Canadian Pizza Magazine

Back To The Basics

Stacy Bradshaw   

Features Business and Operations Staffing

Pizza Pizza Sends Franchisees To University

A business owner is forced to wear many hats –
bookkeeper, chef, salesperson, and human resources whiz. It’s a
balancing act most often learned while in the process of daily

Ben Campoli is the director of training for Pizza Pizza and host of their annual Girl Guide and Boy Scouts tours.

A business owner is forced to wear many hats – bookkeeper, chef, salesperson, and human resources whiz. It’s a balancing act most often learned while in the process of daily operations.

Running a business seldom means getting to just sit back, learn and wear the “student” hat. But many could benefit from going back to the basics.

In the Pizza Pizza corporation, new franchisees are enrolled in what their director of training, Ben Campoli, calls Pizza Pizza University. While there, business owners become students. The basics are outlined in a nice and neat, eight-week package and reinforced in one-day seminars and cook re-certification programs.


Campoli is responsible for admitting the program and keeping materials up-to-date, applicable, and current with all legislation.

The university reminds students that they never stop learning – and establishes the fundamentals necessary to run a successful business, he said.

“If the ministry of labour says we need a new health and safety course, then that’s what we need to do, we need to comply,” said Campoli.

Pizza Pizza employs a corporate account rep to ensure legislative standards are met. For business owners, this may be another hat to add to the already leaning tower.

The duties expected of an employer in order to comply with Health and Safety standards are outlined by the provinces’ ministries of labour.

One key element to never be overlooked, according to Campoli, is to ensure that the staff is First-Aid and CPR certified.

During the eight-week program, Pizza Pizza University students are trained by an agency called Lifesaver 101. They are also trained by a guest speaker from the Bank of Montreal on how to detect counterfeit money. Campoli said the old way is the still the best way – feel it.

Students are taught customer service training, marketing, WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System), cash control, scheduling, ordering and how to make a business plan in the eight-week start-up program. On a yearly basis, one- and two-day courses on food-handler certification, customer service, health and safety, and cook re-certification are held to reiterate necessary skills.

“It’s sort of the old adage of if Chrysler comes out with a new model car from last year – it looks the same but you still got to be trained on the brake system. It doesn’t make you a bad mechanic, it makes you a better one because it helps you understand the vehicle better,” explained Campoli.

If chefs are not pinching the crust properly, for example, and making too thick of an edge, these one-day crash courses serve as a reminder.

Campoli is also an integral part of the product development team.

“Customers tell us what they want,” said Campoli. He explained that the proliferation of things like multi-grain crusts with flax and sunflower seeds, wheat germ and natural honey, only occurred because that is what the customers asked for.

“When I started in 1988, we had three sizes of pizza – a small, a medium and a large; now, we have five sizes. And the ingredients – back then it was a question of with or without anchovies on the large deluxe …  I never dreamed you’d have asparagus on a pizza and artichoke and real black kalamata olives from Greece … people want it.”

Campoli appreciates the opportunity to point out pizza’s health benefits during their Girl Guide and Boy Scout tours – he asks the kids if they knew it covered all four food groups. People think pizza is just fast food, he said. It’s not; it’s high-quality food, but because of the speed of delivery and that magic number, people sometimes lose sight of that, Campoli added.

“People need to be educated … you can eat smart with a pizza.”•

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