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ABC sticking to its western roots

The restaurant chain has no plans to sell franchises east of Manitoba, ABC president says

ABC Country Restaurants Inc., founded 41 years ago in B.C., will stick to its western roots as it continues its steady expansion.

ABC president Gord Beattie said, "We are western company" with no plans to sell franchises east of Manitoba.

Beattie noted ABC's formula of homestyle cooking, family dining and "country comfort" have hit a chord with western consumers.

"Guests love our cozy booths, warm lighting, fireplaces and country charm," he said.

The restaurant-franchise business "is tough" right now, Beattie said, which may be an incentive for ABC to stick to markets where it is well known.

However, there are signs of a general market upswing. According to survey done by NPD Group, restaurant visits in Canada have increased 10 per cent from 2010 and, on any given day, 47 per cent of Canadians will dine at a restaurant. The study showed Canadians of all ages eat more than they did a decade ago.

This spring, Surrey-based ABC opened its 29th location when its latest franchise began servicing customers at Creekside Village in Coquitlam. The company now has 22 locations in B.C and seven in Alberta, Beattie said.

The company offers new franchises help with site selection and design, lease negotiations, training support and marketing assistance.

The cost of an ABC Country Restaurant franchise requires a total investment of from $600,000 to $700,000, but other restaurants can be converted to an ABC for less than $250,000.