INSIDER - Volume 11 - Issue #18 September 6, 2011 • PDF version
» Provincial Election Campaign –ORHMA Grassroots Campaign
As we build momentum for the Oct 6th provincial election the ORHMA has been informing and highlighting the Hospitality Industry’s issues through our Insider. ORHMA members can now access their individual ORHMA Provincial Election Toolkit through a dedicated section of the ORHMA website.
We have asked that operators visit their local candidates to convey the industry’s top issues that present impediments to establishing a successful operation in Ontario. Don’t forget to let us know who you have met with and what issues you raised. In addition to your efforts within your local ridings, we encourage you to contact us directly with the top issues facing you daily.
Finally, don’t miss out on our election survey. Please take a quick moment out of your busy day to fill out the survey.
» Talks of Mandatory Food Handling
Many Public Health Units (PHU) in Ontario are in the planning stages of making the food handlers course mandatory. A total of eight of the province's thirty six health units currently require mandatory certification.
Most recently, the Ottawa Public Health Unit is debating whether to force food handlers in the city to take a mandatory food safety course. The city now offers a voluntary one day food safety certification course and is experiencing high demand for that course. A Toronto Public Health evaluation in 2004 found that restaurants where at least one staff member had voluntarily received certification were much more likely to pass inspections with a clean record. Other Ontario jurisdictions such as Niagara and London, have included mandated food handlers as part of their strategic initiatives.
The Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) are published by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care under the authority of the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) to specify the mandatory health programs and services provided by boards of health. Section 9 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act allows PHUs to provide any other health program or service if deemed necessary or desirable and if approved by the council of the municipalities served.
The OPHS food safety protocol does not mandate course completion. It calls for the following:
- Ensure that a food-safety training program is available to food handlers in all food premises (high, moderate, and low risk) in the health unit. Consideration shall be given to training food handlers in high-risk food premises before those in moderate-risk food premises.
- Promote that a minimum of one operator and food handler each be certified, and at least one certified food handler be present in the food premises at all times during operation. This applies to all high- and moderate- risk food premises.
Health Inspectors in the eight Public Health Units that mandate the program conduct checks to ensure foodservice operators have at least one certified food handler, working in a supervisory capacity, in each area of the premises where food is being prepared, processed, served, packaged or stored. The food handler certificate, valid for up to 5 years from the date of issue, along with government issued photo identification must be shown upon request by the Medical Officer of Health or his or her designate. Should the above not be available a fine can be imposed.
As several PHUs have or are currently developing mandatory food handler training and certification programs, the ORHMA has concerns regarding the variance in standards that the food handler training and certification programs will exhibit from region to region.
The ORHMA is currently working with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and various PHU’s in developing a standardized food handler training and certification program design for PHUs who choose to operate such a program. The goal of standardization is to provide assistance to the industry in understanding and meeting their requirements while increasing public confidence in the food safety system.
A further reason for a standardized program is because food handler training and certification, as an optional PHU program, must be approved by local councils. This creates considerable opportunity for the program to be altered by local factors and interests unrelated to food safety issues.
The province will have a higher level of assurance that the goals set out in a revised Food Safety Protocol will be implemented only if they establish a provincial program standard that, while still requiring council approval, is not subject to alteration where PHUs believe it necessary or desirable to implement mandatory food handling certification.
The ORHMA expects all PHUs to have food handler training available to the foodservice industry, and strongly recognizes the private sector as capable trainers in this field as well. However, the ORHMA supports standardized program elements for PHUs who choose to exceed their minimum requirements. Standardization should include such things as which food handlers (or how many) must be certified, whether a certified food handler must be present for all operating hours of the premise, and the certification criteria to name only a few.
» Hotels and Restaurants Profit Concerns – Consumer Deals in Reduced Rates and Coupon Offers
The Consumers, lets call them travelers or potential customers, love discounts and deals. Starting from the days of cutting grocery store coupons from the local paper there has always been an interest and demand in the discounting game. Recently with third party intermediaries (TPI) on the scene such as Expedia and the likes of Groupon the coupon kings operating within immense cyber communication channels we are bombarded with offer after offer. Discount hotel rates and huge restaurant meal discounts including bundling up (inclusive multi product price offers) are not only the norm but we are so inedited with these offers many do not pay as much attention to them as they once did. Many more do.
The Hotel Industry - Travelers that are not attached to any particular hotel brand love these offers and are in a quest for deals but there is no love here by concerning hotel operators. Bringing price down to attract customers to fill empty beds and perhaps enticing them to return and bring others is not new to a hotel business operator but in today’s revenue management world with scientific yield practices, control fences must be in place to ensure profit is generated. Bargain hunters only come back when the deals are back.
With leisure business drying up in many destinations most independent hotels require to spend thousands of dollars in marketing just to bring 100 new guests to their property yet the power of TPI’s with their promotional engines are highly capable to fill beds just by listing hotels on their sites. These hotels loose out on commanding higher rates and do not achieve their profit potential but do the hotels make any profit at all? Break even profit points must be determined and business is to be taken strategically through managing inventory and the time windows of acceptance. The best way to start is by testing it. There is always the school of thought that auxiliary business within the hotel such as restaurants and spas will support profit growth. Do not take this for granted and assume this will be the case. Bargain haunters have budget and concept guidelines of where to visit and spend their wallet leading a hotel operator to examine their auxiliary services offered along with price points and make alterations or…not. Business successes through deal offers can been materialized but as long as you can develop a loyal customer base, not upsetting your existing customer base and …make a true bottom line profit.
The hotel industry has long realized they need to move more traffic through their own web sites and initiatives towards this has been in high gear for sometime. Today it is more imperative to move up the value chain and establishing direct customer communication and loyalty.
The Restaurant Industry - There is a cost of discounting a set product or service whether it is a guest room or a plate of lasagna. A recent study by Rice University in the USA showed that only 20% of daily deal users come back for full purchases at restaurants and bars. A positive from the coupon world is that they are effective in bringing new customers as the same study showed that 80% of deal users were new customers. Coupon deal concepts are operating in many types of businesses which operate with simplistic fixed product costs unlike the fragile variable food cost issues of the restaurant business. According to the study only 43.6% of the restaurants surveyed financially profited and 35.9% had the intend to repeat the same deal promotion. Another similar study showed only a third of restaurants participating made profit.
Restaurants operate with slim margins and are vulnerable to external and internal factors like no other business on earth. It is imperative that accepting coupon deals become part of managing a restaurant and decisions are made based on hard facts.
Thousands of coupon junkies are attracted to this global wide billion dollar business. Coupon offers are designed to bring in many first-time customers who have never heard of and have never visited a restaurant before. The restaurant will now has a position on the map. A typical restaurant will end up seeing these new customers show up with a coupon in their hand and tend not to buy beyond what the coupon offers. Very few of these customers end up coming back. Traffic is fine but profit is more important so do the math and the answer will be clear.
To calculate your profit one needs to consider not only the direct food cost of the meal embedded with the coupon deal but all the variable costs connected to the entire service including labour and any cost paid to this promotion.(Direct food cost alone can run anywhere from 29% to 35% of the full service menu price.) Displacing higher price paid customers and regulars needs to be taken into consideration. Important is the type of service given to your core customers when you have more traffic than you can handle…but you can find a cure by increasing staffing. HOLD IT…now you are once again increasing your cost.
Keep in mind that each coupon customer walking in to your restaurant will cost you more unless there is a strategy to sell food and beverage add-ons and a plan to bring them back. First time users need to be added to your data base for newsletters and other promotional messages. The challenge once again is the bargain hunter’s keen interest in being back when the deals are back.
» Security Guards and Bouncers - The Law
Security Charges Laid by OPP - Recently, the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Branch, which has the responsibility for enforcing the Act, has visited several Ontario liquor licensed establishments and laid non-compliance charges, including charges of individuals working as unlicensed security guards and licensees employing unlicensed security guards. Under the legislative requirements, individuals convicted for working as unlicensed security guards can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to a year in jail. Businesses convicted for employing unlicensed security guards can be subject to a fine of up to a maximum of $250,000.
The Law - All security personnel monitoring entrances and patrolling licensed areas to ensure the safety and security of the establishment, its employees and patrons must be licensed under the Private Security and Investigative Services Act (PSISA). The requirement which came into effect on August 23, 2008, is administered by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. For more information on provisions of the PSISA, please contact the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services at www.ontario.ca/private-security.
Background - To become a security guard in the province of Ontario all one had to do was to fill out the an on line application provide a proof of Canadian citizenship or a landed immigrant document. Clear a background check and along with a fee one would be able to receive a license for 1 year. In August 2007 the government rolled out a series of regulations that required all security personnel, including bouncers, to become licensed and it included, equipment, uniforms and vehicles.but failed at that time to introduce the long-expected requirements for training and testing. The ORHMA criticized the government for moving ahead in the absence of these requirements as it left the industry scrupling in its approach of this regulation.
Released in April 15, 2010, was the regulation pertaining to the training and testing requirements for security guards and bouncers.The regulation requires that as of July 16, 2010 all persons seeking to become a security guard or bouncer must successfully complete a training and testing component in order to receive a licence. In order to renew their licence for the first time individuals would have to complete the test without necessarily the training. The test only has to be successfully completed at the time of the very first renewal. Candidates who are not licensed as of April 15, 2010 can only register for the test after they have completed basic training.Only training and testing curriculum approved by the ministry can be used in training and testing and will be recognized for the purposes of licensing.
Going into the summer of 2011 there have been a backlog of applications to be processed which proves once again the way a regulation is implemented is usually the major issue. Time after time we see governments are not able to plan ahead and foresee reaction issues well. The licence must be renewed every year, although the ministry is dealing with a proposal to make that every two years and something the ORHMA has been supporting in a letter to the Ministry.
ORHMA’s Participation - The ORHMA participated in consideration of the Private Security and Investigative Services Act when it was introduced in 2004/5 and was appointed by government to sit on the Advisory Committee which turned to be an eighteen month process. The ORHMA consistently raised concerns with the requirements placed on hotel/restaurant/bar security including bouncers. Click here for the Legislative assembly presentation by ORHMA back in 2005.
Position Options for Licensees - Bars and restaurants can use their discretion about employing bouncers or security positions. Under the Liquor Licence Act (LLA), the licensee is obliged to operate responsibly, including adhering to capacity regulations by not going over-capacity. The licensee has options in positions to be employed at the door. Another regulation in the LLA the licensees must follow is not to allow disruptive, violent behavior including fights breaking out. How one chooses to do that from a business perspective is up to you; do you want to hire security guards, do you want to have wait staff doing this, it really depends on the establishment. But in some cases security guards are required. There could be a clause on a liquor licence under the AGCO’s Terms and Conditions that due to past incidents an establishment requires a certain number of bouncers to be on duty during certain hours or events. The City of Toronto has a By law regulating security guard presence in an entertainment establishment/nightclub which is defined as “– a premises, including but not limited to a dance hall or disco, used to provide dance facilities for patrons, where eating is not provided for the majority of the patrons and where food or beverage maybe for sale as an ancillary use-” require security guards within a ratio of one security guards per one hundred patrons.
Government Definition of a Security Guard - A security guard is a person who performs work, for remuneration, that consists primarily of guarding or patrolling for the purpose of protecting persons or property. 2005, c. 34, s. 2 (4).
Examples of the types of work referred to in subsection (4) include:
(a) acting as a bouncer;
(b) acting as a bodyguard;
(c) performing services to prevent the loss of property through theft or sabotage in an industrial, commercial, residential or retail environment. 2005, c. 34, s. 2 (5).
Economic Sense - Safety of employees and customers remains a top priority goal for the industry and training towards meeting this goal makes sense. It is good for customers, employees and the employer but the current system is onerous, and costly as employers negotiate with employees about who pays for the training and testing. The expense incurred by employers for one security employee on training and uniform is not a fixed expense but on going due to the turnover experienced from this position. Once trained a security employee now has many options of employment outside this industry including those that are on a considerable different higher wage bracket sector. This aspect is now forcing wages up in an already razor thin operating business. While the cost of the test itself is under $70 the training expense is around $350 and it includes CPR and First Aid Training ($100 less without these). Prices range pending the service provider one uses. As stated previously the industry’s top of mind goal is the safety of employees and customers and the industry believes in a training model geared for these positions.
The training is not focusing specifically on the unique needs of the hospitality industry. The training curriculum provided is generic and includes courses in subjects such as hazardous materials that are not required by these employees working in bars and restaurants. Yet there are important skill builders found in included topics such as dealing with the public and emergency responsiveness that provide knowledge and confidence for making the right decisions. Confidence not only for the security guard but also to the owner, protecting them both as well as the public. As stated previously an industry top of mind goal is the safety of employees and customers and industry believes in a training model geared for these positions but it is imperative that government works with industry to find an answer to the financial issues specifically finding a training model that makes economic sense.
ORHMA’s Recommendation - Review the training program model to reduce the overall cost of the course and narrow down the job and establishment activities required for the need of a licensed security guard position. For additional information click here.
» Appointment of Ontario’s first Chief Prevention Officer
The Minister of labour has announced the appointment of George Gritziotis as Ontario’s first Chief Prevention Officer. The position was a recommendation from the Expert Advisory Panel on studying improvements to Ontario’s Health System. The recommendation was included in Bill 160 . Mr. Gritziotis has extensive experience working with national labour-management partnership organizations in the construction, industrial and services sectors on human resource development, occupational health and safety, and labour market policy issues. He also serves on a number of voluntary community organizations. Information about Mr. Gritziotis and his appointment to the role, can be found on the Ministry of Labour website.
» Ontario Foodservice Sales Growth – June 2011
Overall Ontario sales for the food services and drinking places industry grew by (+3.9%) from June 2010 when compared to June 2011. The growth in the year to date comparisons seats at (+3.6%). Sales compared with the previous month of May 2011 also grew by (1.1%).
In the month of June 2011 all sectors are showing growth over June 1010 with the exception of Drinking places which continue to decline at (-3.8%) and special food places at (-1.7%). June 2011 year on year comparison of drinking places shows a decline of (-7.4%) with a (-8.3%) decline from the previous month of April 2011.
The year growth is mostly impacted from the volume weight generated from positive performance in the Full-service restaurants and Limited-service eating places. The Full- service sales in June 2011 grew from previous month by (-2.3%) while Limited –service grew by (+3.6).
Special food services includes food service contractors, caterers and mobile food services.
In comparing Ontario to total Canada sales for the food services and drinking places industry increased 0.9% from May to $4.2 billion in June. During the same period, the price of food purchased in restaurants rose 0.2% as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
In total Canada sales the three industry sectors with declines in May posted the strongest gains in June, led by limited-service eating places (+1.2%), drinking places (+1.0%) and full-service restaurants (+0.7%).
All of the provinces posted sales gains in June over prior month, led by New Brunswick (+1.8%) and Prince Edward Island (+1.4%). Ontario as stated previously grew by (+1.1%)
» Fall Food Safety Check-up
Food Safety – Foodservice operators are the last line of defense when it comes to serving safe food and preventing foodborne illness. Cross contamination, lack of proper refrigeration and storage, and people not washing their hands properly when preparing, cooking and serving food; these are the kinds of things that are really hurting consumers.
Your food safety practices should begin when purchasing food. Always ensure your suppliers are ‘approved suppliers’ meaning they can provide evidence that their workplace practices are inspected by health authorities and that they always pass these inspections. If the food you purchase is unsafe when you receive it, it is most likely unsafe for consumption regardless of how you handle it. In the supply chain, from the field to your back door, best practices and HACCP-based food safety systems are all for not if you contaminate food at any point from receiving it to serving it. This is when acceptable cleaning and sanitation, proper storage and hygiene practices are needed to keep food safe; and this is what your health inspector is looking for when they visit you workplace.
With the fall months fast approaching this is a great time to revisit your operating practices to ensure you always pass health inspections. To assist you - download the 10 Rules of Safe Food Handling click here post this in your workplace and follow these simple rules. You can also download a food safety Self-Inspection Checklist click here and use it as a guide. It’s an overview of what the health inspector is validating on their inspection. Should you want assistance implementing these ‘best practices’ click here.
» Ontario JOIN Annual Fall Conference, ACTION Makes it Happen
This year’s event, Leading with Action, is moving to a two-day format which includes a Global Business Leadership Summit with The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, as Honorary Patron on day one. In addition to the summit, day one will include facilitated discussion groups. Seasoned facilitators with extensive expertise on the various topics will guide all registered delegates throughout the first day. The goal of Day One is to connect with business leaders with the intent to develop a common understanding of employment issues for people with disabilities, and agree to work together to identify the workplace equality gaps. These sessions will result in all delegates leaving with a strategy to lead for action with implementation tips and approaches to be able to actualize future success within their organizations.
The topics include: The Digital Divide; Perceptions and Attitudes – Shifting the Mindsets; Understanding the Spectrum of Invisible Disabilities; Communication and Accommodation, Inclusive Communication in Your Organization; Measuring Retention and Career Growth for Persons with Disabilities—Leveraging the LAMP* Model as a Framework for Strategic HR Measurement. Details of day one events are attached for your reference.
Early bird registration details and details of day two are on the JOIN website at www.joininfo.ca.
Click on CONFERENCE at the top of the home screen to register. We hope that you will be able to attend this premier diversity and inclusion event. If you have any questions please email Sharon at email@example.com or Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org
» Western Financial Group - Arson Prevention
Hotels can reduce the threat of arson by practicing the following suggestions:
Make Your Hotel Less Inviting To Arsonists
- Keep property well lit at night.
- Trim shrubs and trees to eliminate potential hiding places.
- Erase graffiti and repair any minor vandalism as soon as possible.
Keep Combustibles Out Of Sight
- Dispose of all garbage properly and get it off-site as soon as possible.
- Store combustible materials, such as garbage bins, wood pallets, and empty cardboard cartons away from all buildings.
- Store chemicals and other flammable liquids in their proper place. Restrict access to them by locking in a fire-resistant cabinet when not in use.
Practice Fire Safety
- Educate employees about arson prevention and fire safety.
- Vigilance is our best weapon against arsonists. Report anything suspicious to police immediately.
Visit www.westernfgis.ca/orhma for more information.
» Mark Your Calendars!
- October 17th Engaging Gen Y –Tapping into Talent - Registration Form
- Power of Women Presents – Loretta LaRoche & Jessica Holmes Live in Toronto – click here
- Ontario JOIN’s Eighth Annual Employer Conference - LEADING WITH ACTION - On The Park Events & Conference Centre, Toronto - click here
- Other Industry Events - click here.
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