By Wayne Doyle
Over the past couple of years, many hospitality and tourism related businesses – restaurants, hotels, resorts – have been forced to rethink how they do business in a pandemic. We reached out to a number of York Region tourism-related businesses to see how what they’re doing to stay ahead of the challenges they’re facing.
In this first in a series, we talk with Nicole Foster, Director of Catering & Conference Services at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North Hotel and Suites in Richmond Hill to see what they’ve been doing and what they’ve got planned.
Experienceyorkregion.com: Given the situation with Covid, how has the food service industry changed and what are you doing to make to the most of the new environment?
Nicole Foster: The food service industry is changed – staffing , suppliers, and safety measures included. However innovation is still on the menu. We built a Takeout page called Parkwaytakeout.com so the community can experience our delicious food. We have many new offerings, takeout for individuals, dinner for two, four, six or eight have all been effective as people have grown tired of cooking at home. We do the cooking for you. Our new outdoor patio has been a huge success offering a Covid-19 safe dining options for those that feel safer dining outside.
XYR: How much of your business is now take out? How does this compare to say one year ago and two years ago.
NF: With the closures and reopening patterns we have experienced over this period, the majority of our business is takeout and delivery. We have built up this area of our business and it has doubled over the last year. Prior to the pandemic we didn’t offer delivery through takeout apps like Uber Eats, Door Dash or Skip the Dishes, but now the community is enjoying our food right to their door.
XYR: With so many folks going the take out route, are there any considerations to go take out only and eliminate the physical restaurant?
NF: We will certainly keep our physical restaurant. We have learned and thrived with our relationships with our regular customers and our community. The local support has been fantastic. Bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays all these events bring people together over good food and drinks. Sheraton is where the world comes together, and people crave these special moments in our lives. Good food is important, but good service is also part of the experience. Our team is friendly, experienced and reliable. We’re working hard to exceed guest expectations.
XYR: What are the advantages of going take-out as opposed to dining in?
NF: We will continue to offer both to our clients and they can choose what best suits them. Takeout has opened a new revenue stream for the hotel, and given guests that may not have otherwise dined with us an opportunity to experience Sheraton.
XYR: What are the most popular takeout dishes?
NF: We have an extensive international menu and are well known for our Butter Chicken Dish, our BBQ platter (summer only), calamari, Buddha bowls, and lamb burgers. We have something for everyone.
XYR: With Valentine’s Day coming up, what opportunities are there for folks to enjoy a special night?
NF: We just announced our romantic dinner and stay packages for couples to safely celebrate 2022 Valentine’s Day. To safely celebrate a romantic getaway during the pandemic, couples will enjoy a pre-ordered dinner that will be delivered directly to their door through room service complete with a candle-lit table setup in their newly renovated guest room for an intimate evening. A late checkout is also included in the package for extended relaxation time.
XYR: Is this a Valentine’s Day only opportunity?
NF: No, the Romantic Getaway 3-course dine and stay package is available 365 days a year from only $199 per night, with a 4-course option available Valentine’s Day weekend February 11th to 14th from $209 per night. More information about these packages including the menu details can be found under the Offers tab at www.marriott.com/yyzsi.
XYR: Is there anything available for folks who want to create a special celebration with their loved one but don’t have the comfort level yet of venturing out?
NF: Absolutely. For residents looking to enjoy a romantic dinner from the comfort of home, Crave Restaurant, located within the hotel, will be offering ready-to-serve 5-course Valentine’s Dinner Feb. 1 – 14, 2022. For $99 for a 5-course Valentine’s-themed dinner for two, we have designed this takeout option with elements like heart-shaped pasta. We hope these takeout options will offer another solution for families and couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We will have indoor dining available as well and look forward to welcoming everyone back.
To find out more about the Valentine’s Day offers, please visit https://parkwaytakeout.com/valentines-day-in-toronto
Main photo and top row: Dishes created by Crave Restaurant at the Sherton Parkway Toronto North Hotel in Richmond Hill.
Bottom row: A romantic Valentine’s Day getaway with dinner might be something to consider.
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Wayne Doyle is the manager of marketing and communications for the York Region Arts Council. If you’ve have an arts, culture or tourism-related business and you want to be a part of this series, please contact Wayne: firstname.lastname@example.org