RC Show 2021 Online Live – an Industry First and a Resounding Success

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Toronto – The RC Show 2021 ONLINE LIVE was thrilled to welcome hospitality professionals back to its annual event, held virtually over four action-packed days. From February 28 – March 3, Canada’s leading foodservice and hospitality event offered a full lineup of solution-based content, interactive experiences and networking opportunities, all centered around the theme of “Feeding the Recovery.” 

By way of a new custom-built, dynamic platform designed by Canadian partner NexTech AR Solutions to support the foodservice industry, RC Show 2021 was brought to life in a way that hasn’t been seen or experienced before. World-class content was broadcast live and the latest AR technology and multi-sensory experiences were available throughout the show. The highly interactive platform created an opportunity for thousands of industry professionals to have uncomplicated access to tune in from anywhere in the world and from the convenience of their devices.

“While many decided to cancel their events due to the pandemic, we felt it was absolutely necessary to continue to offer a place for the hospitality industry to come together to network and learn, while making it easy for everyone to access so we can all move forward together,” says Todd Barclay, President & CEO, Restaurants Canada. “We were told by attendees the show provided a space to connect and to find the vital resources and information businesses were looking for. RC Show also helped the industry bridge the digital divide that COVID-19 introduced, while providing inspiration on how to move forward.”

Anchored by 60+ hours of programming, 150 global experts took to three stages to discuss the future of the industry and its most pressing issues, including: COVID-19’s impact and future outlook, labour challenges, mental health, tackling racism and discrimination in the kitchen, sustainability and much more. Stage highlights included 8 CEO panels and some of the biggest industry chiefs and leaders: Roger Mooking, Massimo Bottura, Michael Smith, Danny Meyer, Jim Treliving, Janet Zuccarini and many more. 

Solution-based content extended to 125 planned exhibitor demonstrations, workshops and discussions, as well as an interactive exhibit hall, which allowed thousands of industry guests to network, learn and virtually experience cutting-edge products and innovative solutions to help them survive and thrive despite challenging times.

All programming will be made available ON DEMAND from March 8 – 31, 2021, offering free, unlimited access for all Restaurants Canada members and registered show attendees. Content is accessible by simply logging in using the same URL, email address and password used for the live show.

“Now more than ever bringing the industry together and providing a place to rebuild, reinvent and reconnect is crucial. Making the show virtual, we also had the opportunity to expand our reach and invite global industry leaders to the forefront so we could connect and learn from one another,” adds Barclay.

Additional show highlights included:

  • Four RC Show signature events came to life online including: 
    • Opening Night Reception
    • Everyone’s favourite cocktail competition Beyond The Rail
    • Breakfast With Champions where some of the industry’s biggest leaders and innovators came to network and inspire
    • The Garland Canada Culinary Competition, which highlighted some of the country’s best talent and this year was committed to providing equal opportunities for all chefs, especially women with 50% of the top spots held for female and BIPOC talent
  • The launch of a government funded International Buyers Program to help attract global speakers and buyers supported in part by a contribution from CanExport Associations, a program of Global Affairs Canada
  • RC Show Feeding the Recovery boxes provided a taste of the show to quality buyers across the country and offered opportunities to sample product and grow relationships
  • A virtual visit into Garland-Welbilt Canada’s test kitchen to show the latest equipment using AR technology 
  • A live chicken farm tour, followed by a “meet the farmer discussion” and Q&A session about Canada’s poultry sector 
  • An opening ceremony that took viewers to the top of the mountains of Peru 
  • And, opening day was dedicated to addressing issues specific to independent operators, with industry leaders sharing stories of how their businesses pivoted to survive

“Hearing the first-hand accounts of how restaurant operators quickly and effectively adapted gave the industry a sign of hope and optimism that brighter times are ahead,” continues Barclay. “The pandemic devastated the foodservice and hospitality sector, with more than 380,000 fewer jobs than there were in February 2020, and eight out of 10 restaurants either losing money or barely scraping by, but we haven’t given up hope. The solutions that were shared on RC Show’s stages showed just how resilient and innovative this industry is.”

As part of RC Show 2021 ONLINE LIVE, trailblazers were acknowledged for their contribution to the growth of the industry and their resilience, from ground-breaking innovation to social advocacy and sustainable efforts. A full list of RC Show 2021 competition and excellence award winners can be found by visiting rcshow.com.

“We are extremely proud of our industry innovators and are honoured to have been able to support the industry at a time when it needed us most. We look forward to welcoming attendees back in person at RC Show 2022 (February 27 – March 1, 2022). In the meantime, through RC Show ON DEMAND we can give access to the information and technology that was showcased at the show, so we can all support one another. RC Show will always be here to support the industry, whether virtual or in person, and we hope the takeaway for attendees was that there is a light at the end of the tunnel; together we are stronger,” adds Barclay.