Cara and Pickle Barrel make a ‘dill’
Two giant GTA food companies came together in a deal announced Oct. 16 when Cara Operations purchased the Pickle Barrel restaurant chain.
Pickle Barrel, founded in 1971, has 12 corporateowned restaurants: 11 Pickle Barrel locations and the Glow Fresh Grill & Wine Bar at the Shops at Don Mills. The company generates approximately $50 million in sales annually.
Peter Higley, president of Pickle Barrel, said the sale will not result in massive changes.
“They’ll certainly be looking to grow the business, whether it’s from the catering angle or from restaurants, and as opportunities present themselves in the market, we now are no longer confined to Ontario,” said Higley.
Pickle Barrel holds a 50 per cent interest in Rose Reisman’s eponymous catering company, and Reisman said she is excited to see where it will lead.
“I think someone as large as Cara with the expertise they have, in terms of all the restaurants they’re acquiring, just gives you more opportunity in the future,” said Reisman. “As [Cara] ventures into catering … they realize that’s where the patterns are going.”
Higley has been running the Pickle Barrel Group of Restaurants since 1992. He will join Cara’s executive team and continue to lead the Pickle Barrel Group within Cara. The operations and head offices will be relocated to Cara’s headquarters in Vaughan.
Cara Operations, which also owns Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, Kelsey’s and other well-known chains, was founded in 1883 and is Canada’s oldest, largest fullservice restaurant company, with 1,197 of its 1,255 restaurants located in Canada.