Customer Spotlight: Flock Rotisserie & Greens
With five operating locations in Toronto, Flock is booming and shows no signs of stopping. We chatted with Aidan Pascoe, Corporate Chef of Flock about his experience in the food space.
Tell me a bit about yourself, how did your passion for food start?
Well, I’ve been cooking all my life. I grew up helping my mom in the kitchen from an early age. I went to George Brown after attending Western University for Philosophy. I knew I always had this love for cooking and eventually decided to work in the industry.
“The learning never stops. There’s a new technique or style of cuisine to explore every day.”
What has been your biggest learning experience in your 15+ years in the industry?
The learning never stops. There’s a new technique or style of cuisine to explore every day. There’s always something to improve on and learn.
What’s the most overlooked aspect of working in the food industry?
A lot of people gloss over the gruelling mundane parts of the job, especially when you’re starting off. I think that this is very important to highlight. Everyone sees the glamour without realizing it takes 16 hour days scrubbing pots at 2 am before you get home smelling like fryer oil.
Flock has been expanding very rapidly in the Toronto food space; what differentiates you from others and contributes to that success?
Being in tune with what the customers want and finding that balance between QSR and healthy eating. I think it’s all about an overall fresh and healthy eating style — people are gravitating towards the quick service style but they are also looking for something healthy and of great quality.
“Everyone sees the glamour without realizing it takes 16 hour days scrubbing pots at 2 am before you get home smelling like fryer oil.”
What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone starting out in the restaurant industry in Toronto?
You have to have a passion for food. The long hours and pot scrubbing is all secondary when you realize you get to work with food everyday. If that doesn’t excite you to keep learning and keep going, it’s going to be very difficult to make a life out of it.
How would you describe Toronto’s food scene?
It’s diverse: there are many different neighbourhoods and people looking for specific types of food. More restaurants are defining themselves as “Canadian Cuisine” which is really a mosaic of different cultures. There’s a lot of exciting and different blurring of the lines with food going on in Toronto right now.
What are some of your favourite spots in the city?
My kitchen at home. I have a family, so I spend lots of time cooking for my daughter and wife. When I have free time, I also love cooking for my friends. There’s a place called Pollyanna on Gerrard St E — our previous sous chef Amber Farrell at Flock Harbord recently left to open it and they’re killing it over there. I don’t go out that often, so my list isn’t long, but Piano Piano is definitely up there as well.
Where do you see the role of technology in managing a restaurant?
I think the restaurant industry is catching up to technology. We had more traditional systems that worked, and it took a while for them to advance and reflect in the smaller restaurant space. Both restaurants and consumers are gravitating towards paperless/cashless systems, where you’re not actually ordering from a cashier but instead through your app, phone, or tablet. Even at Flock, we are launching our own new online app — to allow customers to order their lunch directly to our back kitchen. It’s all about linking systems that are already in place and making them more accessible to our customers.
“Ordering used to be very tricky. I would have to make sure I’m saying exactly what I want on an answering machine for someone picking the order in the morning, hoping they can decipher what I’m saying and praying the order comes through correctly.”
How has ChefHero helped manage your ordering?
It’s really shaved down our ordering time. Back in the day, I would spend one hour at the end of every night consolidating orders, texting/calling/emailing to six different suppliers. Now, it’s all amalgamated into one place that allows me to to review orders before hitting submit. Ordering used to be very tricky. I would have to make sure I’m saying exactly what I want on an answering machine for someone picking the order in the morning, hoping they can decipher what I’m saying and praying the order comes through correctly.
With ChefHero, I’m able to order everything: review it and hit send, then I receive a written confirmation record of what my suppliers are receiving to back check against my records.
Interested in learning more about how ChefHero can help your business? Check us out at www.chefhero.com