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Celebrating Canada United with Boston Pizza

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Despite the name, Boston Pizza is not from Boston. In fact, the Canadian brand originated in Edmonton, Alberta, and has been serving Canadians from coast to coast since 1964. Almost all 395 Boston Pizzas are locally owned by independent franchisees who live in their communities, like John in Saskatchewan, Rick and Mel in Atlantic Canada, or Anil and Sarthak in Ontario.

Boston Pizza franchisees employ a further 12,000 members of their communities all across the country. Boston Pizza is comprised of a restaurant and sports bar in one and is well suited for hosting groups, though they also offer takeout and delivery.

While famous for their gourmet pizzas made with their signature hand-pressed dough, our extensive menu satisfies every appetite with mouth-watering pasta dishes and a wide variety of, salads, entrées, and desserts.

We sat down with Boston Pizza Vice President of Marketing, James Kawalecki to learn more about their participation in the upcoming Canada United weekend, this August 28 – 30.

James Kawalecki

James Kawalecki started his career in the ad agency world. During his time as an ‘ad guy’ he was able to get experience on top brands such as: Rogers, Intel, General Motors, Procter and Gamble and Samsung. James joined BP eight years ago and was promoted to Vice President, Marketing in March 2020. During his tenure at BP, James has worked closely with key partners, led sponsorships and built award-winning brand campaigns.

Can you describe how your operations have adjusted and changed during the COVID-19 lockdown and where your operations are now with restrictions easing?

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Boston Pizza has followed the guidance of federal, provincial, and municipal health authorities. We’re committed to helping protect the health, safety, and peace of mind of our employees, guests, and communities. We have implemented new health and safety measures – many of which go beyond local requirements – at all our restaurants, including increased cleaning and sanitization and the wearing of protective masks by all staff. You can read more details here.

Can you speak to how your operation has been involved in the local community?

Although our dining rooms and sports bars had to close during the height of the pandemic, we continued throughout to operate for take-out and delivery, providing much needed at home meal solutions for Canadians. And in keeping with our long-standing tradition of giving back to local communities, many Boston Pizza Franchisees helped by feeding front-line workers. Here are just a few examples at hospitals, grocery stores, and long-term care facilities.

How has the local community supported your operation during COVID?

We’re grateful for the support of our guests during the pandemic! When our dining rooms were closed, guests continued to order BP via take-out and delivery and now that we’ve re-opened across the country, we’re thrilled to see so many guests back on our patios and in our restaurants.

In your words, can you speak to the importance of supporting local (especially during COVID-19)?

Local businesses make up a significant portion of Canada’s economy and as locally owned and operated restaurants, Boston Pizza is proud to be a part of this ecosystem.

Local businesses bring growth and innovation to our communities, providing employment opportunities, and giving back to the communities in which they operate.

Supporting local is always vital to the economy, but even more so now, when so many businesses are struggling to survive with reduced revenue, new and rising costs and shifting operating requirements and regulations.

Why did you decide to participate in the Canada United program?

We chose to participate in Canada United because the program aligns with Boston Pizza’s conviction that the entire restaurant industry in Canada is currently facing unprecedented challenges.

The Canada United movement not only provides an opportunity to further support our many locally owned and operated franchisees but to also stand in solidarity with our fellow competitors big and small across Canada, all of whom have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

What results/success are you expecting to see from the program?

We are hoping to see an increase in human connections and support of locally owned and operated businesses across the country. Our partnership in this initiative is to show solidarity and support of not only our restaurants but other small businesses as well.

Learn more about the Canada United program here and read about how local brewery Vancouver Island Brewing is taking part in the event here.

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