Active Restaurateur: Warren Erhart
Unlike those who join our industry by accident, Warren Erhart knew from an early age that hospitality was his vocation. A brief stint working in a pulp mill only confirmed this. After working at McDonald’s Restaurants while attending high school, and fond memories made as a very successful room service waiter at the Banff Springs Hotel, Warren entered the Hotel & Restaurant Management program at Vancouver Island University, formerly Malaspina, in Nanaimo, working full time at the Grotto Restaurant - a Nanaimo institution. After graduating, Warren spent 14 years with Keg Restaurants, and credits George Tidball for having a tremendous influence on him. Warren was a Keg General Manager and Joint Venture Partner in Victoria and Saanich, and a Keg franchisee in Nanaimo for three years. In 1984 he became an Area Partner based in London, Ontario and responsible for South Western Ontario before moving to Toronto to head up the Keg’s largest district.
Eager to return to the west coast, Warren left The Keg in 1990 to become Division General Manager for White Spot. Warren was promoted to President and CEO in 1994. Under Warren’s leadership, White Spot has evolved its full service concept from “coffee shop” to “family/casual”, while retaining the chain’s unique appeal and unparalleled market awareness.
In 1996, Warren and Peter Toigo Junior recognized an opportunity to develop a premium quick serve concept that would feature a limited selection of White Spot favorites. A new concept “Triple O’s” was created. When Warren joined White Spot, there were 27 White Spot restaurants. Today there are 64 full serve locations and 55 Triple O’s locations, including 6 in Asia with over 4,000 employees.
A major factor in Warren’s success has been his ability to build relationships, with employees, guests, and business partners, and his passion for giving back to the community. Warren is the first vice chairman of the Canadian Restaurant & Foodservices Association and Chair of its national Government Affairs Committee. He is an active member of the Delta Life Skills Association serving special needs families in Delta, and an avid volunteer, most recently for the World Junior’s, Memorial Cup and Olympic hockey events. His hobbies include tennis, travel, and photography.
Characteristically humble, Warren attributes much of his success to the inspiration of his parents, mentors, the vision of the Toigo family, the quality of the team around him, and above all to the unwavering support of his family, wife Marie and children Tanya, Chris, Matt, and Chanel.