July/August 2017

2017 Award-Winning Franchise Brands: CFA Recognition Awards

A franchise that becomes a top brand has an innovative mindset and goes above and beyond to create the ultimate experience of satisfaction for both its customers and franchisees. To be a respected, distinguished franchise system means that the brand is thriving and continuing to grow. Such achievements should be recognized by the entire franchising industry, which is why the Canadian Franchise Association is proud to present its range of awards each year at CFA’s National Convention.

Are you looking for a franchise that fits into all of your ideals for success? You’re in the right place. This special section showcases the winners of the 2017 CFA Awards of Excellence in Franchising, Franchisees’ Choice Designation, and CFA Recognition Awards. CFA presented these awards to the franchises that were distinguished as outstanding brands throughout the year.

Read on to learn about these award-winning brands, and why they’re the recipients of these franchising accolades!

CFA Recognition Awards

CFA Recognition Awards pay tribute to individuals and franchises for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the Canadian franchise community, and for their commitment to philanthropic endeavours. The awards include:

Hall of Fame Award – Outstanding performance and leadership by a franchise company over a significant period of time.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Exceptional achievement and contribution to Canadian franchising.

Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award – Philanthropic innovation, support, and impact to the community.

Volunteer Leadership Award – Entrepreneurial spirit and dedication as a volunteer, particularly with CFA.

Keep reading to see who the winners of the 2017 CFA Recognition Awards are!

2017 Hall of Fame Award Winner: CARA Operations Ltd.

Before becoming one of Canada’s most well-known restaurant companies, CARA’s roots began small in the travel food sector. Founded by the Phelan Family in 1883, the company first made a name for itself in the 1850s, when the Phelan brothers began selling apples and newspapers to passengers on the Niagara Steamboats as The Canada Rail­way News Company.

By 1941, the Phelans had ventured into the airport restaurant business, opening The Tea Wing restaurant in Montreal’s Dorval Airport. Over the next 20 years, the family continued to develop their food brand, eventually becoming CARA Operations Limited in 1961.

Since its inception, CARA has opened over 1,000 franchised restaurant locations across 14 brands, including Har­vey’s, New York Fries, Swiss Chalet, Montana’s, East Side Mario’s, Kelsey’s, Fionn McCool’s, St. Hubert, Original Joes, State and Main, and Milestones.

CARA’s success lies with strong and supportive relationships between head office and franchise partners. By foster­ing a collaborative environment with franchisees, CARA has been able to execute effective change across their restau­rants. They have made great strides in growing their restaurant brands, seeing continual growth in sales, guest count, and new store openings across Canada. At the heart of the company’s success is the hundreds of passionate franchi­sees who are committed to their guests and communities.

In 1993, CARA became a member of the Canadian Franchise Association and currently holds a seat on the CFA Board of Directors, with multiple employees serving as members on CFA Committees. They are also members of Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel, and Motel Association.

Holding the title of Canada’s largest full-service restaurant company, CARA’s expansion and franchising operations spans over 130 years, making it a true leader in the Canadian franchising industry.

2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: George A. Cohon, Founder, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada

George A. Cohon’s extensive career in franchising dates back to 1967, when he moved to Toronto to become the Licensee of McDonald’s Corporation for Eastern Canada. After witness­ing the success of the fast-food burger chain in the United States, Cohon saw an opportunity to expand the company in Canada.

Four years later, in 1971, McDonald’s experienced rapid growth in the Canadian market and Cohon was promoted to Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald’s Restau­rants of Canada Limited.

Holding this position for 21 years, Cohon is credited for founding McDonald’s Canada, eventu­ally expanding the franchise to the Russian market. With his expertise and negotiating skills, Cohon first led discussions with a Soviet delegation in the 1970s, and the first McDonald’s in Russia opened in Moscow in 1990.

With a commitment to corporate social responsibility, Cohon is the Founder of Ronald Mc­Donald House Charities in both Canada and Russia. Ronald McDonald House is a “home-away-from-home” for families while their child is being treated for a serious illness at a nearby hospital.

Cohon’s contribution to the franchising industry has not gone unrecognized. In addition to receiving the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, Cohon was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in 1998. His international partnerships garnered him Russia’s Order of Friendship, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Medal, and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship.

Through his philanthropic initiatives and long-standing international partnerships, George A. Cohon has become an esteemed leader in Canadian franchising.

2017 Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award Winner: Dairy Queen Canada

For the past 33 years, Dairy Queen has been a proud partner and supporter of the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). Founded in 1983, CMN’s mission is to save and improve the lives of children through healthcare, research, and education by raising funds and awareness for chil­dren’s hospitals across North America. Today, CMN supports 170 member hospitals.

The Dairy Queen team has shown their unwavering dedication and support for CMN’s mis­sion through a variety of regional initiatives. Franchisees frequently execute local fundraising activities at the store level and are encouraged by Dairy Queen’s home office to develop inno­vative ways to raise support within their communities throughout the year for CMN.

On a national level, Dairy Queen has implemented Miracle Treat Day, bringing together company executives, employees, franchisees, and celebrities to raise awareness for 14 of the Canadian CMN member hospitals. Held on an annual basis, Miracle Treat Day has been a long-standing tradition in the Dairy Queen family whereby net proceeds of every Blizzard Treat sold are donated to CMN.

Miracle Treat Day has also inspired franchise partners to develop their own in-store cam­paigns to encourage customers to purchase a Blizzard. Since Miracle Treat Day’s inception 14 years ago, franchisees have developed creative activities to get their fans involved to increase donations.

With over $3 million raised in 2016, Dairy Queen hopes to increase funds through their fundraising initiatives throughout 2017, bringing joy to customers and children at CMN hospitals across the country.

2017 Volunteer Leadership Excellence Award Winner: Michael Sherrard, Managing Partner, Sherrard Kuzz LLP

With potential changes to Ontario’s labour laws posing a critical threat to franchising in the province, CFA’s ability to advocate for franchisors and franchisees on this issue would not be possible without the guidance and expertise shared by Michael Sherrard, a Managing Partner at leading employment law firm Sherrard Kuzz LLP.

Over the years, Michael has shown an unwavering commitment to helping CFA lobby the Ontario government against a joint-employer designation for franchisors. He has contrib­uted his extensive knowledge to help CFA prepare a written submission to government on this issue, and has volunteered his time to meet with government to educate them about the importance of franchising in Canada, and the negative impact a joint-employer designation would have on the independent franchisor-franchisee relationship.

He has also devoted many hours to educating other CFA members about this critical issue, speaking at events like the CFA National Convention and Franchise Law Day. Based on his expertise, experience, and extensive involvement in CFA’s advocacy efforts, he has been selected to co-chair the 2017 Franchise Law Day in September.

When critical issues like joint employer arise, CFA relies on volunteers like Michael Sherrard to step up to the plate and help us mobilize our advocacy efforts. He has gone above and beyond to help us in the fight against joint employer, and we thank him for his dedicated and diligent service.

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