Concept Watch

Concept Watch: Banh Mi Boys, 49th Parallel, California Sandwiches

By Katie Belflower

RestoBiz and Technomic have linked up again for Concept Watch to highlight three standout restaurant concepts on show in Canadian foodservice right now.

This month, the focus is on Banh Mi Boys, 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, and California Sandwiches and how each is standing out from the crowd in Canadian foodservice.

Source: Banh Mi Boys website

Banh Mi Boys

Instagram: 3,038 followers | Twitter: 2,124 followers

Locations: 4 (Ontario)

Concept characteristics:

  • Fast-casual restaurant specializing in banh mi and other Asian-inspired eats
  • Founded by three brothers with knowledge of Vietnamese cuisine
  • Franchising opportunities available
  • Offers takeout and delivery
  • Catering is available

Menu snapshot:

  • Offers a modern spin on traditional Vietnamese banh mi with braised, grilled and fried protein options
  • All banh mi sandwiches are topped with fresh, pickled vegetables
  • Banh mi options include braised beef, grilled chicken, grilled pork, and five-spice pork belly varieties
  • Serves up fresh steamed bao with fillings such as pulled pork, fried chicken, and panko tofu
  • Korean-inspired tacos including kalbi beef, squid, and grilled chicken
Source: 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters website

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

Facebook: 5,672 likes | Instagram: 36,700 followers

Locations: 4 (British Columbia and Quebec)

Concept characteristics:

  • Coffee cafe with a passionate coffee culture focusing on partnerships with growers
  • Coffee roasted at its own roasting facility
  • Each location offers doughnuts and some locations offer other breakfast foods
  • Locations feature bright and sunny interiors, with some spots offering a patio

Menu snapshot:

  • Specialty coffees include lattes, mochas and flat whites, along with cold-brew and black coffee
  • Other beverages available, including Hot Chocolate, London Fog, and Ginger Spiced Chai
  • Menus classic doughnut options such as Old Fashioned, Sprinkled, and Glazed Ring
  • More unique doughnut choices include the Berry Berliner, PB&J, and Apple Bacon Fritter
  • Retail coffee sold by the bag in Old School Espresso, Epic Espresso, and Decaf Columbia Magdalena
Source: California Sandwiches website

California Sandwiches

Facebook: 7,818 likes | Instagram: 5,275 followers

Locations: 15 (Ontario and Quebec)

Concept characteristics:

  • Fast-casual sandwich chain established in 1967
  • All locations are family-owned and -operated
  • Emphasis on fresh ingredients and housemade foods
  • Catering is available
  • Offers online ordering for pickup

Menu snapshot:

  • Utilizes 100 per cent AAA Canadian beef and meat is delivered daily and cut fresh on-site
  • Kaiser buns are baked fresh and delivered every morning and sauce is cooked daily using Italian tomatoes
  • Veal sandwiches are their specialty; other protein options include chicken, meatball, sausage, and steak
  • Side options include salad, fries, olives, pasta salad, and arancini rice balls

Concept Watch is based on restaurant and menu trends noted by Technomic Inc.

Katie Belflower is Associate Editor for Technomic, a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. The company’s services include publications and digital products as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry, including menu trends.

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