When Cara Operations merged with Fairfax Financial’s Prime Restaurants in October, the 130-year old company cemented its grip on Canada’s casual dining market by adding East Side Mario’s and Casey’s to an arsenal that already included nationwide chains like Swiss Chalet and Milestones. But the past few years have been tough on casual restaurants—a vast category that occupies everything between fast food and fine dining—as chains have surrendered market share to a growing wave of upscale fast-food brands like Five Guys and Freshii. The best defence, it seems, is to consolidate and conquer. Care to see the merger menu?
CENTRAL CANADA BASED
From its roots selling apples to steamship passengers, Cara has become Canada’s dominant force in casual dining (including more than 240 Harvey’s locations.)
EAST SIDE MARIO’S
WEST COAST BASED
T&M GROUP (BOSTON PIZZA)
Jim Treliving’s family pizza chain has more than tripled its locations in the last 15 years.
CHOP STEAKHOUSE AND BAR
EAST COAST BASED
A big player in Atlantic Canada, Imvescor made its move into Central Canada with the acquisition of Baton Rouge.