Several IHOP Restaurants to Open in Southern Ontario with K2 Group Partnership [Interview]


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K2 Group, a leading Canadian investment firm, has opened a new 4,000-square-foot IHOP location in Belleville, Ontario.

The Toronto-based K2 Group has plans to open at least five additional IHOP restaurants in Ontario, including locations in London, Hamilton, Waterloo, and Windsor, as part of a non-traditional development agreement with Dine Brands International, an affiliate of Dine Brands Global, Inc., the parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar, IHOP, and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop restaurants.

Thomas Jacob, Managing Partner of K2 Group, said the company has other fast food tenants in some of its real estate properties.

“In one of our hotels we actually own an IHOP and we’ve actually been a franchisee of an IHOP in one of our properties in Niagara Falls,” said Jacob.

IHOP Grand Opening

“The genesis really started that we had a great relationship with working with several of the other F&B brands, that the Dine Brands team is very passionate and they very much cared about how they did things and we were very impressed.

“We noticed how popular the IHOP brand was doing in the U.S. and essentially we felt that there was a void. There hasn’t been much disruption over the last 10, 20 years. The breakfast/brunch space is a really big space and a couple have come in and gone. We just felt as an investment perspective to grow an IHOP portfolio in Ontario. We decided to do a development deal.”

Jacob said the company is looking at all options in rolling out the IHOP brand.

“Our development deal on the strategy and the cities that we picked were primarily to put one wherever there’s a university,” he said. “We’re actually looking at a bunch of non-traditional opportunities right now in Toronto and the GTA as well.”

Typical size of the restaurant is between 3,000 and 4,000 square feet.

A London location has been confirmed but it has not been officially announced yet. It will be the next IHOP as part of the K2 Group’s development strategy.

Image: IHOP

The Belleville location is at one of Canada’s largest truck stops, situated on the 10 Acre Truck Stop just off Highway 401, Exit 538 on Wallbridge Loyalist Road. This location marks the first international truck stop venue and sets the foundation for further growth in non-traditional locations, including transit, airports, universities, and more, said the company.

With an investment of $3 million, the new Belleville restaurant will employ over 60 team members and seat up to 184 people during breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

K2 Group is a privately-held fully integrated company that strategically acquires, develops, constructs and repositions hospitality, petroleum and real estate assets throughout Canada.

Image: IHOP

Based in Pasadena, California, Dine Brands Global, Inc.through its subsidiaries and franchisees, supports and operates restaurants under the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar, IHOP, and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop brands. As of December 31, 2022, these three brands consisted of over 3,500 restaurants, across 17 international markets, and were operated by 387 franchisees. Dine Brands is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world and in 2022 expanded into the Fast Casual segment.

“Having a superb restaurant offering at the 10 Acre Truck Stop is crucial to ensuring our truckers and local customers have a place to come and gather,” said Kailash Kasal, President of K2 Group. “With more than 25 years in the hospitality business, we’re confident that we will thrive as we work to meet our guests where they are by providing an all-round exceptional experience and, of course, the world’s most famous pancakes.”

“We are pleased to work with K2 Group on furthering IHOP’s non-traditional growth strategy in Ontario,” said Scott Gladstone, President of Dine Brands International. “There is great opportunity for expansion in Canada and we look forward to bringing IHOP’s world-famous pancakes, burgers, and more to guests throughout the country.”

K2 Group acquired the landmark 10 Acre Truck Stop in Belleville in May 2021.

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.


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