Great entrepreneurs are keenly aware of trends and demographic shifts. In the case of Harvest Clean Eats, a quick-service, fast-casual restaurant group, not only are the owners in tune with the demands of the largely millennial clientele they serve, but they are also part of the demographic. Harvest Clean Eats was founded by Connor Stoilov, Brad Inglis, and Sylvie Hart, barely 30-year-old entrepreneurs who have amassed an immense amount of success, less than a decade out of university. Supported by a partnership group, comprised primarily of equally young and ambitious co-workers, the company is positioned for major expansion over the next year. Stoilov says of his early success, “The key is surround yourself with people that inspire you.”
Joining the team last month is local food legend, Ted Grant. Grant who had previously founded the nationally beloved Viveau, an innovative local drink company, had over the past decade garnered notable attention for his work in the local food and hospitality industry. Tasked with supporting the growth, Grant is helping Harvest Clean Eats expand beyond provincial borders. This month they launched their first non-Nova Scotia Harvest Clean Eats, with the opening of their location in downtown Moncton, N.B., which joins their downtown Halifax and Bedford, N.S. locations.
Conceptually, the restaurant focuses on delivering healthy, quick to serve meals for a consumer base increasingly seeking restaurant experiences that, according to Grant, “provide clients with the right nourishment to live their best life.” To do this, they focus on delivering foods made with healthy ingredients, avoiding unrefined sugars, and using as many local ingredients as possible, with almost everything made from scratch. The local flavour evident in their modest but well selected drink lineup which included amongst others Benjamin Bridge Piquette, a selection of craft brews, and a selection of coffee drinks made from the acclaimed locally roasted Nova Coffee.
On my recent visit, a flavourful Cobb Salad and Smoky Southwest Burrito, the latter brimming with beans, rice and offering a nice core of smoky chipotle flavour satiated my appetite and but not feeling bloated. Sitting in their downtown Halifax location, it’s impossible not to notice the enthusiasm, and the youth, of the staff. According to Stoilov “we focus on creating a culture that helps retain and inspire staff. We give our employees the opportunity to be included in decisions and we encourage them to grow in the business and make this a career.” A prime example of the concept is Baylee Hood, who started working on the service team but has now taken on a partnership position and the role of Director of Operations. With a staff of more than 50 people now, and projected to be 200 by February 2023, after further expansion to Bayers Lake in just two weeks and other locations such as Amherst and Charlottetown in the New Year, it is clear the concept of serving healthy food by happy staff is a recipe for success.