The Fifteen Group

The Fifteen Group is North America’s
TOP restaurant consulting team

About Us

The Fifteen Group has a team of 40 of the industry’s top personnel. Our team has seen it all. We focus on the complete spectrum, from operations management to finance/start-up. We know that the hospitality industry is one of the toughest around – long hours, a stressful pace, getting patrons in the door, keeping good staff – it’s a business with demands and pitfalls like no other.

Our expertise and support have maintained a client success rate of more than 95%. We offer you the freedom to cancel your contract anytime, because we are pretty certain you won’t!

Experienced

Combined our team has more than 200 years of experience managing all types of businesses from quick service restaurants to fine dining establishments. We pair clients’ vision and needs with a consultant whose experience will be most effective.

Connected

Over the past fifteen years we have worked with many hospitality partners and services, and we can recommend trusting partners who will help to get your restaurant operating on the right track.

Trusted

Being honest and transparent is essential in making effective business decisions, and that’s what we do. As expert consultants, you can rely on us to provide you with insight and support to guide your business in a direction of growth.

Meet the Team

Executive Team

David Hopkins

David Hopkins

President

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David began a career in restaurant management after graduating in 1990 with an honours degree from one of Canada’s leading business universities, Queen’s University. From 1990-1997, David focused on restaurant operations and held various senior management positions within Toronto’s top restaurant companies, including the well-known Oliver-Bonacini group (Jump, Canoe, Auberge de Pommier). In 1997, David joined SIR Corp. to head-up the financial/accounting department of one of their most profitable divisions, Signature Restaurants (Al Frisco’s, Alice Fazooli’s!, Far Niente, reds). During his 5 years with SIR Corp., David reconstructed the division’s information processing into a centralized accounting department, and helped the division grow from 4 restaurants to 9, each with sales over $4 million annually. This development included the roll-out of the Alice Fazooli’s! chain.

In 2001, David left Sir Corp to form The Fifteen Group Inc., a consulting company dedicated to maximizing restaurant profits through effective sales generation and disciplined cost control management. The Fifteen Group’s clients range from owner/operated establishments to multi-unit restaurant corporations.

Jenny Companion

Jenny Companion

VP Eastern Operations

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Jenny started her restaurant career over thirteen years ago with the restaurant group Milestones Grill & Bar. Over the seven years with Milestones she worked her way up in restaurant management and held positions such as bar and training manager, assistant General Manager and General Manager. In 2007 she was the opening GM for the introduction of the brand to the London, Ontario market. In 2010 she joined SIR Corp and the Alice Fazooli’s brand. She worked along-side senior leaders of the company to help develop SIRCorp’s leadership competencies, a labour program and ‘manager in training’ online program. Before leaving SIRCorp to join the fifteen group she was heavily involved in the development of training materials and rebranding of the Alice Fazooli’s chain. Jenny’s love for restaurants and food revolves around the ‘perfect guest experience’. She has a very strong business and operations sense with a love for training perfect guest engagement.

Alex Fraser

Alex Fraser

VP Western Operations

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Alex began his career in one of Canada’s leading wine regions, 25 years ago. As a young Chef, Alex worked in one of Canada’s 4 diamond restaurants Escabeche, in the historic Prince of Wales Hotel in Niagara on the Lake, studying under a 2 Michelin Star Chef. After graduating from Niagara College’s Cook II Apprenticeship Program, and satisfying his penchant for cooking, Alex expanded his focus and development to the front of the house operations and has held the positions of General Manager and Director of Operations with Liberty ITM, representing some of the top corporate branded restaurants in Canada. Alex has facilitated the opening of over 35 restaurants throughout Canada, including with world renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck.

Alex moved from the Toronto office in 2006 to open and lead the 15 Group’s Vancouver Office operations.

Executive Chefs

Stuart Betteridge

Stuart Betteridge

Chef Consultant Eastern Canada

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Stuart Betteridge CCC has over thirty years of culinary experience and is a certified Chef de Cuisine. His journey began in England where he attended Shrewsbury college for the culinary arts.  During this stage of his career he worked in many deluxe 5 star hotels and several Michelin stared country house properties. His travels brought him to Canada where he worked at the Harbour Castle Western and at the incredibly popular Alice Fazooilis! Seeking more adventure Stuart gained the position of corporate opening chef for Island Records founder Chris Blackwell’s Island Outpost boutique hotel group. He opened hotels and restaurants in Miami South Beach, Compass Point in Nassau Bahamas, Pink Sands on Harbour Island Bahamas, Jakes, The Caves and Strawberry Hill in Jamaica. After five years of Caribbean life the pull to come back to Canada concluded with Stuart take over as execute chef of Far Niente and Soul of the Vine restaurants in Toronto’s financial core. After almost three incredibly successful years another Caribbean opportunity arose and he opened La Luna boutique hotel on the island of Grenada. Returning to Toronto he became over several years the executive chef of Reds, The Drake Hotel and Cru Restaurant. Stuart has been with the 15 Group for nearly a decade and has opened and designed over 30 kitchens and worked with over a 100 clients all across Canada and the US.

Betteridge is also a full-time culinary professor at the prodigious culinary school George Brown College.

Tim Cuff

Tim Cuff

Chef Consultant Western Canada

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A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Cuff’s career choice was a product of his environment. Growing up in a small farm town, owning a John Deere Dealership and sourcing much of their food directly from their massive garden & nearby farmers. Be it eggs, vegetables, bread or meat from the neighboring farms and butchers, Cuff grew a natural passion for food, Wine and a fine appreciation for the hard work and dedication of small-scale farmers and producers.

After studying culinary arts at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and working in Europe, and in some of Western Canada’s Best Restaurants. Cuff has had the opportunity to be the Chef in some of Canada’s most reputable restaurants The Terrace at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, The Wickaninnish Inn, West Restaurant, Aura at Nita Lake lodge in Whistler. Most recently, for the past 2 ½ years, Cuff was the Executive Chef of West Oak Restaurant in Vancouver’s Yaletown.

As testament to Cuff’s dedication to the culinary profession, in 2006 Cuff received the prestigious Chef de Cuisine certification by the Canadian Culinary Federation. The designation is one of the highest professional culinary recognition and accreditation in Canada representing the culmination of the highest standards of managerial and administrative responsibilities, culinary skills and dedication to the cooking profession.
By working with influential leaders of the Canadian culinary profession who have helped shape his style and depth of knowledge, Cuff has developed his own distinctive style and culinary philosophy. For Cuff, it’s about respect. Respect for classic cooking techniques, for food, and for the myriad of local suppliers that he works so closely with. He insists that there is a difference, a richness, depth of flavour and freshness that comes from their passion and attention to detail.

With over 19 years of experience Tim looks to continue his passion for culinary excellence with project work for our west coast clients.

Steve Silvestro

Steve Silvestro

Chef Consultant Eastern Canada

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With over twenty years of culinary experience, Steve brings his strengths of recipe and menu creation, team training, and restaurant openings to the Fifteen Group. 

Upon completing the Italian Arts program at George Brown College, Steve moved to Italy and spent two years perfecting his culinary skills at Palace Hotel Villa Cortine on Lago di Garda, and Savini Ristorante in Milano. Upon returning to Toronto Steve trained under Master Chef Giampiero Tondina, eventually becoming the Chef at popular French Bistro Pastis for six years. Steve then joined the Sircorp brand as Executive Chef of Alice Fazooli’s Italian Restaurant.  Steve oversaw the brand transition to Scaddabush Italian Kitchen and Bar, and assisted in opening new stores while renovating existing locations. 

Brand Development

Kelly Moorhead

Kelly Moorhead

Senior Branding Strategist

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Kelly is an accomplished graphic designer who has spent most of her career working with architects in the world of hospitality. She has extensive experience in entertainment, gaming and restaurant design. She brings her love of brand and environmental design to The Fifteen Group to spearhead their design division and extend The Fifteen Group’s service offering.

Kelly is an energetic and strong leader with a proven ability to mentor and motivate the teams she works with. Her greatest strength is her ability to execute a Plan B in the face of challenges, timeline changes and issues that typically crop up on projects. She has been instrumental in developing multi-disciplinary teams within single discipline organizations, expanding firm offerings and adding to the bottom line. In her past studio experience, she has had the pleasure of working with a wide range of clients including: Against The Grain, Amsterdam BrewHouse, Beer Academy, Cara, Glow Wine Bar, Molson Breweries, Montana’s BBQ + Bar, Montecito Restaurant, Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill, Swiss Chalet, The Firkin Group of Pubs, Toronto Pearson Airport and Universal Studios.

Arvin Sheivari

Arvin Sheivari

Branding, Graphic Consultant

Management Team & Consultants

Isabelle Zywiel

Isabelle Zywiel

Office Manager
Tyler Fraser

Tyler Fraser

Business Development Manager

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Tyler’s career in the hospitality industry began 11 years ago, during which time he has held a number of operational roles in fine dining, casual fine dining and catering environments. Tyler’s experience in both corporate structured and independently owned and operated restaurants has been invaluable in his new role with the Fifteen Group. Along with an unwavering passion for the hospitality industry, Tyler brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that he can effectively apply to a wide variety of situations. Understanding the importance of customer service in all aspects of the hospitality industry, Tyler strives to meet the individual needs of all of his clientele through a client-centered approach. Tyler joined the Fifteen Group team in January 2011 in a business development role and then advanced to his current position as a consultant.

Tyler has spent the last two years as the director of operations of the Waters’ Edge Restaurant in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Through this role, Tyler has gained extensive experience and positive relationships with the health and safety inspection board of Nunavut, as well as extensive knowledge experience dealing with northern food and beverage suppliers.

Chris Knight

Chris Knight

Consultant

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After a fifteen-year career in Hospitality Operations, Chris has joined The Fifteen Group where his extensive career in the industry is put to use, helping new and aspiring restaurateurs bring their concepts to life.  Chris began his career with Cara, under the Milestones Brand, helping to open several locations before moving to SIRCorp where he worked at Alice Fazooli’s.  Later, after joining a Micro-brew pub concept from France; Les 3 Brassuer/The 3 Brewers, he helped to expand their presence in the Ontario market assisting in opening several locations with them across the GTA. Chris is also a graduate from George Brown College with a diploma in Hospitality and Food and Beverage Management.

 

Karalyn White

Karalyn White

Consultant

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With over 15 years’ of experience in hospitality, Karalyn White brings a plethora of industry expertise to The Fifteen Group. Upon completion of an Honours Bachelor of Commerce in Hotel and Food Industry at Guelph University, Karalyn quickly rose up the ranks in various managerial roles at SIRCorp. Karalyn received many awards and accolades for her amazing work with SIRCorp internally, as well as becoming a recipient of the Top 30 Under 30 in the hospitality industry by the Globe and Mail. Certified by the Freeman Group to train executives and managers in training others. Prior to joining The Fifteen Group in 2015, Karalyn held the position of Regional Training Manager for Canyon Creek SIRCorp. Karalyn’s love for providing the ultimate guest experience, coupled with highly effective operation management cost control, will surely be an asset to our clients!

Cheryl Gardner

Cheryl Gardner

Consultant

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Cheryl’s restaurant management career began nearly 15 years ago with corporate west coast restaurant groups, Earls Restaurants and Boathouse Restaurants. Through her career she has held positions as, Operations Manager, Assistant GM and GM. Her love of food and travel lead her into 5 year hiatus as an international culinary tour guide, making her way through some of the world’s most important culinary regions. After her return to Canada, she opened her first restaurant in Corner Brook, NL. The Bay of Islands Bistro garnered national attention in multiple publications including Zoomer Magazine and Where to Eat in Canada. Shortly after, Cheryl added a successful coffee house and a commercial small batch craft coffee roaster to her business portfolio. Cheryl joined the Fifteen Group Team in Vancouver in 2011.

Lindsay Kaltenback

Lindsay Kaltenback

CPA, CMA, VP Finance

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Lindsay was previously the Accountant, as well as the Assistant Operations Manager for the IL Fornello Restaurants Group for over 6 years where she oversaw and assisted in the daily operations of several corporate locations. Lindsay Kaltenback holds a title as a Chartered Managerial Accountant (CMA) and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). These designations combined with Lindsay’s extensive experience in restaurant accounting as well as operations will surely be an asset to all of our clients as well as the Fifteen Group team.

Rob Farrelly

Rob Farrelly

Manager of Accounting Infrastructure
Teri Hao

Teri Hao

CPA, CGA, National Manager of Restaurant Accounting

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Teri received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University in 2006. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and qualified as a Certified General Accountant (CGA) in 2009.

Teri has previously worked at several professional accounting firms in Vancouver including DMCL LLP Chartered Professional Accountants, MNP LLP, a leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm in Canada, and Berris Mangan Chartered Accountants (now KPMG), where she oversaw various accounts, representing the interests of a diversified list of clients.

After leaving public practice, Teri continued her accounting profession in the fitness and real estate development industries in Vancouver.

Committed to developing her skills, Teri has completed the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants’ In-depth Taxation Course level 1 and continues to challenge herself with many other professional development courses.

When not crunching numbers, Teri enjoys long distance competitive running, west coast-hiking and dining out in Vancouver’s great local restaurant market.

Teri will oversee the Vancouver Accounting Department operations, and staff of Bookkeepers.

Stephen Hamelin

Stephen Hamelin

Consultant

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Stephen brings 17 years of experience to the Fifteen Group team. Steve studied at the University of Guelph getting an Honors Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in Hotel and Food Administration. He started his career with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts at the Chateau Lake Louise holding progressive positions leading to managing the signature dining room of the hotel. After taking courses with the International Sommelier Guild, Steve was responsible for the 300 label wine list at the hotel from 2002-2004. Once deciding to move to Calgary, he was recruited to work for the Joey Restaurant Group and moved up through the company to finish with them as the General Manager of the Saltlik Steakhouse. He then decided to open a new restaurant with the Creative Restaurant Group. In the first year, Cibo received awards for Calgary’s best new restaurant as well as Calgary’s best family restaurant.

Phil Shumeiko

Phil Shumeiko

Consultant

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Phil brings thirteen years of hospitality experience building a positive culture, exceptional guest experience, and operational excellence. His hospitality career began in the back of house operations at local Toronto restaurants Grazie Ristorante and Il Fornello.  He then went on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

Upon returning to Canada, Phil joined the Hyatt Hotel Calgary as the Food & Beverage Manager. He then transferred to Toronto, and played a significant role in the re-launch of Houston Avenue Bar & Grill. 

From 2013-2016, Phil was a part of the Signature Division team at SIRCORP, supporting the re-brand and operational improvements at Far Niente, FOUR, Petit Four and Reds Midtown Tavern. Phil’s work and expertise was recognized when he was awarded the 2016 Signature General Manager of the Year. 

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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

Consultant

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Steven Wright joins our Vancouver Consulting team with 28 years of experience in the hospitality industry.  Steven started his career at an early age in Edmonton, Alberta and obtained international experience exploring summers in boutique Inns in Scotland.  As a young adult, he then moved to Victoria, British Columbia before heading up the Sea to Sky corridor and spending 7 years in Whistler and has called Vancouver home since 2009. His roles in multi-award winning operations include Director of Operations for Wentworth Hospitality Group (Loden Hotel, Tableau Bar Bistro, Homer St. Cafe & Bar, Musette Caffé), General Manager of the Bearfoot Bistro and part of the opening team as Food and Beverage Director at Nita Lake Lodge.