After over twenty years working in high-tech sales, Bob Tuttle was ready for a change. The idea of running his own business had always appealed to him but he wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do. “To be honest, I didn’t have an idea,” he says. “There wasn’t anything jumping out at me, but I knew I liked managing people and I wanted to be in control. Franchising made a lot of sense to me if I could find the right one.”
Then, one Sunday afternoon, he decided on a whim to attend the FranchiseCanada Show in Ottawa. “I found myself with nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon,” he recalls. He had seen advertisements for the show and decided at the last minute to attend.
At the time, entrepreneurship was just a vague idea for Tuttle; he didn’t have any concrete plans to launch a business. His spontaneous trip to the FranchiseCanada Show changed all of that when he met with representatives from Boston Pizza. “I ended up spending an hour just chatting with them. The people at the show impressed me to the point that I thought, ‘if this is the calibre of individuals working at Boston Pizza, I want to be part of this organization.’”
Tuttle went home and decided to sleep on it. “I just let it sink in. It was very much out of the blue; it wasn’t like I was going out to buy a restaurant.” His next step was to assess his finances to see if he could afford the investment required. He then met again with the Boston Pizza team, this time at the franchise’s corporate head office.
After doing his due diligence, Tuttle decided to open a Boston Pizza restaurant in the Orleans suburb of Ottawa in 2006. “The concept made so much sense for me and my community,” says Tuttle, adding that he’s an avid sports fan and liked the idea of opening a family restaurant where locals could also gather to watch sports. “I really think franchisees should treat their franchise businesses as a local community business even though they may be part of a large corporate entity.”
The sense of ownership is his favourite part of being a franchisee. “This is mine. It’s something to be proud of, to build and develop something you truly feel is a result of your hard work and dedication.” He also enjoys training his staff. “Coaching and developing and working with people is something I’ve always enjoyed throughout my career.”
Having worked in the corporate world and now as a business owner, Tuttle says success in both careers is dependent on the same factors: “Delivering great service to customers, treating people with respect and hiring and managing great people. If you do those things, everything will fall into place.”
For those attending the FranchiseCanada Show, he recommends analyzing your finances to see what you can afford. “Know what you can handle financially and where you want to take it.” He also says to find a franchise you’ll be passionate about. “Do something that interests you and make sure you invest with an organization that you personally connect with and share the same values.”
For anyone considering a Boston Pizza franchise, he says previous experience in the restaurant industry is not necessary, as the company provides in-depth training for new franchisees. “Many of us have no restaurant experience so it’s something you need to take seriously and get engaged in,” he says.
After almost ten years as a successful Boston Pizza franchisee, Tuttle still has nothing but praise for the head office team. “They are extremely passionate, hardworking, smart people. They wake up every morning and care about the success or failure of Boston Pizza as a community restaurant and sports bar. Culturally, it’s a really good fit.”