A Work of Art-isano’s

By Randy Cooray

Wouldn’t it be great if you were the creator of a successful company or restaurant? To have your company logo so recognizable it can be considered as one the world’s most identifiable brands?

To spearhead a successful business is not an exact science, but requires a demand from the public, a strong management team and don’t forget the most important of them all... lady luck! Those who work in or own a small business could face a number of scenarios while in operation – failure, success as a single company or expansion within a particular region or broader.

Artisano’s Bakery Cafe has five locations in Greater Toronto which features concepts both from the fast-food variety and the more traditional sit-down concepts. Such elements for Artisano’s include real dining as opposed to paper and plastic options, a myriad of freshly made food - not to mention soft seating, a more relaxed environment (with fireplace), Wi-Fi capabilities and more.  This concept (referred as a quick-casual dining concept) was seen as an emerging possibility while in its development phases.

 “At that time (mid-2000’s), there was an emerging market for the ‘quick-casual’ business,” says Michael Simeone, Director and Part-Owner of Artisano’s Bakery Cafe. “We noticed there is a fairly huge market gap between the two (in Canada), and when we travelled around the United States, we noticed there is a lot of quick-casual concepts that we really liked. We thought it met a strong consumer need of wanting to eat more wholesome food in a more casual, relaxing environment.”

After retiring from the travel business along with his brother Joe, Simeone wanted to keep the entrepreneurial juices flowing. The pair joined forces with two additional partners, which resulted in a large financial investment into an industry Michael was not familiar with.

“These are big stores - and not cheap to build.  When you open your doors you wonder, ‘are people going to come?’ says Simeone. “We felt really good about our concept, about our food and our store design – and if we delivered it in a nice environment then we would have a winner on our hands.”

After opening their doors in April 2006, Artisano’s opened an additional three corporate locations, but recently unveiled their first franchise in North East Toronto. To date, the eatery is enjoying positive reviews with the possibility of additional growth. Simeone remembers his restaurant as a simple idea but believes his path to success is a formula for all business owners to practice.

“There are a number of factors, but if you have a clear and concise concept that fills a meaningful gap in the marketplace, if you have the passion and also provide a positive experience for customers and employees is a terrific start,” says Simeone. “A small business owner must be prepared to work long and hard to bring their business idea to market and you can’t give up in spite of obstacles. Immerse yourself in the industry you are going into, and most of all… have fun!”

To learn more about Artisano’s log on to: www.artisanobakery.com.


Randy Cooray has been on both sides of the media spectrum working in the Public Relations field after five years in Journalism. From one-on-one interviews with professional athletes, to collaborating on breaking news stories. Randy is now a part of the corporate communications industry.

By Adam

April 08, 2011