Posts Tagged :

office catering

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Shopify’s Employee Experience Is Enhanced By Delicious Meals

Read Time: 4 min

Maintaining A Startup Culture

Leading commerce platform, Shopify, isn’t shy when it comes to doing things a little differently. A peek into their sprawling, 45,000-square-foot Waterloo office—an industrious former whiskey distillery and barrel warehouse, complete with a VR arcade—makes that much clear. Luckily, the company’s inclination for beating to their own drum shows in their track record, boasting a quick turn from online snowboard shop to successful international enterprise. The toss-up? As all too many tech giants know, keeping a small-company feel in an office with hundreds of employees can be a challenge.

As the Ottawa-based company grew, they aimed to keep core values like community and collaboration at the helm of their offices’ operations. Shopify set out to build spaces grounded in this philosophy, going so far as to design each office to spark accidental encounters between employees. When it came to embedding these values in Shopify’s meal programming, however, internal stakeholders like Culinary Partnership Manager, Bill MacTavish, looked for a solution that would complement their business mantra.

Implementing Change With Platterz

Putting intention into action, Shopify started working with Platterz in 2016 to develop and service their daily meal programming across multiple offices, moving away from the traditional in-house management model. Freeing up valuable time and resources, the switch has helped empower the company to go beyond just keeping employees well-fed.

Coworkers Eating

With a helping hand from a dedicated Food Expert for each serviced city, orders go from browsing to delivery without allocating any additional funds or effort. Since Platterz handles all logistics and coordination—whether it’s keeping each meal within budget, accommodating dietary needs, or ensuring that everyone has enough to eat—Shopify can focus on what really matters: the food and their people.

“The more we used it, the more we became comfortable with it. We don’t have to think about anything anymore.”

Picking their daily menus based on curated recommendations from Platterz, Shopify’s food and wellness teams can trust that every meal is set up for success, while still being able to experiment with new cuisines and local restaurants as a team. Catering through Platterz gives Shopify team members the opportunity to take a break from their day, spend time together, and spark up a conversation over a great meal.

“Enabling people to interact with people outside of their physical space, outside of their physical teams, encourages people to connect with others. Food has this effect.”

Coworkers Eating

Lasting Impact, Scalable Opportunities

Initially trialling Platterz just once a week in one city, today, Shopify’s Global Culinary Partnership Manager has expanded their services to multiple teams and offices across Canada for 99% of their daily breakfasts and lunches. In turn, Platterz opened its doors in Montreal, Canada, extending their reach to help cultivate the consistent employee experience that Shopify aims for across its offices.

Currently feeding more than 1,000 Shopify team members across the country daily, Platterz’ newest operating cities will soon be serving up daily meals and the memorable moments that come with them, in their offices internationally. In the meantime, the impact of Shopify’s meal programming can be felt back at their historic Waterloo office every day at noon, when employees from all corners of the building fill their plates, take a seat in the communal space, and come together over a delicious meal.

Welcome To Shopify!

When Shopify’s mantra—Make Commerce Better For Everyone—is combined with the Platterz mission—Feeding Offices Delicious Experiences—these organizations are one step closer to shaping the office culture revolution, together.

“I don’t HAVE to work [at Shopify]. I CHOOSE to work [at Shopify]. I choose to do so because of the culture and the people. We have a culture-based team—an employee experience.”

Learn how you can build your employee experience starting with a customizable food program at www.platterz.ca.

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Year in Review: The Top 18 of 2018

Read Time: 4 min

Just in time for the new year, we’ve rounded up this year’s most popular catering, craziest cravings and unexpected events. From the most loved Mexican restaurant on the platform, to liquid nitrogen snacks, check out the top 18 Platterz facts of 2018!

Drum roll please…

1) Number of Meals Served in 2018: 1.88 Million

Is it just us, or does the number 18 seem to be popular this year? Since January, Platterz has served more than 1.8 million (and counting) meals to offices across the continent.

2) Number of Offices Fed: 1,200+ Offices

We grew from 40 employees to 140, from the East coast to West coast, and boosted company culture in over 1,200 offices across North America. Imagine what we can do in 2019.

3) Top Cuisine: Mexican Food

From DIY taco bars to chips and guac, the office favourite cuisine goes to Mexican food, ordered more than any other type of food on Platterz (and there are hundreds to choose from)!

tacos

4) Most Creative Meal Combo:  Liquid Nitrogen Apple Fritters and Liquid Nitrogen S’mores

Yes, liquid nitrogen food is a real thing. One office even paired it with a cocktail mixology class for their team!

5) Top Event Type: Family-Style Lunch

People say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but we beg to differ! Taking a break in their day is when teams are happiest, and what’s more important than that?

6) Most Ordered Caterer: Craft Kitchen

From sandwiches and salads to platters and pastries, this Toronto-based corporate caterer was the most loved by you!

7) Top Dessert: Ice Cream Sandwiches

It may be chilly outside, but that’s not stopping us from dreaming about pralines & cream ice cream stuffed in an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. With the most ordered dessert going to ice cream sandwiches, it doesn’t seem like it’s stopping you either.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

8) Top Lunch: Greek Salad & Plates

Ios? Mykonos? Santorini? Rather than hop on a ferry, offices chose Greek cuisine as this year’s most frequently ordered lunch. If we weren’t already, now we’re really dreaming of a vacation.

9) Largest Offsite Event: 1,250 Guest Count

Between booking the venue, arranging rentals, planning the decor, and providing the catering (of course), Platterz Event Specialists made lasting memories for companies celebrating any special occasion this year!

10) Most Popular Office Snack: Branded Cupcakes

You can never go wrong with chocolate or vanilla, but there’s nothing like custom cupcakes baked just for your team, for any celebration.

Cupcakes

11) Number of Orders For 1 Client: 2,620 Orders

To put it into perspective, that’s 7 orders per day over the span of 2018!

12) Most Unique Party Request: Dunk Tank

At Platterz, we stop at nothing to provide offices with their dream event. From bouncy castles to life-sized Jenga, we made it all happen, no matter how unexpected the request.

13) Top Food Trend: Poke Bowls

Fresh fish, seaweed salad and a little soy sauce go a long way for employees, and we have a feeling Poke isn’t just a fad.

Poke Bowl

14) Shortest Time Placing an Order: 8 Seconds

That’s really how fast you can check out an order on the platform. We’re not exaggerating.

15) Most Last-Minute Order: 45 Minutes in Advance

We received an email with a last-minute catering request for a meeting of 150 people. 45 minutes later, the food was delivered, served hot and ready to eat. True story.

16) Top Food Holiday: World Chocolate Day

Offices with a sweet tooth is a recurring theme, with World Chocolate Day being the busiest food holiday of the year, occurring on July 7.

Chocolates

17) NEW Lines of Code Written: 1,021,472

Not only did the Platterz’ Developer team grow 3x in size, the team wrote over 1 million new lines of code to make ordering on Platterz seamless!

18) Hungriest City in North America: Toronto, Canada

Torontonians sure do love to eat!

Thanks for a record-breaking 2018! Share Platterz’ roundup with your team, and place an order to hit the top of the charts for next year!

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colourful salads
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It’s Not a Myth: Aaamazing Salad is Truly Amazing

Aaa·ma·zing Sa·lad

/AHˈmāziNG ˈsaləd/

When moving to Canada from China eight years ago, chef-owners Eva and her husband, Jacky, wanted to do something AH-mazing. Fast forward eight years, Aaamazing Salad is a booming healthy spot in Toronto’s trendy Kensington Market. One being a chef and the other boasting an art background, this dynamic husband and wife duo creates colourful healthy salads that appeal to not only the eye, but also the body.

“In China, salad is just fruit and romaine lettuce with a simple dressing. Here, salad can be a [whole] meal.”

Aaamazing Salads Salad

When first moving to Montreal, Eva and Jacky walked past a salad restaurant that had a lineup out the door. Coming from China, the two of them never thought that salad could serve as a main dish, nor be a restaurant’s main focus–they only viewed it as an appetizer. “In China, salad is just fruit and romaine lettuce with a simple dressing. Here, salad can be a [whole] meal,” says Eva. With a young daughter, who they wanted to grow up living a healthy lifestyle, the couple was inspired by this Montreal spot, and thought ‘we can do this too’!

“It’s pronounced AH-mazing. I wanted to do something amazing, and it just came to me.”

Kensington Salad Shop, owners Eva and JackyAfter diving deeper into health and nutrition research, Eva and Jacky started experimenting with nutrients and various healthy flavours. “We try to match tastes together, while also thinking of everybody’s’ [nutritional] needs. I also love the colours of vegetables,” Eva explains as she compares salad to a piece of art. When asked about the name of her restaurant, Eva explains “it’s pronounced AH-mazing. I wanted to do something amazing, and it just came to me.” We can attest that her salads are AH-mazing indeed!

“We have to get the best [quality] of each ingredient. Quality product is more expensive, but it’s worth it.”

Aaamazing Salads Salad
In 2014, Eva and Jacky opened Aaamazing Salad. Prior to opening, Eva explains that they worked on developing their asian sesame dressing for more than one and a half years, and continue to perfect it, four years later. Eva and Jacky use the same approach in developing their whole menu; they are always working to improve the taste and ingredients of their product. “Quality [of ingredients] is really important,” explains Eva. “We have to get the best [quality] of each ingredient. Quality product is more expensive, but it’s worth it.”

“We start with a new recipe for a dressing, and based on the texture, we match it to grains or salads and then build up from there.”

Preparing SaladThe items on the menu all start with an idea. “We start with a new recipe for a dressing, and based on the texture, we match it to grains or salads and then build up from there,” describes Eva. Their popular (and delicious) Rocket Bowl began with a chickpea sauce. “Step by step we add ingredients”, such as eggs and avocados which are key items in the Rocket Bowl.

“Platterz gives us a chance to serve a lot of different customers and really big companies.”

Aaamazing Salads Kensington Market
Aaamazing Salad heard about Platterz from another local spot, Toronto Popcorn Company, who serve gourmet popcorn flavours—including Maple Bacon Popcorn. Yes, you read that right—just across the street from Eva’s restaurant. “Platterz gives us a chance to serve a lot of different customers and really big companies,” denotes Eva on our working relationship. “Platterz focuses on both their customers and their partnerships, making sure both parts are happy.  We can really feel it. I’ve had a really good experience working with Platterz, and give a lot of thanks to Platterz for our business.”

Healthy Salads
Eva made us feel so at home during our visit, and ensured we did not go hungry either. She sent us home with enough salad to feed our team for a week (not to mention it was incredibly delicious AND colourful).

What are you waiting for? Bring some healthy colour into your office—people will love it, we promise!

For behind the scenes footage from our shoot, check out our Instagram page highlights!

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Instagram: @aaamazingsalad

City: Toronto, Ontario

Unicorn Sprinkle Cupcakes
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Unicorn Magic Awaits at Toronto’s CutiePie Cupcakes

READ TIME: 4 min

Sugar, spice, and everything nice. Cotton candy, cupcakes, sprinkles, happiness, and unicorns. CutiePie Cupcakes—a magical Toronto cupcake shop—is unlike any other cupcake shop we’ve seen before. CutiePie Cupcakes opened in 2009 and has infused unicorns and happiness into their menu, all the while playing rap music, in a bright pink bakery located in Toronto’s downtown core.

CutiePie Menu

CutiePies are “cute little cupcakes inspired by your favourite pies, treats, and desserts—that’s why they’re called CutiePies,” explains owner Melanie as she speaks to the store concept. “I thought of combining fun flavours, classic desserts, and items that really hit home with people, and turning them into mini cupcakes.” The idea began with CutiePies and the menu has since expanded into ChubbyPies and WhoopiePies, with gluten free and vegan-friendly options. Not-to-mention the Latte-Pie, which quickly became known as the “Unicorn Latte” by local customers.

“People have come in from all over the world to try it”.

The Unicorn Latte has received international attention—having come out before the Starbucks infamous Unicorn Frappuccino. “People have come in from all over the world to try it,” says Melanie. We’ll admit, it’s most definitely taste-test approved by the Platterz team!

“It’s all about connecting with people—a box of cupcakes is designed to be shared.”

World Famous Unicorn Latte
“I think dessert is something that makes people feel good and happy,” explains Melanie. “It’s all about connecting with people—a box of cupcakes is designed to be shared.” This point hit home with us at Platterz as our mantra is to connect people over shared food experiences (including cupcakes). “Dessert in general lightens the mood and brings people together,” says Melanie. We couldn’t agree more!

CutiePies

CutiePie Cupcakes exudes happiness and colour amidst their treats and in-store experience. From their “Happiness Wall” (where visitors write about what brings them happiness) to a magical unicorn wishing globe (where all your dreams come true) CutiePie Cupcakes is more than a cupcake shop; it provides an enchanting experience for customers.

“Music is number one.”

Happiness Wall

The magic begins early every morning, when the bakers arrive at the shop, and turn on rap music. “Music is number one,” says Melanie. As a proud Toronto bakeshop, CutiePie cupcakes often listens to Drake’s latest hits. “One of our hashtags is ‘#champagnecutie’, as a play on Drake’s social media persona ‘Champagne Papi’.” When asked if Drake has come into the store, Melanie remarks, “not yet”. So, Drake, if you’re reading this, it’s not too late—you can head over to CutiePie Cupcakes at 235 Spadina Road, Toronto. You will have the most magical cupcake experience yet (we promise)!

“It’s been awesome working with Platterz. It’s a great platform to connect us with the people [who] we want to see our menu and products. It extends our reach.”

CutiePie and ChubbyPie

“It’s been awesome working with Platterz. It’s a great platform to connect us with the people [who] we want to see our menu and products. It extends our reach,” Melanie says. The CutiePies and ChubbyPies are the most popular items on the Platterz platform, and you can seriously taste the happiness in each bite!

CutiePie Cupcakes Owner Melanie
Spread the happiness and bring people together over some unicorn magic in your office.

 

For behind the scenes footage from our shoot, check out our Instagram page highlights!

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Instagram: @cutiepiecupcakes_to

Website: http://www.cutiepiecupcakes.ca/

City: Toronto, Ontario

Veal Sandwich
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An Old School Favourite: California Sandwiches

Known for being one of the best sandwich restaurants in Toronto, California Sandwiches opened in 1967 and has been a local favourite ever since. Walking into their Dufferin and Castlefield location, we could feel the 51 years of restaurant service behind them—a busy team of kitchen staff cooking up sandwiches, meat lasagna, and salads. Regulars were coming in for their daily orders, and owner Joseph Papa happily greeted all his guests.

California Sandwiches Bag

We sat down with Joseph to hear about California Sandwiches’ long-standing (and not-to-mention very popular) history. Making us feel like a part of the family, Joseph brought us freshly made lattes, and offered us some sandwiches. We knew we were in good hands, good company, and surrounded by good food.

“The popularity [of the veal sandwich] was really demanding, and then we started selling sandwiches only.”

California Sandwiches Classic Sauce

“My family purchased a grocery store in the early 1960’s. All grocery stores at the time were also delis and sold sandwiches”, Joseph explains. “In the early 1960’s, my father hosted poker games in the basement of the grocery store, and the players asked for veal sandwiches. His mom said, ‘we can make those here’.” Soon after, the veal sandwich was added to the deli menu at the grocery store, and it quickly became a classic. “The popularity [of the veal sandwich] was really demanding, and then we started selling sandwiches only”, Joseph explains. The original location—244 Clairmont Street, closed as La Rinascente, and officially became the first California Sandwiches in 1967.  

“It definitely adds passion to the business.”

La Rinascente Original Menu 1967

Contrary to the popular saying, “don’t mix business with family”, the Papa family has shown great success over the last 51 years. All locations are family owned and run with all the key members of any family—yes, that means seeing and working with parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings, everyday. “It definitely adds passion to the business”, says Joseph, while explaining the pride in maintaining a family legacy.

“Everybody [here] is treated like family, customers and employees too.”

California Sandwiches Salads

The familial aspect of the business goes beyond the operations side of California Sandwiches. “Everybody [here] is treated like family, customers and employees too. We have lots of regulars.” The sense of family was definitely in the air; Joseph greeted customers by name, and guests made casual conversation with him. We can relate to this here at Platterz; we view our whole team as a family, and loved seeing that California Sandwiches has a similar mentality—no wonder we get along so well!

“Our business has increased since working with Platterz… the Platterz team is very detail oriented, just like we are.”

California Sandwiches Sandwich

“Our business has increased since working with Platterz. We’re more well known now and are serving many offices who didn’t know us before”, says Joseph on our working relationship. This was quite the compliment coming from such a restaurant institution! Joseph adds, “the Platterz team is very detail oriented, just like we are”.

“We would never serve anything we wouldn’t want to eat ourselves.”


The most popular items on the Platterz corporate catering platform are California Sandwiches classics: the veal sandwich (the sandwich that started it all), the meatball sandwich, antipasto platter, greek salad, and roasted potatoes.

“It’s very hard not to eat a sandwich everyday. We would never serve anything we wouldn’t want to eat ourselves”, says Joseph. We can only imagine what it’s like being surrounded by California Sandwiches, sandwiches daily! We would definitely be tempted…

Make history with California Sandwiches at your office.

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Instagram: @californiasandwiches
Website: http://eatcalifornia.ca/
City: Toronto, Ontario

 

Booyah Ice cream
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Booyah: A One of a Kind Ice Cream Experience

Growing up in a house that was known by family and friends as “The Carnival”, it comes as no surprise that 24-year-old Blair Mincer, started his own ice cream and catering business inspired by his childhood. When asked why he opened Booyah Inc., Blair explains, “who doesn’t love ice cream? Everyone always comes in a good mood for ice cream”. Having always been a big dessert fan, it was an easy decision for Blair to open Booyah when he was looking for something to do during his summers off of school. Booyah, a gourmet ice cream shop, opened four years ago and is already a Toronto favourite.

“Everyone always comes in a good mood for ice cream.”

ice-cream cones

Using bits and pieces of Blair’s youth to influence his shop, Booyah felt like a childhood dream. With the smell of freshly baked cookies, sprinkle-covered ice cream cones, a soft serve ice cream machine (which Blair’s family had in his house growing up), and a large neon sign that spells out “BOOYAH”, we were so excited to learn about Blair and his catering business (and eat some ice cream too)!

“I knew right there. It was a sign.”

homemade cookies

The shop’s name, Booyah originated from a family friend who always shouted “Booyah” when playing board games together. Searching for the perfect name for his ice cream shop, Blair spoke with a friend of his dad’s, who out-of-the-blue suggested “Booyah”—a word that had already come to mean something in the Mincer household. “I knew right there. It was a sign,” remarks Blair.

neon booyah sign

“Some of our ice cream is Kawartha Dairy, and some I make myself.”

Having gone to school for political science and accounting, Blair landed himself in an unexpected yet exciting career; he is both a business owner and a self-taught ice cream expert. “Some of our ice cream is Kawartha Dairy, and some I make myself.” And, if anyone knows Kawartha Dairy ice cream… you know we’re talking serious ice cream quality. “I read a lot of textbooks about ice cream,” says Blair about his 25 (and counting) original ice cream flavours (including vegan flavours). He experiments with different recipes to create the “not-so-typical ice cream flavours” such as Strawberry Balsamic, Corn on the Cob, and Earl Grey.

“My ice cream has only 8 ingredients in it…”

ice cream scoop

“My ice cream has only 8 ingredients in it, and is not a list of 50 ingredients. It was important to me that I can pronounce all the ingredients I use in my ice cream.” Blair gave us a bit of an ice cream chemistry lesson as well; “ice cream has different qualities, by percent of fat, and I knew I wanted to be at the top. Super premium product has more fat than sugar, and my ice cream is at around 18-19% fat with 7-8% sugar.” You taste fats. When you pick up a bucket of regular ice cream and my ice cream, mine is about double the weight,” he explains as he speaks to the delicious creamy quality of his ice cream.

“I’ve had a lot of business I wouldn’t have had without the platform.”

ice cream cookie sandwich

Booyah joined Platterz this past May. “I’ve had a lot of business I wouldn’t have had without the platform,” explains Blair. “I don’t have to worry about collecting money, or any outstanding balances. It’s all taken care of by Platterz.” His most popular items through our catering platform are the ice cream sandwich platters, and has accommodated corporate events anywhere from 20 to 350 people through our platform. Booyah is able to cater over one thousand ice cream sandwiches at once (we’re drooling at the thought of what over 1000+ ice cream sandwiches would look and taste like).

Booyah ice cream sandwich platter

With our minds full of joy after hearing Booyah’s story, and our stomachs full of ice cream, we left Booyah pretty happy. Blair is right—everyone is in a good mood when ice cream is involved.

Thinking of hosting an ice cream party at your office? Order Booyah and bring some whimsical, ice cream magic to your team!

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top hat daily lunches
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The Platterz Effect: How Daily Lunches Feed Top Hat’s Culture

Top Hat, an education technology company, uses Platterz to order daily lunches for their constantly growing team of 320. We went to Top Hat to learn about their team, their company, and their time with Platterz!

Arriving just before lunch, we were welcomed into their bright, wide-open space. Their office was designed to encourage collaboration; on the layout of their space, Lydia, a Top Hat Office Coordinator explains: “There are no closed doors.” It was clear from the get-go that office culture is a priority for Top Hat—something we can definitely relate to here at Platterz.

open collaborative space

As two Toronto-based startups in the tech industry, we have had a long-lasting collaborative relationship with Top Hat, who has used our office catering platform since we first launched. Top Hat is the provider of the leading cloud-based teaching platform for higher education. Top Hat’s mission is to make higher education more effective, affordable, and engaging. One of the ways they accomplish this is by making textbooks, test materials, and educational content right in the palm of students’ hands. “Students are on their phones anyway, so why don’t we just put the content right in front of them,” says Office Manager, Russ. He mentions that they designed their lunchroom to “make it more like school. Everyone comes down to eat together, no matter what department or floor. Everyone has room to eat together.”

daily lunches

“Hardly anyone ever leaves the office for lunch. Why would you ever need to go to a restaurant, if you know you’re getting delicious food at the office everyday?”

At Platterz, we are strong believers that when teams come together over shared meals, they’re happier, healthier, and more productive. Speaking to Top Hat’s lunch culture, Lydia emphasizes that “hardly anyone ever leaves the office for lunch. Why would you ever need to go to a restaurant, if you know you’re getting delicious food at the office everyday? Even if team members have lunch meetings they will ask if they can bring [external] people into the office for food.” Bringing lunch meetings in to the office to avoid missing out on delicious meals? We want in too!

“I think it’s those little things that make a big difference for employees.”

sharing meals

“I think it’s those little things that make a big difference for employees. They enjoy coming to work, and they feel provided for which incentivizes them to keep working really hard,” Lydia says. Platterz is here to make offices more human, so it was especially exciting for us to hear that this has been the case for Top Hat.

“We know how stressful it is to order food [just] one day for 300 people, whereas doing it every single day takes a lot—it takes a team, and it takes a platform.”

Lydia explains how hers and Russ’s positions are all encompassing, and that ordering food is made easy with our platform, taking a stressor off their plate; “We always joke that we do everything (we’re like plumbers, nurses, whatever it is, we do it), so if we also had to order food everyday and make sure that all allergies and tastes were catered to, we wouldn’t be able to pull it off as smoothly as Platterz does.” Russ adds, “We know how stressful it is to order food [just] one day for 300 people, whereas doing it for daily lunches takes a lot—it takes a team, and it takes a platform.”

top hat employees eating

We want to thank Top Hat so much for hosting us over their lunch hour. We loved getting to know their team better and seeing first-hand how Platterz has contributed to a positive work environment for their employees!

Interested in having Platterz cater to your office (daily lunches, food trucks, happy hours, etc.)? Be sure to create an event now! 

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Porta Via grilled vegetables, roasted chicken, grilled tofu, quinoa and brown rice
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Cooking as an Art: How Porta Via Chef-Owner Ali Found His Creativity

Cooking as an Art: How Porta Via Chef-Owner Ali Found His Creativity

We arrived at Porta Via bright and early on a Friday morning and were greeted by smells of fresh herbs, a kitchen in full-swing, and Ali’s unwavering hospitality. He led us straight into the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, sharing intricate details of his past while mixing spices, chopping veggies, and preparing his catering orders for the day.

Owner Ali With His Menu

From an aircraft maintenance engineer to a restaurateur, Ali’s quest for creativity was found through fresh ingredients, healthy food and recipe-building. Porta Via, the Italian phrase for “takeaway”, was opened in 2006 to fill the gap between fast-food restaurants and fine dining. On opening his restaurant and catering business, Ali mentions that there was “nothing fresh or of good quality,” if you needed something on-the-go. With this, Ali saw an opportunity.

seasonal salad

Initially an Italian-inspired menu, Porta Via opened to provide customers with something quick, without compromising quality of food or taste. Through listening to his customers, the Porta Via menu quickly became international fusion, focusing on high quality, healthy ingredients that were always fresh. “Everyone is going back to their roots, everyone is becoming health-conscious.” Ali mentions, which inspired the health-focused menu of Porta Via. 

“The ingredients we use are real ingredients; it’s the food we were meant to eat.”

Chalkboard restaurant sign: Porta Via Promise: real good using real ingredients from scratch. Bon Apetit!

Ali has worked in the restaurant and catering industry since 1998. He worked as a bartender, a server and a catering coordinator at restaurants, banquet halls and catering companies. “I picked up a lot of experience on how to service customers properly, and how to make them happy.” This is one of the main focuses of Porta Via – to always listen to their customers. “We change our recipes according to what our customers want. Our menu is almost entirely gluten-free, we use no preservatives, and make everything from scratch.”

While working for Air Canada as an aircraft maintenance engineer, the attacks of September 11th played a key role in Ali’s career. “A lot of people were laid off after September 11th, and I was one of them. My background was in engineering and the restaurant industry.” Upon arriving at this crossroad, Ali chose the restaurant industry. He explains how growing up, he always wanted to create, and through food he has found his creative niche. “Cooking is an art,” Ali remarks, “I wouldn’t have lasted as an engineer, I wouldn’t have been able to be as creative.”

Porta Via’s catering menu is inspired by many cuisines; every week, Ali and his family dine at different restaurants to look for new ideas for his menu. When inspired, Ali returns back to his kitchen after hours and experiments with different ingredients. “Our roasted eggplant in ginger coconut curry sauce was inspired by a fine Indian restaurant in Toronto.”

Build-Your-Own Hot Meal Bowls

Ali wears “many hats” at Porta Via; he is a business owner, a manager, ensures food is at top quality, and directs customer service. “Marketing gets left out” Ali mentions, and notes that Platterz has really helped his business in this way. As soon as he sat down with the Platterz team, he knew that he wanted to be a part of it. “Platterz understands the restaurant business very well, which is helpful for success.”

When asked what the most rewarding part of his job is, Ali explains without hesitation that “being able to create jobs and give opportunity is the most inspiring.” Ali has cultivated a positive working space for his employees – which also happens to be one of the key principles of Platterz (no wonder we work so well together)! Ali views his relationship with his employees very positively. “We are like family. If I focus on the employees, they focus on our customers, and everyone is happy.”

A humbling moment for us came when Ali spoke about how Platterz has played a defining role in his creative pursuit. “The Platterz team is so adaptable and great – they trust me, and are always willing to take on new recipes for the menu.” The Build-Your-Own Hot Meal is the best performing item on Platterz, and enables him to come up with new creative combinations and flavours for his corporate catering clientele. Ali adds that this feeds his creativity further – he’s always trying new things.

“Cooking is an art.”

Seasoning Brussel Sprouts

While being at Porta Via, Ali and his employees treated us like a part of the family. Talk about amazing workplace culture! We were welcomed into the family, and left well-fed (the food was extraordinarily fresh and abundant with flavour, FYI), which is why we love meeting our restaurant and catering partners. Sharing food brings people together, and after learning about what led to Porta Via’s delicious success, the food tastes even better! 

 

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Going Green for Earth Day with Platterz

At Platterz, we think it’s up to everyone to do their part in making sure we protect the environment. Earth Day is a great reminder that going greener in the workplace isn’t just a way to be more responsible as an organization – it’s also a way to inspire your colleagues to take those principles home and strive towards a healthier planet every day.

Environmental responsibility is something we’ve made a commitment to uphold, which is why you can be confident that when you order with Platterz, you’re not only making the best office catering choice for your team – you’re also working with a team that cares.

Here are four reasons why using Platterz to order food for your next event will help you do your part towards lowering your company’s environmental footprint:

1. Go paperless with Platterz SpendTracker

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Recycling is a good start, but have you ever thought about the carbon footprint of your office’s daily operations? According to data collected by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, every 100 paper invoices that are printed have the same impact on carbon footprint as driving 14 kilometres.

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Platterz SpendTracker allows you to go fully paperless. It lets you see all paid and unpaid invoices in one location and gives you the ability to download invoices at your convenience. No more paper invoices!

2. Feed the whole office with a single delivery

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If your employees are ordering their own takeout to the office, they’re multiplying the number of vehicles needed to keep the whole team fed and energized. Fewer cars on the road make for a happier planet, so ordering with Platterz for the whole office in one shot can make a big difference over time.

3. Choose from your city’s top sustainable food choices

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From vegan and vegetarian foods that require fewer emissions to produce, to local and sustainably-sourced fare, there’s no shortage of delicious eco-friendly food choices on Platterz. Why not experiment with a Meatless Monday initiative to encourage your team to try out healthier, more sustainable food options? You just might find a new lunch favourite!

4. Make hardcopy takeout menus a thing of the past

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Trying to add variety to your team’s lunches can mean collecting hardcopy takeout menus that spend most of their time cluttering desk space. Worse, they often can’t be recycled because of the way the paper they’re printed on is processed. The solution? Do away with them completely and view hundreds of catering menus online easily with Platterz.

 

How is your office celebrating Earth Day? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Cinco De Mayo Dishes to Spice Up Your Office

With Cinco De Mayo fast approaching, now is the time to prepare to liven up your office with an injection of vibrant and flavourful Mexican-inspired cuisine.

Whether you’re looking to spice up your Team Breakfast, Team Meeting, Executive Meeting, Team Lunch or Dessert, we have the perfect dish to make this May 5th one to remember!

Breakfast Burritos by McEwan for Your Team Breakfast

Inspired by everyone’s favourite Tex-Mex indulgence, McEwan’s take is a modern version of the beloved scrambled egg and meat combo. Using only the highest-quality ingredients, these breakfast burritos are a delicious way to kickstart your team’s Cinco De Mayo.

Guacamole by El Rincon Mexicano for Your Team Meeting

Who doesn’t love guacamole? El Rincon’s homemade tortilla chips served with guacamole and salsa are a great snack for any team meeting – especially on Cinco de Mayo.

Build Your Own Fajitas by Kiss The Cook Catering for Your Executive Meeting

Delight even the toughest-to-please execs with these classic fajitas from Kiss the Cook Catering. They’re spiced to perfection and served with all the fixings in a fresh, colourful spread. Bonus: dessert is included with this order!

Build Your Own Taco by Per Se Catering for Your Team Lunch

Your team will thank you for this popular build-your-own taco spread by Per Se Catering. Choose from savoury Mexican Steak or Chicken Tinga, and top with a medley of salsas and cremas to make the ideal custom taco; all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.

Churros by 10tation for Your Dessert

Crispy on the outside with a soft, melt-in-your-mouth inside, this irresistible Cinco De Mayo staple by 10tation is a must-have with a modern twist: coffee chocolate sauce. Order these churros to end any office occasion with a sweet twist.