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A homemade recipe for fast food

This Mid-Week Mugging features Rajni Patel owner of Sam’s Grill: Burgers and Poutine on Wellington Street
2018 12 19 GT – Midweek Mugging Sams Grill – TB 01
Rajni Patel owner of Sam’s Grill: Burgers and Poutine on Wellington Street is building on his recipe for success. Troy Bridgeman for

When Rajni Patel opened his first restaurant eight years ago, he had a recipe for success that appears to be hitting the spot.

“When I came to Canada I had something in my mind to start a business that should be easy to grow and eventually expand to multiple locations,” said Patel. “Today is the day I think I can say yes, we are opening a second location and if everything goes according to our plans we can open another one in Waterloo and Kitchener.”

His formula for success is simple.

“The main thing is that we follow the basic recipes, which is all homemade style,” he said. “We use Ontario ground beef and we make our own patties here. We hand cut our fries from potatoes supplied by local farmers. It’s harder work but at the same time the customer gets fresh food.”

Patel was born in the province of Gujarat on the west coast of India where he earned a degree in electronic engineering. In the spring of 1990 he married Reshma Rajni Patel and they have two adult sons Valmi and Rishi Patel.

“Both of my sons are university graduates,” said Patel. “One of my sons is working as a sales manager and his wife is working here with me in my store. My other son just graduated and he is also helping me with the business.”

Patel owned and operated his own business in India for several years before coming to Canada.

“My mother and father live in India and my father is handling my business there,” he said. “I have an air conditioning showroom but because I am developing my business here we are closing that down.”

The family moved to Canada in 2007 and Patel worked as a sales associate for an audio-video business until 2011 when he decided to open a sandwich shop called SamSub in the plaza at the corner of Wellington St and Imperial Rd.

“My wife was working with Wendy’s and Subway and she helped me get into the business,” he said. “I thought, okay if I can grow the business the time will come and we can open multiple operations.”

His instincts were right and it didn’t take long before the business and the menu expanded.

“We started with the sub sandwiches but now we are gradually stopping the sub business and moving to only the burgers and poutine,” said Patel. “After New Year 2019 there will no longer be subs in my stores.”

Sam’s Grill: Burgers and Poutine has essentially swallowed up the SamSub brand.

“We are opening a new store in Cambridge in March 2019 and I need to maintain the same food quality and the same menu as part of the expansion,” said Patel. “Our majority business is the handmade burgers, hand-cut fries and Quebec-style poutine.”

They have also expanded the, already diverse, menu to include Montreal-style smoked meat sandwiches.

Patel said he isn’t in a hurry to open more locations but he is ready when the time comes.

“I just want to make sure the new location works nicely then move forward after total satisfaction.”

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Troy Bridgeman

About the Author: Troy Bridgeman

Troy Bridgeman is a multi-media journalist that has lived and worked in the Guelph community his whole life. He has covered news and events in the city for more than two decades.
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