3 Mins Read
Odd Burger, Canada’s first vegan fast-food chain, has signed an agreement with Saskatoon-based Sai-Ganesh Enterprises (SGE) to open 36 new locations. Restaurants will be split between Alberta and British Columbia. All 36 premises will be opened within the next seven years, starting with two locations in Calgary and Victoria. SGE will now support these existing projects as part of the agreement with Odd Burger.
The new partnership comes after Odd Burger was granted confirmation of eligibility to accept investment from the U.S. Alongside, trading began on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Both occurred in November last year.
Odd Burger’s strategic plan
Franchises are a key part of Odd Burger’s strategy for building a presence throughout North America. It currently has six locations, with a further 11 already in planning or construction phases. Additionally, the chain owns a manufacturing arm called Preposterous Foods, which supplies foodservice partners with plant-based meat and dairy substitutes. It supplies Odd Burger’s own restaurants as well, with burger patties, ‘chickUn’ fillets, sausages and dairy-free dressings.
Franchising comes with operational challenges, which Odd Burger seeks to overcome through its partnership with hospitality group SGE. With a focus on franchise and commercial construction projects, the latter will be leading franchise sales, restaurant build-outs, and support for locations within its territory.
“One challenge in franchising is providing an ideal level of support and service to locations that are distant to our corporate headquarters, but partnering with Utsang and the SGE team of local experts has eliminated that concern entirely,” James McInnes, Odd Burger co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “Area development agreements are a logical way for us to grow and make an impact in new regions, so we’re eager to forge similar relationships with like-minded developers in Canada, the U.S. and internationally.”
Welcome to the family
To encourage would-be franchise owners to step forward, Odd Burger announced 90 percent loans to offset the costs associated with opening a new location. Financing is offered through the Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP). Up to $350,000 is available through the government-backed initiative that supports Canadian-only enterprises.
Alongside 36 new restaurants, SGE has announced plans to include a corporate office that will be used for training new franchisees. This will act as part of the localised support system that Odd Burger has previously lacked. It will keep SGE close to its newest partnership as well.
“SGE is always looking for truly new and unique opportunities in fast food, and Odd Burger is among the most exciting and modern concepts we have ever encountered,” Utsang Desai, president of SGE, said in a statement. “As lifelong vegetarians we have a passion for healthy eating and environmental stewardship, and Odd Burger also adds innovative technology that enhances efficiency, profitability, and customer experience.”
Canada’s appetite for vegan food
Since the start of the year, a number of Canadian vegan launches have been announced, giving rise to a surging interest in plant-based eating. In January, Lightlife revealed that it was partnering with 7-Eleven to provide chicken tenders to more than 600 stores. Similarly, the vegan chicken leader announced it was supplying KFC and Mary Browns with its meat-free fillets. Though the final dishes would not be vegan at the latter two, due to preparation methods, the partnerships marked a shift in consumer demand.
Pizza Hut Canada unveiled its own plant-based innovation, when it made Beyond Meat’s sausage crumbles a permanent menu item. The U.K. confirmed the same in 2021, with Canada following suit in January of this year.
All photos by Odd Burger.