Canadian Pizza Magazine

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A laugh a day helps Dino’s pay

Humour has been the cornerstone of Mr. Ayoub's success.


"I used to call him the flash,” jokes Rob Gushue of his former boss Claude Ayoub, who runs Dino’s Pizza in Charlottetown, P.E.I. “I’ve never seen anyone as quick as Claude at putting out pizzas.”

"I used to call him the flash,” jokes Rob Gushue of his former boss Claude Ayoub, who runs Dino’s Pizza in Charlottetown, P.E.I. “I’ve never seen anyone as quick as Claude at putting out pizzas.”

One night Gushue says he watched 70 pizzas go out in an hour.

Ayoub runs the business with his brother Rami, and says food quality and the clientele are driving their business through word of mouth. But what Gushue and Ayoub became most talkative about when it came to Dino’s was the workplace itself.

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“It’s a good environment to work in. Everyone’s happy, laughing, it’s not stressful like you usually find in a pizza restaurant,” says Ayoub. “Everyone’s happy and I try to keep everyone happy. I’m here most of the time, working seven days a week with no days off.”

Gushue, who has spent a little over 18 years in the restaurant business, learned much about how to treat staff in the time he spent working for Ayoub. He saw that Ayoub was always respectful and had a method of training that involved showing the first time, helping the second time and just watching the third time, all the while speaking to you like a good friend.

“Staff is very friendly, delivery drivers like to have fun, and that translates into the business itself when customers always see people laughing,” says Gushue. “He’s always joking about something, it’s kind of infectious.”

Ayoub must be taking equally good care of his clients. He says he receives about two callbacks a day from customers who have just received their orders and are phoning the store with compliments.

Charlottetown isn’t the easiest place to succeed as a restaurant, says Gushue. “You can’t walk 15 feet without bumping into a restaurant. There are not too many independents left on the island, a lot of Arabic food and many corporate chains. He’s getting a lot of repeat business, knows his customers by name, talks to them personally and when customers pick up their pizza they often end up talking to all the staff.”

Ayoub worked at the original Dino’s with his uncle in Halifax while he was taking computer science, and decided the business was right for him. The brothers opened Dino’s in Charlottetown in June 2007. The business has grown almost completely through word of mouth and an ad in the yellow pages. With the success of the past two years, Ayoub says he is definitely looking at opening another location. Although the economy is looking bleak, he’s hoping for a good 2009 and stresses staying positive.

Aside from pizza, the Dino’s menu includes Mediterranean food, subs, nachos, fish, burgers and donairs, one of their signature items. The Ayoub’s buy the meat fresh and prepare it for the donairs themselves, which Ayoub says you don’t see too much of anymore. The menu prices are very good for the quality, he says, adding that he buys the highest-quality cheeses. A large three-topping pizza only comes to $18.76 after tax, and delivery is free.

Great-tasting food at a good price is an asset to any restaurant, but the secret to Dino’s success lies in creating an atmosphere that clients and staff want to be a part of, and as a result, do business with.