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Empire builders: Asian food franchise operators net success by the bowlful

May 13, 2024 | Customers

With Asian Heritage Month underway in May, it’s the perfect time to share stories of inspiring and resilient Asian business owners. 

Jim Cam and Bing Tang, co-owners of Group S.I.N.I. in Montréal, operate fast-casual restaurant brands Sushi Sama, Le Poké Station, Bếp Cuisine and GaNaDaRa and have a national franchise program. 

Jim and Bing’s success story has been remarkable, expanding in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to more than 80 units across multiple brands today. 

They attribute the meteoric growth of Le Poké Station – which first opened 2019 – with the quality and freshness associated with their single-dish meals. Their bowls are tasty, healthy and nutritious, and most of all, easy to grab on the go. 

Jim’s franchise journey started as a dream at the age of 21. While working at a sushi restaurant, he knew that he wanted to be an independent restaurant owner. He had no previous experience, but he had a burning desire to succeed.  

He opened the first Sushi Sama in 2012 and went from one sushi shop to five by 2019. At a franchise show, Jim connected with Bing. They hit it off right away and set out to build an infrastructure of like-minded people to advance the company.  

That team of trusted advisors includes BMO Business Banking Senior Relationship Manager Yan Li. Access to capital and funding opportunities often hinder Asian founders. Yan stepped in to help catapult Jim and Bing’s growth plans through quick and efficient loan approvals for franchisees.  

“Trust is the main ingredient to our success. It’s a core value, along with a focus on profitability and other strong supports for our franchisees.” 

– Jim Cam 
Co-Owner, Group S.I.N.I. 

With strategic clarity and a true passion for better eating and living, Jim and Bing were born to run restaurants. Now that their operating model is a proven success, they are testing other franchise concepts. But when it comes to what’s for lunch, Jim stays true to the original. 

“My parents are of Vietnamese and Chinese origin, and we worked hard to take the flavours of Asia and adapt it to the tastes of Québec,” Jim said. “I still eat at Sushi Sama once a week.” 

Learn more about BMO’s specialized expertise in franchising.

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