Smoke’s Poutinerie, the “World’s Largest and Original Poutinerie,” signed a multiunit franchise agreement that will quickly cement the brand’s place as the most irresistible trend along the eastern seaboard of the United States.
The larger-than-life brand will blow the horn on its “Gravy Train” to announce an East Coast arrival during the first quarter of 2016. Then, it will open seven additional eateries in the region. No stranger to going big with bold moves, each of the initial eight eastern U.S. locations are planned to open adjacent to the region’s largest colleges and universities throughout the Philadelphia market, as well as New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.
Today’s announcement marks the continuation of the brand’s “Global Domination” tour, a movement channeling the inexplicable power and immense following behind the brand’s poutine (loaded fries) and irreverent style.
“There is no doubt that Smoke’s Poutinerie will be an instant classic in the region,” says Ryan Smolkin, founder and CEO (chief entertainment officer) of Smoke’s Poutinerie and the brand’s creative genius. “This is a massive arrival to the East Coast—a testament to the strength of our brand.”
The deal has been struck with Imperial Restaurant Group, a seasoned team of restaurateurs that has more than 25 years of ownership and operations experience in the mid-Atlantic United States. Cousins Raj Rana and Balrup Hundal, first-generation executives with the family-run company, will manage the day-to-day operations as well as the growth of the brand locally. They already oversee much of the family business’s portfolio.
“What we’re most stoked about is that there is nothing of its kind in this area,” says Rana, who like Hundal lives in South Jersey. “The university scene is the perfect fit for Smoke’s Poutinerie. It is absolutely positioned the right way to become a marquee brand.”
Huge crowds have welcomed Smoke’s Poutinerie’s 2015 U.S. emergence, which now includes five multiunit deals. Smoke’s Poutinerie first opened in Berkeley, California, near the University of California–Berkeley campus followed by a location in Hollywood, just off Sunset Strip, with plans to further expand across northern and southern California. Additional locations are open in Las Vegas, next to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop made famous in the hit series “Pawn Stars” and in sports venues for the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena and Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
Known for its extraordinary poutine (loaded fries), Canadiana 1980s glam rock vibe, black-and-red plaid, colorful in-store experiences, and legendary brand hero “Smoke”—the man, the myth, the legend, and the gastronomical genius who channels his love for poutine and everything 80s 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.
The forthcoming opening is part of the brand’s “Global Domination” plan to open 1,300 stores worldwide and 800 in the United States in the next five years, riding on the gravy-filled wave of success it has achieved in Canada (100-plus locations in Canada with 35 more to open). Additionally, Smoke’s Poutinerie has strategies in place to open 725 nontraditional stores globally in the next five years at arenas, stadiums, colleges, universities, transportation centers, amusement parks, movie theaters, casinos, and beyond.
Smoke’s Poutinerie offers thirty varieties of poutine, from Philly Cheesesteak Poutine with flat iron steak, roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, 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 its own proprietary line of potatoes that are hand-selected from farms in Idaho, and then packed and shipped to the Smoke’s Poutinerie locations. Additionally, the brand’s cheese curds are carefully selected from producers in Wisconsin.