British Columbia-based food brands consolidator Happy Belly Food Group has announced its first franchised location for the quick service restaurant (QSR) brand HEAL Wellness.

The new restaurant will be located on Queen Street East in the Beaches, a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario.

Happy Belly chief investment officer Sean Black said: “This signing is a major milestone for Heal Wellness and Happy Belly Food Group as we leverage our previous franchising experience and framework to accelerate our growth. Heal Wellness will open its first franchised location on Queen Street East in the Beaches neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario.

“This area of Toronto has been very good to us as the first ever location for our former brand Burger’s Priest as it was down the street, so we are very happy to return with our new brand.”

The latest announcement comes several months after Happy Belly signed an area development agreement with Heal Wellness in April 2023.

The agreement was signed to open as many as 30 Heal Wellness franchise restaurants.

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Black said: “With an anticipated Q1 2024 opening, we are accelerating Heal Wellness’ growth through both franchising and corporate locations. The Beaches location will be Heal’s seventh store location and with 50 units committed through our area development programme, we anticipate a significant number of openings in 2024.

“As we onboard our first franchisee, we anticipate many more throughout our QSR brand portfolio as we accelerate growth over the next several quarters through our asset light franchise system.”

Heal Wellness was co-founded by Jay Zuccato and Jesse Davidson, who opened the first restaurant in 2019 in Hamilton.

The QSR brand offers a wide variety of breakfast waffles, smoothie bowls, acai bowls and smoothies.

Black added: “Heal Wellness was an accretive acquisition by Happy Belly Food Group and it is anticipated that new store locations, both corporately and franchised, will continue to drive both top line and bottom line of the company.”