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Gyu-Kaku Montreal CANADA

Montreal's first J-BBQ "Gyu-Kaku" opened in August 2017

Located within the heart of the business district, the location attracts many non-Asian customers and their business colleagues.   With a diverse mix of people, the restaurant is riding a wave of popularity of new types of ethnic cuisines.

A steady 10% increase in sales after four months. A second location is being considered!

Born in Qingdao China, the owner, Mr. Rui Shao attended high school in Montreal. After graduating from college, he followed in his father’s footsteps, pursuing a career as a banker. However, he quickly discovered that the banking world was not for him, and found a home in the restaurant business. His first foray was starting an all-you-can-eat sushi place the type he has spent three years working at while in school.
Riding the first wave of the Japanese food boom, Mr. Rui’s all-you-can-eat sushi shop was a success. However, when a competitor opened a shop nearby, he felt that sushi had passed its prime. At that point he visited Chicago where his best friend Lei Yan (32) was working, and happened to eat at the Gyukaku in Chicago.
The experience at Gyukaku captured his imagination. “I think I could make a go of this” he thought to himself, thinking about the possibilities of a Japanese BBQ restaurant where customers could grill for themselves. “I could have opened a tempura business, a steak house, or a shabu-shabu restaurant, but none of these seemed to represent the future.
According to Rui, “As soon as we contacted corporate headquarters, we received approval and opened the first Gyukaku franchise in Montreal. Unlike many other franchising companies, Gyukaku is extremely careful in evaluating potential owners; and we passed their stringent standards.”

After opening in August, sales we modest until November. However, thanks to repeat customers, sales have increase by 10% month on month. Currently, approximately 40% of customers are by reservation. On weekends, we are experiencing the unheard of success of four turns per table.
The fact that customers cook for themselves makes their overall experience more enjoyable. While common in Japanese BBQ, it is a rare experience for customers. They are able to share good times with friends, and it’s not just about beef. There are also vegetarian fans of Japanese food, and there are many choices for them. Rui believes that these elements are the keys to his success.
Rui was not contented being in the banking world like his father, and discovered his true potential in the restaurant industry, becoming a part-time manager at the relatively young age of 34. “We are now considering opening a second store in town.” Montreal which is known for only having one month of summer offers the perfect environment for sitting around a fire cooking food. “I think our popularity will only increase in the future. I can’t wait for my parents from Qing Dao to see my thriving business!”
Photo 1: When Tania Ramirez (40) visited Vietnam, her home country, she had a chance to eat at the Gyukaku there, and was extremely happy to try the one in Montreal. It was her third visits, and she invited her friend Telicia Le (48, photo 2) to come along. Both mentioned, “We can go out in public after this because we do not smell like smoke. Until now, whenever we would go to a BBQ restaurant, we would have to change our clothes afterwards because we smelled like smoke. These grills are completely smokeless!” Photo 3: When son William (28) passed in front of the restaurant, he spotted the grills on the tables and thought it would be an interesting experience and came with a friend. This time, he invited mother Lynn (55) to join in the fun. According to Lynn, “The grills do not get so hot, so they are completely safe and easy to use. The restaurant’s dishes are so completely different from ordinary BBQ, that it doesn’t even compare.” Photo 4: Steve Saomor (35), “I was walking in front of the store, and I thought it would be an interesting experience.” His female companion stated "I ordered 6 or 7 different dishes, and it was fun to share the experience and food with Steve. I am happy to have experienced various dishes such as chicken, fillet minion, bacon, New York strip, etc."
Photo 5: A rousing five-person group comprised of colleagues from a financial company who gather frequently. Led by Stephanie Guay-Larochellesann, 27, who chose this shop, said “Being able to cook together is a perfect experience for our group. We love to share and eat together, and this outing has been more satisfying than previous dining experiences. We plan to make this restaurant part of our regular schedule. All of my colleagues are extremely happy with my choice.” Photo 6 and Photo 7: The diversity of customers is increasing. Photo 8: From the left, Mr. Yichi Zhang (27); Manager Rui Shao (34), Floor Manager Emlia (27).
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