality company that operates six different restaurant concepts ranging from Una Pizza+Wine, Ox and Angela, Native Tongues and the Frenchie Wine Bar, a traditional French wine bar focused on a natural wine program. The company also owns a bee farm consisting of three different colonies of bees, ensuring that the bees producing the brand’s honey are protected in their ecosystem. Over the past year, the company launched four new restaurants, resulting in more than doubling gross revenue numbers from $7 million to $15 million.

This year’s Chef of the Year award is being presented to iconic chef Anthony Walsh, corporate chef at Oliver & Bonacini. Walsh is one of the industry’s most respected culinarians and has been mentor to many chefs in the industry. In addition to overseeing the kitchens of 14 restaurants, 10 event venues and the company’s catering arm, this year Walsh was pivotal in opening the Beaumont Kitchen, The Guild, Liberty Commons, and launching his own new restaurant called Lena, an Argentinian concept that is close to his heart (his mother in law is Argentinian) as well as Bar George.

As this year’s winner of Supplier of the Year, Beretta Farms has achieved success for more than two decades by raising cattle that is certified organic, raised without the use of hormones, steroids or anti-biotics and treated ethically. The company supplies retail, wholesale and restaurants alike, supplying customers with pork, lamb, bison and chicken.

On the hotel side, Superior Lodging is coming off a solid year, despite the vagaries of the western Canadian market. In the past year, the company added six Super 8 hotels, five Microtel Inns and Suites, eight Travelodges, six Thriftlodges and two Super 8’s. In 2015, the company partnered with Waramaug Hospitality Canada Partner to acquire the master license rights for Travelodge Canada. The acquisition has helped mitigate the performance declines in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The company expects to reach more than 100 Travelodges and 135 Super 8s in Canada by the end of the year with sales projected to grow by 15 per cent. Over the next two years, the company expects to welcome 500 new team members to its company. In a move to keep its employees committed and motivated, in 2016 Superior Lodging introduced a RRSP matching program for all its full-time employees both at the hotel level and at corporate head office.

This year’s Regional Company of the Year, the Sunray Group, currently owns and operates 28 hotels, with an additional two set to open later this year, representing about 3,500 hotel rooms in Eastern Canada, primarily along the 401 corridor. The company has built an ever-increasing portfolio of award-winning brands, which includes partnerships with Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, Carlson, Best Western, Wyndham and Choice Hotels. Over the past year, the company has grown its portfolio by more than 1,000 rooms. The company is close to launching its new in room digital solution called Guest Link, which allows the hotel to connect with any guest in a non-obtrusive way to deliver offers, news and information while enriching their stay with the latest games, apps, and rich media experiences.

Mandy Farmer is this year’s Hotelier of the Year. Farmer is president of Accent Inns and the person behind the launch of the new Hotel Zed brand, a funky retro motel, which has succeeded in transforming dated underperforming motels into boutique properties. The radical new concept launched its second unit earlier this year in Kelowna, B.C.

Rounding out this year’s winners as Supplier of the Year is Avendra, a purchasing company that counts many of the industry’s leading hotel chains as its customers. Over the past year, the company increased its sales by 15 per cent and continued to build on its strength as one-stop supplier of everything from casegoods, to food, equipment and services. Avendra provides independents and chains alike the ability to compete on a level playing field in terms of cost controls.

In addition to its regular slate of Pinnacle Awards, this year, the Rosanna Caira Lifetime Achievement Award is being presented to Michael Beckley, a consummate hotelier who has spent 50 years in the hotel industry both in Europe and Canada. Most recently, Beckley was executive vice-president of Marriott Hotels of Canada before retiring late last year.

According to Rosanna Caira, editor and publisher of Kostuch Media Ltd., “This year’s winners clearly reflect a changing and evolving industry. From McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, who are slowly reinventing the notion of fast food, to Mandy Farmer, who has created a new type of hotel venture, to Beretta Farms, with its focus on ethically raised cattle, our portfolio of winners is evidence that the hospitality industry continues to change, grow and evolve to meet the differing needs of an increasingly sophisticated marketplace.”

Since introducing the first industry award in 1988, Foodservice and Hospitality has honoured a diverse group of leaders for their continued success and achievements, representing every facet of the industry, from upscale restaurants to quick-service chains. Each of this year’s winners are distinguished for their contributions to the image of the industry through civic, educational and community involvement, as well as their efforts in establishing innovative concepts in foodservice or hotel management. Past winners include George Cohon of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Ltd.; The TDL Group; Starbucks Canada; Donald Ziraldo and Karl Kaiser of Inniskillin Wines Inc.; and Four Seasons Hotels founder, Isadore Sharp.

Hotelier magazine’s first annual Hotelier of the Year award, representing similar achievement in the hotel industry, was presented in 1994 to hotel executives Robert DeMone, Canadian Pacific Hotels & Resorts; Michael Beckley, Commonwealth Hospitality; and Simon Cooper, Delta Hotels & Resorts.

For more information please contact: Rosanna Caira at (416) 447-0888, ext. 224 or [email protected]