It was back in the early 1990s when brothers Lawrence and Peter Mammas first ventured into the restaurant business, opening a  retro diner concept that was originally called Smokey’s. One of their partners at the time was the cousin of René Angélil, the manager and eventual husband of Céline Dion. They changed the name to Nickels and the rest is history.

The Mammas brothers never looked back, opening a string of other restaurants. In 2016 they established Foodtastic,  which since that time has become a leading franchisor of restaurant brands in Canada. Over the next year Foodtastic expects approximately $1.2 billion of North American system sales across a network of over 1,200 new and existing stores.

Peter Mammas is joined by server Maria at the Souvlaki Bar

Peter Mammas is joined by server Maria at the Souvlaki Bar location in St. Laurent.

Foodtastic’s diverse range of brands includes popular names such as Freshii, Quesada, Second Cup, Pita Pit, Tommy Café,  Milestones,  La Belle et La Bœuf , Monza, GattoMatto, Rôtisseries Benny,  Au Coq Bacaro, Copper Branch,  La Chambre  Souvlaki Bar, Nickels,  Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill, Fionn MacCools  Restaurant and Pub, Carlos and Pepe’s,  Chocolato, Le Gros Luxe, Big Rig Kitchen & Brewery and soon O’Tacos and Noodlebox.

Peter serves as Foodtastic’s President and  CEO, while Lawrence is  vice-chair of the board. It was a  pleasure for me to sit down with Peter recently at Souvlaki Bar in St. Laurent, where he was enjoying his favorite dish of loose chicken with tomatoes and feta. I decided to order the same thing. It was a good choice!

Peter said that he hopes to see Foodtastic double sales to $2 billion in 36 months and bring it to $3 billion in 60. He decided to buy Noodlebox when he merely dropped in for a bite at one of their Vancouver locations. That deal closes on January 28. Montreal locations are indeed on the horizon. They have also made a deal to bring at least 50 O’Tacos spots to Canada. It is part of a unique arrangement with QSRP, which operates in  France and Western Europe. “We will open up O’Tacos and they will get to do the same with Pita Pit,” he said.

Milestones, a popular chain across Canada, became Foodtastic property in the summer of 2021. The first Quebec location opened at Fairview Pointe-Claire at the end of last summer. “It is already the busiest Milestones in the country,” shared Peter, noting that Laval and Royalmount are next on the list for the spring and summer respectively.

Still on the Foodtastic radar screen, says Peter, are restaurants that serve all-day breakfast, Asian cuisine and quick-serve burgers. I immediately suggested he make a deal with Denny’s Canada. He did not say “no.”

Foodtastic purchased Second Cup in 2021, initially expanding its cold beverages, teas and specialty drinks. Priority one now is to improve the food offerings.

Copper Branch has expanded with a franchise in Australia while Pita Pit now has 50 locales in New Zealand.

Peter is proud of Foodtastic’s success. “It is hard to believe that a few years ago we had only 24 people working in our head office,” he says. “Now we are at 251.” For more information, please visit:

Follow Mike Cohen’s restaurant adventures at He can be reached at [email protected]

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