~ The City Where It All Began: SIR Corp.'s flagship restaurant has its roots in St. Catharines
BURLINGTON, ON, Nov. 15 /CNW/ - This month marks the 20th anniversary of Jack Astor's, one of Canada's most memorable and
successful restaurant brands.
St. Catharines entrepreneur Peter Fowler and his partners in a company
called C.A.F.E. unveiled the first location in 1990 on Ontario Street
in St. Catharines. Twenty years and 32 locations later, Jack Astor's
has soared to become a huge player in the casual restaurant scene. The
restaurants are sought after dining experiences in four Canadian
provinces and two American states - as far west as Calgary and east to
Halifax, as well as in Buffalo, New York and Cary, North Carolina.
There are 22 Jack Astor's in Ontario including 16 in the Greater
Toronto Area, and three in Quebec. As of August 30, 2009, the last year
results currently available, Jack Astor's in Canada sales totaled over
$100 million (based on 29 locations). The brand has become the flagship
concept of the restaurant company Fowler and his partners formed in the
1990s, called SIR Corp.
Known for its lively environment, Jack Astor's was created to be a
casual, entertaining and enjoyable restaurant for the whole family.
From the onset, the restaurant didn't mind having a little fun along
the way. In fact, according to SIR Corp. CEO, Peter Fowler, the
restaurant had a distinctive style and energy right from the start.
"When we first opened Jack Astor's in St. Catharines, we introduced
something cutting edge. There was a laid-back style; an irreverent
sense of humour and our service staff were wearing t-shirts they'd
decorated instead of uniforms. No one else was doing that," says
Fowler. "In some ways, they were pretty daunting times, because we were
doing something completely new. But we also knew we had something
unique in Jack Astor's, and by 1991, we began to expand. Twenty years
later, with 32 locations, we're still relevant, and innovative. We have
changed along the way, but the sense of humor, the energy and authentic
service style still prevail."
Over the years, Jack Astor's has transformed from more of a roadhouse or
bar-like atmosphere with shelled peanuts on the floor, into a more
contemporary casual restaurant, appealing to a broader demographic
including families. The new image is evident in locations such as
Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, where the elevated restaurant and its
impressive patio overlook the excitement of the bustling streetscape
and square below.
Jack Astor's locations have proven successful in both the urban centers
and suburban neighborhoods of Canada's largest cities. In 2008, Jack
Astor's opened three new restaurants in Toronto including at Yonge &
Dundas, at Yonge & Bloor and on John Street in the Entertainment
District. More recently, on October 25, 2010, a new Jack Astor's was
opened just outside Montreal in Boisbriand, Quebec. Boisbriand is the
third Jack Astor's in the Montreal area.
With all that has changed, Jack Astor's continues to embrace a bold
sense of humor with unique staff uniforms, memorable decor and
marketing, while offering a fun and relaxed service approach. The staff
set a jocular mood at the table by writing their names upside down on
the kraft paper tablecloths using crayons that they leave behind for
all ages doodling. An Elvis booth is featured at most Jack Astor's,
where "The King" is paid tribute with statues, photographs, and other
eclectic trappings. Most locations also offer large and distinctive
As part of its lasting appeal, Jack Astor's continually re-engineers its
menu to reflect the changing tastes of its customers. The restaurant
has developed a number of affordable and addictive signature dishes
using quality, fresh ingredients. This approach is a key point of
difference between Jack Astor's and its competitive set, and is an
important part of its success. Favourite dishes include fresh - not
frozen - chicken, which are marinated, seasoned and breaded in house,
to order, as well as chicken wings, AAA-grade steaks and
internationally inspired dishes including Pad Thai, Greek chicken
salad, chopstick chicken salad and crispy honey sesame chicken.
"You would think after twenty years we would be running out of steam but
Jack Astor's is positioned for growth. We are just getting started,"
says Fowler. "We look forward to continued success and growth."
About SIR Corp.
Jack Astor's is a multi-unit concept owned and operated by Canadian
company SIR Corp.
SIR Corp. ("SIR") is a privately held Canadian corporation that owns and
operates a portfolio of 46 casual and fine dining restaurants in
Canada. The business is focused on creating, developing, and operating
best-in-class restaurants. Best-in-class means SIR strives for the best
people, the best food and the best atmosphere at each of its
restaurants. These values are shared company-wide and the resulting
high level of quality and attention to detail can be found in each
restaurant. SIR's passion is reflected in its name, which stands for
Service Inspired Restaurants.
SIR is about bringing people together, building lasting relationships
and setting the standard for best in class. SIR has grown from five
restaurants and $17 million in revenue in 1993, to 45 restaurants and
over $197 million in revenue in its fiscal year ending August 30, 2009.
Currently, SIR has approximately 3,800 employees across Canada. SIR's
diverse portfolio of restaurants is designed to appeal to a broad set
of consumer tastes. Concept restaurants have multiple locations,
reflecting their broader demographic appeal.
SIR concept brands include: Jack Astor's® Bar and Grill, with 30
locations in Canada; Alice Fazooli's!®, with five locations; and Canyon
Creek Chop House®, with eight locations. SIR's Signature Restaurants
are one-of-a-kind brands located in downtown Toronto that range in
offerings from fine dining with award-winning menus to a very active
sports bar. Signature Restaurants comprise the upscale reds®, Far
Niente®, FOUR™, Petit Four™ and the casual Loose Moose Tap & Grill®.
All trademarks related to the concept and signature brands noted above
are used by SIR under a license agreement with SIR Royalty Limited
Partnership. For more information on SIR Corp. or the SIR Royalty
Income Fund, please visit www.sircorp.com.
SOURCE SIR CORP.
For further information: For further information:
Michele Enhaynes / Karen Krugel
905.949.8255 x 229 / 233
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