By Nate Hedley
Former Pizza Pizza employee Vivek Sharma has found success as the owner of his own location. Sharma began working at Pizza Pizza in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2009, starting as a cook, then rising up the ranks to become manager. He opened his own Pizza Pizza location in September 2014.
When Sharma decided he wanted to own his own business, opening a franchise with Pizza Pizza was a no-brainer. “Instead of working for someone else I wanted to work for myself. Having worked in a Pizza Pizza franchise before, I saw how hard management worked to ensure the whole team was successful. It was really appealing to me to have that support. I didn’t look at other opportunities because I knew that with Pizza Pizza I can make a good living and be my own boss,” he states.
As an experienced Pizza Pizza employee, Sharma was familiar with the company’s culture and methods of preparing food. This basic knowledge was complemented by more advanced franchisee training. “The training was very comprehensive. Topics included food products, financial management, human resource management and other softer skills to ensure a well-rounded understanding of a typical franchise operation,” says Sharma.
Sharma finished franchisee training in August 2014. By September, 2014, he was running his own Winnipeg franchise. His restaurant was brand new, he notes. “It was a little bit scary when I opened up. I didn’t know how much sales were going to be,” he recalls.
Sharma was pleased that corporate support didn’t end once his restaurant opened its doors. “Pizza Pizza has been very supportive. We are in touch with them on an almost daily basis. Our local district sales manager visits us multiple times a week. The upper management also visits us frequently. There has been a strong marketing push in our territory to ensure that our community is aware of our location,” says Sharma.
Sharma cites flexibility as one of the best things about running a Pizza Pizza franchise. “One of the greatest benefits is that you get to manage your schedule with some flexibility. The flexibility helps when family matters need to be addressed,” he explains.
He plans to stay in Winnipeg, where he currently lives with his wife and six-year-old child. His ambitions extend beyond being a single-franchise owner, however. Sharma says he can see himself owning two or three Pizza Pizza franchises down the road. It might be an interesting challenge, he states, to take on a struggling restaurant experiencing low sales and turn the business around.
Sharma’s advice for new franchisees? “Expect the unexpected. The challenges come and go but the joy of creating something that you can be proud of is everlasting.”
To read more of Vivek’s success story, check out the January/February issue of FranchiseCanada Magazine, on newsstands now.