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Meet the Franchisor: Pat Finelli of Pizza Pizza

Photos courtesy Pizza Pizza

By Emily Smibert
Over the past 50 years, Pizza Pizza has excelled in the Canadian pizza market, thanks in large part to the efforts of Pat Finelli, the chain’s chief marketing officer (CMO). Working alongside a team of dedicated professionals with expertise in product development and marketing, Pizza Pizza has blazed a path to the top, not to mention the hearts and stomachs of pizza lovers from coast to coast.

All in the family
At Pizza Pizza, everything is done in-house, including research, examining market trends and working collectively to come to the best decision possible.

“We don’t have an ad agency, we’ve got a product development team that meets and plays in the kitchen every day,” Finelli explains. “On the marketing side, we have a group that keeps me quite busy when it comes to promoting the brand on social media channels. Brainstorming is a big part of what we do to create radio jingles, billboard advertising and other marketing materials like our pizza boxes. It is really like a big family.”

The franchisor’s commitment to providing quality is more than just focused on adding trendy items to the menu.

“We are always thinking about how we can make our existing recipes better, so over the last few years, we’ve modified what we’re doing to give our customers the very best,” Finelli explains.

Such modifications have included cutting mozzarella cheese into bigger shreds for more pull and better coverage and dusting pizza dough with durum semolina flour instead of white flour for a more artisanal crust. The chain has also introduced vegan cheese and gluten-free crust.

“We want to accommodate every customer’s needs and are dedicated to listening to what consumers want,” says Finelli. “This includes new products, new flavours and tweaked recipes. We have also removed all artificial flavours from our menu and only use chicken raised without antibiotics and fed a vegetable and grain diet.”

Giving back
Pizza Pizza’s desire to please all of its customers is also reflected in its charity work. The chain prides itself on being about more than just great food and makes an effort to give back to its franchisees’ communities. Its charitable efforts include the Slices for Devices program, which collects old cell phones from community schools and businesses, and the Slices for Smiles Foundation, which raises funds for children’s hospitals across Canada. Pizza Pizza encourages franchisees to be an active part of their community and stresses the need for them to get to know their customers.

“We do all of the marketing for our franchisees, but they also need to be involved,” says Finelli. “It’s a win-win formula and, in the end, it’s all about dealing with people.”

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