Redberry - Year in Review 2023

January 22, 2024


TORONTO, Jan. 22, 2024 /CNW/ - As one of Canada's fastest-growing restaurant companies, Redberry Restaurants ("Redberry"), a multi-brand Restaurant Franchisee, capped off 2023 with an unprecedented year of growth; solidly positioning the company for years of upcoming expansion and amplifying it's brand partnerships and values.


The past year saw significant new store and remodel development with Burger King and Taco Bell, the signing of an exciting new brand partnership with Jersey Mike's, a renewed and expanded credit facility, and significant investment in people who are integral to Redberry's continued growth and success.


Unprecedented Restaurant Development with Burger King and Taco Bell

Redberry fueled immense growth in their Canadian restaurant footprint in 2023, adding 27 new restaurants to its portfolio and remodeling an additional 20 locations during the year. The Company's growth will continue, with plans to build almost 300 new Burger King and Taco Bell locations over the next eight years. This growth trajectory will secure Redberry's position as Canada's largest and fastest-growing restaurant Franchisee, as well as the largest Franchisee for these global brands in Canada. 

Ken Otto, Redberry's CEO notes, "The passion and support we get from Burger King and Taco Bell buttresses Redberry's Canadian strategic growth partner role for both brands.  Each brand, a leader in their respective categories, has huge runway coast to coast."


Redberry Awarded Canada-Wide 300-Store Area Directorship for Jersey Mike's in Canada

In 2023, Redberry made the strategic decision to sell its Pizza Hut portfolio to focus on onboarding one of North America's fastest growing and powerful brands. Redberry recently announced its appointment as Canada's Area Director for Jersey Mike's Subs, a role similar in concept to a "Master Franchisee" within other QSR concepts. This partnership has been over a year in the making and will result in approximately 300 Jersey Mike's locations being developed in the next nine years across Canada.  Unit growth will be a combination of Redberry corporate owned and operated new store openings ("NSO's") complimented by 3rd-party franchisee investments and growth under Redberry's supervision.

In 2024, Redberry will acquire and remodel the two existing Canadian Jersey Mike's locations and will also build five new locations. This will kick off a multi-year partnership commitment to build 300 Jersey Mike's, developing an infrastructure across Canada through a combination of corporate and franchisee locations.

"We couldn't be more excited about our strategic development agreement with Jersey Mike's and our role in bringing this powerful and category-dominant brand to Canada," says Gary Graves, Redberry's Board Chair. "We were won over by the entire culture of Jersey Mike's and know that their quality brand will strongly resonate with Canadians. They are indeed 'a Sub Above'."


Financial Endorsement to Support Years of Accelerated Growth

To fuel this aggressive growth, Redberry renewed its bank facility in 2023. The up-sized facility will ensure sufficient capital resources to fund future development of Burger King, Taco Bell and Jersey Mike's locations. In total, this could exceed 600 new stores over the next decade.

The number of participants in Redberry's lending syndicate increased, as additional financial institutions offered to partner with the Company. This showing of support for Redberry by the financial community is in recognition of the business' past success and is a ringing endorsement of the Company's future business plans.


Executive Team Expansion

To support and lead the expected growth, the already-tenured Redberry Executive team added additional bench strength and deepened the expertise of the leadership team.   

New internal appointments in 2023 included the June promotion of Robert Masson from Chief Financial Officer to Chief Development Officer. In December, Kiran Benet was promoted from Vice President of Human Resources to Chief People Officer, and Scott Lewis was promoted from VP of Burger King Operations to Burger King Brand President. External appointments included welcoming Gregory Pope to the position of Chief Financial Officer in June.


A Private Equity Sponsor's Thesis Realized

Redberry has experienced significant growth since being acquired by City Capital Ventures ("CCV") in 2019, and the thesis CCV identified at the start of its investment remains very much intact. CCV's Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Dan Kipp, believes the brightest days for the company lie ahead.

"Despite Redberry nearly doubling its unit count since our investment five years ago, we're confident that significant 'white space' for development remains in Canada," says Kipp. "Ken and Gary are disciplined capital allocators, and with the addition of the Taco Bell and Jersey Mike's brands, we see even greater development opportunities in one of the world's truly compelling markets – Canada.  We have a clear line of sight to building a billion-dollar business."


People on the Move

Redberry added almost 3,500 new hires to its team in 2023. In addition, there were close to 600 internal promotions of existing team members as they advanced their career with Redberry.

The Department Leadership Team was strengthened through the onboarding and promotion of several key leaders. This includes Shoaib Merchant and Mohammad Javed, each with more than 20 years tenure, who were promoted internally to Directors of Burger King Operations. Steve Pereira was onboarded as the new Director of Taco Bell Operations.

To foster a supportive growth environment, including identification of career paths and succession for all team members, the Redberry Academy ("the Academy") launched in 2023. Created to provide a central source of learning, the Academy is focused on building real business capabilities in a scalable, open, and empowering way. Hands on training and access to Redberry "best practices" was provided to all team members.

To physically support growth, Redberry kicked off 2023 by moving the Restaurant Support Center into a modern, new office space in Mississauga, Ontario. The new office doubled Redberry corporate's previous square footage, and provides inspired workspaces where team members can gather, share ideas, and grow together.

To accommodate the rapid addition of 600 stores over the next nine years, Redberry will hire up to an additional 5,000 team members in 2024 across the three brands – Burger King, Taco Bell, Jersey Mike's – as well as in the Mississauga Restaurant Support Center.


Corporate Culture  

"To set the company up for strategic growth, we recognized the need to clearly define what makes Redberry stand out in this competitive job market," says Kiran Benet, CPO, Redberry. "Redberry credits its outstanding culture for our successes and living our core values is integral to helping our team thrive."

Redberry is committed to a culture of P.R.I.D.E.: Partnership, Respect, Integrity, Diversity, and Empowerment.


Redberry is First Canadian Franchisee to Introduce Kiosks with Taco Bell and Burger King Brands

In 2023, Redberry introduced self-ordering kiosks in several locations, making the Company the first Burger King and Taco Bell franchisees in Canada to have them available in-store. Tech savvy millennials often prefer to control their dining experience using kiosks and apps. Kiosks tend to have a higher average check, decreased wait times, enhanced order accuracy, and labour cost savings.


Giving Back

Redberry remains steadfastly committed to the Burger King Foundation, supporting both their educational scholarships and the family emergency fund programs. Redberry held in-store initiatives, as well as corporate donations, to contribute almost half a million dollars to these outstanding causes in 2023.

"This year, Redberry was honoured to award 85 Burger King Foundation scholarships. These scholarships help the students fulfill their educational goals and dreams," says Sharron Fry, Redberry's Director of Marketing. On average, Redberry collects more than $60,000 annually in donations and adds corporate contributions up to $250,000 annually.

Fry also spearheaded the introduction of the Taco Bell Foundation scholarship program in Canada this year. The Taco Bell Foundation helps breaks down barriers to education and inspires the next generation of leaders through the provisioning of grants and scholarships to Canadian students. More than $40,000 in donations was raised in this first year of the Foundation in Canada.

Redberry also proudly supports numerous local activities in the communities they serve and is a proud supporter of Student Co-Op Work programs.


About City Capital Ventures

City Capital Ventures is a lower middle market investment partnership based in Chicago, focused on investing on behalf of their exclusive network of family offices and private market investors in consumer, commercial and service businesses. CCV invests in growth buyouts of market-leading companies with exceptional leadership and attractive niche positions where it can provide capital and expertise to accelerate and sustain growth.


About Redberry Restaurants

Founded in 2005, Redberry is one of Canada's largest restaurant Franchisees. Redberry owns and operates 180-plus restaurants across Canada, operating under the BURGER KING®, Taco Bell and Jersey Mike's brands. With signed agreements to build more than 600 new restaurants, Redberry is one of Canada's fastest-growing restaurant companies. Redberry's mission and accelerated growth trajectory are made possible by its partnership with City Capital Ventures. Culturally, we have created an environment where our partners, brands, and team members can achieve the best versions of themselves. Redberry is proud to have been awarded "Restaurant Top 200: The Nation's Largest and Most Successful Franchisees" by Franchise Times for the last two years, and Burger King's Franchisee of the year for North America in 2021. We truly are architects of a different kind of restaurant company.


SOURCE: Redberry Restaurants

For further information: Media Contact: Sharron Fry, Director of Marketing, Redberry Restaurants, [email protected]