A Toronto-based fast-casual dining giant that specialises in “healthy food that is convenient and affordable” is looking to open concessions within UK convenience store chains.
Freshii has signed entrepreneur Anil Patil as its UK franchise partner. Patil, in an exclusive interview with C-store this morning, said he wanted to open healthy food-to-go operations in convenience stores as well as open the standalone restaurants for which Freshii is known in 13 countries and 63 cities.
It has 240 branches in Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, North and South America, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Patil would not divulge how many sites he planned to open in the UK. However, he already operates 40 Starbucks franchises here and 20 Domino’s locations, and he says he is confident he will find similar, “if not greater”, success with Freshii.
Toronto head office boasts ambitions to have a Freshii “at every corner” in the UK. The group has plans for 840 units within three years worldwide, specialising in its customisable healthy menu.
This includes salads, wraps, burritos, frozen yogurt soups, juices, smoothies and “meal boxes” – what it calls a “one-stop shop to a full day of healthy eating”.
Patil said while opening in convenience stores did not form the mainstay of its initial rollout, formats such as Subway had succeeded in combination with convenience stores. “A brand such as ours could sit very well with the wider offering.
“It is something we would like to do… We can certainly plan for that now.”
He said he had seen “scores” of convenience stores in which he thought Freshii could work. “We look forward to engaging appropriately with roadside and convenience-store operators. They go hand in hand.”
Patil said he could see how the type of Spar stores he had visited recently in Ireland could not only drive further footfall to the convenience store operator but would “make it a feasible consideration for us”.
He said London would not necessarily be the initial focus and Freshii was “competent at delivering a variety of footprints in a variety of formats – different sizes from 350sq ft up to 2,500-3,000sq ft – the entire spectrum”.
Freshii was founded in Canada in 2005. Its founder and chief executive is 33-year-old Matthew Corrin who took the company public on Toronto’s TSX this January when it generated gross proceeds of C$125.35m (£76.2m).
It has a “Mission Green” philosophy which incorporates every part of the business, including packaging, waste, marketing and store design.