Concept Watch: Rolltation, SMAK and Buco Pizzeria & Vino Bar

By Sophie Mir

In this edition of Concept Watch, we highlight a trio of trend-setting restaurant concepts that are changing the way Canadians eat. Here’s a look at the characteristics and menu offerings that make these restaurants unique:

Rolltation

Locations: 4 (Toronto)

Concept characteristics:

  • A Toronto-based, limited-service emerging chain highlighting customizable and hybrid sushi options.
  • Inspired by Toronto’s unique multicultural diversity and distinct food culture.
  • Plans to grow through franchising with three store types: fast casual, express and food court.
  • Partners with Student Price Card to give students 10% discount.

Menu snapshot:

  • Sushi Burritos: Made with seaweed wrap and white rice.
  • Poke Bowls: Choices include classic salmon, wasabi tuna and teri shrimp.
  • Salads: Options include kimchi beef, curry chicken salad and tofu.
  • Snacks: Dry squid, edamame, soft-shell crab and takoyaki.

SMAK

Locations: 2 (Vancouver)

Concept characteristics:

  • A sleek, health-focused, fast-casual concept offering smoothies, meals and snacks.
  • Positioned around healthy, quickly made and affordable food.
  • Accommodating to a variety of dietary restrictions and preferences.
  • Strives to minimize its impact on the environment with eco-friendly practices such as using compostable containers and cups.

Menu snapshot:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal bowls, breakfast sandwiches, organic scrambled eggs, gluten-free toast and smoothie bowls.
  • Hot Bowls: Red vegetarian curry, dahl curry, butterless chicken, green curry chicken and coconut pork.
  • Meals: Southwest chicken and avocado salad, tofu SMAK box and Thai quinoa salad pot.
  • Drinks: Organic coffee, specialty teas, iced drinks, fresh juices, alkaline water and smoothies.

Buco Pizzeria & Vino Bar

Locations: 3 (St. Albert, Edmonton)

Concept characteristics:

  • Full-service concept with a focus on Neopolitan-style pizzas and Italian fare.
  • Traditional and quality-minded with an emphasis on housemade ingredients and authentic Italian products.
  • Family-owned business that’s part of Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group.
  • Encourages social gatherings with two social hours daily and Bring-Your-Own-Wine special on Mondays.

Menu snapshot:

  • Brunch: Sunny side up pizzetta, avocado tostada, beef short rib Benedict and fried egg sandwich.
  • Pizza: Variety of Neapolitan-style pizzas available with toppings that include anchovies, prosciutto, salami, honey, chicken, free-range eggs and porcini mushrooms.
  • Not Pizza: Meals and snacks such as bruschetta flatbread, mushroom ravioli, beef short ribs, baked rigatoni with meatballs, tortellini soup and chopped salad.
  • Dessert: Gelato and sorbetto trio, raspberry ricotta cake and house-made chocolate espresso mousse.

Sophie Mir is an Associate Editor for Technomic Inc., 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. Visit technomic.com for more information.

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