Harvey’s QSR Restaurant Chain Looks to Add 200 Locations in Canada in National Rollout

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Since 1959, Harvey’s has been a staple of the Canadian quick service restaurant industry and even through the pandemic the iconic national brand has continued to grow its footprint across the country.

David Colebrook, President of Harvey’s, said the food establishment opened about 10 new locations in the past two years and has about 300 now in Canada with plans to grow to about 500 within the next few years.

David Colebrook

“We’ve had great success in the last two years. Obviously as things were locked down we were still allowed to do takeout and drive-thru, primarily. So Harvey’s has fared very well and has been one of the fastest growing QSR burger chains in Canada over the last two years,” said Colebrook.

“The last two years have been very difficult on the overall restaurant industry, the food service industry, with the impact of COVID and the closure of dining rooms. Restaurant people in general are some of the most entrepreneurial and adaptive people you will ever find. I think people managed through it whether it was takeout or delivery all those sorts of options of how they kept their businesses going.

“The key thing for Harvey’s, because we have drive-thru and or takeout, it allowed us to still be open and serve Canadians. Obviously when COVID first came in March 2020 everyone was significantly impacted but QSR as a whole was able to rebound including Harvey’s. Full service restaurants had a much more difficult time because of the dining room situation.”

Image: Harvey’s in Stoney Creek, Ontario.

Colebrook said the company’s target is to grow significantly in Canada from coast to coast.

The brand is not represented in BC but plans are to eventually grow into that market as well.

“We are looking to get to our long-term goals of around 500 units which we think is a good target for us and achieve that in the next five to 10 years,” he said. “And we’re very focused on it. Constantly looking at sites, looking at partnerships and we’re open to different formats and different sizes. It doesn’t have to be just a one size box with a drive-thru. We’re open to inline opportunities as well as gas station additions and other options like universities and colleges, many different types of formats in order to grow.”

Rendering: Harvey’s
Rendering: Harvey’s

Colebrook said Harvey’s has had a great growth platform over the last few years by first and foremost focusing on what made it famous and made it grow into a great brand originally more than six decades ago which is customization, quality and a flame-grilled burger.

“That has been the pillar of the growth. The other key pillar of the growth has been making a difference in our community which is another part of our mission,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of things, particularly I would say in the last two years, to really amplify that part of our strategy.”

It’s donated to the food banks in Canada. By the end of this year, it will have planted 84,000 trees in the country to reduce the carbon footprint. Almost all the packaging is made using recycled materials. It also sources primarily Canadian ingredients where it can. The Harvey’s RV has also been driving across Canada giving away burgers to frontline workers throughout the pandemic. And it has raised money for youth hockey and supported the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association.

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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