Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 09, 2005

HTM Teaching Restaurant Renamed

The University of Guelph's newly expanded teaching kitchen and restaurant has a new name. The Atrium Restaurant is now called PJ's Restaurant in the Atrium in memory of Paul J. Phelan, the modern founder of Cara Operations Limited, one of Canada's largest hospitality companies.

The new name and a memorial plaque were unveiled today during a special ceremony at the University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM). The name recognizes gifts received from Cara; the Percy R. Gardiner Foundation, which is headed by Gail Regan, Phelan's daughter; and Gabriel Tsampalieros, Cara's president and CEO. Donations from the three partners, totalling $750,000, have been integral to the restaurant's expansion and renovation and have added strength to HTM's ability to provide excellent experiential learning space for students, said Marion Joppe, director of the school.

"Our teaching facilities, including this incredible restaurant, are among the finest in North America and we are thankful for all the support we've received," said Joppe. "The restaurant is named in memory of a man who built his company on the values he cherished – integrity, respect and the entrepreneurial spirit. Indeed, he imbued Cara with a passion for the hospitality business, and his entrepreneurial spirit was always balanced by businesslike thinking, sound management, professionalism, responsible stewardship and accountability. These are the same values we hope to instil in all our students."

Phelan, who died in 2002, contributed greatly to Canada's hospitality industry. Cara Operations Limited is one of Canada’s leading integrated restaurant companies and the largest operator of full-service restaurants in Canada, providing employment for some 39,000 Canadians in its owned and franchised operations.

"Cara and HTM are ideal partners," said Tsampalieros. "Both are recognized leaders in hospitality in Canada and share a common goal to promote and continuously improve our industry. Many of our teammates have enhanced their hospitality and leadership skills at this school, and we look forward to our ongoing relationship."

The $3.5-million expansion project, completed in 2003, doubled the teaching restaurant’s food production space. It provided facilities for an additional 234 new students, and enabled HTM to incorporate new food preparation technologies and update its information systems for reservations, table management, ordering and productivity.

Third-year students use the teaching restaurant to apply their multidisciplinary study of management in planning, purchasing, storage, production, marketing and service. Lunch and dinner are served several days a week to the campus and community in the 85-seat dining room which doubles as a fine-dining restaurant on selected evenings. In addition, the restaurant serves as a living laboratory for research in nutrition education and menu-item development in food service. The restaurant has earned the Eat Smart! Award several times for its commitment to high-quality food and food safety.

"We are proud that our teaching restaurant will from this day forward carry P.J.'s name as a testament to his spirit and vision," said U of G president Alastair Summerlee.

Guelph's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, founded more than 30 years ago, is known as the top school for hospitality management in Canada and is among the top three in North America.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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