Harvey’s tweaks menu to help target growth
CONCORD, Ont. – With a new design and new menu items under its belt, Harvey’s plans to open more than 20 units in 2017.
Billing itself as the “original fast casual,” Harvey’s is building on customized burgers with the addition of a build-a-bowl lineup. The new menu offering, introduced in March, starts with a base of salad, rice or fries. Customers can choose their protein, either chopped chicken or burger (original, Angus or veggie), and finish off their dish with a selection of toppings.
“This is a category for us to broaden our appeal,” said Harvey’s director of marketing Ally Tosello. “Our competition can’t replicate this, because they don’t have their own garnish counter.”
Customization is a key differentiator for Harvey’s in what Tosello referred to as a “fragmented” QSR burger market. With health and wellness, as well as millennial diners in mind, customizable bowls are intended to drive new business and build on Harvey’s loyal customer base, she said.
“This is opportunity to attract a new user or bring our users back more often,” Tosello said.
Corporate chef Hans Sell worked in Cara’s corporate kitchen to launch the 32-ounce bowls, which added nine new toppings and required franchisees to purchase and make room for a rice cooker in their existing footprint.
Harvey’s vice-president of operations Randy Head said the brand rejuvenation began in 2013 with new garnish counters.
“Prior to that, Harvey’s was 50 years of stainless steel bowls on a counter,” said Head. “We recognized that times were changing and we needed to change with them, so we convinced the franchisees to invest.
“What that has done is allowed us a lot more opportunity to innovate than we had in the past; new food items and more options available to our guests.”
Last year, Harvey’s expanded its beverage lineup with smoothies, slushies and frozen lemonade.
“We always had a great milkshake program and this was kind of a complement,” Head said, adding the beverage category was one in which Harvey’s needed to improve. “It’s almost like table stakes now in QSR.”
Harvey’s has about 270 units across Canada. While Ontario, Quebec and Alberta are its largest markets, the Cara-owned chain has stores in every province.
Cara has invested in many of its brands, such as Kelsey’s and East Side Mario’s, with new designs and Harvey’s is also getting the renovation treatment.
The chain recently introduced a new prototype at a standalone location in London, Ont. In addition to a new interior and exterior design, the kitchen received an upgrade with the addition of high-performance equipment. There are 28 renovations planned for this year.
“We’re trying to conform to that look, trying to get as many franchisees on board, maybe even to do their renovation prior to when it was committed,” Head explained.
This year, new locations – some co-branded with Swiss Chalet – have already opened in Brampton, Timmins, Ont., Dieppe, N.B., and Gander, N.L.
“This year, we’re going to have north of 20 openings. Depending on how things go, it could be as high as 30,” he said. “We’re definitely in growth mode; we have a lot of sites in the pipeline.”