Company ProfilesPrevious IssuesSeptember/October 2023

Health Kick

Three fresh franchises offering healthy franchise opportunities

by Stefanie Ucci

Everyone loves hamburgers and fries, but there’s also a big market for restaurants that offer lighter fare for health-conscious customers as well. From energizing juice to vegan creations, explore these three franchises in the healthy eating space.

Good Earth Coffeehouse

Founded in 1991, Good Earth Coffeehouse was built on the tradition of coffeehouses as key places for people to gather. Today, the franchise has dozens of locations across the country, from B.C. to Ontario.

Good Earth serves fresh, wholesome food including breakfast pastries and desserts. The brand specializes in espresso- and tea-based drinks to warm the soul. Guests can also choose from the menu of cold drinks and smoothies, soups, sandwiches, and more, plus featured items like summer mocktail drinks.

“Good Earth stands out because of its deep roots in environmental responsibility. [We have] made business decisions with environmental impact in mind since its founding,” says Nan Eskenazi, founder of Good Earth.

She describes the ideal franchisee as someone who truly enjoys people. “They have an enthusiasm for creating a welcoming environment and a positive business. They embrace the Good Earth mission of bringing people together, making ethical choices, serving our best—coffee, food, and attitude—every day, and fostering the greater good.”

As for benefits for Good Earth franchisees, they can enjoy “the engagement that comes while creating a community-minded business,” says Eskenazi. “It’s a great way to align personal values like sustainability and social good with building a business—one that has meaning in the community.”

Franchisees receive five weeks of initial training, both online and in-person. Support continues after opening a coffeehouse, in areas such as product development, supply sourcing, marketing, operations, training programs, and more.

Eskenazi advises prospective franchisees to “embrace the company values and the spirit of working with the franchisor to grow the brand. And loving a great cup of coffee helps too!”

Pita Pit

At Pita Pit, pitas are the star of the show, but there’s much more in store to entice both customers and prospective franchisees to this household name brand. Its mantra, “Fresh Thinking, Healthy Eating,” drives Pita Pit to always deliver fresh, tasty, and nutritious meals to people across the country.

It all began with humble grassroots beginnings in Kingston, Ontario, a university town in need of more health-conscious options for post-secondary students.

“Pita Pit’s late hours also helped the student population make it through nights of both work and play, helping fuel them through graduation,” explains Chris Cann, brand leader of Foodtastic, Pita Pit’s parent company. “The brand’s expansion helped students nationwide get through college and university, and they remained loyal to it as they grew with their careers and family life.”

By introducing a fresh and healthy alternative to the standard QSR fare in 1995, the brand was poised for success. Today, Pita Pit’s menu consists of fresh veggies, grilled meats, and zesty sauces served up in rice bowls, salads, and of course, pitas.

Cann describes the ideal Pita Pit franchisee as someone who’s focused on community involvement and giving back, and has “fresh thinking” skills. “Experience in the food service industry is definitely an asset,” states Cann.

Franchisees benefit from three weeks of virtual and in-store training before their grand opening, support throughout all stages of the franchise journey, a digital training platform offered in both English and French, menu and product development assistance, and a dedicated marketing department and design team, among other supports.

In order to spark franchise success, Cann advises that you “leverage all revenue channels available.” And, he adds, “Our best franchisees have a strong connection to their community. There’s no magic to being successful, [it just takes] effort, so a balance of strong in-store operations and focus on profitability is key.”

Copper Branch

Copper Branch is a 100 per cent plant-based vegan quick service restaurant (QSR) that takes nutritious, whole food to the next level. The brand provides minimally processed food with a focus on house-made and chef-inspired recipes. Because they strongly believe plant-based can be delicious!

At Copper Branch, everything is oven-baked—nothing is fried or grilled in this restaurant. From fries cut in-house to homemade mango salsa, Copper Branch crafts dishes with the health of its customers, and the planet, in mind.

“One of the most beautiful parts of Copper Branch’s business model is the focus on collaborating with new and established innovators in the plant-based sector to introduce fun, exciting, limited-time offers,” explains Trish Paterson, brand vice president. “Some examples include our Nashville Chicken Sandwich, partnering with Atlas Monroe, and our Reuben Sandwich in partnership with Chef Doug McNish.”

For those looking for a franchise in the plant-based industry, it’s important to note that the customers are a much more niche group than those of mainstream QSR establishments. “The challenge is in getting people to try the food. There’s still a large population that will not try plant-based. Our job is to get them to try it—once they do, they always come back!” says Paterson.

She describes the ideal franchisee as someone who’s passionate about delivering healthy food, and has a conscious mind for the environment and sustainability.

That’s why it’s vital for Copper Branch franchisees to “believe in the brand and always represent it,” explains Paterson. “Wherever you go out into your community, be prepared to look for opportunities to share the brand story.”

It’s also a huge plus if potential Copper Branch franchisees love to engage with their community, notes Paterson. “Giving back is an important part of the entrepreneurial journey. Look for ways to contribute to your community—it will create connections that supersede any other marketing investment. You are your business—don’t ever forget that.”