|Carl's Jr. will be located at the corner of Industrial and Main Street.|
Canadians love food. And, they love it fast.
This simple fact is not lost on John Dowling, the first person to bring the Carl's Jr. brand to Canada.
In 2011, Dowling opened Canada's first Carl's Jr. location in Kelowna. In quick succession the doors opened on restaurants in Vernon, then Kamloops.
Now a fourth oulet is slated to open in Penticton before the end of December. Carl's Jr. is taking over the former A&W site at Main Street and Industrial Avenue.
"We've had terrific feedback from all our locations and we're building a really loyal customer following," said Dowling. "With the Penticton location scheduled for opening before the end of the year, we're really excited to be growing."
While Dowling speaks freely about the growth of the Carl's Jr. brand, bringing the popular restaurant to Canada was an involved process requiring multiple trips to the U.S.
"When we set about bringing Carl's Jr. to Canada, our vision was to establish a chain of Valley-owned and operated stores," he said. "Being part of the local community is incredibly important to us as is creating local employment and career opportunities."
Carl's Jr. currently employ more than 100 people at its three current locations and recruiting for the Penticton store begins shortly.
Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, is the financing partner.
Valley First's Tara Vanden Pol, who has worked with Dowling over the last two years says the key to their successful relationship has been a partnership approach.
"John had a clear view of the future and how he wanted to get there. This made it very easy for us to work with him to help turn his business idea into reality," said Vanden Pol.
With the many fast food options available, the business potential of a restaurant brand may not be obvious to everyone. However, Dowling recognized the trend toward convenience foodÑevery day, almost half of all Canadians visit a restaurantÑand seized on the opportunity to take a bite out of B.C.'s $10 billion a year food services industry.
"If you understand your market and have a good idea, you can really make a good go of any business opportunity," said Dowling. "With Carl's Jr. we recognized a number of key elements that would help us stand out in the market. In addition to our great menu, Carl's Jr. offers table service, prides itself on presentation of its locations and is only one of a handful of restaurants to offer drive-thru service."
As an experienced businessman, Dowling is emphatic when asked to identify the most important lesson he has learned during his successful business career Ð persistence.
"Persistence pays: simple as that," he said. "There is no such thing as nine-to-five for many successful business people. If they are willing to do a lot of hard work it eventually pays off. We have tried to instill that work ethic with our Carl's Jr. management team."