Edit ModuleShow Tags

Boston Pizza International

Famous for its offbeat menu innovations, this Canadian powerhouse has amassed more than 400 locations across North America.



This location shows a typical store design from the early ’80s

 

Jim Treliving and George Melville share a slice in the ’80s

In 1964, Greek immigrant Gus Agioritis opened Boston Pizza (bostonpizza.com) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with plans for steady growth. But even he couldn’t have predicted how far it would come—thanks in part to a Royal Mounted Canadian Police officer named Jim Treliving. “Jim had been based in Edmonton and knew Gus; Jim was working at the pizzeria’s nightclub after hours as a bouncer,” explains Perry Schwartz, director of communications for Boston Pizza International. “He saw how much people liked the business and caught the bug to open his own.”

Treliving used his savings, pension and loans to open his Boston Pizza franchise in Penticton, British Columbia, in the late ’60s. He’d learned the recipes from Agioritis, and he soon brought in partner George Melville to oversee accounting and business plans. By 1983 they’d grown to 16 locations in the province. That year, they decided to buy the then-44-location company from Ron Coyle, who had bought it from Agioritis in 1978, and the power duo still oversees the 360 locations in Canada today. “We always tried to act big, even though we weren’t always a big brand,” Schwartz says. “We hired Howie Mandel as a spokesperson in the early ’90s, ran national TV campaigns and always released new innovations. We added a Hawaiian pizza to the menu in the early ’60s, when many Canadians didn’t know what pizza was, never mind Hawaiian!”

Boston Pizza’s head office oversees a growing empire

 

Today, the menu offers more than 100 items, many of which have been firsts in Canada—like the Pizza Taco, the Spicy Perogy Pizza, Pizzaburger sliders and the five-layer Pizza Cake. In addition to its 23,000 staff members in Canada, the company has accumulated 40 stores in the United States and eight in Mexico. It also has raised $20 million over the last two decades to support families and children in need through the Boston Pizza Foundation. Today, as the ever-growing company celebrates 50 years in August, Schwartz emphasizes that it will stay true to its core values while seeking new opportunities to grow. “We always focus on great food and a great customer experience,” he says. “But, of course, we’re always thinking, ‘Where do we go next?’” —Tracy Morin

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Product Spotlight - April 2019

PMQ brings you the brightest ideas around for April 2019

SmartMarket: 5 ways DoorDash drives sales to your business

Pizza Sports Make a Splash on ESPN3

As ESPN3 brings U.S. Pizza Team events to a national audience, pizza sports can raise your restaurant’s profile and help you boost your sales and profits.

Danger, Will Robinson? As Robotics Improve, How Will They Affect the Pizza Biz?

Food bots can already make pretty good pies. And as they get smarter and cheaper, they could reinvent the pizza business.

Chef's Corner: Anthony Spina-O4W Pizza

Inspired by his own grandmother, this New Jersey pizzaiolo has brought classic Grandma-style pies to the ATL.

How to Build a Private-Label Food Business

It all starts with a high-quality product and extensive market research, says Lenny Rago of Panino’s Pizza.

Pizza Sports are Here to Stay, and Competitors Are Set to Become Stars

Tips for gaining a competitive edge in this year's acrobatic events, broadcast on ESPN3!

How to Par-Bake Crusts in an Air Impingement Oven

Follow Tom Lehmann's five-step method to prevent the development of pita-like pockets in your crusts.

Tyson Smokehouse Pizza - Recipe of the Month

Bonici Mesquite Pepperoni and Bakin' Bacon top off this spicy pie from Tyson Foodservice.

Old Forge-Style Pizza is a Cut Above

As the self-proclaimed pizza capital of the world, Old Forge, Pennsylvania has a style—and a sense of community—that’s all its own.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags