For over three decades, The Firkin Group of Pubs has been delivering an authentic British pub experience to customers in Ontario - and now, the United States. What began as one pub in Toronto as the brainchild of two restaurateurs from South Africa has flourished into a thriving North American franchise. And this enduring success, in part, can be attributed to the company's resolute commitment to their core values. Larry Isaacs, Director of Marketing, reiterates, "We stayed true to our brand even though we're always very quirky - we like to play on the word "Firkin" and have some fun with it."
Reaching new markets
In more recent years, The Firkin Group’s entry into the US market has been a proud achievement. They’ve opened a number of locations in airports, and are the only Canadian restaurant brand to do so. Larry credits dogged determination and hard work for making that happen. “It was a result of pure grit and grassroots work,” says Larry. “I spent a decade on the ground going to all the meetings and convincing the airport world that we have a unique product that we can bring to them.”
Creating work-life alignment in the hospitality sector
Work-life balance can be a challenge for many business owners and those working in hospitality are no exception. For Larry, the hospitality business is more of a way of life, though, than a job. It's not a Monday to Friday or 9 to 5 job - there are many weekends and very late nights, which turn into early mornings. Servers working a late shift, who finish their workday at 2:00 or 3:00 am, need to find time to have dinner, sleep and enjoy some down time.
As Larry describes, "When everyone else is having fun, you're working - you're on the other side of fun, and you have to adjust your life around what you're doing." It can be a challenge to create work-life balance in this industry. After 35 years, Larry has found his own way to make sure to take a break and find time to play golf and vacation with family. But he reiterates that the hospitality sector isn't for everybody - it's a lifestyle that you adapt to.
Co-creating solutions with CWB Financial Group
Larry appreciates CWB's willingness to listen and help co-create solutions for business challenges. "They're very thorough in their investigation of our needs, fair in their decision-making and genuinely excited about our success."
CWB's personalized support has also helped The Firkin Group expand into the United States. "They're very willing to work with our US partners and make sure that their financing package with us doesn't impede our growth across the border."