Franchise FunPrevious IssuesSeptember/October 2023

Franchise Fun: Bernard of the Boardwalk

Martin Bernard brings Canadians brilliant franchise opportunities along with Boardwalk’s gourmet burgers

By Daniel McIntosh

Boardwalk Burgers was born out of a nostalgic love for childhood classics: burgers, fries, and shakes, served on the warm sand in the crisp sea air.

Martin Bernard, the brand’s VP of franchise development, is the man responsible for bringing the Boardwalk’s delicious burgers to Canada, along with Lava Grill, a Mediterranean cuisine concept. Boardwalk’s gourmet burgers fill a niche for high-quality halal classics made with love. And it’s catching on: since the start of 2023, the brand has launched 16 stores, Bernard says excitedly. He expects to have 50 new stores open by the end of the year.

The most interesting thing I’ve done recently is… Travel to B.C. to look for new sites, meet great prospective franchisees, and find real estate agents to develop the market. Fifteen franchisees signed up!

In its best form, work is… Very satisfying.

A good franchisee… Is someone who’s an owner-operator who executes the training precisely—not just an investor.

A good franchisor… Is one that takes care of their franchisees. During COVID, we stopped collecting advertising and royalty funds for three years to help our franchisees make it through the pandemic.

My top advice for prospective franchisees is… Expect to work very hard at the start to achieve long-term success.

My top advice for new franchisors is… Show that you care about your franchisees and care about their success.

The most important thing in life is… Family. It’s as simple as that.

One of the most enjoyable things to do is… Setting up franchisees with locations and seeing them become successful, because their reaction is priceless.

The hardest thing for me to do is… Doing four franchise shows in one month. The back-to-back plane trips can get quite rough.

My favourite drink is… An ice-cold Heineken.

If I could change one thing… I would find more time to exercise.

If I could meet anyone… I would meet Barack Obama. He changed the world and is a dedicated politician who believes in his people, not just himself.

The person who has had the most positive influence on me as a businessperson is… Werner Lomker. He was my franchisor when I started franchising. With his guidance, I was able to develop 12 stores on my own.

Canadian franchising is… Harder than it looks. There’s a lot of competition so be ready to compete! But with the proper dedication you can pull it off.

My franchise system began because… There was a need for a halal gourmet burger brand in Canada.

The most positive influence on my life as a person is… My wife, my kids, and my grandkids.

The key to success is… Never giving up.

I’d like my friends to describe me as… A good human being.

The accomplishment I look forward to the most is… Developing over 100 stores in Canada.

My personal motto is… Never give up!

One necessary item on my life’s “to do” list is… To travel more and build my new home in Trinidad.