Welcome to this episode of Living Meatless Tales. Be inspired as you are taken on an adventure of transformation and understanding as each one of our guests share their experience of making the switch to a plant-based lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same.
This week our featured guests are Andrew Infantino, owner of Copper Branch Restaurant Headquarters in Montreal and Yitian Yuan, Franchisee co-owner in Calgary, Alberta.
I was very excited to see that Copper Branch had opened a location in Calgary, Alberta so I reached out to the owners of the Copper Branch Restaurants and the Franchisees in Calgary to hear their stories.
Please join me as I interview Andrew and Yitian Yuan on their journey to Living MeatLESS and sharing this passion with the world…
I first had the pleasure of connecting to Andrew Infantino who is the Director of Marketing for Copper Branch Restaurants. Copper Branch is considered North America’s leading chain of 100% plant-based fast-casual restaurants. It was founded by Andrew Infantino and his father Rio Infantino.
Rio has spent his entire working career in the restaurant industry and after going through quite a large life transition from obesity to being health-conscious, Rio made it a commitment to serve food with actual nutritional benefit. And thus Copper Branch was born.
Copper Branch is known for the diverse menu of plant-powered burgers, sandwiches, power bowl salads, all-day breakfast, smoothies, fresh sides, desserts coffee and tea. All menu items are mostly organic non-GMO, and gluten-free.
All Copper Branch locations are franchisee-run with support from Copper Branch Headquarters to
assure food quality and consistency, customer service and brand image are maintained at each location. There are currently over 40 locations in Canada, the United States and France with a goal to reach over 150 locations by 2020.
I then connected with Yitian Yuan, co-owner of the Calgary, Alberta franchise location.
Yitian Yuan was a master student in biology in Georgia before, researching cellular molecular biology. Because of her experience in laboratory experiments, she realized that health is closely related to the food we eat everyday. She started to believe that Instead of going to the hospital it is better to live a healthy lifestyle and especially pay attention to how we eat everyday as well as other aspects of health.
Rachel: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Andrew. It is wonderful to have the chance to connect with a plant-based business man who is revolutionizing the plant-based fast-casual food world.
Let me start by asking you this important question…why do you choose to eat a plant-based diet and how did you come to embrace a vegan lifestyle?
Andrew: “I choose to eat plant-based because of how it makes me feel. I feel empowered and know that my choice affects much more than myself… it affects our planet as a whole. Of course, I learned about veganism more thoroughly while working for Copper Branch.”
Yitian: “Being vegan is just a personal preference. I try to avoid using animal products of any kind as much as I can.”
Rachel: What made you decide to open Copper Branch, first in Montreal then in Calgary? Do you have any other locations?
Andrew: “Copper Branch has always been our vision, to open a chain of fast-casual restaurants that serve delicious, convenient and creative foods that are 100% plant-based. We live in Montreal and started with our first location opening in downtown Montreal in September of 2014. Now, we are expanding across Canada with locations opening around Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and Vancouver.”
Yitian: “When my husband and I went on our honeymoon trip from Saskatoon to Saint John, we stopped for two days in Montreal. As a vegan I was looking for a great place to eat so we found ourselves at Copper Branch a few times during our stay. We loved the healthy food that supported people with a fast-paced lifestyle.
We moved to Calgary two years ago and found that we really liked the city. We had thought about opening a vegan restaurant but did not know much about how to operate one. Since Copper Branch taught us so much we decided to join the franchise and make a difference in the City of Calgary.”
Rachel: Do you personally create the recipes? Who else is involved in making the decision regarding menu items?
Andrew: “Rio is the head culinary developer, but has worked with many chefs to perfect the menu and create systems so the menu can be easily and effectively duplicated. As well, we have a corporate chef on our team now in charge of menu development.”
Rachel: What is your most popular item(s) and why do you think people like that/them item the best?
Andrew: “The Aztec Power Bowl and General Copper Bowl are our best sellers. I believe it is because not only do they look incredible, but they taste even better and are great value items.”
Yitian: ” The power bowls and burgers. The power bowls are popular because they are made with fresh vegetables, plant-based protein and taste great. It’s also the fastest to prepare during the lunch rush. The burgers take a little more time to prepare but they are freshly oven-baked, come in a variety of flavours and are the most yummy and warm item.”
Rachel: If a young person came to you looking for help about embracing a vegan lifestyle and you only had a few minutes to give him, or her, your best piece of advice, what would it be?
Andrew: “I would say… it is easy to embrace the lifestyle. All you need to do is simply eat consciously… think about everything that you eat and appreciate its ingredients and process. Embracing a vegan lifestyle means appreciating the foods you eat and embracing a plant-based lifestyle. Meal planning is also very important and researching best practices and recipes.”
Yitian: “I would say choose to live the life you want and out of everything living happy is the best for your health.”
Thanks again Andrew and Yitian, for taking the time to answer these few questions and to share your story with our readers. It is wonderful to see a plant-based company be so successful and to see such a wonderful popular response and support from people around North America. This vegan movement is unstoppable and I am happy you are part of it sharing this delicious food and conscious way of living with the world.
I had the great pleasure of visiting Copper Branch while I was in Montreal. The location was only a few blocks away from my hotel and I made a point to go there to eat…I am always seeking out delicious vegan restaurants and have been known to go very much out of my way to find a delicious spot! While at Copper Branch in Montreal I enjoyed the Copper Burger, which consists of beets, organic brown rice, pea protein, sesame seeds, non-GMO hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, Dijon and maple veganaise, caramelized onions, alfalfa sprouts and lettuce. It was absolutely amazing! I was very excited to see we now have a location in Calgary and look forward to being a regular patron there.
If you would like to learn more about Copper Branch you can find them a variety of different ways:
- Website: EatCopperBranch.com
- Email: [email protected]; Calgary: [email protected]
- Facebook: Facebook.com/CopperBranch
- Locations: In Calgary at Intact Place, 311 6 Ave SW. All other locations can be found on the website.
If you are a vegan restaurant owner or have a vegan business that is promoting a conscious life to the world please email me at [email protected] to share your story and be featured on an episode of Living MeatLESS Tales.
If you enjoyed reading this story, please share with others so that they too may be inspired to choose a plant-based, more compassionate lifestyle.
Until next time…
May the magic of Living MeatLESS bring you a lifetime of healthy abundance.
Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc., MBA
Author, Health & Wellness Coach
See more at: https://livingmeatless.com/2018/10/11/living-meatless-tales-episode-8-featuring-andrew-infantino-of-copper-branch/