Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Mystique of Pizza Pizza

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The Mystique of Pizza Pizza

By Inari Fushimi
The Daily Magi
October 12, 2066

Pizza Pizza Limited is a franchised Canadian pizza fast-food restaurant, with its headquarters in Etobicoke, Toronto. Its restaurants are mainly located in the province of Ontario. Other locations operate in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and in western Canada. Franchises in western Canada are mostly run through Alberta-based subsidiary Pizza 73, and in non-traditional locations such as university campuses and movie theatres throughout Canada. It has over 500 locations, including over 150 non-traditional locations. A training centre for franchisees is located in south Etobicoke.

The chain, founded and owned by Michael Overs, opened its first location on December 31, 1967, at the corner of Wellesley and Parliament Streets in Toronto. It expanded throughout the Toronto area in the 1970s, and throughout the rest of Ontario throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The chain opened in the Montreal area in late 2007 with locations in the Montreal boroughs of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Pierrefonds-Roxboro, although the very first Pizza Pizza restaurant to open in Quebec was located in Gatineau, and opened its doors in March of the same year. Starting 2012, the total revenue of Pizza Pizza in this province accounts for 21% of the market, leaving place to first and second chains being Domino's and Pizza Hut with 30% and 23% respectively, but coming third well after Double Pizza, whose revenue is now only 15%, as compared to 26% in 2006 (just before Pizza Pizza was introduced).

Pizza Pizza begun to expand significantly outside Ontario during the 2000s. In its 2005 IPO filings, the chain announced it would consider expansion in western Canada, potentially including purchasing existing local chains. This led to a June 2007 agreement to purchase Alberta-based Pizza 73. As well, in October 2006, the company announced it would expand in the Quebec market, beginning with sponsorship of the Montreal Canadiens. The chain expanded to the British Columbia Lower Mainland in 2009 (Pizza 73 already had a location in Prince George in the B.C. Interior), and soon thereafter added locations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Pizza Pizza opened its first store in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June 2010.

In 2005, the Pizza Pizza Royalty Income Fund (TSX: PZA.UN), an open-ended trust, completed its initial public offering. Pizza Pizza Limited, which remains privately held by Overs' son-in-law Paul Goddard, pays the Fund 6% of the sales of its restaurants in Canada.

Major southern Ontario competitors include Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Little Caesars, Gino's Pizza, 241 Pizza, Double Double Pizza, and Pizza Nova. Two other major Canadian chains, Greco and Panago, which have a presence similar to Pizza Pizza in the Atlantic and Western Canada respectively, have also recently entered the Ontario market. In Montreal, Quebec, its competitors are Mikes and Double Pizza.

Starting in 2009, Coca-Cola products replaced Pepsi products at Pizza Pizza. The company's founder, Michael Overs, died on the morning of March 31, 2010. His son-in-law, Paul Goddard, was appointed CEO.

Pizza Pizza uses the self-explanatory slogans "Hot & Fresh" and "Ontario's #1 Pizza!" but is best known for the chain's centralized Toronto phone number, (+1-416) 967–1111. The distinctive jingle "nine six seven, eleven eleven, call Pizza Pizza, hey hey hey" played extensively on Toronto commercial radio in the 1970s – a mass-marketing approach which would not have been viable if each location had published its own individual telephone number. The company claims that its early adoption of the centralized single-number ordering system, and its subsequent use and heavy promotion of this rhyming phone number, helped the chain to grow and soon dominate the Ontario pizza market.

One unique central local number is used for all locations until it becomes a long distance call. In other cities, local numbers are requested with the "11-11" suffix to match the standard jingle in the chain's radio advertisements (Belleville, for instance, is +1-613-967-1111). Pizza Pizza has registered "967–1111" and variants as trademarks. The strategy of deploying one central, easily memorable and heavily-advertised local number for all locations in a city's local calling area has now been adopted by most of Pizza Pizza's largest Toronto competitors.

Outside of Ontario, Pizza Pizza has benefited from various pop-culture references. Toronto musicians Moxy Früvous mention it in their song "King of Spain". A chapter of Michael Moore's book Downsize This! advises illegal immigrants who want to sneak into Canada at Niagara Falls to memorize Pizza Pizza's Toronto number to appear Canadian. Moore cites Pizza Pizza as Canada's "national pizza chain" when at the time of publishing they did not have any locations outside of eastern Canada.

"Pizza! Pizza!" is also recognized, primarily in the United States, as the slogan for another pizza franchise, Little Caesars. The companies are not affiliated and in fact compete in many areas of Canada. Little Caesars has been prohibited from using it as a slogan in Canada, as part of Pizza Pizza's court defence of the trademark and the great possibility of confusion between the two firms. Pizza Pizza sold rights to the use of its "Pizza Pizza" radio jingle and slogan to Little Caesars in 1979.

A popular promotion at NHL games resulted in the Ottawa Senators line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson (before Heatley's departure in September 2009, to play for the San Jose Sharks) being called the "Pizza Line" as they often contributed to scoring the 5 goals necessary in a Senators win to redeem ticket stubs at a Pizza Pizza for a free slice. Subsequently, the promotion was raised to 6 goals in a game.

Pizza Pizza's canned Coca-Cola products have a gold top instead of the more conventional silver top. This is so that it is obvious whether or not Coca-Cola products being sold by Pizza Pizza franchisees have been purchased through the Pizza Pizza commissary or not, for control purposes.

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