Jason Evanochko - Smoke's Poutinerie
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Jason Evanochko, Smoke’s Poutinerie

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“I like to be able to be my own boss but get support when I need it”

Becoming a business owner was always something that Jason Evanochko knew he wanted to do. A cook by trade, Jason was working in recruitment for the military when he decided to take the leap.

Initially, Jason and his partner were planning on opening their own restaurant. His partner had wanted to open a poutine shop, but Jason wasn’t sold on the idea at first. He said it was an article in the Globe and Mail that opened his eyes to opening a Smoke’s Poutinerie franchise. “I was blown away by their culture and the brand,” says Jason.

Jason spent a week at Smoke’s Poutinerie’s home office in Ajax, Ontario. There he was put into the

kitchen and behind a computer to learn about the behind the scenes operations. He says the training really helped him in areas of the business he hadn’t dealt with before. “They showed me how to hire someone. I’d never done that before. They also helped me get comfortable with how to interact with customers, especially when dealing with complaints,” says Jason.

Jason’s location is in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Earlier this year, he ran a unique campaign to reach potential customers in smaller communities. Each week, they drew the name of a small town in the area and gave free poutine to anyone who could show they were from that town. Jason says they’re also planning to bring their franchise on the road with a food trailer. “We’re going to be taking it out throughout the city as well as across the province to different events to bring the love of poutine to the masses,” says Jason.

When it comes to his staff, Jason keeps them motivated by giving out gift cards to those who demonstrate passion and knowledge of the brand. He also has promoted several of his staff from their starting positions.

The franchise model has been beneficial for Jason, who says he likes having someone to help him when he needs it. In particular, the marketing and operations support make him happy he chose to open a franchise rather than opening a business on his own.  “I like to be able to be my own boss but get support when I need it,” he says.

Jason believes that franchising is a great path to entrepreneurship. “It’s a good way for people to get started when they want to open their first business but don’t know how to go about it.”

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