Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Rideau Centre Food Court: A Review

Rideau Centre Food Court opening August 1st

Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to preview the new Rideau Centre's Food Court which will be officially open Friday August 1st at 11 A.M.  The event started promptly at 5 P.M. with treated to cocktails and hors d'ouevres.  Nothing like a glass of Jackson Triggs Chardonnay to start off an evening.

I spent about an hour wandering around the limited area of the food court we were allowed to.  Attendees were limited at first to the area they could roam due to construction still being finished up on quite a few store fronts including the Green Rebel.

Green Rebel under construction

Obviously with a preview, finishing up construction and minor cleaning was to be expected.  But considering some of the storefronts were still saran wrapped in covered in construction dusts, I don't expect everything to be ready by Friday.    One reason for the possible unpreparedness by at least a day is the hydro outage that occurred on Monday that forced many stores to close and probably the food court construction to be halted.

A&W & KFC

However, there was at least one storefront ready and excited to open.  Purdy's Chocolates was open and ready for business with their Hedgehog Mascot available for pictures and an exuberant Master Choclatier making Raspberry Truffles.

Purdy's Chocolate

After finishing the wine and some snacks I took one last round of the food court area.  The food court was most definitely brighter, newer and shinier than old one located at the front of the mall whose last day was today (July 31st).  The newer food court is also much larger and more spacious than the older one that can be harder to find a table at.  As well, the new food court has many new restaurants from Montreal and the Toronto areas that I have yet to test out with a few food restaurants carrying over to their new locations. Finally the food court's ambiance is hopefully going to be improved with the new modern design, the introduction of international food offerings and the introduction of dishes.

Despite all the positivity  and A few nagging questions though do remain.  The new dishes and cutlery are to be introduced in hopes of reducing the amount of garbage the traditional food court.  But how is the new food court going to keep said dishes from walking out the door?   As well traditionally the older food court tended to be occupied by a lot of interesting characters at times who loitered there.  How will this issue be resolved especially with the introduction of metal knives now being used?  Finally, many of the prices at the old food court for simple fast food lunch heading towards the $10.00 mental barrier for an affordable lunch, will the new Rideau Centre Food Court going to entertain economical prices for it's customers?  These questions will be easily answered over the coming days and weeks as the reviews from the average diner come in and the amount of china decreases.

Overall, the new Rideau Centre Food Court has been correctly marketed as a grand new place to eat.  Although, there are lingering questions around pragmatic issues like dishes disappearing and increase the quality of clientele over the old status quo food court.  Will this component of the continuously hyped Rideau Centre renovation and expansion live up to its billing or will it be a gradual flop with the possible return of fast food containers and undesirables?  Only once the doors open August 1st at 11 A.M. and over the next couple of weeks will we be able to tell if this was marketing company genius' success or flop.

Rideau Centre Food Court Preview

Wednesday evening Suddcorp Solutions was invited to preview the new food court at Cadillac Fairview's Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa that is to open Friday, August 1st at 11 A.M. We arrived at 5 P.M. to be treated to cocktails and hors d'ouevres presented by Tulips & Maple catering.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Expand your Reach on Social Media: Try Some Hashtag Hijinks!

A great way to expand your audience on social media is through the use of "Hashtags". First popularized by the social network Twitter, hashtags are used to index a message to a certain subject. These hashtagged subjects are usually a topic (e.g. restaurants, networking, etc.), city (e.g. Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, etc.) or a way to follow an event (e.g. eSAX, etc.). Hashtags generally are a word or phrase preceded by a “#”. Example: #examplehashtag.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Importance of Niche Market Social Media SEO: Restaurant Industry

Many business owners and marketers spend hours trying to optimize their websites and other online advertising material to appear on the first page of search engine results. Social Media is a great tool to not only ensure businesses are showing up in prime locations on search engines like Google, but also ensure the information prospective customers are looking for is found. This is especially so in the restaurant industry which provides a great case study on how business can use social media to ensure customers find the information they need to enjoy a meal.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Words to Avoid Like the Plague on Linkedin!

Linkedin is a great tool for business professionals and job prospectors to search through and connect with others. According to Mashable, there were 300 million Linkedin users worldwide as of April 2014. With that many users how does one use Linkedin and rise above the crowd to be found? Make sure your profile avoids using common overused keywords in your Linkedin profile and, for added value, your Résumé.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

A Haven of Fun at eSAX Networking

Wednesday evening Suddcorp Solutions had the great opportunity to attend July's eSAX networking event at Funhaven. We were lucky to win free tickets to the event at a previous OSEB networking event, and shared the tickets with Cheryl of Blackpaw Biscuits.

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Which Platform to Start With on Social Media?

There is currently an astounding 350+ different social media channels available to choose from. If you are new to social media choosing which social media channel to start with is a little daunting. The task of starting is like buying a car. There are so many shapes and sizes to choose from along with features, restrictions and price tag make things even more interesting. What model to choose which one of the 350 cars in the dealer's lot is right for me? Of course the salesman is glad to point you in the right direction, but can you really trust that the tweed suit wearing shyster point you in the right direction? Most customers will do some preliminary research by selecting features they need, which ones are nice but not necessarily needed and what their price tag is. As well, car customers are likely to review various sources of information to get the full picture before putting any money down for their new sweet ride.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

D'Arcy McGee's Still an Ottawa Institution

D'Arcy McGee's on UrbanspoonI recently returned with my wife and a friend to D'Arcy McGees (44 Sparks Street, Ottawa) for some beer and a meal.  I used to love coming on Thursday nights to this particular Irish themed pub in the early 2000s for the popular kitchen parties.

We arrived at an early 4:30 P.M. to take advantage of the pre-dinner Friday evening no wait.  Due to this restaurant's prime location just steps from Parliament Hill and other nearby tourist destinations as well as it's popularity amongst tourists, this restaurant fills up pretty quickly.

The inside of the restaurant is like an old bar with tile intricate tile floors and wood bar.  There are alcoves off the upstairs area where many tables are located. We were lead there by the appropriately Irish kilted hostess.

We perused our menus before awaiting our also Irish kilted waitress to return.  When she did we were ready!

The Order: 1 The Club (Shave Turkey, crisp bacon, white Cheddar Cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced hothouse tomato, cranberry mayonnaise, and toasted multi-grain bread) with fries and a Keiths draft beer.  1 Ma's Crispy Chicken (Crisp water-cracker coating, buttermilk, mashed potatoes, rainbow slaw tossed in honey mustard, and creamed corn).

The food came within a reasonable 20 minutes.  But the ambiance had changed with a group of about 10 office coworkers who were seated in the back corner in our alcove.  This raised the noise level a lot so it became difficult to hold a conversation.   Perhaps they could have sat them downstairs in the larger area where they have seating or out in the bar area.  It was noticeably a little disturbing for others in our area as well. This was really our only complaint during our meal.

The Club sandwich was delicious with fresh turkey and decent white bread.  Lettuce and tomatoes were also fresh on this quad cut bread held together with skewer sticks.

The fries were typical pub fries with skins slightly still left on.  They appear to be similar to the fries that New York Fries made popular. but in the new hipster designer french fry bowl that seems to be catching on.  The same bowl and plate combination was found at the Clocktower Brew Pub. Optically it separates the club sandwich, or whatever main dish, from the french fries.  Quantity wise I still have doubts as it looks like restaurant is trying hide the  reduction in the amount of fries served.  In the end the fries were served hot with requisite grease drying.

The Ma's Crispy Chicken came with three pieces of what appeared to be long breaded chicken sticks. Crispy on the outside but somewhat still moist on the inside.   Served along with the same fries as mentioned above and add a little ketchup at a times and it makes an pretty good meal.

Overall, D'Arcy McGees remains a reliable downtown pub.  Loud at times with federal government workers after work for happy hour, but pretty decent at service and food.  Service was quick and friendly with perfect timing on when to check in.  A slight Irish feel to the bar also occurs.  Still the touristy yet local welcoming spot I remember from yesteryear.  Definitely an Ottawa Institution that continues.

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