Foodservice and HospitalityGuidance for Hire Looking for advice?
Foodservice and Hospitality shines a light on three of the country’s top hospitality consultants
By Steve Veale
Just as the name implies, foodservice and hospitality consultants offer advice, guidance and general business direction to the industry. But while there are many consultants to choose from, the experience they bring to the table varies greatly between practices. So depending on your needs, one may be more appropriate than another. For example are you looking for a “turnaround” expert? Do you need [litigation support]? A reinvestment expert, or a staff training guru? Maybe you’re looking for the right operator to run your chain of restaurants? Or are you looking for someone to advise you on changing a menu to suit your neighbourhood clientele? Following is a closer look at [one of the] three top consultants working in the Canadian hospitality industry.
Douglas P. Fisher
FHG International Inc.
Toronto, Ontario and Park City, Utah
Doug Fisher freely admits that he entered the hospitality industry only because it supported his youthful ambition of becoming a ski bum. But what started out as a part-time job washing dishes and waiting on tables during his two years in the ski town of Park City, Utah, soon became a career. Eventually obtaining a Master’s degree in Hotel and Food [Service] Administration, Fisher worked for Laventhol & Horwath, at the time the World’s largest foodservice consulting company, founding FHG International, Inc. in 198. Today the company is involved in a wide range of foodservice areas, including franchising and development assistance with major restaurant chains and tourist attractions such as Toronto’s Ontario Place.
Fisher is perhaps best known as the consultant who managed to roll back food and beverage prices at the SkyDome SkyBoxes in 1996. At the time, foodservice prices were extremely high ($6.50 for a hot dog and $110 for a case of beer), and Fisher was hired by the Blue Jays and SkyDome Corporation as an expert [witness] to investigate SkyBox prices and conditions. After [two] years of research and travel, Fisher’s report concluded that the company supplying foodservice to the SkyBoxes was generating 41.5 per cent profit on its products, as opposed to the industry standard of 9.8 per cent. He also discovered more than $100 million that the Blue Jays were entitled to through various hidden revenues.
Fisher is also [co]-author of A Guide to Restaurants and Bars, an 800 page, two-volume manual used by foodservice practitioners as “the bible” for both accounting and internal control standards. “The books and guides I write (including Canadian Restaurant Accounting and Internal Controls, and the recent Successful Restaurant Strategies) are my way of’ giving something back to the industry,” says Fisher.
Last year Fisher was appointed to the prestigious International Board of Directors of Foodservice Consultant Society International, a 1,000-member organization with chapters in more than 30 countries. He is also the organization’s 1997 international recipient of the “Award for Excellence in Management Advisory Services.”