By Craig Patterson
Another international brand has announced that it is entering Canada with two confirmed locations.
US-based plant-based restaurant chain by CHLOE. has secured a space in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, which will open this fall. A second Toronto location will open next year in Toronto’s Financial District as by CHLOE. gains a foothold in the Canadian market that could see more locations open in other markets.
The by CHLOE. concept is a ‘fast casual’ chain that offers flavourful vegan foods that “fuel and energize without compromising flavour, taste or satisfaction”. The company was funded in 2015 and has its flagship in the West Village area of New York City. There are currently 12 by CHLOE. locations in the United States including seven in greater New York City, three in Boston, and one each in Los Angeles and Providence, Rhode Island. Another location in New York City will open soon, according to by CHLOE.’s website. Its first international location opened in London’s Covent Garden area in February of 2018, and the chain subsequently opened three others in the city. In the fall of 2016, as well, by CHLOE. opened ‘Sweets by CHLOE.’, which is a plant-based bakery that is located adjacent to its West Village flagship.
The Yorkdale by CHLOE. will be the first ever for the chain to be located in a large enclosed shopping centre. The company’s other locations are located on urban street-fronts, and the Los Angeles location is connected to a Whole Foods store on Glendale Boulevard.
Graham Smith of brokerage JLL acted on behalf of by CHLOE. in the Yorkdale lease deal with landlord Oxford Properties. Mr. Smith is negotiating other potential locations for by CHLOE. as well. JLL is rapidly expanding its retail team and we recently reported that Mr. Smith and Brandon Gorman moved to JLL from a competitor.
Samantha Wasser, by CHLOE.'s Founder and Creative Director, was recently named one of the “100 Coolest People in Food and Drink” by Business Insider. In a written statement, she said, “We couldn’t be more excited to expand our brand into Canada. Toronto’s vibrant and diverse community, paired with its innovative food scene, makes for the perfect destination for our first location in Canada. The brand by CHLOE. was created to make plant-based food approachable, accessible, and of course, fun! We look forward to our future growth throughout Canada and promoting an inclusive plant-based community with our new customers.”
Towards the end of September, by CHLOE. will open its first Canadian storefront at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The 2,300 square foot space will be located in Yorkdale’s most recent expansion wing which is anchored by RH Restoration Hardware and Sporting Life. Other nearby tenants include German appliance retailer Miele, which opened a first in the world concept store in the summer of 2018. A Kit-Kat-branded retail space will open this fall nearby as well — the expansion wing features several food and beverage concepts, including unique Japanese restaurant concept TORA, Village Juicery, as well as Toronto-based health focused iQ Foods, which is expected to be a fierce competitor to by CHLOE. Other nearby retailers include an Escada Sport pop-up space, as well as a recently opened Canadian flagship for Hong Kong-based eyewear retailer Mujosh.
Hopefully not causing any confusion, Yorkdale is also home to French luxury women’s fashion brand Chloé, which opened its only standalone Canadian unit in the shopping centre in June of 2018.
Yorkdale’s by CHLOE. will be feature the brand’s signature dining menu as well as market specials that change with the season, grab-and-go options, and fresh-baked sweets. The menu will be 100% plant-based with gluten-free and soy-free options available. An exclusive “Toronto by CHLOE.” menu will be featured at the Yorkdale location and it will be inspired by “classic Canadian dishes and local ingredients”.
Popular meal options include the Guac Burger, Quinoa Taco Salad, and Pesto Meatball. The ‘Sweets by CHLOE.’ line will also be carried at the Yorkdale locations as well as a collection of house-made, dairy-free ice creams and sorbets called ‘Chill by CHLOE’.
The Yorkdale retail space will be “a replica of the brand's first ever flagship location in NYC's iconic West Village,” according to the company. That includes a reproduction of by CHLOE.’s Bleecker Street facade. The interior will include colourful stripped banquettes and tiled tabletops, as well as Toronto-inspired neon signage, swing chairs, and bathroom wallpapers.
Yorkdale has been adding dining options to diversify its retail offerings, as landlord Oxford Properties continues to grow square footage dedicated to food and beverage options within its shopping centres. Yorkdale’s by CHLOE. will add another health-focused dining option to what has become Canada’s most productive shopping centre in terms of annual sales per square foot, and is also the highest-grossing mall in the country with annual sales approaching $2 billion. Yorkdale sees more first-to-Canada openings for retailers than any other place in Canada, and several restaurant concepts have also opened their first Canadian locations in the busy shopping centre. Cheesecake Factory is an example, and the restaurant is said to be one of the chain’s top performers.
A second by CHLOE. location will open in Toronto’s Financial District next year, according to the company, and details have yet to be provided. Other Canadian markets could be in line for the plant-based chain — the Vancouver market is a likely target for by CHLOE. given its demographics and healthy-focused lifestyle ethos.
Competition will be fierce as homegrown plant-based chains such as rapidly growing Montreal-based Copper Branch also continue to expand operations into Canada while Toronto-based iQ and others add units as well. The healthy eating trend is on the upswing in Canada, including in shopping centres, breaking away from offerings found in traditional mall food courts. Meatless meal options are also going mainstream in fast food chains such as A&W, which has seen tremendous sales from its Beyond Meat burger options.
We’ll follow up on this story when by CHLOE. opens its Yorkdale storefront, and do a side-by-side comparison with the Bleecker Street flagship which will be Yorkdale’s primary design inspiration.
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd. Email Craig: firstname.lastname@example.org