Jack Cator began the soon-to-be three generation family tradition in the meat business in rural Ontario in the 1930s.
Founding of Cardinal by Ralph Cator
Ralph Cator, after learning the butcher trade in his father’s retail stores in Toronto, co-founded Cardinal Meats Specialists. Driven by the vision to make his mark in the foodservice industry, he turned Cardinal into a leading supplier of burgers, ribs and other products to quick service restaurants and the wholesale market.
Developed the now, industry standard Tenderform Burgers
Investing into Tenderform patty-forming technology made Cardinal the first company in the world to use this new equipment in food processing. It provided Cardinal with the ability to produce a burger that was less processed, looked more like a handmade product and cooked faster on the grill. Today, Tenderform technology is the world standard for forming burgers.
Launched Canada’s #1 Premium Branded Burger: Roadhouse
The Roadhouse burger was first introduced in 1988 as a foodservice product before opening the door for Cardinal into retail in big ways. The brand image conveyed through the Roadhouse concept was that this was a pub-style burger as opposed to a fast-food burger. Over the years, The Roadhouse burger has remained as Cardinal’s signature burger product.
Launched proprietary sealed & slow cook process: Kettle Cooked
The original idea to cook ribs came from Ralph who, by the early 1990s, wanted to start selling a cooked rib product through the Cardinal outlet store. Using sealed environment cooking technology, Kettle Cooking, creates more sustainable and safe products requiring no preservatives. Kettle cooking gave Cardinal the ability to cook meat in a way nobody else had done before, and has led to an extensive line of products, including roasts, bone-in chicken, pulled pork, and more!
1st HACCP recognized beef processor in Canada
Cardinal becomes first HACCP-recognized beef processor in Canada. HACCP, the Hazard
Analysis and Critical Control Points Program, is a food safety practice standard developed by the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.
1st DNA lab in a production facility for advanced microbiological testing
Proactively avoiding any possible risks by adhering to the most sophisticated DNA testing processes, Cardinal stood its ground and in the process became instrumental in convincing its industry partners to also adopt a higher standard in food safety.
1st to introduce N60 food safety test
When N60 Food Safety Testing was developed in 2003 as the next step in DNA testing, Cardinal adopted it right away. Cardinal’s stringent position on food safety has resulted in the company working closely with both the Canadian and American authorities on making the use of the latest technology in food safety mandatory across the entire industry to protect consumers.
Developed Natural Texture Forming (NTF) burger technology
Natural Texture Forming (NTF) burger technology provides the ability to form a burger that cooks in half the time of a standard burger while keeping the natural weave of ground beef.
Since first introducing Natural Texture Forming (NTF) capability to its burger production in 2011, this exceptional burger forming technology has been a key driver behind Cardinal’s ongoing growth. NTF allowed Cardinal to virtually reinvent burgers in the Canadian market and is leading Cardinal’s expansion into the U.S. market today.
Over 235 products sold across North America!
Interested in serving time-saving, cost-cutting Cardinal products to your customers? Learn how we can help your business succeed!
To Offer A Wide Range Of Innovative Protein Products That Are Superior Solutions To Today’s Current Offerings, While Creating Healthier Bottom Lines For Our Customers
To Shift The Way Our Customers Think About Proteins & Create New Opportunities For Our Partners
Innovation is in our people’s DNA and it is what will lead us into the future.
Cardinal is proud to support we care in helping kids with disabilities attend fully accessible Easter Seals summer camps across Canada.
At Cardinal Meat Specialists, we’ve made food safety a top priority. We care about the health and wellness of our consumers. Satisfying their needs is what drives us to make the very best, food-safe products. We’ve built our reputation on it. Making the best tasting products just isn’t good enough. Cardinal ensures all of its products meet and exceed the highest safety standards and we’re constantly perfecting our food safety processes.
Industry leaders in food safety systems according to our retail and foodservice customers
Federal inspected facilities under the continuous supervision of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Safe Quality Food (SQF) certified. SQF certification assures consumers food has been produced to the highest standards
In-house DNA lab for advanced microbiological testing – 1st meat processor in Canada with such technology
Unique sealed environment cooking process provides uncompromising standards for all cooked items ensuring optimum safety once cooked
Leaders in air purification throughout our facilities
Committed to continuous improvement as a core company value held by all our expert staff
And much more...including leadership in North Americas largest trade association for meats
What does this mean to you? When it comes to feeding your family high-quality and great tasting foods...Cardinal is the brand of choice.
Can you have high standards of food safety without sacrificing taste and good value? – You Can with Cardinal.
It is with pride that our team remains committed to innovation and investment in state of the art technology in order to provide the safest, most consistent and highest quality products available.
SAFETY CERTIFICATIONS, AWARDS, AFFILIATIONS