BeTheBoss.ca: Tell us about the Copper Branch concept.
Onofrio Infantino: Copper Branch is a Canadian chain of fast-casual restaurants serving a chef-inspired 100% plant-based power food menu. Our mission is to Empower, Energize, and make people feel their Best. Nourishing communities with quality whole foods, plant-based menu, good for our body and our planet.
BTB: How and when did you decide to develop your QSR concept?
OI: In 2013 after changing my eating and exercise habits over the course of several years I realized that the food selection we were offering was not at the quality level that was actually available to the mass. At this point in time I researched and developed a Plant Based Concept which we opened to the public in September 2014.
BTB: What was your background prior to developing the Concept?
OI: I had over 25 years experience in the restaurant industry in which I was a multi-unit franchise owner for over 20 years, owning as many as 15 locations at one time, I took my combined knowledge of fast-food restaurants, operations, and my culinary experience and started working on the health-focused concept that would become Copper Branch.
Our goal is to branch across Canada and the globe, touching upon as many different communities as we can and inspiring the Food Revolution. We are proud to be part of this movement and want to continually be a game changer and inspire our customers with new and great tasting menu items. We are proud to be a Montreal company with humble beginnings, with a strong mission and purpose.
BTB: What are some of the advantages in being a Copper Branch franchisee?
OI: Our menu is the true advantage of being a part of Copper Branch. This isn’t simply a trend or a fad, this is a lifestyle, here to stay. Serving 100% plant-based foods is truly enriching and our franchisees can be part of such a great food revolution.
Copper Branch is also a growing chain and one of the first chains to serve an exclusively 100% plant-based menu in a fast-casual setting requiring NO CHEF. We do not grill or fry any of our menu items. Our system is easy to operate there are only a few channels of distribution. Because 50% plus of our menu items are supplied it is much easier to control food cost, salaries and a consistency of product. Landlords are extremely welcoming to our concept as we do not need to exhaust. We are proud to offer a turnkey opportunity and assist franchisees through the lease, design and construction process. We offer a full training program and ongoing support.
We are on the cusp of something amazing and are inviting franchisees to be part of a great and growing system, on a mission to create actual change.
BTB: Who is your ideal franchisee?
OI: An ideal franchise candidate would have a passion for our plant-based food concept, be a great leader and have an innate customer service driven personality. Having restaurant experience is an added value and at the same time not a prerequisite for owning a franchise.
BTB: Tell us a little about the Plant Based QSR Market.
OI: The market for health-focused products, 100% plant based and or vegan in general has been growing year to year. Eating a plant based or vegan diet is perhaps one of the most sought-after trends in today’s food marketplace. As this fast-casual restaurant space continues to grow we are in an excellent position to be one of the true leaders of the plant-based movement happening globally. Years ago, a concept that was plant based would be serving a more insulated market where as today over 90% of our patrons are not following a 100% plant based diet.
BTB: What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?
OI: Stay current to the market’s demand for nutritious menu options. Be active and work everyday on improving system and operations. That marketing and operations is the first priorities, and to always support our franchisees.
BTB: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?
OI: I’ve always had a passion for food, but in this field, influencers in the space including nutritionists like Dr. Greger, athletes like Rich Roll, etc. have been inspiring and help support the plant-based movement.
BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
OI: Do your homework, make sure this is the right decision for you, and feel excited about the opportunity. Joining into a franchise retail food business is not just a business decision, it can be as well a life decision.
BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that Copper Branch would be a great opportunity for someone?
OI: The Food Revolution has begun and at Copper Branch, we are changing the lives of thousands of people every day. Our customers are continuously motivated by our chef-inspired menu and are thanking us for bringing the concept to a city near them. To be a part of this food revolution and seeing the effect it will have on your customers, employees and yourself is extremely satisfying. The market and demand is growing. People want to walk into a concept where they do not have to ask questions about the menu being 100% REAL FOOD. We are a focused, dynamic and defined proven concept that is cementing its future in the (QSR) Quick Serve Restaurant industry.