Western chains continue to move East, with real estate and branding critical success factors
TORONTO (ON) --- Go big or go home. That's the message from Canadian foodservice executives when asked about best practices for restaurants moving into new regions.
"The whole development cycle for a new market is critical," said Paul Hollands, chief executive officer of A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. "It's about more than being on the right corner. It's about looking at your entire expansion process strategically. You've got to be committed to your plans and you've got to put your best people on the ground to make it happen."
With restaurant brands such as Earls Kitchen + Bar, Joey Restaurant, Moxie's Grill & Bar, State & Main Kitchen & Bar and Cactus Club Café moving from Western Canada to Ontario and points further east, it's a hot topic in the foodservice industry today. Hollands and others provided a preview of the remarks they've prepared for a panel discussion on this topic that will take place at the Canadian Restaurant Investment Summit (CRIS) today in Toronto.
In addition to real estate, there are three other areas that restaurateurs should pay attention to when expanding, said Robert Carter, executive director of foodservice at NPD Group and panel moderator. Those areas are brand strength, brand awareness and operational expansion.
"It's interesting to look at the concepts that are successfully going from west to east," said Mark Pacinda, president and chief operating officer of Boston Pizza International Inc. "Ontario has 12.9 million people and Alberta has 3.7 million people --- they're totally different markets. But there are unique elements of the west coast culture and dynamics that have led to success for chains that expand across the country."
For Derek Doke, president of FranWorks Group of Companies, which owns Original Joe's and State & Main restaurants, brand differentiation and operational growth go hand-in-hand. "We always want to maximize our productivity. We're sensitive to the size of our stores so we control that footprint. That's why we target end cap real estate more so than freestanding stores," he explained.
CRIS brings together restaurateurs, chain executives, franchise operators, investors, lenders and key suppliers from across the country. The event delivers insights and information with a tight focus that is uniquely Canadian. For more information, please visit the web site (http://www.restaurantinvest.ca/) or follow CRIS on Twitter (https://twitter.com/CRIS_Toronto).
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