Where to Promote Your Restaurant in Toronto: 2019 Spring and Summer Edition

Where to Promote Your Restaurant in Toronto: 2019 Spring and Summer Edition

Spring is (finally) right around the corner. And when the birds start singing and the flowers start blooming, people begin to venture out of their safe little caves and say hello to the warm sun again; It’s time for another season of festivals and events. There’s no better time to promote your restaurant than the spring and summer seasons.

Toronto’s calendar of restaurant promotional events proves it. From the minute the sun starts to shine, there’s hardly a week without some expo, conference or festival where you could be networking with other restaurateurs or promoting your restaurant to hungry guests.

If you want to take full advantage of Toronto’s wealth of promotional opportunities this spring and summer, it’s time to start marking your calendar now. Here are all the events where you can both learn more about running your business, as well as promote it this year.

Annual Supply Chain Symposium

Annual Supply Chain Symposium

When: Wednesday, April 10, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Mississauga Convention Centre

75 Derry Road West

Cost to attend: $599 for members. Discounts available for group purchases.

Why go? Food and Consumer Products of Canada puts on a number of annual events that could benefit restaurateurs, including this one. While the Annual Supply Chain Symposium focuses on supply chains across the consumer products and good sector, there are still some sessions that will be of interest to attendees in the restaurant industry.

Restaurateurs will likely enjoy:

  • Supply chain executive panel, a panel discussion including executives from major supply chain players, including DHL and the Canadian National Railway.

  • Talks about Canada’s economic growth trends in the last year and projected trends moving forward.

  • An interactive session on embracing change in the supply chain industry, promising to leave attendees armed with actionable strategies to overcome personal barriers standing in the way of success as the industry changes.

  • Networking events with other professionals, both in the supply chain industry and in industries that utilize supply chains, from e-commerce to retail to hospitality.

Toronto Life Best Restaurants 2019

Toronto Life Best Restaurants 2019

When: Monday, April 29, 6:30-10 p.m.

Where: Evergreen Brick Works

550 Bayview Avenue

Cost to attend: $80 for Toronto Life Insider Members, $110 general admission

Why go? Toronto Life’s annual Best Restaurants event brings the cities best chefs together under one roof to dazzle foodies with their signature creations. It’s a one-stop-shop to see (and taste) some of the best the city’s food scene has to offer.

If your restaurant was lucky enough to score an invite to participate, this is your chance to show off what you have to offer to hungry guests who have definitely brought their appetites. If you weren’t invited to serve food, this is still a great event for restaurateurs to attend so they can meet other chefs and owners and sample what the competition is serving up.

Tickets include admission and samples of all the dishes from featured restaurants, as well as all the wine, cocktails and beer you can drink. Attendees must be 19 or older.

SIAL Canada

SIAL Canada

When: Tuesday, April 30 through Thursday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closes at 4 p.m. on the final day)

Where: Enercare Centre

100 Princes' Boulevard, Suite 1

Cost to attend: $65 general admission. $135 VIP admission. $250 for exhibitors. $30 for students.

Why go? If you go to one promotional event this season, this is a great option. SIAL Canada will feature dozens of activities, speakers and conferences over three full days.

While attendees have plenty of education and networking to take in, this is an expo where you’ll want to be an exhibitor. SIAL boasts a 94 percent satisfaction rate for more than 1,000 restaurants and local businesses that purchase booth space each year. Nearly 20,000 people are projected to visit the expo over its three days, making this an excellent opportunity to get your restaurant in front of as many people as possible.

Terroir Symposium

Terroir Symposium

When: Monday, May 6, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: The Carlu

444 Yonge Street

Cost to attend: $404 general admission. Discounts available for group purchases.

Why go? The annual Terroir Symposium brings together more than 1,000 attendees from around 500 companies based in more than 20 countries, from across Canada to the United States and throughout Europe. It offers opportunities to:

  • network and connect with others in the hospitality and tourism industries

  • Attend keynotes, masterclasses and hands-on workshops

  • Take in short, 12-minute “Terroir Talks” from some of the most interesting and inspiring people in the hospitality industry.

Panel discussions this year will be on topics that should be of interest to any restaurateur, such as:

  • Achieving gender balance in the hospitality industry

  • choosing between wild-caught and farmed seafood

  • minimizing waste produced by restaurants

  • incorporating cannabis into the food and drink industry.

Combine those discussions with masterclasses in craft beer and distilling, and you’ll leave the Terroir Symposium with new knowledge and connections that can take your restaurant to the next level.

National Sales and Marketing Symposium

National Sales and Marketing Symposium

When: Wednesday, May 15, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Mississauga Convention Centre

75 Derry Road West

Price to attend: $599 for members. Discounts available for group purchases.

Why go? Details for this year’s National Sales and Marketing Symposium have yet to be released, but year after year, this is FCPA’s must-attend conference for anyone interested in sales and marketing in the food and beverage industry.

Last year’s symposium featured speakers like brand expert and entrepreneur Justin Kingsley, world-renowned innovation expert Tom Wujec and Ethnicity Multicultural Marketing + Advertising founders Howard Lichtman and Bobby Sahni.

In addition to speakers, the 2018 symposium featured a panel of influential women in the Food and Consumer Products space, including women execs from Conagra and McCormick.

The 2019 Symposium is sure to offer similar quality networking and educational opportunities for anyone in the consumer goods space, including restaurateurs and other food and beverage professionals.

Toronto Poutine Fest

Toronto Poutine Fest

When: Thursday, May 23 to Saturday, May 25, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Yonge-Dundas Square,

1 Dundas Street East

Cost to attend: Free

Why go? If your restaurant doesn’t serve poutine, why not? It’s practically the national dish of the Great White North. The inaugural Toronto Poutine Fest will celebrate all things Canadian cuisine, with some of the city’s best food trucks and more than 50 kinds of gourmet poutine on offer.

Even if you don’t serve up poutine at your establishment, this will be a great spot to mingle with the city’s foodies and spread the word about other dishes (patriotic or otherwise) on your menu that they’re sure to love just as much as fries, cheese curds and gravy.

Food and Beverage Ontario 2019 Annual Conference

Food and Beverage Ontario 2019 Annual Conference

When: Tuesday, May 28, noon to 6 p.m.

Where: Steam Whistle Brewing

255 Bremner Boulevard

Cost to attend: $300

Why go? Food and Beverage Ontario’s flagship annual event is back for its fifth year, featuring a networking lunch, speakers and wine and beer tastings from local suppliers.

At the 2019 Annual Conference, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from:

  • Douglas Porter, Chief Economist at BMO Financial Group, who will speak about economics and financial trends that food and beverage professionals need to be aware of to maximize their chances of success in the projected economic climate of the next year.

  • Steve Patterson, an award winning comedian and humour writer whom you probably know as the host of CBC Radio’s “The Debaters.” Patterson will have restaurateurs laughing, for sure, but he may also be able to deliver some wisdom from his experience as a corporate speaker for brands like PepsiCo and liquor distributor Dieageo Group.

  • David Kincaid, Founder and Managing Partner of LEVEL5 Strategy Group, who will teach restaurateurs how to build, launch and, if needed, rebuild a successful brand.

The Mac and Cheese Festival

The Mac and Cheese Festival

When: Friday, June 7 to Sunday, June 9, time TBD

Where: Roundhouse Park

255 Bremner Boulevard

Cost to attend: Free

Why go? Cheesy, gooey, comforting mac and cheese — is there any better food? North America’s largest mac-loving festival is making its way across Canada all summer, with a stop planned in Toronto to feed all the cheese-loving bellies in the city.

If your restaurant has a killer mac recipe to show off, you won’t want to miss the mac and cheese competition, which gives you the chance to win up to $5,000 in prizes, but also take home bragging rights and a bunch of new fans.

Exhibitors at this fest will have the chance to feed their best mac and cheese to thousands of hungry guests alongside celebrity chefs, talented home cooks and more. If you love pasta, cheese or any combination of the two, you won’t want to miss this weekend.

Toronto Taste

Toronto Taste

When: Sunday, June 9, time TBD

Where: Evergreen Brick Works

550 Bayview Avenue

Cost to attend: $265 general admission. Discounts available for group purchases.

Why go? For nearly 30 years, Toronto Taste has been one of the city’s premiere culinary events, featuring tastings from and alongside some of the best food and drink purveyors in Ontario. Sponsor and vendor spaces are still available, meaning there’s still time to make plans to feature your restaurant’s offerings in front of tons of hungry guests.

Plus, this one-night event benefits Second Harvest, one of Canada’s largest charities in the fight against waste and hunger. Good food and drinks for a good cause? Sign us up.

Wine and Spirit Festival

Wine and Spirit Festival

When: Friday, June 14, 5-11 p.m., to Saturday, June 15, 2-10 p.m.

Where: Sugar Beach, Toronto Waterfront

Cost to attend: $18 early bird tickets until March 31. $23 in advance, or $35 day of.

Why go? Canada’s premiere event for tasting beers, wines, ciders and spirits is back, and heading to the beach to take advantage of Toronto’s gorgeous spring weather.

Local chefs will be onsite to offer samples of their best dishes, as well as teach classes in cocktail making, pairing food and wine, and more.

With food and drink samples, live music, classes and appearances by local chefs and culinary personalities, this is one of the best places a restaurateur can promote their food (and drinks!) this summer.

Foodalicious Toronto

Foodalicious Toronto

When: Saturday, June 15, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., to Sunday, June 16, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Downsview Park

35 Carl Hall Road

Cost to attend: $8. Kids 12 and under are free.

Why go? Toronto’s second annual Foodalicious festival aims to show off the city’s best gourmet street food from some of the area’s best chefs and vendors. This is a truly family friendly event, with carnival games, inflatables, live stage shows music and more, all on top of all the food you can eat.

If your restaurant caters to families, this is one of the best local events you can attend this summer to try to gather some new guests. People who attend Foodalicious will be on the lookout for delicious eats that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Toronto’s Festival of Beer

Toronto’s Festival of Beer

When: Friday, July 25, 4:30-11 p.m., Saturday, July 26 to Sunday, July 27, 1:30-8 p.m.

Where: Bandshell Park, Exhibition Place

Cost to attend: $40-65 regular admission; cost goes up from there for special packages, VIP and clubhouse tickets.

Why go? What goes great with beer? Food. All kinds of food. The folks who attend Toronto’s Festival of Beer are going to be sampling more than 300 boozy brands, and they’re going to get hungry. This is a perfect place to show off what your restaurant brings to the city’s food scene.

And despite what the name implies, this fest is about so much more than just beer. There will be plenty of other beverages available, from ciders to spirits and everything in between, live entertainment on the main stage and snacks and samples from tons of Toronto restaurateurs.

Attendees must be 19 or older. No kids, no pets, no exceptions.

Toronto’s Festival of Beer

Taste of the Middle East 2019

When: Sunday, July 27, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Yonge-Dundas Square

1 Dundas Street East

Cost to attend: Free

Why go? Whether your restaurant already serves up Middle-Eastern inspired dishes, or your curious about the aromatic spices, sweet teas and other tastes of the middle east, this annual event is for you. A lively music and arts festival, Taste of the Middle East transforms Yonge-Dundas Square into a souk for a day where visitors can experience the music, dance, art, jewelry and food of the region.

Past festivals have featured celebrity chefs from the Middle East, making this festival a great place for local restaurateurs to network, show off their own local flavors and try new cuisines.

Toronto Food Truck Festival

Toronto Food Truck Festival

When: August 2, 5-10 p.m., August 3, noon to 10 p.m., August 4-5, noon to 8 p.m.

Where: Woodbine Park

1695 Queen Street East

Cost to attend: Free

Why go? Food trucks have proven they’re far more than a fad. Taking a restaurant mobile can open up a wealth of opportunities for an entrepreneurial chef, enabling them to sling food at all kinds of events, from music festivals to weddings.

If your restaurant already has a food truck, you can park it and start serving up your best dishes to hungry guests. If you’re thinking of expanding with a food truck, this is a great place to gain inspiration from the 50+ vendors who are already on Toronto’s streets. Families are welcome at this fest, and it’s a great place to promote your restaurant this summer.

Taste of India Food Festival

Taste of India Food Festival

When: Sunday, August 4, noon to 10 p.m.

Where: Nathan Philips Square

100 Queen Street West

Cost to attend: By donation

Why go? Toronto’s Taste of India Food Festival has a unique goal: To further the street food scene in Canada’s largest city. It believes a more robust street food culture will help the city, economically and socially. With that goal in mind, more than just Indian restaurants are welcome to participate, though the focus will certainly be on the spicy, colorful flavors of India.

Chefs, restaurateurs, producers, manufacturers and more are welcome to attend to show off their food and products, and share their love of food, one-on-one, with festival attendees. Families are welcome at this event, making it a great place to connect with potential new guests for your restaurant.

Toronto Vegandale Food and Drink Festival

Toronto Vegandale Food and Drink Festival

When: Saturday, August 10, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: Fort York, Garrison Common

250 Fort York Boulevard

Cost to attend: $10

Why go? In 2019, restaurants are expected to offer their guests foods that fit a variety of dietary choices, including veganism. Vegandale will feature some of the city’s best foods, products and services from vegan purveyors, and it’s the perfect place to get some inspiration for delicious vegan additions you can make to your restaurant’s menu.

If you already offer vegan dishes, you can join as a vendor to offer sample tastes to hungry guests seeking delicious, animal-product-free eats. All ages are welcome at Vegandale, and in addition to food, drinks and products, there will be live music and games hosted by an MC throughout the day.

Sweetery

Sweetery

When: Saturday, August 10, noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday, August 11, noon to 9 p.m.

Where: David Pecaut Square

215 King Street West

Cost to attend: Free

Why go? Sweetery is Canada’s largest event for pastry chefs, dessert fans and anyone with a sweet tooth. Local chefs and students will gather to show off their confectionary creations, which means there’s a chance for you to show off your restaurant’s best desserts by becoming a vendor.

Many details for the 2019 event are still under wraps, but past festivals have welcomed celebrity guests including MasterChef contestants and more. For anyone with a sweet tooth, this is a weekend you can’t miss.

Toronto Cider Festival

Toronto Cider Festival

When: Friday, August 23, 5:30-11 p.m., to Saturday, August 24, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Where: Sherbourne Common,

61 Dockside Drive

Cost to attend: $30-60, with various VIP packages available

Why go? Why should beer get all the attention? In the hot summer months, is there anything better than a crisp, cold, refreshing cider?

The Toronto Cider Festival will feature more than two dozen cider producers, along with music, art, dancing, a bartending competition and more. And no one wants to drink without being able to eat, too, so some of the cities top restaurants will also be on hand to provide all the snacks and meals guests need to fuel their drinking well into the night. That means this is a great place for a restaurateur to network with other chefs/owners and share a signature dish or three with hungry guests.

The Toronto Cider festival is strictly for guests 19 and over.

Winter is over, which means people are (slowly) emerging from their hibernating states. Take advantage of that by promoting your restaurant at all these great spring and summer events in Toronto.

Tessa Sehovic
Tessa Sehovic
Business Development Rep
ChefHero