Creating One of the World's Largest Plant-Based Restaurant Chains


Have you ever wished you could walk into a popular fast food restaurant chain with your family that actually had really tasty AND healthy that didn’t have you trying to figure out what was vegan or not? 

In this episode of Plant-Based Profits, we welcome Rio Infantino, the founder of Copper Branch, one of the world’s largest whole foods plant-based restaurant chains shaking up the fast food industry.  With a string of successful businesses to his credit, including a dry cleaning business and 16 Subway franchises, Rio will share his lessons learned as a serial entrepreneur.  What would compel you to quit a successful business and go work at McDonalds for two years? How does someone go from owning dry cleaning stores to a fast food restaurant chain serving whole food, plant-based meals?  

We’ll explore Rio’s entrepreneurial spirit at age 16 when he bought some cleaning supplies and started a cleaning that grew so quickly that he had a team of employees to manage and was able to sell the business by age 19.   What contributed to his incredible work ethic and how was that passed down to him by his family, including his mother who still works full-time in her senior years?

We will also be joined by Trish Paterson, Copper Branch’s new CEO who is also the owner of the first Copper Branch franchise in Ontario.  She’ll share some of the strategies they have developed to beat the pandemic slowdown that has affected so many businesses.

Rio Infantino

Rio Infantino

Founder of Copper Branch

Copper Branch was founded on the idea that food should always empower our bodies and our lives. President and founder, Rio Infantino, has had, for many years, a very strong idea of how food should be sourced and served.
Rio Infantino has over 30 years of combined experience in the restaurant industry. His true franchise experience began with Subway restaurants in which he was a multi-unit franchise owner for over 20 years, owning as many as 15 locations at one time. Throughout his career, his health and lifestyle were severely negatively impacted. Weighing up to over 350 pounds and in physical despair, Rio’s health was a major concern. After several years of feeling stressed, overweight and out of shape, Rio finally decided his life needed to change. From that moment on, he has made a commitment to bettering his health and was fed up with serving food that he was not proud of, and that had no true nutritional value.
Today, he is incredibly healthy and a strong advocate for a plant-based, whole foods diet. And so finally, with his new-found health and intense years of operational training, he started to work on the project that was Copper Branch.
Copper Branch took several years to fully develop before opening the first location. Rio would work tirelessly establishing his contacts, working out his marketing and concept plan, and of course, working with many different chefs to establish a 100% plant-based menu that was not only delicious, but that had the capability of expanding to many locations and be served fast!
Years went into this development until Rio was finally confident in opening the first Copper Branch location -that opened September 2014 in Montreal, Quebec. Ever since then, Copper Branch has been on a mission: to inspire and educate communities with our 100% Plant-Based, Power Food menu. To nourish and bring joy to our community and respond to many people’s demand for actual healthy foods in the fast-food market.

Trish Paterson

Trish Patterson

CEO of Copper Branch

Trish Paterson is an accomplished executive who brings over 30 years of experience across multiple industries.  Trish is a community leader and philanthropist who brings strategy, passion and a genuine love of everything plant-based to her role as CEO of Copper Branch.
Trish oversees operations and provides the strategic road map for the company’s growth.  When Ms. Paterson is not speaking at corporate gatherings, community events or schools about the Copper Branch story, she can be seen hands-on in the Copper Branch restaurants because that is “where the most important people are - our staff and our customers.“
Throughout her career, Trish has earned a reputation as a transformational hands-on leader who builds strong partnerships and teams with a focus on making change happen.
Trish is a dedicated mother of 3 boys and resides with her husband Sean in Raglan, Ontario where they have been known to host large plant based gatherings. Trish is a graduate of Carleton University.