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Sunday 5th February, 2023

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Made in Canada
Made in Canada

Insight

Made in Canada

Meet six market leaders making waves in the world’s second-largest franchise industry, and a U.S. fitness brand focused on expansion

1. Tim Hortons

One of the most famous Canadian brands in the world, the coffee chain is also the nation’s biggest franchise with over 4,800 locations across 14 countries. Founded in 1964 by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton, this QSR giant has become one of the most profitable franchises in Canada with great franchising opportunities for partners both at home and abroad. Tim Horton restaurants can also be found in Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, the U.S.A. and the U.K.

2. Canada Bread

Another long-established brand, Canada Bread was founded over a century ago, and runs the largest commercial bakery franchise in the country, operating 17 bakeries and employing over 4,800 people. Global bakery giant Grupo Bimbo, which operates in 32 countries worldwide, acquired the brand in 2014 for CAD$1.83bn, and it operates as an independent business unit led by Alejandro Pintado.

3. Pizza Pizza

A highly successful QSR headquartered in Toronto, Pizza Pizza’s restaurants are mainly centered around Ontario with around 730 outlets in Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and western Canada. Headed up by CEO Paul Goddard, this is Canada’s leading national QSR pizza brand and is branching into new territories. In 2007, Pizza Pizza acquired the Pizza 73 brand, operating in over 100 locations primarily in Alberta, and more recently, in December 2021, it established a master franchise agreement with Guadalajara-based KSG/GrunCorp to develop and grow a presence in Mexico.

4. Marlin Travel

First established in 1987, Marlin Travel was acquired by Transat Distribution Canada in 2006, enabling it to become the largest retail travel chain in Canada, with convenient locations in most of its major cities and towns. With 165 franchise units and positive forecasts about the growth of the travel franchise industry in Canada, this brand is a good bet for growth, as it also has a strong reputation for both customer and employee satisfaction in the minds of Canadians.

5. Mr. Lube Canada

Mr. Lube is the largest quick oil chain and the country’s franchise leader in the automotive maintenance services sector, offering fast, warranty-approved vehicle maintenance through 182 franchise units across Canada. The company offers a slick service to both customers and franchisees alike, utilizing tech such as their Electronic Owner’s Manual, a hand-held device that enables Mr. Lube technicians to read the service interval requirements for each car’s model, make and year. This means customers don’t have to go to their dealers to maintain their warranties – they come straight to Mr. Lube.

6. Booster Juice

Despite being one of the younger companies on this list, founded in 1999 by president and CEO Dale Wishewan, the chain of juice and smoothie bars has grown rapidly to over 400 locations across Canada and boasts an international portfolio spanning Australia, U.S., Mexico, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the U.K. among others. The franchise set a Canadian record for opening 50 stores in the first two years of operation.

Room for expansion…

Since arriving in Canada from the U.S. in 2017, Crunch Fitness has opened over 30 clubs and sold over 100 franchises to date. Positioning itself as the most progressive and competitive fitness model in the industry, Crunch Canada’s expansion plans are not showing any signs of slowing.

Wes Hodgson, owner and co-CEO, explains why Canada is such a hotbed for opportunity: “Our head office is conveniently located in central Ontario near Toronto. It’s the ideal location to be accessible and available to attend to the needs of all.

“We will continue our expansion throughout Canada in 2023 – there’s no limit to opportunities for success. Our goal is to continue to strengthen our communities, one member at a time.

“We focus on a smaller community of franchisees who develop multiple gyms. This way, we can ensure they receive consistent support and access to the Crunch team whenever and wherever they may need it.

“Canada has not seen the saturation of the big box gym business model compared to the U.S. With smaller regions and provinces, the Canadian market is more conservative, and they want more bang for their buck. Crunch provides that value to them.”

“When I made the decision to open a fitness club, Crunch Fitness was for me the coolest brand out there, and it still is,” says Crunch Quebec franchisee Karim Toupin-Chaieb. “They have an impressive toolbox of marketing, training and sales support and a proven formula of world-class systems that have evolved year over year, from pre-opening and staff training to day-to-day operations support.”

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