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The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report

RC Show 2021 ONLINE LIVE: Your guide to navigating this year’s virtual Show


As the foodservice and hospitality industries continue to reel from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, RC Show 2021: ONLINE LIVE is Feeding the Recovery with four days of insightful programming, valuable networking opportunities and a dynamic Exhibit Hall. While it may not look like Shows past, Restaurants Canada has partnered with Nextech AR Solutions to bring this year’s virtual show to life.

Across the country, foodservice operators faced the pandemic with innovation, resilience and creativity. Regions saw major changes in delivery charges, in alcohol sales legislation and in community engagement. Concepts were reworked, menus were tweaked, and new strategies and tactics were put into play. When faced with the impossible, foodservice operators rose to the challenge. Shift from survival to revival with the most up-to-date insights to help you plan for the future.

To hear from leading experts and discover the revenue-generating tactics that have worked for operators like you and to meet the suppliers who are ready to collaborate and support solutions for the coming era. All proceeds generated from the RC Show go back into making the industry stronger through government advocacy, education, resources, programs and events. What follows is a brief introduction to the format, technology, and content of this year’s RC Show. A little advance planning will help you smoothly navigate RC Show 21 and make the most of your experience.

New Technology

The pandemic has changed the way people interact and do business, so the RC Show will have a different format this year: ONLINE LIVE. Restaurants Canada has partnered with Nextech AR Solutions, a provider of world-class virtual trade shows and events, to create a custom, accessible, easy-to-use conference platform to host the RC Show. Nextech AR knows that nothing replaces a live event: instead, the goal is to combine a flexible and interactive user experience with broadcast-quality sound and visuals.

Exhibitors and attendees will use the same platform, with the same icons in the same places, to keep the experience as seamless as possible. The search function will allow you to find anyone you’re looking for, individuals or businesses, so you can connect with old colleagues and friends and discover new connections and suppliers. The event platform offers attendees a wide variety of enabling technologies to help bridge the in-person and virtual gap while providing next-level online experiences.

Each attendee will have a personal planner, the ability to set up one-on-one, live-video meetings and chat functions, and the freedom to see as much of the RC Show as desired. Exhibitors will have online booths in which to offer demonstrations and downloadable resources. Plus the platform will live stream the many seminars, activations and panels from the RC Show’s three themed stages.


This year’s Show encourages attendees to rebuild, reinvent and reconnect. To come together and collaborate in order to plot the course of recovery for both individual businesses and the sector as a whole. The stage programming, curated and designed to support industry recovery, is available across three stages over four action-packed days and provides attendees with the thought leadership, information and insights they need to succeed.

Speaker Stage

The Speaker Stage provides inspirational insights on all aspects of the foodservice industry. Topics will address social issues such as Tackling Systemic Racism to Create an Inclusive Kitchen, and how to Recruit and Rebuild your Team Post-Pandemic, as well as Safeguarding Mental Health (both theirs and your own).

Chris Elliott, Senior Economist with Restaurants Canada, alongside Canada’s top research companies, will share the latest forecasts and survey findings, providing the big picture as well as the granular data that will allow operators to plan for the next quarter, year and beyond. Additional stage sessions will focus on strategies and breakthroughs like the Future of the Delivery Model, the Maturing of the Ghost Kitchen Concept and Engineering Menu Models for Maximum Return to guide operators in their decision-making.

Bar & Beverage Stage

The Bar & Beverage stage will showcase a wealth of solution-based sessions for operators, coupled with experts’ insights. Gather upto-the-minute information from the Global Bar Check-In including leading bar masters from around the globe. Hear the insights and forecast from the informative The State of the Bar session.

Bar & Beverage Stage programming also includes: learning more about the New Cellar-Keepers; Pisco Masterclass; tactics to provide Guest Services Without the Guests; Rethinking Training; Diversifying Your Revenue Stream, plus get the scoop on how to make Progress in a Recession and learn how to make wine, beer and coffee pairing kits to go with Canadian dairy and cheese, to highlight a few sessions.

Culinary Stage

The Culinary Stage will shine a spotlight on presentations from a wide spectrum of talent, including sessions that highlight Indigenous and global cuisine. Take inspiration from featured country Peru, who will be on hand to showcase the scope and creativity of their ingredients.

Celebrate all things pizza with a demonstration workshop from Bellavita Pizza Academy — and World Pizza Champion Chef Pahal Carlone will go live to share the secret of making the perfect dough. Canada Beef and High Liner will demonstrate techniques and products to optimize your menu. Discover how Dairy Farmers of Ontario is working to help operators and foodservice differentiate and scale through smart, local partnerships in a session hosted by Ontario Cheese Ambassador Afrim Pristine and Chef Victor Barry.

Wisdom, Inspiration, Facts and Figures

To fuel the industry’s resurgence, the RC Leadership Conference content normally presented as a separate ticketed event will be available to all attendees as part of RC Show 2021, an additional $250 value. Get the hard data on the impact of COVID-19, the real numbers and patterns that will directly affect your next moves.

Take inspiration from exciting newcomers and the Ones to Watch, like Carl Heinrich from the successful Toronto-based restaurant Richmond Station. Witness leading operators discuss the future of independent restaurants, all the difficult truths, encouraging pivots and potential triggers for change. The CEO panels are always the Show’s most hotly sought-after and highly attended sessions.

This year the RC Show will present eight CEO panels, so attendees can hear directly from leaders about the trials and triumphs from every category and segment of the industry. From fast-casual to full-service, from chain restaurants to independents; from wine, spirits and beer to a much needed look at coffee and the change in cafe culture, the CEO panels will offer different approaches, targeted assessment and experienced advice.


The Garland Canada Culinary Competition is back! With a mandate to increase the profile of female and BIPOC chefs, the competition will look and operate a little differently this year. A Canada-wide search discovered up-and-coming chefs who will compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes. Twelve talented finalists will cook under the watchful virtual eyes of the competition judges. Tune in to enjoy the drama, and be inspired by the meals they create. Attendees will even have a chance to select a fan favourite.

The Beyond the Rail contest is back too, this time in the form of a Cocktail Kit Pitch Competition. Competitors from coast to coast will have the chance to present their ideas for innovative cocktail kits, including recipes, cost sheets and marketing plans, to judges from across the industry. The finalists will compete for $3,500 in prizes and have the opportunity to demonstrate and share their unique creations.

Exhibit Hall

Last year, the RC Show floor covered almost five acres. This year, thanks to the boundlessness of virtual space, it’s infinite. Experience all the innovations and special RC Show offers from the comfort of your own space. Nextech AR Solutions is working with the RC Show team to create customized online booths for each exhibitor, with exciting technologies that include augmented reality as well as 3D images and holographic displays. Suppliers are limited only by their imagination: they can showcase products and activations, create a holographic ambassador, share downloadable resources, conduct demonstrations and even award prizes to visitors.

Attendees are encouraged to book meetings and live-chat with exhibitors, or simply drop off a digital business card if a later follow-up is preferred. Of course, meetings aren’t mandatory to see a booth: you can visit any exhibitor at any time and can click through brochures and videos, and download desired materials directly. The event platform is designed to award special prizes for the highly engaged attendees who make the most of their RC Show experience. In short, the Exhibit Hall will work much like usual, though with less wear and tear on your feet.

Networking Events

The RC Show has always been a much-valued place to connect and network, where foodservice operators can find the kind of people who understand and share similar issues and experiences, and build the kind of relationships that make everything worthwhile. After such a difficult year, it’s more important than ever to have a chance to reconnect.

To check in, to say hello, to share stories of victories, commiserate and work together to connect and build for the future. For the Opening Night event, Restaurants Canada has partnered with Shindig to allow for personal networking as well as entertainment. A third-party video-conferencing app, Shindig is the technological version of a big party: it allows for both a mainstage presentation AND multiple private and small group conversations. Attendees can enjoy an evening of entertainment and mingling as they experience the broadcast and individual connections concurrently, on the same screen.

With a simple login, attendees will be able to watch the welcome broadcast and entertainment and at the same time scan the room, search for friends and meet up with other attendees. Profiles of everyone present will appear on the screen; by simply scrolling and clicking, you’ll be able to have private chats with up to six people at a time. And that’s actual chat, not just texting (though text is available if preferred). Guests can feel free to wander, to join and leave conversations naturally. To greet old friends and make new ones. Just like a party, only there’s no designated driver required.

Breakfast with Champions

This signature event and power breakfast is back this year, in a slightly different format. What won’t change is the intimate talks with industry leaders, sharing their unique observations and experiences. There are big insights to be found at this Breakfast to give you the data and insights you need to help you successfully chart the course of your recovery. Featured speakers at Breakfast with Champions include: Danny Meyer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Union Hospitality Group, David Henkes, Senior Principal at Technomic, Ryan Freeman, Director of Enterprise Partnerships at DoorDash, and Todd Barclay, CEO and President of Restaurants Canada.

Making the Most of RC Show 2021

To help everyone plan their time at the RC Show, and for maximum efficiency, attendees will have access to the event platform welcome page. Two weeks prior to the opening day, registered attendees will be sent an email with instructions on how to log in which will allow them to complete their profile details and upload a photo in advance. Also on the Welcome page, attendees will find a calendar icon that will launch the RC Show Meeting & Conference Planner. This planner can be used to book meetings in advance with both exhibitors and attendees, as well as add stage sessions to strategically plan their experience.

Looking Ahead

It’s been a tough year for everyone and we know the difficulties aren’t over yet. Even as the vaccine rollout begins, there are shutdowns and lockdowns and restrictions on the sector and on everyday life. As an industry we’ve demonstrated endurance, resilience and enthusiasm. The RC Show brings together the experts, the data, the solutions and the best examples to help industry professionals rebuild, reinvent, reconnect and successfully move forward.

Learn from success stories and share your own. Distill the trends that affect you most. Acquire the data and hard numbers that will rebuild your business now, and help steer you through what’s still to come. Be inspired by unexpected innovations, and discover tactics and products that will encourage your own efforts at reinvention. Reconnect with your friends and colleagues. Together, we’re strong, creative and flexible. Together, we can feed the recovery of our businesses, our communities and our industry as a whole.

Join us Sunday February 28 – Wednesday March 3 at the RC Show 2021 ONLINE LIVE event.

Enhance your RC Show Experience with Augmented Reality

Meet your host for RC Show 2021 ONLINE LIVE, Richard Cazeau, as he takes you through what to expect. Scan this QR code with your mobile phone camera.

The ARitize app will pop up on your screen, you simply click to open the app or download the ARitize app, if you haven’t done so already. The hologram will now ask to be ‘placed’ on a surface (direct your phone at a surface). Ensure you do not have your phone on silent mode in order to hear the audio.

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The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report