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Pizza Pizza ( ) is a Canadianmarker franchise chain of pizza restaurants mainly located in the province of Ontariomarker. Other locations operate in western Quebecmarker, in western Canada (mostly through Alberta-based subsidiary Pizza 73), and in non-traditional locations such as university campuses and movie theatres throughout Canada. It has over 500 locations, including over 150 non-traditional locations.

History

The chain, founded and owned by Michael Overs, opened its first location in December 1967 at the corner of Wellesleymarker and Parliament Street in Toronto. It expanded throughout the Toronto area in the 1970s, and throughout the rest of Ontario throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The chain opened in the Montreal area in late 2007 with locations in the Montrealmarker boroughs of Notre-Dame-de-Grâcemarker and Pierrefonds-Roxboromarker.

Pizza Pizza has only recently begun to expand significantly outside Ontario. In its 2005 IPO filings, the chain announced it would consider expansion in western Canada, potentially including purchasing existing local chains. This led to a June 2007 agreement to purchase Alberta-based Pizza 73. As well, in October 2006, the company announced it would expand in the Quebec market, beginning with sponsorship of the Montreal Canadiens. The chain expanded to the British Columbiamarker Lower Mainlandmarker in 2009 (Pizza 73 already had a location in Prince Georgemarker in the B.C. Interior).

In 2005, the Pizza Pizza Royalty Income Fund ( ), an open-ended trust, completed its initial public offering. Pizza Pizza Limited, which remains privately held by Overs, pays the Fund 6% of the sales of its restaurants in Canada.

Major southern Ontario competitors include Pizza Hut, PFG's Domino's Pizza, Little Caesars, Gino's Pizza, 241 Pizza, Double Double Pizza,Pizza Corner, and Pizza Nova. Two other major Canadian chains, Greco and Panago, which have a presence similar to Pizza Pizza in the Atlanticmarker and Western Canada respectively, have also recently entered the Ontario market. In Montrealmarker, Quebecmarker, its competitors are Mikes and Double Pizza.

Marketing techniques

Pizza Pizza currently uses the self-explanatory slogans "Hot & Fresh" and "Ontario's #1 Pizza!" However, perhaps better known still is the chain's Toronto phone number, (416) 967-1111, the last four digits pronounced "eleven-eleven" to rhyme with "seven". The company claims that its early adoption of the centralized single-number ordering system, and its subsequent use and heavy promotion of this rhyming phone number, helped the chain to grow and soon dominate the Ontario pizza market.

In other areas, the local number usually ends in the "7-11-11" pattern to match a standard jingle used in the chain's radio advertisements. Pizza Pizza has also registered "967-1111" and its variants as trademarks. "967-1111" is registered in Canada under registration number TMA428709.

Besides its memorable jingle, Pizza Pizza has laid claim to being first - or among the first - to:

It has also recently secured product placement on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. As well as the Life and Times of Benjamin Moncada

Outside of Ontario, Pizza Pizza has benefited from various pop-culture references. Torontomarker musicians Moxy Früvous mention it in their song "King of Spain". A chapter of Michael Moore's book Downsize This! advises illegal immigrants who want to sneak into Canada at Niagara Fallsmarker to memorize Pizza Pizza's Toronto number to appear Canadian. Moore cites Pizza Pizza as Canada's "national pizza chain" when at the time of publishing they did not have any locations outside of eastern Canadamarker.

"Pizza! Pizza!" is also recognized, primarily in the United Statesmarker, as the slogan for another pizza franchise, Little Caesars. The companies are not affiliated and in fact compete in many areas of Ontario. Little Caesars has been prohibited from using it as a slogan in Canada, as part of Pizza Pizza's court defence of the trademark and the great possibility of confusion between the two firms.

Sports promotions

Pizza Pizza is especially well-known for the promotions that they run with local sports teams. In Ottawamarker, whenever the Ottawa Senators score six goals (the limit was five until the 2005-06 season) and win in a home game, fans can trade their ticket stubs in for a free slice of pizza at selected Pizza Pizza locations the next day. The promotion garnered considerable press during the first half of the 2005-06 season, when the Senators' strong play led to free pizza in nearly half of their home games. The promotion was changed during the 2007 NHL playoffs to whenever the Senators win a home game, regardless of score. This promotion also led to the Senators' high-scoring top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza being referred to as the "Pizza Line" by the Ottawa sports media and many fans.

Similar promotions exists in the Toronto area. For instance, if the Toronto Raptors score at least 100 points at a home game, all ticket holders are eligible to receive one slice of pizza the following day. At all Friday and Sunday Toronto Blue Jays home games, if any combination of Jays pitchers tally at least seven strikeouts (regardless of the outcome of the game), fans can then trade their ticket stubs for a free slice of pizza on the following Monday. If the seven or more strikeouts occur on a holiday Monday home game, the ticket stubs can be traded in on the following business day.

Pizza Pizza is also known to buy advertising in markets where it has no locations, purely for the television exposure. The chain had field advertising for the 94th Grey Cup in Winnipegmarker, despite not having any locations in Manitobamarker (aside from small outlets in a movie theatre and a hospital). This was due to its national sponsorship with the Canadian Football League.

In the past, it has also bought ice-level advertising in selected U.S. NHL arenas for games involving Canadian teams, using its full name notwithstanding Little Caesars' ownership of the American trademark. As of 2008, such U.S. ads instead use the single word "Pizza", accompanied by the chain's phone number in the home market of the applicable Canadian team.

Pizza Pizza University

A training centre for franchisees is located in south Etobicokemarker.

Notes

  1. It's game on for Pizza Pizza expansion in Quebec market, Pizza Pizza press release, October 11, 2006
  2. Pizza Pizza press release, January 28, 2009


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