List of Canadian restaurant chains

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Although many of the largest restaurant chains in Canada are US-based (McDonalds and Yum Brands among others), Canadian-based restaurant chains are numerous and have expanded into other markets, specifically the US.[1]

BeaverTails/Queues de Castor[edit]

BeaverTails pastry (or Queues de Castor pâtisserie in Quebec), is a chain of pastry stands operated by BeaverTails Canada Inc. The chain's namesake product is a line of fried dough pastries, individually hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail. The chain originated in Ottawa and now has franchises and licensees in three countries: Canada (Atlantic Canada, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec) the United States (Keystone, Breckenridge and Horseshoe in Colorado) and Saudi Arabia.

Boston Pizza[edit]

Boston Pizza (branded as simply Boston's outside of Canada) has franchised 396 restaurants in North America. Boston Pizza International Inc. is Canada's number one casual dining brand with more than 340 restaurants in Canada and system-wide sales of $831 million in 2008.[2] Annually, Boston Pizza serves more than 40 million guests.[3] [4] The first Boston Pizza location was opened in Edmonton, Alberta in 1964 by Gus Agioritis under the name "Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House". It took 32 years to open its first 100 locations, but only 8 years for the next 100.[5] The current owners of the restaurant chain, Jim Treliving and George Melville, purchased the company in 1983, 15 years after Treliving bought his first franchise, and 10 years after he first partnered with Melville. Store sales growth has averaged 6.3% for the last decade compared to the industry average of 2.2%.[5]

Cara Operations[edit]

Montana's Cookhouse

Cara Operations operates Harvey's, Swiss Chalet, Montana's Cookhouse, Kelsey's Neighbourhood Bar & Grill, Milestones Restaurants and other brands. The company also provides catering services to airlines. The revenue for its 1200 restaurants and its airline solutions division in 2008 was over $2 billion.[6]

Cara Airline Solutions operates about 10 flight kitchens across Canada that serve more than 50 air carriers and rail travel customers. Montana's Cookhouse started in 1995, was acquired by Cara in 2002, and operates 90 restaurants across Canada. Harvey's is the second largest Canadian established restaurant chain. There are 200 Swiss Chalet restaurants in Canada and the US.

Chairman's Brand Corporation[edit]

A restaurant in Bloordale Village

Chairman's is a coffee retailer with operations in every Canadian province, Greece, Poland, China, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The chain's first store opened in 1982 by Tom Michalopoulos in Bolton, Ontario. Until 2006, its main operation was Coffee Time. In October 2006, the company doubled in size, when it purchased the Afton Food Group, a company whose assets included Robbins Donuts, 241 Pizza and Mrs. Powell's Cinnamon Buns.[7] The company also operates "The Friendly Greek". In all, Chairman's operates about 500 stores across Canada under its four brands.[8]


Cora, based in Montreal, has 128 restaurants and was started by Cora Tsouflidou in 1987. It can be found in every Canadian province. In 2008 the restaurant changed its name from Cora's breakfast and lunch (in French, Chez Cora déjeuners) to Cora. Serving such breakfast items as eggs, crepes and French toast it is known for its all day breakfast and heaping mounds of fruit.[9]

Cows Ice Cream[edit]

Cows is a chain of ice cream parlours and cheesemongers with nine locations in Canada and one in the United States. It started in 1983 in Prince Edward Island as an ice cream parlour. Today it is known for its 32 varieties of ice cream, cheddar cheese, and cow-themed merchandise. Sales of Cows ice cream spiked in the summer of 2010, after American television hosts Regis and Kelly showed interest in the ice cream chain.[10]

Restaurant Eggsquis[edit]

Restaurant Eggsquis is a restaurant chain with 34 locations (all in Quebec) headquartered in Sherbrooke, Quebec. The bulk of locations are in the region between Montreal and the Quebec-Ontario border. Similar to Cora (another Quebec-based franchise) its menu features all-day breakfast items like specialty pancakes, French toast, omelets, poached eggs and yogurts served with fresh fruit.[11] The menu consists mainly of healthy eating dishes; non breakfast items are sandwiches and salads.

Grinner's Food Systems Limited/Trucorp (Greco Pizza, Captain Sub)[edit]

Grinners Food Systems Limited, the franchiser of Greco Pizza (since 1981) and Captain Sub, is a Truro, Nova Scotia-based company owned by Trucorp Investments Incorporated. Trucorp, headquartered in Dieppe, New Brunswick, also owns Bonte Foods Limited, Frank and Gino's Restaurants, and Chris Brothers food products. William Hay is chairman of Trucorp, a food and beverage company that ranked 77 on a list of the 101 top companies in Atlantic Canada in 2004.[12][13] The Grinner's division had revenue of 30.4 million dollars in 2008.

Established in Moncton, New Brunswick in 1977, Greco Pizza is one of Atlantic Canada's largest pizza chains. Menu items include pizza, donair, salads, garlic fingers, and the restaurant's proprietary dipping sauces. Many of the over 170 locations in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland operate co-branded with Captain Submarine. Both are quick-service restaurants.

Captain Submarine was acquired by Grinner's in 2002, when it only had 9 locations (21 fewer than it had in the 1980s). Many of the stores franchised since then also sell Greco Pizza items. The purchase brought the number of Grinners franchised restaurants from 111 to 120.[14]


The largest Canadian-established hamburger chain in the nation, Harvey's is second only to Tim Hortons as a fast food business that is native to Canada. Founded in Richmond Hill, Ontario, in 1959, it has franchises from Vancouver to St. John's, though most its restaurants are concentrated in southern Ontario and southern Quebec.[15]

Hero Certified Burgers[edit]

Hero Certified Burgers is a quick service restaurant franchise chain that operates in Canada, with locations concentrated in Southern Ontario. The chain was founded in 2004 by John Lettieri, who opened the first store in Hazelton Lanes in Yorkville, Ontario.[16][17][18] Lettieri also owns the restaurant chain Lettieri café, based in Toronto.[18] The company was the first Canadian franchise to focus on the provision of feast foods using food products from vendors that adhere to sustainable practices.[19]

Imvescor Restaurants Inc[edit]

Imvescor is the parent company of the restaurant chains Scores, Pizza Delight, Mikes, Baton Rouge with a history that goes back to 1968.[20] It was known as Pizza Delight Corporation until 2007 when the name was changed to Imvescor. As Pizza Delight Corporation the company purchased Mikes in 2000 for $14.5 million, Quebec company Scores Rotisserie Barbecue and Ribs in 2005 for $32 million[21] and Baton Rouge Restaurants. Headquartered in Moncton, the company is in charge of 259 restaurants across Canada (101 Pizza Delight, 91 Mikes, 39 Scores, and 28 Baton Rouge).[22]

Imvescor used to be a privately owned corporation that held the licence for the trademark and intellectual property of the four restaurants by PDM Royalties Income Fund. In 2009, the income fund and Imvescor combined their businesses into a new corporation called Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc.[23] The four restaurant chains employ over 10,000 people. Total system sales in 2009 were $324.8 million.[24]

Mary Brown's[edit]

Mary Brown's operated mainly in Newfoundland (about 20 locations with 1 location in Halifax and 1 in Ontario) until the late 1970s, when it began expanding in Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia. In 2010 there were 38 locations in Newfoundland and Labrador, 30 locations in Ontario, 12 in Alberta and 3 in Nova Scotia, for a total of 83. Drive-through and delivery services are available at some locations.

The restaurant chain, started by Newfoundlanders Pat Tarrant and Cyril Fleming in 1969, was named after Mary Brown, the wife of a fried chicken recipe creator. The headquarters are in Markham, Ontario.

Mr. Greek[edit]

Mr.Greek full service restaurant

Mr. Greek is a Greek-themed restaurant chain based in Ontario. It is the largest and fastest-growing Greek cuisine restaurant franchise in North America.[25] 14 full-service (1 opening soon will make it 15 restaurants), 13 Mr. Greek Express quick-service locations.[26] 27 total locations all in Southern Ontario. Originally a casual dining restaurant chain that began franchising in 1993, it expanded into the fast food market in 1997 when it started the Mr. Greek Express concept.

Mr. Mike's[edit]

Mr. Mike's SteakhouseCasual is a chain of 25 locations in Western Canada. It began as a steakhouse where the most popular item on the menu was the Mikeburger, which consisted of grilled steak served on a fresh French loaf with garlic butter and the secret Mike Sauce. It has since evolved to a casual dining arrangement with a "West Coast feel". Mr. Mike's now features a broad menu and full liquor licence, and targets a different demographic. [27]

MTY Food Group[edit]

Yogen Fruz part of MTY Food Group

MTY Food Group is the parent company of 28 different franchising brands including Yogen Fruz Canada (operates locations as master franchisee), Mr. Sub, Tiki Ming, Mrs. Vanelli's, Taco Time, Country Style, Thai Express, Tandori.[28] Founded by Stanley Ma, originally from Hong Kong, in 1979 when he opened his first restaurant Le Paradis du Pacifique in Montreal; the company incorporated in 1984 and joined the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2010. Most of the company's growth has come through acquisitions, but MTY has also launched at least 10 of the franchises. The 25-year-old company oversees 2251[29] (up from 1741 in 2010)[30] quick service restaurants (excluding Mr. Sub locations, about 35 of MTY's locations are corporately run.) Its latest acquisitions are Jugo Juice and Groupe Valentine. System-wide sales increased 17.5% in 2010 while the number of locations rose by 57 or 10%.[31]

New York Fries[edit]

New York Fries billboard in Edmonton

New York Fries is a Canadian company with 201 stores in Canada, Hong Kong, UAE, Kuwait, and South Korea. New York Fries also has a burger company South St. Burger. South St. Burger sells burgers and the same New York Fries.

OPA Souvlaki of Greece[edit]

OPA! Souvlaki was founded in 1997 by Nikos Tiginagas who opened the first location in Market Mall, Calgary, Alberta.[1] This fast food restaurant has 90 locations across Canada It specializes in freshly prepared souvlaki (chicken, lamb, pork, salmon) and gyros Meals/Wraps. As of November 18, 2015, OPA Souvlaki had 90 locations according to the store locator on its website.


Panago (originally Panagopoulos) is a privately owned quick service pizza chain with 174 franchised locations in Canada, 151 of which are in British Columbia and Alberta. It is headquartered in Abbotsford, BC where in 1986 the first three stores opened.

In recent years it has attempted to make its food healthier as provincial healthier eating guidelines became stricter.[32] Offerings include multigrain crusts, salads, 33 pizza toppings, and other menu items that have no trans fat, MSG, artificial flavours or colours.

Pizza Pizza[edit]

Pizza Pizza location in Toronto

Pizza Pizza is an Ontario-based pizza chain founded in 1967 by Michael Overs. The Pizza Pizza network including the western chain Pizza73 is composed of more than 600 traditional and non-traditional restaurants coast to coast with over 3,000 employees. Pizza Pizza fills approximately 29 million orders annually and has won a Webby for their iPhone App.[33]

Prime Restaurants[edit]

East Side Mario's in Moncton

Prime Restaurants is the parent company of the restaurant chains East Side Mario's, Casey's, Pat and Mario's, Fionn MacCool's and Bier Markt Esplanade. Co-founded in Sudbury in 1980 by Bernard C. Dyer and Nicholas Perpick, the Mississauga-based company operates in Canada and the US. Prime Restaurants was acquired by Fairfax Financial, and many of their East Side Mario's location have either closed or been converted to Prime Pubs. The Pat and Mario's restaurants have been closed.

RCR Hospitality Group[edit]

Founded in 1974 by Robert Risley. Has operated 15 restaurants in the Halifax area. Current operations include White Point Beach Resort (1988), Cunard Event Centre, Waterfront Warehouse (1996), Onyx (2004), Cut Steakhouse & Urban Grill (2007), Bistro Le Coq (2011), Victory Arms Pub. Recently sold Ryan Duffy's to Landmark Hospitality Group.

Ricky's All Day Grill[edit]

Ricky's All Day Grill is a family restaurant with over 60 locations across Canada. Locations are mostly in Alberta and BC There are also locations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the Yukon.

Rotisserie Mom's Express[edit]

Rôtisserie Mom’s Express, is a chicken restaurant with locations in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, as well as seven outlets in the northeastern part of the State of Maine.


Laval, Quebec-based St-Hubert operates 97 restaurants in Canada making it the 16th largest restaurant chain in the country. It used to have many locations outside of Quebec but withdrew. Swiss Chalet has taken advantage of that, growing into more locations but has narrowed its presence in Quebec. Its unique brand of gravy is one of more than 600 products it sells through grocery stores in eastern Canada. It serves more than 31 million meals every year, including 3.2 million kilograms of cabbage, 6.062 million kilograms of French fries, 8.3 million servings of desserts.[34]

Smitty's Family Restaurants[edit]

Smitty's Family Restaurants began selling food in 1960 the year Walter Chan opened the first location in Calgary, Alberta, where it is still based. It is Canada's largest family restaurant chain with 115 locations all in Canada and revenues of $100 million.[35] Employees number over 5,800.


Sainte-Foy, Quebec-based Thaizone operates 17 restaurants in the province of Quebec.

Tim Hortons[edit]

Tim Hortons in the suburban area of Stratford

Tim Hortons is currently owned by Burger King.[36]

Tim Hortons is the fourth largest publicly traded quick-service restaurant chain in North America based on market capitalization, and the largest in Canada.[37] Tim Hortons has cornered the Canadian market for baked goods (76%) and coffee (62% compared to Starbucks, in the number two position, at 7%).[38] The company has experienced substantial growth in the United States where it has 613 stores (April 2011, about 220 more shops than it did in June 2008)[39][40] and a same-store sales growth rate of 3.9% in Canada and 4.9% in the US.[41] The new partnership with Cold Stone Creamery helped push its US presence to over 600 stores. The partnership has since dissolved.[42] Sales exceeded $2 billion in 2008. It was controlled by Wendy's International Inc. for 11 of the 46 years of operation, from August 8, 1995, until the end of 2006. On April 3, 2011, Tim Hortons oversaw 3,782 locations in North America 3,169 of which were in Canada.[39]

In the fourth quarter of 2010 Tim Hortons' profits were 27% more than they were over the entire 2009 fiscal year (for the quarter net income was up 314%).[41][43]

In Forbes‍ '​ 2011 edition of the world's 2000 largest companies, Tim Hortons placed 1469th overall (up from 1714th in 2010) with annual sales of $2.6 billion (up from $2.014 billion in 2010), profits totalling $628 million (up from $280 million), assets worth $2.5 billion (up from $1.90 billion) and a market value of $7.5 billion (up from $5.41 billion). The data is from the year ending January 2, market value is from March 11, 2011.[44][45]


Mrs. Vanelli's is an international chain of Italian food counter service restaurants, based in Mississauga, Ontario. The chain has rebranded as Vanelli's. In addition to its Canadian locations, Vanelli's has locations in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It has been in Canada since 1981. In 1995 it opened its first location abroad in Bahrain and now operates 110 locations worldwide.[46] Since 2004 the franchise rights to Vanelli's have been owned by MTY Food Group (see MTY's section above).

Vern's Pizza[edit]

Vern's Pizza is a chain with 12 locations in Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and other cities in the western part of Canada.


Wimpy's is a London-based chain that has a 1950s diner style reminiscent of the type found in the movie Diner. It features a staple of American style meals, and a nostalgic Baby Boomer look of the 1950s and 1960s diners found in the U.S. highways. All 44 locations are in Southern Ontario. See also Wimpys Diner.

The Works[edit]

The Works is a full service, licensed, casual dining restaurant with outdoor work themes (road signs, street lights, traffic lights, fences, tools, hydro meters, etc.). The Works has 25 locations in Ontario. The restaurant's main menu feature is burgers. It has six kinds of patties and over 50 types of toppings including peanut butter, deep fried bacon, Kraft dinner and seven kinds of cheese. It is also known for its Tower of Rings appetizer, a 12 ring tower that comes with two homemade dipping sauces.

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ "Top 5 Canadian Restaurant Franchises". 2009. 
  3. ^ "newmarket gets a brand new look". 2009-09-05. 
  4. ^ "Boston Pizza first-quarter net earnings slip to $4.7 million from $5.2 million". 2010-05-11. 
  5. ^ a b "A bigger slice of the pie: Boston Pizza has experienced impressive growth over the past 10 years. With a strong franchise model, public investment and plans for more expansion in eastern Canada and the U.S., the future looks friendly too.". 2005-04-01. 
  6. ^ "Food Giant Plant Stakes". September 2008. 
  7. ^ "betheboss". 2006-10-04. 
  8. ^ "chairmansbrands". Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  9. ^ "Cora Wakes Up Here Next Week". 2008-06-17. 
  10. ^ "CTV News Channel: Brigid Riley, 'Cows' Ice Cream". July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Eggsquis". Retrieved 2010-11-28. 
  12. ^ "The Top 101 Companies in Atlantic Canada". September 2004. 
  13. ^ "trucorp the business of food". Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  14. ^ "Greco Pizza chain acquires Captain Submarine stores". Retrieved 2002-03-20. 
  15. ^ Harvey's official website
  16. ^ "Hero Burger: Champions of responsible food". The Canadian Business Journal. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  17. ^ "Arrivals & Departures". West Annex News. January 9, 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Deveau, Denise (June 28, 2011). "You want eco-friendly with that?" (PDF). Financial Post. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  19. ^ "Hero Certified Burgers: Where ‘Sustainable’ is the Name of the Game". The Canadian Business Journal. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "imvescor". 
  21. ^ "Pizza Delight to buy Scores rib and chicken chain". 2005-07-08. 
  22. ^ "Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc.". 
  23. ^ "PDM Royalties Income Fund proposes combination with Imvescor". 2009-07-28. 
  24. ^ "Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. reports audited financial results for the period ended October 25, 2009". 2010-01-29. 
  25. ^ "Mr.Greek says opa to health". bison. 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  26. ^ "Mr.Greek information" (PDF). Mr.Greek. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ "MTY completes acquisition of Koryo Korean BBQ Franchise Corporation". November 11, 2011. 
  30. ^ "MTY Food Group says its acquisition of Sushi-Taxi chain has been called offdate=2011-05-25". 
  31. ^ "MTY Food Group 2010 Annual Report" (PDF). 2011. 
  32. ^ "Vancouver Delivers Students a Healthy Pizza Eating Program in Schools". 2009. 
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  34. ^ "St. Hubert histoire". 
  35. ^ "Smitty's Company Profile". 
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Tim Hortons rolls into NYC". Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  38. ^ "Tim Hortons Raises C$783 Million in Initial Offering". Bloomberg News. 2006-03-23. 
  39. ^ a b "Cold Stone Creamery Canada Opens 100th Location In Charlottetown, PEI". 2011-05-16. 
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  41. ^ a b "Tim Hortons 4Q Profit Surges on U.S. Veteran Stores". 2011-02-23. 
  42. ^ "Tim Hortons pulling Cold Stone Creamery ice cream from Canadian stores". 2014-02-20. 
  43. ^ "financial statements for tim hortons inc.". Retrieved 2010-05-01. 
  44. ^ "The Global 2000". March 11, 2011. 
  45. ^ source
  46. ^ "Mrs. Vanelli's".