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Why Artisanal QSR Is Toronto's Next Big Thing

Toronto Retail

Demand for higher-quality food options is spurring a rise in artisanal quick service restaurants, RKF’s Steven Alikakos tells us. Landlords are seeking alternatives to the run-of-the-mill national brands that have dominated food courts for decades and want "unique offerings that better reflect the tenants they have upstairs.” Buster’s Sea Cove opened a QSR in Bremner Tower and RKF is helping it find others locations. RKF is also prospecting QSR sites for Forno Cultura (where Steven is snapped), Bibab Express, Flock, Impact Kitchen, and lobster-centric restaurant lbs., which opens a 3,500 SF sit-down spot at Scotia Plaza this spring.


Entrepreneurs behind these artisanal QSR spots tend to come from the fine dining side of the biz, Steven points out. And unlike franchisees driven to open a slew of stores on a strict timeline, these local operators are looking to grow more organically while focusing on delivering quality food. “They don’t have to have the highest foot traffic—they see themselves as a draw because of the food they’re offering." Artisanal QSR purveyors are pushing “premium product at premium prices,” notes Steven. “So they’re looking for premium space that will bring the customer to them.”