TORONTO, Ont. — Kostuch Media Limited, publishers of industry magazines Foodservice and Hospitality and Hotelier, has announced the winners of this year’s prestigious Pinnacle Awards. Toronto-based Pizza Pizza is this year’s Company of the Year (National) winner for Foodservice and Hospitality magazine, while Vancouver-based SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts wins Company of the Year (National) honours for Hotelier magazine.
Other category winners for Foodservice and Hospitality include: Toronto-based Ink Entertainment as Regional Company of the Year and Vancouver’s Emad Yacoub, owner of the Glowbal Restaurant Group as Restaurateur of the Year. In the Chef of the Year category, Justin Leboe, of Calgary’s Model Milk restaurant, and Toronto’s Robert Bartley, chef of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) share Chef of the Year honours. Maple Leaf Foods is this year’s Supplier of the Year winner while Toronto-based Freshii wins the Franchise Excellence of the Year Award.
On the hotel side, winners include Skyline Hotels & Resorts as Regional Company of the Year; Dimitrios Zarikos, regional vice-president of Four Seasons Hotels and GM of the Toronto property, wins Hotelier of the Year; while the Supplier of the Year award is being presented to CBRE Hotels.
This year’s Company of the Year, Pizza Pizza has been growing at an impressive rate of late, adding new units across the country including 15 restaurants in Montreal, eight in Manitoba, three in Saskatchewan and four in Nova Scotia for a total of 700 units in Canada ranging from traditional restaurants to movie theatres, sports arena. The company has introduced several new menu additions including chipotle pizza, four new Italian sandwiches served on oven-toasted artisanal buns, as well as potato wedges, chili and poutine. It has also added several Health Check menu offerings.
In the regional Company of the Year category, Ink Entertainment has set new standards for creating cutting-edge food, beverage and entertainment experiences for a variety of consumer markets. The $50-million entertainment empire has managed to grow its overall venue revenues by 28 per cent. Over the past year, the company has added several new restaurant concepts including La Sociėté, a French-style bistro concept in Toronto and in Montreal; Patria, a Spanish tapas-style eatery, Weslodge, and Storys Lounge & Bar, in the city’s entertainment district as well as the new Cabana Pool Bar.
The Independent Restaurateur of the Year is being presented to Emad Yacoub of Glowbal Restaurant Group in Vancouver. Yacoub, who emigrated to Canada in 1984, not knowing a word of English, has built a powerhouse organization that boasts seven restaurants including Glowbal Grill & Steaks, Coast Restaurant, Trattoria Italian Kitchen, Society, Black + Blue, The Roof and the Fish Shack as well as two lounges, and a catering business.
The Chef of the Year category boasts two winners: Robert Bartley, executive chef and senior director of Food & Beverage of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment; and Justin Leboe, chef of Model Milk in Calgary. As executive chef of MLSE, Bartley’s impact has been felt throughout the organization, from launching one of the country’s most successful sports bars, to running the concession stands to serving lobster and dry-aged steaks in its premium restaurants. Over the past year, the company opened its first Real Sports Bar outside the Toronto market, in Ottawa’s Byward Market, and relaunched its Hot Stove Lounge.
Calgary’s Justin Leboe, has been making an impact on the Calgary market since 2007 when he introduced molecular gastronomy to Calgarians. In 2011 he opened Model Milk, a restaurant that focuses on “elevated comfort food.”Since opening Model Milk, he has also opened three other concepts: Double Zeropizza featuring Neapolitan-style pizza, National beer hall, serving gastro pub cuisine as well as Clive Burger, a classic burger concept, which has become a local hot spot in short order.
As this year’s winner of Supplier of the Year, Maple Leaf Foods has undertaken an aggressive strategy designed to ensure a strong Canadian presence in an increasingly global industry. Over the past year, the company has launched its new Maple Leaf Natural Selections and Schneiders’ Country Natural lines, showcasing branded offerings, while taking an industry-leading position on sodium-reduction and fat reduction targeted for healthcare and school-feeding guidelines.
As Franchise Excellence winner, Toronto-based Freshii has managed to grow its franchise network to a total of 97 units in 40 cities and eight countries worldwide. More than 90 per cent of its units are franchised. In just eight short years since it opened its doors, Freshii has pushed the envelope of the fastcasual industry, and pioneered a new segment, namely health-casual.
On the hotel side, SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts is the winner of Company of the Year honours. The company has grown its management portfolio to 20 hotels across Canada through a balanced focus on its employees, guests and by investing in its properties. In the past year, SilverBirch successfully introduced two redeveloped and rebranded assets, in Vancouver and Mississauga. The company also opened the new Fairfield Inn & Suites in St. John’s, N.L, with plans for a new Double Tree by Hilton in Edmonton later this fall. Two additional properties are slated to open in early 2014 in Halifax.
Meanwhile, Skyline Hotels & Resorts is Hotelier’s Regional Company of the Year winner. The Torontobased company has seen dramatic growth in Southern Ontario in recent years acquiring several iconic and historic brands, namely the Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka, and Toronto’s King Edward Hotel. As the largest developer of recreational properties in Ontario, Skyline will be launching a vacation ownership program later this year.
This year’s Hotelier of the Year is Dimitrios Zarikos, regional vice-president of Four Seasons Hotels, and GM of the company’s Toronto property. Zarikos has been actively involved in launching the new Four Seasons Toronto, after closing its former location on Avenue Rd in March 2012. With seven hotel openings under his belt, Zarikos led the team to create a new flagship for the world’s most well-known luxury brand by implementing new operational standards to enhance efficiency and profitability. Zarikos’ inspired and respected leadership has helped the company transition into a new building and a new era for the company, recently garnering the coveted CAA’s Five-Diamond Award.
On the supplier side, CBRE Hotels is this year’s winner. The real-estate brokerage firm is a relatively young practice that was re-established just three years ago. During that time, the company’s results have been impressive, with market share averaging 55 per cent of all brokered deals. The company increased its revenue production by 89 per cent in 2012 and an additional 158 per cent in 2013. In addition to posting significant results, the company also serves as an industry resource for local market intelligence, emerging trends and industry standards.
According to Rosanna Caira, editor and publisher of Kostuch Media, “Once again this year we have a wonderful collection of winners, who demonstrate the ability to excel through quality and innovation, despite market challenges. The 2013 edition of the Pinnacle Awards is particularly special given it marks the 25th anniversary of the program. This year’s winners join an illustrious circle of achievers, whose impact is felt across industry segments.”
The winners will be fêted at a special 25th anniversary luncheon to be held December 6, at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
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.