Winnipeg’s Enright family continues to expand its Boston Pizza franchise empire in Manitoba, with the scheduled opening next month of its 16th location.
Its newest restaurant/sports bar location is at 3894 Grant Ave., in the Charleswood Shopping Centre.
It’s a 6,400-square-foot, stand-alone building that will feature a dining room, sports bar and two seasonal outdoor patios — one for the dining room and one for the sports bar.
Richard Enright, who co-ownsthe 16 Manitoba franchises along with his wife Kim, their son Jonathan, and their daughter Karley, said they hope to open their newest location on Dec. 11. It will be their 11th in Winnipeg. Their other locations are in Portage la Prairie, Thompson, Steinbach, Morden and Selkirk.
"It (the Grant Avenue location) is going to have a sort of warm, modernized look — a little bit more than the previous (locations)," Richard said in an interview. "It’s going to hopefully service that southern side of the Assiniboine River."
He said when he and Kim opened their first Boston Pizza outlet in 1998, they envisioned opening four or five in the city.
"But the town got bigger, and we’ve found Winnipeg really likes Boston Pizza," he added.
"And there are more (outlets) to come. There are certain areas where we know we’ve got a market, we’ve just had trouble getting a location. Not that we’re not working on it, but sometimes you just can’t get where you want to be."
When asked how many more outlets they could open in Winnipeg, Enright replied, "I would think three or four at least."
He noted Sage Creek, Bridgwater Forest, West Winnipeg and Transcona are all growing areas, and all possible areas for new Boston Pizza outlets.
"But you’ve got to have the right parking and people have to have good access (to the site). It also has to have good visibility and... the right businesses around you."
Jonathan Enright, who is director of operations for the family’s ownership group, said it’s amazing how much their operations have grown over the years.
He also expects that growth to continue.
"We certainly hope to add a few more (outlets). Time will tell, but over the next few years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple more locations pop up. We’re looking to expand into those newer areas."
The Enrights aren’t the only local pizza-restaurant operators who have been expanding their footprint in Winnipeg this year.
A Little Pizza Heaven, which is co-owned by Winnipeggers Matt Stephenson and Dave Fox, opened its third outlet in the city during the summer.
As reported in September, Za Pizza also has been aggressively expanding its Winnipeg footprint, opening four new locations — two corporate-owned and two franchisee-owned — this year. And company founder Manly Cheung said he expects to open six or seven more franchised outlets in the city over the next 18 to 24 months.
A Little Pizza Heaven’s newest restaurant is at 1600 Ness Ave., in the Madison Square shopping centre.
It’s their biggest so far, with a 66-seat restaurant/lounge and a seasonal outdoor patio.
Fox said their first outlet opened about 11 years ago at 120 Osborne St. Like the Ness Avenue location, it’s a full-service restaurant which also offers a delivery and event-catering service. Their other outlet at 160 St. Anne’s Rd., which opened about two years ago, is a pickup and delivery location.
Fox said they opened a restaurant on Ness Avenue because their delivery service, which accounts for about half of their business volume, was getting a lot of orders from the St. James area.
"So when that location presented itself, we thought it would be perfect."
He and Stephenson also hope to open more restaurants in the city over the next few years.
"We have a lot of interest in Charleswood and a lot of interest in the Maples," Fox said. He also cited Sage Creek and Bridgwater Forest as potential targets for expansion.
"I don’t know if we’re going to go in the franchising direction, but for now, we’re just sort of going at a pace we can handle."
Jonathan Enright agreed the retail market for pizza is getting increasingly competitive.
"But no two (pizza-restaurant operators) are really alike. Different players have different types of pizza and at different price points," he said. "We’ve got our own niche and some of the other guys have got theirs and it’s good. For the time being, there is room to grow, and Winnipeggers are very fond of pizza. So we’re happy to participate..."
Richard Enright said one of the things working in Boston Pizza’s favour is that it has a diversified food offering, with more than 130 items on the menu.
"Pizza makes up a part of it, but it’s not the sole thing we do. You can also have salads, ribs, steaks, burgers and pasta. I think because of that variety, that puts us in a good place to sort of cater to a large crowd. But people do like their pizza."
He said they also offer a takeout and delivery service. It accounts for about 20 to 25 per cent of their overall revenue, and the dining room and sports bar operations generate the rest.
He said offering takeout and delivery gives people another reason to come to Boston Pizza.
"And if they can’t come to us, we can go to them."
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