The Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop Story
How a sushi franchise changed the way consumers think about sushi
When the first Sushi Shop™ opened in 2000 in Montreal, Canada, sushi was not as wildly popular as it is today. Thanks to the internet, the world has gotten a lot smaller and global cuisine is now the norm. In the US, palates have turned Mexican, Chinese and Indian foods into American cultural mainstays. But none of these cuisines has become as ingrained in the health-conscious lifestyle of today’s consumers as sushi.
From the very beginning, our brand’s approach to sushi was radically different from anything else available on the market. The chefs were tasked with creating dishes that paid homage to the beautiful tradition of sushi, while also innovating to create a menu that mixed Japanese cuisine with other cuisines from around the world. The result was a food offering the market had never experienced before — a sushi experience that caters to the mainstream with a playful, adventurous and affordable menu.
Our brand’s restaurant design is classy, high-end and chic, which inspires customers to relax and enjoy a meal in an elegant zen setting that is comfortably within their budget. That’s remarkably different from traditional sushi restaurants, as well as other QSR concepts.
“We strive to be different, and we have a unique vision of what sushi can be,” says Marc Benzacar, Senior Vice President with Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop™. “We don’t just do the common rolls, we do rolls our way — and it’s an art. When you step into one of our franchisee’s restaurants, you immediately see how artistic our rolls look. Once you taste them, you’re hooked.
“We deliver all of the artisanal quality of high-end sushi, and we deliver it at an affordable price. This is why fans are so happy with us, and it’s why business took off so quickly in Canada.”
Sushi Shop™ experiences mainstream popularity and rapid growth in Canada
In 18 years of business, Sushi Shop has grown to more than 150 stores in Canada. Our brand’s promise to innovate and add to our menu consistently delivers new experiences for fans. We have expanded far beyond sushi by offering Poke Bowls and other menu items that appeal to a broader audience. Our Sushi Tacos, Sushi Burritos and our new Sushi Burgers embrace customers who are curious about sushi and want a more familiar entry point.
With prices that are competitive with full meals at other fast casual restaurants, Sushi Shop added to customers’ convenience by having a grab-n-go option for hungry customers who are in a hurry. We also offer catering and mobile delivery. Add those to the dine-in clientele, and it means that Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop franchisees will be able to capture four separate revenue streams.
As Sushi Shop made sushi more accessible and adventurous for Canadian consumers, the brand has helped dozens of entrepreneurs realize that they not only can run and manage a sushi restaurant well, they can make and prepare our products with expertise after going through our training platform. By providing a business model that is simple to run and easy to understand, with immersive and ongoing support from one of the largest franchisors in the world, Sushi Shop continues to expand the reach of sushi in Canada.
The launch of Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop and franchise operations in the US
Nearly 20 years of growth for Sushi Shop in Canada prompted MTY Group™ and Kahala Brands™ to bring the concept to the United States. Due to trademark issues and the need to differentiate the brand from sushi restaurants already in the US market, Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop was created in 2018.
While the names are different, the two brands share everything else. Franchisees who decide to pursue ownership with Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop will be providing the same innovative products and high-end experience at the same affordable price point — with the same sense of adventure.
“Sushi has an incredible following in the United States,” says John Wuycheck, Senior Vice President of Franchise Development with Ginger. “With sushi, you’re in a market not everyone is in. Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop offers an incredible product, incredible training and incredible design. All of that makes for a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs who are passionate about sushi in the United States. This is a brand an entrepreneur can take pride in.”