Interview with Steve Michalopoulos, Chairman's Brands President & COO


Aug 31, 2022  Tell us about the Chairman’s Brands®

Steve Michalopoulos:  Chairman’s Brands has grown to become one of the largest quick-serve restaurant brands in Canada. Our family of brands includes 241 Pizza, Coffee Time, Eggsmart, Robin’s, New Orleans Pizza, Mia Fresco, and The Friendly Greek. Our restaurants offer fresh new menu items, along with the classic favourites that customers love. For over 40 years, Chairman’s has left a lasting impression on Canadian customers from coast-to-coast, as well as expanding in the US and internationally. We continue to focus on growth by introducing exciting new restaurant concepts.

.  How and when did you become involved with Chairman’s Brands®?

Steve Michalopoulos:  I started as Director of Purchasing in 2001 and have been in the line of franchising business since then. Later I was tasked with International Development, then Brands Development and COO.

.  What was your background prior to joining Chairman’s Brands®?

Steve Michalopoulos:  I have always been part of the business – We developed Coffee Time®, we Franchised our first location in 1982 and have grown to 392 restaurants under 6 brands across Canada and in 5 other countries.

.  What are some of the advantages in being a Chairman’s Brands® franchisee or Master Franchisee?

Steve Michalopoulos:  Chairman’s Brands® offers a robust franchise system to prepare each new franchisee for success. Our franchise system includes:

  • Site Selection & Lease Negotiation
  • Business/Restaurant 3-4 Week Training Program depending on the brand
  • Food and Equipment Sourcing
  • Restaurant Opening Assistance
  • Research and Development
  • Marketing Positioning & Brand Awareness
  • Advertising and Promotion
  • Ongoing Business Development
  • Pricing and Quality Controls

.  Tell us a little about the Food and beverage QSR in Canada?

Steve Michalopoulos:  QSR has always been part of the North American culture and have spread worldwide through the franchising systems. The landscape of franchising continues to be very competitive with new players getting in the field every day. However, many concepts do not grow and eventually they disintegrate due to lack of planning, experience, and value proposition.

.  What are some of the greatest lessons you have learned in growing this franchise?

Steve Michalopoulos:  We learned to partner with our franchisees and keep wellbeing at the same level we consider for Chairman’s Brand’s wellbeing.

.  What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

Steve Michalopoulos:  Do your research, speak to franchisees in the concept you plan to partner with about the level of satisfaction and support they get from the franchisor – as well as choose proven concepts that has been in operation for a long time.

.  In your opinion, why do you think that Chairman’s Brands would be a great franchisor?

Steve Michalopoulos:  Chairman’s Brands® has proven successful restaurant chains that caters to all pallets. It is suitable for various types of restauranteurs. From the ones who are looking for shorter operations hours, while Operations hours are minimum 7am-3pm, Breakfast all day is a growing segment, to High volume Coffee & Donut’s All day breakfast restaurant operators.