Children’s cooking instruction Little Kitchen Academy (LKA) has signed its largest franchise deal to date to develop 50 locations throughout Ontario by 2025.
This deal will strategically grow the company’s presence in Ontario, with LKA Oakville open and operating since July 2021 and four more locations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) scheduled to open in 2022. Caroline Irving, LKA global investor and now area representative for Ontario, who brought the Sky Zone franchise to Canada, will open five locations of her own while also supporting LKA franchise partners in the province.
Irving is married to award-winning documentary filmmaker Mike Downie, who, with his late brother Gord, founded The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, a charity in the country dedicated to Indigenous reconciliation.
Ontario is particularly important for the brand, being a key market for the company, representing 50 locations out of the company’s goal of 423 worldwide by 2025.
“This is a major milestone, as it is our largest franchise deal to date, and it accelerates our development in this important market so more families in Ontario can experience the gift of Little Kitchen Academy,” said Brian Curin, CEO & co-founder of Little Kitchen Academy. “We are delighted to have Caroline as our partner in changing lives from scratch and know she will be a great support to our franchise partners throughout Ontario. She has shown such enthusiasm for Little Kitchen Academy, first as an investor and now as our area rep for Ontario. Finding someone as like-minded as her is rare, and we are thrilled to start this journey with her.”
Irving has a strong background in operating franchise concepts, as she brought the first Sky Zone franchise to Canada in 2011, developing it throughout the GTA. She sold her four locations in late 2019 and was on a break from the business world when she learned about LKA.
“I wanted to give something back for my birthday this year, so I posted on my Facebook page looking for Toronto-area women starting businesses that I could support with a grant,” said Irving. “Hayley Sexton, who is opening two locations in Toronto with her husband Eamon, reached out to me. As I learned more about the company, I knew I wanted to support her, but I also realized that I wanted to help bring this incredible concept to more children in Ontario. For me, it is much more than just a business opportunity, it’s laying the foundation for a movement—one where children grow up to be teens and then young adults with the confidence and skills to look at food and meal preparation as a fun and meaningful part of living a healthy life.”
This deal, the largest yet for the growing concept that opened its first location in Vancouver just over two years ago, brings the total number of locations in development to 120 out of the company’s goal of 423 globally by the end of 2025.