Experts Weigh in on the International Restaurant Trends

Restaurants across the world are being impacted by similar consumer trends, but also experience unique challenges specific to their markets. With that in mind, we sat down with Shanna Munro, president and CEO at Restaurants Canada and Simone Galante, founder and CEO of Galunion Consulting Company in Brazil to discuss the topic of International Restaurant Trends and to see what they are seeing develop in their local industries.

As Munro points out 2018 was a record year for the foodservice industry in Canada. Sales hit 89 billion, which is a 5 percent increase compared to last year. 

However, she says this growth hasn't necessarily been driven by a surge in traffic. She attributes this to higher labor costs, food costs, utility rates, and operating expenses for operators who have had increase pricing for customers to cover some of these additional costs. 

But there has been some significant growth due to demographic & social changes.  

"The industry has actually doubled in size since 2000 in Canada. Canadians love to get out of their homes and connect with their family and friends. What better place to do so than at a restaurant? So the millennials and generation z has been leading that change, but at the same time, the stay-at-home economy is driving some of this change and driving delivery sales through the roof," says Munro.

In Brazil, the industry was optimistic for this year due to the new social climate. The recent presidential election was supposed to inspire some economic reforms. However, with the slow movement of the reforms, there's a lack of disposable income impacting the growth in the restaurant industry in Brazil. 

"We're going to have around 3 percent or 2.5 percent growth this year. Last year was just 1 percent. We are facing a lot of challenges in the foodservice market. We have a 12 percent unemployment rate and this rate hurts the foodservice opportunities," says Galante.

In Brazil, about 80 percent of restaurants are independents. Chains from other countries that have tried to penetrate the market have struggled. But Galante does point out that there's quite a bit of fast casual growth in the country. 

Watch the clip above to get more insights into these markets. Want the full video? It's available exclusively now for On-Demand members. Learn more about Foodable On-Demand now. 

How Toronto's Multicultural Food Scene Has Made the City a Celebrated Culinary Destination

Foodable Network is always on the lookout for culinary food scenes with a vibrant, yet unique character.

With our "Food in Your City" series, we visit cities offering food scenes unlike any other.

Toronto is referred to as the "New York of Canada" and for good reason. There's a tremendous amount of flavor.

With the majority of the population speaking multiple languages, it makes sense that this culinary destination would have an equally diverse and dynamic food culture.

"When you're eating out in a city as diverse as Toronto, a whole world of flavors is always within walking distance. From hole-in-the-wall joints with no phone to luxurious tasting menus, Toronto is a food lover's dream city," writes "Bon Appétit."

Popular cuisines include Korean, Cuban, Southern American, Brazilian, and so on. Toronto continues to be rooted in culture and heritage and this reflects in the food.

“Unlike being a melting pot, the diversity still stays, so not only do we have communities and neighborhoods, we also have the heritage of those people who are coming from different countries to live here with us," said Donna Dooher, president and CEO of Restaurants Canada.

Renowned restaurateurs like David Chang and Daniel Boulud have opened restaurants in Toronto, but the local talented chefs like Grant van Gameren, Lynn Crawford and Patrick Kriss are helping to make Toronto the celebrated food city it is.

But it isn't just the local chefs elevating the food and beverage scene either. Toronto is home to some of the best bartenders in the business like Frankie Solarik and Robin Goodfellow. These mixology masters are showing guests a whole new world when it comes to their cocktail creations.

Read more about Toronto's food scene here and watch the "On Foodable Side Dish: Food in Your City" episode below to learn more about this culinary city.

How This BarChef Mixologist Makes Cocktail Magic

BarChef, a cocktail bar in Toronto, Canada doesn't just have bartenders, they are more like gastronomic innovators.

The cocktails served at this bar are meant to ignite the imagination and are truly multi-sensorial.

On the past "Across the Bar" episode below we visited BarChef to speak with and to watch Frank Solarik, co-owner and mastermind of the Toronto gem, work his magic as he prepares some of the bar's whimsical cocktails.

The bar has jars lining the bar containing over 5,000 oz bitters used as ingredients in the beverages.

Solarik and his team take a culinary approach to mixology, hence the name “BarChef".

“We put as much passion and care into these dishes as a chef would," says Solarik in the video below.

He was also inspired early on by chefs in the kitchens he worked at.

“One of my jobs was to finish the plates downstairs in the kitchen and working with the chefs, and I was totally amazed by the passion of everyone that was on that team and just the beautiful product that was going out of the kitchen, and the reaction from the guests and things like that,” says Solarik. “For me, it was a turning point in my life. I was just like, ‘I need to do this for a living.’”

Each cocktail is a piece of art.

The Night Blossom cocktail, for example, is made with cacao, chartreuse branch, maple and almond orgeat snow, mint and chartreuse, violet, bourbon, patchouli, Amaro, maraschino, rosemary, and balsam fir and honey. Then it is served with chopsticks and a ramen spoon.

Watch the episode below to see Solarik create this innovative cocktail, along with two others. Also, watch to learn what inspires him to craft these one-of-a-kind recipes.

Gusto 101 Serves Southern-Italian Dishes with a Twist in a Converted Auto Body Shop in Toronto

Toronto has a dynamic culinary scene with a sheer diversity of restaurants with so many different flavors.

Since the competition is fierce in this city, a restaurant has to stand out to make a name for itself, especially when it serves the popular cuisine of Italian.

Gusto 101 in downtown Toronto at the Portland and Adelaide intersection, does just that.

We visited Gusto 101 a few years ago, a southern-Italian restaurant known for its traditional cuisine paired with a bold and modern twist. Even the name Gusto, which means tasty in Italian, is a tribute to the restaurant's roots to Italy.

With an industrial vibe, the restaurant is located in a former auto body shop and has a rooftop deck, Gusto 101 has a tech-forward kitchen to match its innovative front-of-house interior.

“[This is] probably one of the most high-tech kitchens I’ve ever worked in. We have a full-induction burners, combi oven, so on and so forth…It’s at the top of the level of, as far as, the future of kitchens, and the future of restaurant design...,” says Elio Zennoni, executive chef at Gusto 101 in the video below.

But it’s what the chefs prepare in the high-tech kitchen that is the real triumph.

Some of the most popular dishes include ravioli alla norma, rigatoni bolognese, branzino grilled paired with escarole, cannellini beans, celery, salmoriglio and the Tuscan wood-fired grill with grilled chicken and seasonally changing sides.

Watch the Table 42 Vignette episode below to see Chef Zennoni work his culinary mastery and prepare the signature Tuscan Wood Fired Grill Pollo with grilled chicken, butternut squash puree, farro pickled radicchio, and toasted hazelnuts dish.

Toronto’s Bar Raval Serves Cocktails with a Barcelona-esque Atmosphere Morning, Day and Night

Foodable Network is always looking for bar concepts that offer unique beverage experiences. Bar Raval in Toronto, Canada is unlike any other.

When you walk in, you feel as though you have been transported to the Spanish resort town, San Sebastian. This is no accident, either. The name Raval is a nod to the Raval neighborhood in Barcelona.

The bar is standing-room only and was custom design by the Toronto-based architecture and design studio Partisans Projects.

The bar's structure is truly a masterpiece with gaudi-esque wood panels and rich mahogany millwork.

“Bar Raval was an opportunity for us to use advanced digital methods to reinterpret—not replicate—classical Art Nouveau tropes for the 21st century,” said Alex Josephson, Partisons co-founder, as reported by "archello."

The one-of-a-kind structure is all part of the bar experience curated by the owners.

“We wanted the space to be just like the experience — very organic,” said Robin Goodfellow, part owner of Bar Raval. “You come in, it’s like a warm hug from a tree. We’ve heard people say it looks like the inside of a tree’s heart.”

Guests are immediately wowed by the atmosphere, but what about the cocktails?

In the "Across the Bar" episode below, Goodfellow gives us a taste some of the handcrafted beverages served at Bar Raval.

Since the bar is open morning and night, the concept offers beverages like the Mal Gusto, a popular morning beverage with sherry and Cocchi Americano, a quinine-laced aperitif wine produced by Giulio Cocchi.

Watch as Goodfellow displays his bartending mastery by mixing three of Bar Raval's most popular cocktails in the video below.