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The Local Profile - EDM

LOVEPIZZA really is a "Labour of LOVE"

November 9th, 2016

How long has LOVEPIZZA been around? After many months of planning, we opened the doors to LOVEPIZZA on January 29, 2016.

Background: We are a husband and wife team. Gavin is a chartered accountant by trade with experience in corporate finance. He is also one of the founders of Press’d the Sandwich Company. I (Braede) was previously working at a large oil and gas company in an operational position, scheduling pipelines.

What Drove You to Start LOVEPIZZA?  We love pizza! Our first date about 7 years ago was at a local pizza spot and it’s been part of our relationship ever since. Pizza is a social food, a fun food and something that people get excited and passionate about. We chatted for years about opening a pizza restaurant and starting a business together, but we just weren’t sure what it would look like. We love food, the challenge of “building” something – both tangible and brand-wise while connecting with customers.

Biggest Plus of Ownership:  It is an amazing feeling to be able to put your own stamp on something. The values that we drive home with our team which hopefully transfer over to the service provided for our customers in our restaurant are so important to us. We want our customers to feel like they have had a memorable experience from the moment they walk through the door to the time they leave. As an owner of a small business, you are the one to make decisions, improvements and respond to whatever the day or week throws at you. That’s exciting and challenging.

Biggest Drawback of Ownership:  No matter how good your team is, there is often something that comes up and we are short staffed in the restaurant or something needs to be fixed. Gavin and myself are the ones to fill those gaps at a moments notice – whether it’s preparing food in the kitchen, working the line or in the dish pit. While this can be seen as a “drawback” to a lot of people – it’s also a great opportunity to really get in the thick of it, solve problems and make observations and improvements too.

Biggest Misconception About Ownership:  A lot of people probably think that when we aren’t physically in the restaurant that the “ship” is just running itself. We have a great team that loves this restaurant and brand but there are so many behind the scenes things that have to get done 7 days a week. When our restaurant is closed, we are still working. We don’t have traditional “weekends” – our busiest day in the store is Friday, so when everyone else is gearing up for the weekend, we’re gearing up for our big days.

Top Source of Inspiration:

The restaurant industry is always changing and evolving. Keeping up with new trends and equipment is always interesting. Translating traditionally plated dishes into pizza is so much fun – you can do so much with pizza!

For the charitable side of our business – through LOVEPIZZA Gives - we are inspired by our customers and the community we serve. There are so many amazing people in this city doing such impactful things. We are honored to be involved in promoting and supporting these causes. We love this city and how open it is to local businesses. There is so much support for entrepreneurs and such an opportunity to grow here.

Finally, and most importantly, we are inspired by our son. While we want to build a company that we are proud of and that is successful, we are building it for him as well. We hope that our legacy is made up of amazing pizza that brings people together while giving back to our community. Compassion, thoughtfulness, hard work and the importance of relationship and interaction are things that we hope our son learns from growing up in the LOVEPIZZA business. He is the future.

What’s your vision? Where do you see your business in 5 years? We hope to open more restaurants in the Edmonton area. We have just launched our delivery business through Skip The Dishes as well as our “Pizza Party” Program for large group orders through our website. We look forward to expanding both of those. We want to be known for having the best pizza in the city, unique spaces AND amazing service!

What Makes LOVEPIZZA Different? In addition to quality ingredients (many which are sourced locally – such as our Gold Forest Grains 100% Organic Whole Wheat Flour, Irvings Farm Bacon, Fresh Alberta chicken, Pinocchio’s Ice Cream and a wide selection of Alberta craft beers) we believe our service sets us apart. Whether you are 3 years old or 90 years old we want every guest to feel welcome and special while they are with us. We hope that we are a place where families come on a regular basis with numerous generations to build lasting memories. We offer a Kids Eat Free deal on Sundays which has been very popular with families – it is so great to see how excited the kids are to see their pizza being put together and cooked. And the parents go home happy too because they get the pizza they want too… and perhaps a beer or wine!

Favorite Family Past time: We have a son who is just over a year old so spending time with him and our Standard Poodle, Quincy is at the top of our list. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing. And, of course, we all love eating pizza!

Advice to Entrepreneurs:  Whatever you decide to do make sure YOU LOVE IT. Starting and running a business takes more time, energy and stamina than anyone can prepare themselves for. You must be willing to make sacrifices in the short term, be passionate about your field and do your homework. Gavin and I have been fortunate to have supportive parents and friends who have been there to help us throughout the process. We had our son during the planning phase of LOVEPIZZA and he was obviously very young when we opened, so that support network was so important to us. And it is so important to make sure you take care of yourself –  get to the gym, take the dog for a walk, go visit with friends. Sometimes it’s too easy to push that to the side, but if you aren’t feeling physically and mentally well your business is going to suffer. And have FUN with it – inject your voice and your passion into every message you put out in the world.

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