Business and Operations
Pizzerias choose elegance above all
By Michael Chusid, RA, FCSI
By Michael Chusid, RA, FCSI
In pizzerias across Canada, things are looking up. From little neighbourhood shops to elegant restaurants to the country’s largest pizza business, pizzerias have been discovering the benefit of a better-looking ceiling.
Installing a type of lightweight, decorative three-dimensional ceiling tiles called thermoformed panels, instead of conventional mineral fibre tiles, has enabled restaurants to create attractive dining rooms. These ceilings are particularly useful when opening up the kitchen into the dining area, because the panels are easy to clean and approved for use over food preparation areas: the same ceiling can be extended throughout the entire restaurant.
Pizzerias have embraced several different styles of ceiling, and there are a wide variety of looks available, including several types of coffered ceilings, panels that resemble old stamped metal tiles, and a range of contemporary patterns. Ceilume, the leading maker of thermoformed ceilings, has supplied a large number of pizzerias with ceiling choices from their range of 40 patterns. Unlike the old tiles, these ceilings don’t have to be white. Ceilume offers seven colours, as well as three faux-wood grains, three metallic finishes, and three levels of light-transmitting panels for making luminous ceilings. Some colours and finishes have 98 per cent or even 100 per cent recycled material.
Como Pizzeria, in Delson, Que., near Montreal, has Ceilume Stratford panels, a shallow coffer style, in Sand, a warm near-white colour that sets off the bright tricolour banners draped across the dining room. Restaurant Di Menna in Montreal, which started as a quick-service pizzeria in the 1970s and has expanded into a full-menu fine dining establishment, recently updated their look to create an elegant setting with Madison style panels. A square of dark metallic tin-finish coffers, framed in a white soffit, dramatically focuses attention on the dining area.
Ludica Pizzeria and Game Room in Vancouver mixes two panel styles to create a unique ceiling. The deep-relief floral Florentine style alternates with Fleur-de-lis, a stamped-metal lookalike, arranged in a white-on-white checkboard. It emphasizes Ludica’s brand as a game room with a collection of 300 board games for guests to play.
Paradiso Pizza in Kingston, Ont., uses thermoformed ceilings throughout the restaurant. Cofounder Lucia La Duca discovered the affordable ceiling option while searching online for “something different” when they moved their pizzeria across the street six years ago. “I didn’t know what I was looking for,” La Duca recalls, “but when I saw this one, that had to be it. It’s been six years and we’ve received lots of compliments on how very elegant and rich they look.”
In addition to the esthetic, La Duca appreciates how cleanable the panels are. “We just take them down, spray them off and rinse them. With the kitchen panels, we spray them with degreaser and they look brand new.”
Other advantages cited for Ceilume’s panels include greater strength, sag resistance, stain resistance, and durability. Because the lightweight panels are easy to install, many restauranteurs find they can perform their own installation or remodelling work without having to close the business while the work takes place.
Canada’s biggest player, the Pizza Pizza/Pizza 73 chain, is in the midst of a campaign to renovate or refresh 80 per cent of its 415 Pizza Pizza traditional locations, about half of which are getting complete renovations with new Ceilume thermoformed ceilings. Pizza Pizza selected black Stratford style for both the service counter and dining areas.
“It gives us a different look,” explains chief officer of operations Philip Goudreau. “It makes the lobby and the restaurant look a little richer. What our franchisees and operations team like about the ceilings is that they look great, and they’re terrific from a maintenance perspective. They’re easy to wipe down. They work perfectly in the restaurant setting.”
Michael Chusid, FCSI, RA, may be reached by phone at +1 818 219 4937 (UTC/GMT -8) and by email at email@example.com.