Applebee's too dropped a lot of its locations since it moved up here in the late 1990s. Outback disappeared, though it was a Cara-owned brand here. Denny's has done okay (but not amazingly well), as has Ruth's Chris. But Cara, SIR, The Keg, and the western chains (Moxies, Earl's, Joey, Boston Pizza) dominate the mid-range chain restaurant market in English Canada.Actually, large American chain restaurants have not fared that well here, really.
Planet Hollywood failed. the Hard Rock is gone from two locations. Wolfgang Puck? He failed to get going I think 3 times. Rainforest Café, gone from a number of locations. PF Chang's? Nope. Carl's Jr., Ponderosa, Olive Garden, gone gone gone. Other than the fast food chains, what has worked out?
The Cheesecake Factory, to me is only a symbol of excess, which is a turnoff, so while there may be a constituency for that, I'm not convinced that its future here is assured.
Actually, large American chain restaurants have not fared that well here, really.
he Keg, and the western chains (Moxies, Earl's, Joey, Boston Pizza) dominate the mid-range chain restaurant market in English Canada
Any thoughts as to why this occurs?Yeah, the Canadian chains do better in the casual market than the American ones do.
I am sorry, just following the chain of thought.Anyway, we're veering of the Yorkdale topic here…
I don't recall Olive Garden having a location in Yorkdale (we are still on topic!), but your comment made me curious and I found Andrew Poon's article "Why Olive Garden Fell out of Favour" in the Sept 22, 1997 Globe and Mail. According to the article, the parent company Darden was having financial issues (having just closed a number of restaurants in the US), supply and labour costs were much higher in Canada (as you noted), they couldn't find a master franchisee to take over the Canadian outlets, and in Canada too many of their outlets were in urban centres where they were a mid-price option that faced many competitors (many of which offered better food for less). So they shut down all of the Olive Gardens in Ontario, and all the Red Lobsters in Quebec (leaving a handful of Olive Gardens in BC and Alta, which are still there AFAIK).[...]
The only fail I didn't get was Olive Garden, in so far as they were always very busy, so far as I saw, even to the end, which makes me wonder how they managed to lose money in this market......
Yup - was at TGIF awhile ago and they have $15, 3 course combos - XL sized salad/main/dessert. It is probably best that they can't afford Canada. Canadian health system can't afford American restaurant abundance (neither can their Medicare/Medicaid/Health insurance system really).American chains can't afford Canada. I tried Buffalo Wild Wing. ( American chain) Pint of beer and small wings was $25 In the states it cost me about $10. I don't know how these places are going to survive the minimum hike.
Yes, I recall the one at Atrium on Bay always being busy.The only fail I didn't get was Olive Garden, in so far as they were always very busy, so far as I saw, even to the end, which makes me wonder how they managed to lose money in this market......
+1. Definitely harder for these chains in larger cities (like Toronto) with vast food options. Take the Olive Garden in Times Square, which I’d argue exists solely for tourists (also a guilty pleasure of mine, IIRC I’ve eaten there every time I’ve visited). Part of reasoning behind why people visit these restaurants in the States, is that you can’t find them back home... it’s very experiential. Bringing them over here, in many ways, slowly wears off those feelings over time, to the point where it’s no longer a novelty. Just because Canadian tourists flock to these restaurants in swarms, doesn’t there is a strong enough demand for cross-border expansion - something other American brands (not just restaurants) have failed to take note of -or misinterpreted. There are exceptions of course.I'd also argue that what Canadians are looking for from chain restaurants is comfort, familiarity and nostalgia - which is not something American chains can offer given they are new. Like just how exotic can PF Chang really be in a city filled with authentic and exciting eats? One look at the Cheesecake factory food porn so far and meh.