Stella Artois partners with Toronto Life on content series to aid restaurants

Stella Artois has partnered with city magazine Toronto Life on a new content series called “Chef Artois,” which the beer brand describes as an extension of its “Rally for Restaurants” program introduced earlier this year.

Each episode of the video series, hosted by TV and radio personality Pay Chen, is filmed in a Toronto restaurant before a live audience, with two randomly selected diners given one hour to recreate the restaurant’s signature dish.

Each winning “chef” will receive a $1,000 prize pack from Toronto Life and Stella Artois Canada that includes a gift card to the featured restaurant, as well as gift cards for Rally for Restaurants.

The series consists of eight 10-minute episodes running on Toronto Life‘s Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as Stella Artois’ YouTube channels, through Oct. 28. Promo spots will also run across properties owned by Toronto Life‘s parent company St. Joseph Communications, including Chatelaine, Maclean’s, Fashion and Flare.

“Toronto is home to some of the best restaurants and has such a vibrant and multicultural food scene. We’re delighted to partner with Toronto Life to bring a new and exciting series to Canadians through Chef Artois,” said Mike Bascom, senior director of marketing for Stella Artois Canada. “Our local restaurants are the heart of our communities and need our support now more than ever.”

The series is created and produced by St. Joseph Communications’ content division in partnership with Toronto production studio The Bokeh Collective.

Launched in response to the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the restaurant industry, the Rally for Restaurants program enables people to purchase $25 or $50 gift certificates for restaurants that can be used at a later date, providing dining establishments with a much-needed cash infusion during a punishing time. Stella Artois is adding an additional $10 to the value of every gift card purchased.

More than 14,000 gift cards have been sold through Rally for Restaurants since its inception, injecting more than $600,000 into the industry.

According to Restaurants Canada’s most recent Foodservice Facts Report, the country’s restaurant industry could lose between $21.7 billion and $44.8 billion in sales this year because of the pandemic.“

At the pandemic’s height in April, on-premise orders accounted for just 4% of restaurant sales, compared to more than 50% during the comparable period last year.

Senior economist Chris Elliott says the estimates reflect the “tremendous uncertainty” facing the industry as it heads into the fall/winter season. Elliott says that restaurants are likely to see further sales declines with the end of patio season and “consumer trepidation” about indoor dining. A second wave of confirmed COVID cases, he says, could also potentially lead to “sharply lower sales.”

Chris Powell