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Jeff Melnick, president of Boston's Pizza, spoke with NRN this week about how the chain has been faring.

Boston Pizza president Jeff Melnick on facing challenges as a casual-dining pizza chain during a pandemic

Canada-based Boston Pizza brand, with 21 locations in the US, on how they pivoted toward off-premise without the advantage of being a delivery-forward brand

Listen to this podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify or SoundCloud.

Over the past couple of months during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, while many pizza chains were seeing the benefit of their delivery-focused business, Boston's Pizza — the Canada-based pizzeria/sports restaurant with 21 locations in 15 states across the U.S. — struggled and had to close nearly half of their locations.

“We have gourmet pizza and it’s not the most inexpensive pizza, so we’re faring more like typical casual dining restaurant than some of the pizza delivery companies that have been wining in this situation,” Boston Pizza president Jeff Melnick said.

For the Boston's Pizza restaurants that stayed open, the company implemented operational changes across their franchise system in order to transition to a temporary off-premise business model, from scaling down their 80-item menu for delivery to customizing “touchless labels” to ensure customers that their food had been sealed.

But, as Melnick said, as many states are now allowing restaurants to reopen their dining rooms, Boston's Pizza is undergoing the process of recovery and slowly opening up their restaurants again. Currently, six Boston's Pizza restaurants are available for dine-in and in the weeks that they have been open have seen 75% of their usual sales.

“We’re still seeing positive sales trends,” Melnick said. “ [This is] going to be a challenge but that will be short lived.”

Listen to his story in this week’s episode of our Extra Serving podcast.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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