Jim Treliving and George Melville have more than just a slice of the action.
The chairmen and owners of Richmond, B.C.-based Boston Pizza International, Inc., have come up with a recipe for success that has seen them scoop up two prestigious business awards this year, including their latest, the 2004 Henry Singer Award from the University of Alberta-based Canadian Institute of Retailing and Services (CIRAS).
The national award, which recognizes exceptional leadership in the retailing and services sector, was held this year in conjunction with the province’s first Alberta Retail Week. Previously, Boston Pizza, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, was named to Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies Platinum Club.
Both Treliving and Melville credit their success to a strong team, franchisees that push the duo harder by continuously challenging them to make Boston Pizza better and an amazing partnership.
|Jack Dagley, Business Edge|
|Fred Singer, centre, serves up a slice to business leaders Jim Treliving, right, and George Melville.|
That partnership aspect was a key reason why CIRAS found them attractive when it came time to decide on naming the 2004 award recipient, organizers said.
As part of the award, both will impart their philosophy on partnerships and why theirs has worked to make Boston Pizza the company it is today – with more than 200 restaurants across Canada, the United States and Mexico – to the university’s school of business students next year, where they will spend two days as executives in residence.
The students will learn that the winning ingredients for any partnership include continuous open lines of communication, trust and focus.
For Treliving and Melville, though, the ceremony at the Westin Hotel in Edmonton last week was overwhelming, in part because the Boston Pizza chain was started in that same city 40 years ago by Gus Agioritis.
From that one store in Edmonton – which took the Boston name because of a fellow named Bill Boston that Agioritis knew and the fact that the NHL’s Boston Bruins were hot at the time – Treliving and Melville have transformed the company into the country’s No. 1 casual dining concept – based on independent market research from the CREST industry study.
The two, however, were a somewhat unlikely pair to become the driving engines of a company that does more than $370 million in sales and served 25 million customers in 2003.
Treliving was a Mountie, who to the astonishment of his father gave up his police career and a future pension to go into the pizza business. He opened a Boston Pizza restaurant in Penticton, B.C., in 1968, becoming the company’s first franchisee, and has never looked back. “This is not a job,” said Treliving. “I walk into work and I’m having fun.”
Melville, an accountant who hit it off with Treliving when they got to know each other during Treliving’s early years with Boston Pizza, also shocked his father by giving up the potential of a partnership down the line had he stayed with the accounting firm of Peat Marwick. Melville, who fully entered the Boston Pizza picture in 1973, has no plans to leave the company any time soon.
Further expansion into the U.S., where the chain is called Boston, The Gourmet Pizza, keeps Treliving busy in the company’s Dallas offices. With 20 stores in the U.S., they have already sold 96 more to franchisees that are waiting to have outlets built.
Melville remains in Canada, and speaks for the both of them when he said, “the award is a real tribute to all and reflects on the great work of everybody at Boston Pizza.”
The CIRAS Henry Singer Awards are in their 13th year and recipients are deemed to possess the gifts of fairness, humour, empathy, respect for and the acceptance of all persons, and show expressed commitment to family, friends, associates and the community.
The winners are named to honour the contributions of the late Henry Singer, founder of the Henry Singer Fashion Group.