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A Greek national starts his own restaurant in Alberta, Canada, names it after an American city, and an international franchise is born. That’s the story of Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar in a nutshell. But before it becomes world renowned, Boston’s will continue to focus on growing its North American presence with a successful formula that mixes the sit-down casual restaurant with a sports bar concept, said Chief Operating Officer Mike Best.
Aside from differentiating itself from the competition, the restaurant must continue to educate consumers about its brand, and set itself apart, especially from the completely unrelated chain called Boston Market.
“We do get people who say, ‘Oh, we thought you were the chicken place,'” Best said in an interview with Franchise Chatter, when questioned about whether the restaurant moniker causes any confusion among its patrons. “I’d rather be noticed than not noticed; so, it really hasn’t been a deterrent to selling franchises or anything. But the question does come up.”
Boston’s is “Like No Other”
“Boston’s is a restaurant like no other,” its website states, with “many unique traits that set it apart from other dining venues.”
Boston’s is a full-service, pizza-themed, casual dining restaurant and sports bar offering gourmet pizzas and pasta, along with a wide variety of other dishes, such as wings, ribs, burgers, entree-size salads, sandwiches, as well as a fresh kid’s menu.
“We go toe-to-toe with the big boys out there, the Chili’s, the TGI Friday’s, the Applebee’s, but nobody does exactly what we do out there,” Best said.
Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar (separate from Boston’s Pizza in Canada) currently has 45 stores in 23 different states and four in Mexico. The greatest concentration of outlets can be found in Texas, including five units in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. There are four company-owned stores and the rest are owned and operated by franchisees.
As the company strives to build its brand, it will concentrate on “backfilling” Texas by establishing units in more markets in that state and then focus on Florida and Michigan, where it has the second-highest concentration of outlets, he said.
The company plans to open eight new units in 2013.
Every Restaurant is a Competitor
At present, Best says, Boston’s competition is “anybody who’s looking to take money out of my pocket,” whether it be a quick-service, casual dining, or even a fine dining restaurant. In terms of the pizza and sports bar categories, California Pizza Kitchen and Buffalo Wild Wings are probably the biggest competitors, he said.
But offering a sports bar and sit-down restaurant in one location is how Boston’s is setting itself apart in building its brand.