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In Pictures: Boston Pizza's ever-growing piece of the pie

After failing at expansion into Eastern Canada, the company regrouped and tried again

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Boston Pizza’s co-owners George Melville, left, and Jim Treliving, pictured in 2009. In 1968 Mr. Treliving, then an RCMP officer, opened his first franchise in Penticton, B.C., with consulting help from Mr. Melville, an accountant. The pair eventually opened 16 restaurants in British Columbia and bought the company outright in 1983 from its owner.

Handout/Boston Pizza

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Mark Pacinda was hired to manage Boston Pizza’s expansion into Eastern Canada in 1997. Now the restaurant chain has 107 stores in Ontario, 25 in Quebec and 19 in the Atlantic provinces, and Mr. Pacinda is the company’s president and chief executive officer. The firm continues to expand into urban cores and airports and underserviced smaller communities in Eastern Canada. Today Boston Pizza has 351 locations across North America.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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The interior of a Boston Pizza on Front Street West in downtown Toronto. In 1986, Mr. Treliving and Mr. Melville oversaw Boston Pizza’s first major turning point as it became the official pizza supplier of Expo 86 in Vancouver. Sponsoring the expo alongside Coca-Cola, General Motors and other big brands garnered Boston Pizza significant attention.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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This is Boston Pizza’s Rustic Italian pie. As a result of the company’s appearance at Expo 86, its brand strengthened and it opened an additional 114 stores in Western Canada over the next decade.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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The company has some fun with in-store customer interaction. Canadian restaurants need to be creative to expand their market share. The industry grows only about 1 per cent a year, meaning that ‘you need to literally be stealing [market] share from competitors,’ says Robert Carter, who heads the Canadian food services division of retail market researcher NPD group. His company’s surveys indicate Boston Pizza is Canada’s No. 1 full-service dining brand.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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Pictured is the Five Cheese Pizzaburger. The company’s leadership is based across North America – Mr. Melville in Vancouver, Mr. Pacinda in the GTA and Mr. Treliving in Dallas, overseeing U.S. expansion when he’s not investing in new Canadian businesses on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. The market to the south, with 50 locations, including one in Mexico, is still ripe for expansion, but the company is being cautious as the U.S. restaurant industry slowly comes out of recession.

Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail

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