October is “National Pizza Month” and last week my children and I were invited to Pizza Pizza Training Center (Pizza Pizza University), where we learned all about how to make pizzas and the passion employees and franchisees have for their pizzas and community. Pizza Pizza is actually an important part of my families life, Friday’s is pizza lunch day at my children’s school and Pizza Pizza supplies the pizzas. This means that I don’t have to pack 4 lunches! More than that I help to serve pizza lunches on Friday and get to see my children in their own world plus their school is able to fundraise. Pizza Pizza is Section 8 certified in Ontario, parents know that the pizza meets all government guidelines for health and safety.
Pizza Pizza opened its first restaurant to Canadians in 1967 at the corner of Welleseley and Parliament in Toronto. That same year it worked with a car upholsterer to create the world’s first insulated pizza delivery bag. Since it’s humble beginnings Pizza Pizza has grown and has 694 (traditional and non-traditional) locations found in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. It is open 364 days a year, only closing for Christmas. It’s mission statement is simple “To provide the very best food, made especially for you”. Pizza Pizza uses more than 10 million pounds of cheese a year and 3.6 million liters of pizza sauce a year. It’s busiest days of the year are Halloween, Super Bowl and New Years Eve.
Ben (I’m calling him “The Dean”) is head of Pizza Pizza training and was our tour guide for the evening. He took us through the Etobicoke training center answering questions and explaining the facilities commitment to quality. The highlight was the training kitchen where we all had our own stations and where taught how to make pizza! We were outfitted in Pizza Pizza gear and made whatever type of pizzas we wanted. My children had such an amazing time they are asking when they can come back. They were able to make their own pizzas and cook for their family. The Dean is passionate about pizza, however, he also embodies Pizza Pizza’s commitment to social responsibility which is an important part of the organizations moral, entrepreneurial and cultural fabric. Pizza Pizza sponsors hundreds of community-related initiatives and nurtures participation in the enjoyment of sports, arts and cultural activities. In 2007, it started a foundation, Slices For Smiles, that seeks to raise funds and awareness for children’s causes across Canada. This year it is raising funds for 14 children’s hospitals across Canada. Participating in Slices for Smiles easy, all you have to do is walk in to any Pizza Pizza location and purchase a medium pepperoni pizza for $4.99 from October 14 to November 10, or a special smile half-pizza for only $2 from October 14 to 27. In addition, those that purchase the popular $4.99 walk-in deal will receive a $10 Toys “R” Us Save & Crave card. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these two menu items will be donated to Children’s Miracle Network.
In addition to the proceeds, Pizza Pizza invites customers to top off their purchases with a donation on orders placed by phone, online, in-store or through the Pizza Pizza mobile ordering apps. All traditional Pizza Pizza restaurant locations across Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia will participate in Slices for Smiles. Funds that are raised locally will stay in the community to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network member hospital in that region. Slices for Smiles Foundation has raised more that $1 million for children’s charities in Canada.
Making pizza’s is hard work. I dropped my first one admiring a pair of silver flats. I was foiled by shoes.
The Dean at Pizza Pizza University. Ben’s passion for making great pizza is only countered by his passion for Slices for Smiles.
Now for a little giveaway! Pizza Pizza is giving my readers a chance to win a $50 Pizza Pizza gift card. This contest is only open for residents in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia where you can find a Pizza Pizza location. What’s your favourite pizza? Mine is the Pulled Pork Pizza.