Frequently asked questions (FAQ) - Symposium Cafe Franchise opportunities

Symposium Cafe restaurant is a unique exciting concept, of an upscale, licensed, casual cafe. Symposium Cafe niche is the fastest growing food service segment in North America. With a menu including classic gourmet meals, full service breakfast exotic desserts, European coffees and specialty beverages. Each restaurant location is open 7 days from early morning breakfast to late evenings with dining available both indoors or outside on our restaurant patios.
Symposium Cafe attracts a casual dining clientele, that appreciates a well designed restaurant, and good quality food, excellent service and a comfortably unique restaurant experience.
Symposium Cafe concept has been awarded the Canadian Franchise Associations 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Award of Excellence in regards to our Franchise support - one of only two full service restaurants in Canada to win this prestigious award.
We also have won the Gold award three of the past five years, being top Franchise in our category for these three years.
The uniqueness of our decor is recognized by Trademarks Canada which has awarded Symposium Cafe Restaurant & Lounge Trade dress protection throughout Canada - one of only a handful of restaurants to ever achieve this.
The total investment required will vary by location, but is estimated to be approximately $625,000 - $675,000 for a turnkey operation. You will need approximately $300,000 -$325,000 in unencumbered cash, with the balance financed. Other store opening costs (detailed in the "Investment Details" section) range from $85,000 - $130,000 which include your store opening cash on hand, inventories, prepaid rent, etc.
Unencumbered cash is cash on hand, in a savings account, chequing account or GIC account, otherwise known as "liquid capital". Home equity and RRSPs are not usually considered unencumbered, except in certain circumstances. Your assets must be in Canada and you must be able to provide appropriate documentation to substantiate all assets.
We do not provide financial assistance, but will provide assistance with the preparation of a business presentation and will work with your financial institution to provide any information they require to complete your loan application. While we do not offer direct or indirect financing, we may recommend competent lenders who are capable of meeting the financing needs of our Franchise Partners.
The royalty fees are 5% as defined in the Franchise Agreement and are paid monthly.
The Advertising Fees are 2% of sales as defined in the Franchise Agreement and are paid monthly to the Franchisor. These fees are maintained in a "Symposium Cafe Advertising Account" and are used for system advertising and promotion of Symposium Cafe system as established by the Franchisor.
Symposium Cafe offers one of the most extensive training programs in Canada offering three full months of training for up to three individuals at an existing Symposium Cafe location.
Upon successful completion of Symposium Cafe training program and assuming the responsibility of your restaurant franchise, a transition tutor is assigned to directly assist you on a regular basis in your restaurant franchise for a period of 10 weeks. This tutor works closely with you through the opening stages of your cafe, the day-to-day operating systems and procedures to ensure a successful start-up of your restaurant. This program is designed to strengthen and build the Franchise operators commitment to our proven systems. Our unique 10 weeks in-store program is crucial to building your team, establishing a strong customer base, growing restaurant sales and operating a successful Symposium Cafe franchise.
The field consulting team provides ongoing support and training through restaurant visits and coaching. They ensure all Symposium Cafe systems, specifications and standards are in place to drive consistent operations and profitable sales. Professional operations staff makes ongoing visits to your restaurant to hear any concerns you may have. They'll also conduct restaurant audits, which expose areas of concern within your operation. Our regional managers work with our Franchisees to develop action plans to correct and eliminate any problems uncovered.
Franchise regulations prevent us from making income disclosures. The restaurant's profitability will vary depending on management control and local market conditions, the franchisees dedication to our systems, sales mix, and competition in the area, operational costs, time of year and more. We encourage prospective Franchisees to obtain independent professional legal and accounting opinions on a Symposium Cafe franchise program, and to speak to existing franchisees.
Restaurants are typically located in a market with a minimum population of 25,000 people, as well as possessing a square footage of approximately 3,100 to 3,500 square feet. As well we want to ensure that each location has a well rounded mix of residential, commercial mix. We are a destination restaurant and do not necessarily have to be located at the most prime site, as long as we are located close by.
The Franchisor has its own development department that locates and negotiates sites. Demographic research and other studies are carried out to determine suitability. We welcome all site suggestions, however they are subject to approval by our development department.
No - Symposium Cafe designs and oversees the construction provided by separate entities, turning over a turnkey operation to the Franchisee.
A visit to the location would be made to inspect and determine the practicality of converting it. We have well established relationships with contractors that can assist with the conversion process.