What started as a Vancouver beach concession stand in 1977 has since grown into a great franchise opportunity and is now a well-known burger establishment in the West Coast of Canada.
Gerald Tritt bought the business in 2000 and has been expanding it ever since. “My intention was to test the business out and see the potential of opening another location and trying to expand it because I felt that in Vancouver there is a need for the better burger segment,” explained
The Founder and CEO. “I ran this concession stand for a year, created a new menu and brought in a partner and we opened our first stand alone restaurant in 2001.” Vera’s now has sixteen stores, with 15 in the lower mainland of BC and one in Ottawa. However, they do not want to stop there. Locations are available in Northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, with Southern Alberta under negotiation.
The franchise hopes to expand from coast to coast eventually and establish a national presence within Canada. Vera’s Burger Shack specializes in the better burger segment with over 1,000 combinations, if one considered all the flavoured sauces available and various toppings.
“We are traditionalists, we make our burgers in our stores every day, we get the ground beef in, and we have our own preparatory spices,” said Gerald proudly. Early in the morning, meat that arrived that day is thrown on the grill for lunch and then again in the late afternoon for dinner. Burgers are made on site fresh that day.
In fact, the company has won Best Burger in Vancouver for over twelve years. Now that’s something you can sink your teeth into. Even with new entrance into a competitive market, Vera’s burger has established a great taste for a consistent amount of time. “That is in large part of our franchisees’ commitment to excellence and our commitment to staying with a program that we started over almost forty years ago,” continued Gerald.
During the summer season there is a huge take out business that offers six and twelve pack of burgers for people to bring home and cook themselves. Vera’s Burger Shack takes pride in the fact that they are Canadian born and bred and continue to provide Canadians with a great product.
“We use Alberta Beef and for us the important thing in the beef is the fat content. We make sure it’s consistent and the burgers we make are juicy, fresh and delicious,” Gerald told Canadian Franchise Magazine. “We are a Canadian company. We didn’t come up from the states, we aren’t using US beef. We are proud to have Canadian roots and franchisees. It’s part of what makes us special.”
Vera’s is looking for franchisees that are hardworking and have proven to be people with some experience in the food industry, preferably. Most importantly, the company is seeking individuals who are eager to learn and willing to put in a lot of effort. “This isn’t a business for the faint of heart, it’s hardworking but can be extremely rewarding,” said the CEO. “What you can make out of that business is by and large, what you can make out of that business: the personality, the customer service, the commitment to quality and commitment to the program.”
Vera’s franchisees understand that when a franchise is bought, people are investing in a business base and it’s up to them whether or not they can make it a success.
There is no business background required, but great customer service is an essential element to run a Vera’s franchise properly. “We know the food is great, we wouldn’t have won best burger in Vancouver for over a decade if it wasn’t. It’s a matter of understanding the burger is great and knowing the product is there, “ said the founder. “It’s getting people committed to executing that product the way it needs to be executed.”
While most burger places are slapping burgers on flattop and serving them to the customer as is, Vera’s Burger Shack is taking their product to a whole other level. They make a truly memorable and unique experience for their customers with a chard broiled burger and an ice-cold beer, offered with huge variety of spices and toppings.
“Those elements are the separator that creates the value proposition for people. We are not going to be the least expensive burger in the market place but we are going to provide a great burger, great room, with a beer at a good price,” stated Gerald.
The bulk of the training is done at the corporate store, as well as office training. Once a store has completed a soft opening, there are staff that stay on location to work with the franchisee to ensure they are ready to go and set up for success.
Franchisees are offered ongoing support through area managers and anyone can reach out to both founders and connect with them directly for support. “Our franchisees know that when they reach out they speak to us. They don’t speak to an intermediary. They don’t speak to a third or fourth person down the line but us,” said Gerald. “We treat our franchisees the same as our customers. We want them to be able to know that they can talk to us.”
Vera’s Burger Shack is committed to both their customers and franchisees because when they are working hard and creating great results, it’s easy to support them and assure them, knowing they have the company’s best interest in mind. When considering the better burger business, it’s obvious that Vera’s offers a substantial Canadian product that is well accepted and has an establish brand, but what else can it bring to the table besides a great meal?
“We feel we bring a strong value proposition. Our built outs aren’t as high as some of the other companies, our royalties aren’t as high and our average unit volumes are higher than some of the other companies,” said Gerald. “We offer an opportunity to get a good return on your investment and we also offer an opportunity to have a transferable asset when you decide you want to either sell it, move along, buy another one, there is opportunity there.”
For a great Canadian opportunity, with a delicious burger on the side, check out Vera’s Burger Shack for a taste of home. For more information go to