Boston's The Gourmet Pizza. Restaurant & Sports Bar has a long and eventful history that dates all the way back to 1964.
It started with Gus Agiortis, a Greek immigrant who had jumped ship in Vancouver, and then opened the first Boston Pizza in Edmonton, Alberta in 1964. He worked tirelessly to make pizza a household name in Western Canada. Gus' first restaurant was known as "Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House."
The company started franchising in 1968 and has since evolved from a "pizza joint" into a full service casual dining restaurant and sports bar. Six years after opening, Gus had 17 locations (two corporate and 15 franchised) in operation across Western Canada. Gus believed that a potential franchisee didn't need a restaurant background, but needed strong people skills, a passion for hard work and new horizons. This philosophy still stands true today.
Gus had created a popular concept, with strong values. Most, if not all, franchisees were either family or friends. The strong bonds that were created in the beginning continue today.
By 1978 the chain had expanded to 42 outlets. However, Gus was tired and wanted to spend more time with his family. Long time friend and employee Ron Coyle bought the franchise rights for 31 Boston Pizza restaurants in Western Canada and Ontario (Gus' brothers kept 11 and operated them under separate names.) Gus believed in this business ... "friends help friends." He knew Ron would continue his tradition of excellence.
The deal was signed in March 1978. Ron changed the name to Boston Pizza International Ltd, and the company entered a new era. Ron understood the need for communication between his franchisees, so he implemented the Annual Franchisee Conference, a tradition that remains today.
While all of this was happening, the relationship was building between Jim Treliving, a Boston Pizza franchisee, and his accountant George Melville. George provided business counsel and insight for Jim that helped build his restaurant and clientele.
In 1973 George and Jim invested in their first franchise together. Over the next ten years, they worked hard and opened a total of 16 restaurants. Both young men enjoyed the entrepreneurial spirit that Boston Pizza and its franchisees shared. They saw amazing potential within Boston Pizza and its franchisees, so in 1983 they purchased the entire 44 unit chain.
When EXPO 86 rolled into Vancouver, Boston Pizza joined on as a corporate sponsor and boasted three stores on the grounds, while mega-corporation McDonald's had five outlets. Expo was a ground breaking triumph for Boston Pizza sales. The EXPO experience gave the company worldwide exposure, a major league image and a foothold into an international future.
In 1992 Boston Pizza International Ltd opened up their corporate headquarters in Richmond, BC. Today, Boston Pizza is the predominant casual dining restaurant chain in all of Canada with over 350 locations.
In 1998 the Boston Pizza team set its sights on expansion "south of the border" into the United States. A U.S. headquarters was set up in Dallas, Texas. The Boston Pizza name was changed to Boston's The Gourmet Pizza to communicate the superior product offering ... this isn't just any pizza, it's "gourmet pizza" with a crust, seasonings and flavors unlike any other. Jim and George felt strongly that Dallas was the right place to set up shop because "if you can compete and win there, you can win anywhere."
The first U.S. restaurant opened shortly thereafter in December of 1998 in Tempe, AZ. It was obvious that the "Boston's recipe" easily translated to U.S. customers' tastes and cravings. Soon, more and more Boston's The Gourmet Pizza locations began opening across the United States. To keep pace with the rapid growth, Boston's U.S. headquarters in Dallas grew rapidly as well. All phases of restaurant operations, from training to marketing to recipe development, are now managed by the U.S. team.
Boston's continues its rapid growth today ... with over 50 locations across the U.S. and Mexico and numerous restaurants in development over the next several years. Boston's promise of delivering "two experiences under one roof" continues to satisfy more and more customers every day.
Our Namesake - "Boston's"
There are several popular variations on the origin of the name that have become part of Boston's folklore.
Myth #1: The Agioritis family landed in Boston when they first came to North America.
Myth #2: The fellow living upstairs from the family was named Boston.
Myth #3: Gus Agiortis chose three names (including the Greek Island where he was from) and the first two were rejected by the government. The third was Boston Pizza. When looking at a map, the brothers decided that the city of Boston was an easy name to pronounce. And the truth... Boston was a recognizable and established name ... Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Cream Pie. It was the "Big Leagues."