Smoke’s Poutinerie, the colorful cult brand that has achieved icon status for its twist on Canada’s classic fries, cheese curds, and gravy, is poised for immense expansion, planning to open 1,300 restaurants in the next five years with 800 in the United States.
The original and largest poutinerie in the world has mapped a course for global domination, announcing its international and U.S. growth strategy, which sets the stage for an unprecedented explosion of poutine worldwide.
“We’re taking the U.S. by storm as part of our ‘Global Domination’ strategy. When the ‘Gravy Train’ rolls into town, the course of life will be changed for millions of Americans,” says Ryan Smolkin, founder, who is widely respected as an advertising and marketing guru. “By leveraging our momentum in Canada, where we currently have 100 locations open and 35 more set to open by September, we are taking our vision to the next level with U.S. expansion. First on the West Coast and soon in the Northeast and upper Midwest regions.”
The brand’s U.S. growth strategy targets franchise investors and foodservice operators in traditional and nontraditional venues who share a passion for the brand vibe and its famed menu items: fresh, hand-cut fries, authentic cheese curds, signature gravy, and more than 30 menu varieties with premium toppings.
“Any way you swallow it we’re making believers out of everyone,” Smolkin adds. “Our franchisees and partners in non-traditional venues such as sports arenas and college campuses are blown away. They see the power of the brand as customer lines build day and night.”
Huge crowds welcomed the first Smoke’s Poutinerie U.S. franchise location, which opened in Berkeley, California, adjacent to the University of California, in December 2014. The location has sustained its popularity and continues to draw more than 1,300 people daily.
Already additional U.S. locations are planned to open mid-spring 2015 in Las Vegas and Hollywood in Los Angeles. The Las Vegas store will be located in the new Pawn Plaza, beside the world-famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, as featured on the History series “Pawn Stars.” The Hollywood location is one block from Hollywood and Vine, just off the Sunset Strip.
Known for its extraordinary loaded fries, Canadiana 1980s rock vibe, black and red plaid, colorful in-store experiences, and legendary brand hero “Smoke”—the North Canadian recluse stuck in the 1980s who channels his wisdom to direct the course of the company—Smoke’s Poutinerie has taken off in the last five years. There are currently franchise locations and nontraditional operations coast to coast in Canada.
In addition to four-wall locations opening as franchises across North America, Smoke’s Poutinerie also has a strategic global plan in place to open 725 non-traditional stores in the next five years at arenas, stadiums, colleges, universities, transportation centers, movie theaters, casinos, and beyond. Foodservice operators such as Compass, Aramark, HMS Host, Delaware North, and SSP are hailing Smoke’s Poutinerie as an engine of sales, commanding strong affinity, and creating a positive trickle-down effect for other food and beverage operators in the same venue.
Smoke’s Poutinerie offers 30 varieties of poutine from Chili Cheesesteak Poutine with flat-iron steak, homemade chili, and cheese sauce, to the Double Pork Poutine with chipotle pulled pork and double-smoked bacon, as well as multiple vegetarian options. The brand sources top-of-the-line ingredients, including potatoes that are hand-selected from farms in Idaho and Prince Edward Island, and cheese curds come from producers in Wisconsin and Quebec.
Smolkin is the originator of the poutinerie concept—a trendsetting eatery devoted to the beloved Canadian dish. His innovative approach with Smoke’s Poutinerie has turned it into an electrifying and engaging brand. Beyond the menu and in-store experience, Smoke’s is celebrated for its unconventional events, including the annual Smoke’s Poutinerie World Poutine Eating Championship and the Smoke’s Poutinerie World Famous Great Canadian Cross Country Plaid Gravy Train Fries Curd & Gravy Weird Wild and Wacky Poutine Eating Tour, which will launch its second tour this summer hitting 30 cities in 25 days.