2021 has come to an end, and we’re not going to lie – it’s been a wild ride. The pandemic has drastically shifted the way we work, the way we interact and the way we stay connected to our community.
And while we’ve all had to figure out a new landscape with new challenges, this year has also brought about some amazing opportunities and room for growth. It’s allowed us to connect with you in ways we didn’t think possible–and that’s been incredibly gratifying and humbling.
So with that, here are some of the things we’re most proud of accomplishing this year, and some of the biggest ways we were able to get involved with our community.
In 2020, Impact Kitchen created its first Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee, led by Community Outreach & Inclusion Coordinator, Richard Blackwood. With his work, he’s been able to connect Impact Kitchen to various community outreach programs, like hosting the annual holiday drive for Red Door Shelter, which collects toys and foods from patrons at all Impact locations. We’ve also been able to support frontline workers by providing Impact bowls and baked goods, and we’ve organized soup drop-offs for shelters.
This summer we had the privilege of creating a custom menu for Gary Roberts’ summer hockey camp, and it was a highly rewarding team effort. We tested and developed the menu to fall in line with dietary requirements and hired an entire team to deliver and prepare the food. But my favourite part? One of the menu items, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, was such a hit that we decided to add it to the restaurant menu! (If you haven’t tried it yet, you definitely should.)
Okay, we’re pretty pumped about this one. Impact’s mission has always been to source as local and sustainably as possible, and so this partnership has been a long-time coming. Beretta Farm’s beef is raised on local Canadian family farms, without the use of antibiotics or hormones, and is 100% grass-fed. You can expect to see this partnership roll out in early 2022.
Our team also got outside of their comfort zone this fall by doing an ice-cold dip in the lake in a workshop hosted by Unbounded. Cold exposure is linked to a host of health benefits including improved immune function, enhanced cardiovascular health and even a boost in cognitive function. We’re always looking for ways to provide new experiences with our team, and this did not disappoint.
Once the warm weather came about, we were back on for our weekly outdoor workouts at Queen’s Quay, led by Impact co-founder and personal trainer, Josh Broun. We were so excited that week after week these classes continued to fill up, and we can’t wait to bring them back next Spring.
Speaking of Queen’s Quay, if you stopped by this summer you probably had the fun experience of trying out the Smoothie Bike stationed right outside. The smoothie bike was a fun and interactive way to get to know our community: simply ride the bike and blend up your free smoothie sample–or do what I do, and get Andrew, staff member and Keeper of the Bike, to do the hard work for you. If you haven’t checked out, you’ll be able to see it in action at various locations come summertime!
We opened the doors to Liberty in the fall, and we were so grateful to be immediately accepted into this community. The new location, located at 99 Atlantic Avenue, holds a lot of the familiarity of the other Impact locations: a large dine-in space, an exposed kitchen, and a retail fridge for all your grab-n-go needs. Plus it has an entire wall made of greenery!
We also opened up our first virtual kitchen in Etobicoke to make healthy eating all that more accessible. Now you can get power bowls delivered to your doorstep–no commutes required!
With the closures of indoor dining and a shift to everything being online, Impact had to get creative with ways to connect with customers, while prioritizing social distancing. We were able to use technology in a way that we hadn’t before, to better support community needs!
If you are one of the 17,500 people who signed up for the app, you know what a game-changer it is: you can collect points on your orders, order in advance so it’s ready when you get there, and even get food delivered to your house. (And if you haven’t gotten the app yet, you can sign up here.)
Impact Kitchen launched two subscription programs this year: our coffee + tea program (featuring Pilot coffee) in May, and our sipping broth program, which launched in November, and we’ve almost hit 1000 subscriptions already. From figuring out the tech to updating our entire coffee menu, and then adding on new broth blend flavour add-ons, this challenging project was well worth it–and we know you agree!
This has been a challenging time for everyone, and we’re not out of the woods yet. Something we’ve been incredibly grateful for is the continued support from our community and regular customers to help keep our doors open. In fact, despite not having indoor dining, Impact Kitchen has had some astonishing numbers, including:
More than 62,000 sea salt cookies sold
50,000+ Zesty Mexican bowls ordered
Over 20,000+ Restore smoothies purchased
This ongoing support has allowed us to show up and continuously grow. One of the ways we were able to grow this year was by updating some of our menu items. Here are our most popular menu updates!
Our egg’s benny had a glow up, and now features 2 poached eggs, avocado smash, superfood cheddar waffles and of course, our classic turmeric hollandaise sauce.
We added this new chili to the menu, and it’s been such a hit so far! Made with turkey, bacon, house-made chicken bone broth and lots of veggies and beans, this chili is high in fibre and protein, and exactly what we need to get through the cold weather.
For another year of so much uncertainty – and continuous social distancing – we’re incredibly grateful to have had the chance to prioritize community and growth. The ongoing support from patrons, new and old alike, has allowed us to put our best foot forward.
In 2022, our goal is to continue showing up for our community to provide the best quality service, to inspire a healthy lifestyle, and to create a lasting impact. We can’t wait to share with you all that we have planned for this next year!