By Mario Toneguzzi
Impact Kitchen, a healthy fast-casual food destination for people, has opened its second location in Toronto with plans to expand further in the market as well as into the United States.
The brand’s second location is a 3,700-square-foot new restaurant in the King West community at the corner of Adelaide and Brant and constructed by BUILD IT By Design.
The new restaurant, serving up wholesome food, is open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner on weekdays, and featuring a brunch menu on weekends.
“We’re also opening up our location in Summerhill at the end of summer, early fall and then actually we’re going to do in early 2019 our first U.S. location in Miami,” said co-founder Josh Broun.
“These are all happening. We have nothing else signed and sealed yet but it goes back to putting ourselves in a good position of having systems, having great people. As long as we keep on developing great people, seeing the results we need to see, growth is something we’re looking to continually have.”
Impact Kitchen was founded in 2015 by Broun, a former personal trainer and nutrition expert, and Frank Toskan, a co-founder of MAC Cosmetics. Its mission was to empower people to choose healthier foods that supply the energy and drive they need to take on the rest of their day. The first location was in Corktown on King Street East.
“Previous to the restaurant industry, I was a personal trainer and nutritionist and one of my clients who is now my business partner Frank Toskan he was a lifelong entrepreneur and he kind of inspired me to approach him with the concept,” said Broun. “Once we got on the same page on the concept we decided to partner on it. And for the next year or during our personal training sessions, we would more or less kind of talk about what we liked, what we didn’t like, the core of values of what we wanted the restaurant to become.
“And then we were fortunate enough to get the space on the eastside of the city. It allowed us to see all of the ideas we wanted to accomplish come to fruition. A lot of people thought we were kind of crazy for wanting to do too much but that’s how we saw it. Neither of us had ever worked a day in our life in a restaurant.”
Broun said the company’s beginnings were “a bit of a whirlwind” as they both learned on the job.
“He and I were in there every day, working, serving, busing. Whatever needed to be done,” he said. “Over the two years, we started to get busier and busier and word-of-mouth started to spread. We didn’t even have a website or Internet page for the first year of the business.
“We just went over the top on customer service. That allowed us to make our mistakes to learn and grow and to slowly implement the systems that needed to be put in place as a growing fast-paced restaurant. It’s always a team. The people are everything. So over time we’ve developed a lot of amazing people in-house. We’ve brought in more experienced restaurant people over time and that really allowed us to open our current location without as many growing pains.”
Broun said the company approached its menu initially with health and nutrition as key drivers.
Together with an in-house nutritionist, Impact Kitchen’s chef and kitchen team create a continually evolving menu that remains ahead of the curve in food and beverage trends, he said.
“Whether you’re running a meeting or a marathon, your meal has the power to make or break your stride,” said Broun. “At Impact Kitchen, we pride ourselves on creating food and beverages that power the mind, body, and soul of our customers, so they’re ready to take on the day with ambition and optimism.
“When we did open, nutrition and fitness crowds were our early adopters and what’s really allowed us to grow is the general population. You see anybody and everybody who just understand that they need to eat a little bit healthier and they want to do that for themselves.”
**Photo: Candace May Photography for Build it by Design, including at bottom of article.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org