Score Pizza’s director of operations Gabrielle Arvanitis shares her experiences as a young franchise professional
By Jessica Burgess
The abundance of opportunities in the world of franchising means that there’s no one way—and no one age—to be part of a thriving franchise system.
Score Pizza’s director of operations, Gabrielle Arvanitis, has quickly climbed up the ladder of success since joining the brand in 2020. Arvanitis was new to the franchising industry when she started with Score Pizza, but had 13 years of experience in the hospitality industry under her belt.
“My introduction to Score Pizza was working as the general manager for the Waterloo, [Ontario] corporate location, where I learned the ins and outs of the brand and what’s involved with the franchising model,” explains Arvanitis, adding, “I discovered that franchising is an incredible model for building relationships and growing a brand with like-minded individuals, all with the same goals and with that teamwork mentality. It’s also comforting to have the experience and support of a successful team and system behind you.”
It’s no surprise that Arvanitis has found success with the brand, now in her role as director of operations.
“Score Pizza is really all about serving an incredible thin crust pizza, quickly, in our stone-fired oven, and really giving a customizable experience,” says Arvanitis. “The atmosphere and culture are very important, and that’s what makes the brand unique.”
On top of the strong support from head office for each location, there’s invaluable support among colleagues and franchisees. “When you [buy into a franchise], you’re buying into a system that simply just works! Another amazing thing that comes along with franchising is that there’s a small team involved in the training and operations of the brand, so everyone is super accessible to you and willing to give you any support you need.”
A score for franchising
Franchising is unique in its ability to bring diverse people together for common purposes and goals, while contributing to local communities throughout the country. On top of that, the franchise model means people with various levels of experience work alongside one another, sharing their strengths and learning from one another. “Franchising allows me to meet so many people, some with thirty-plus years of experience within the hospitality industry and others who are new to the industry,” Arvanitis explains, adding that she has the opportunity to work with franchisees who have a wide range of prior experience and needs. “This makes every day so different, and has really allowed me to tailor my support to what each franchisee needs rather than giving them surface-level support.”
While being a young female in a male-dominated industry has many challenges, Arvanitis says, “working with Score Pizza has really given me the confidence in my abilities and shown me my strengths. It’s very exciting working so closely with entrepreneurs who see the value in [joining] a system that you’ve helped create.”
Arvanitis notes that the most common challenge she faces is working with people who have more experience and who may minimize her years in the business. But her passion for her work is evident, and she brings that youthful energy into all she does with the company, proving that there is no one “right” age for franchise success.
She says that she’s well supported by colleagues and knows that her hard work and dedication speak to her capabilities. “Despite being in an upper-management role,” says Arvanitis, “I make sure, no matter how busy I am, that I’m on the line and in front of customers every day. This daily practice ensures that I’m never out of touch with what our franchisees need or the joys and challenges they face on a daily basis.”
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As director of operations, Arvanitis is mainly responsible for continuing the company’s growth year after year, making sure every restaurant is serving up the highest quality products and services. “Staying organized, informed, current, and executing our system to the best of our abilities is how we maintain our incredible products and amazing team,” says Arvanitis. In addition to this big-picture task, she also oversees the day-to-day operations of the corporate locations in Waterloo and Kingston, Ontario, provides support for the daily operations of franchise locations across Canada, and oversees marketing campaigns.
“I’m responsible for maintaining all online ordering platforms, making collaborations and partnerships within the communities that we’re based out of to help support the daily growth of our restaurants,” she explains, “and I ensure that all our stores are operating at an optimal capacity and executing the brand vision.”
Score Pizza, a fairly young brand born in 2016, is continuing to grow. “A recent milestone that we’ll be achieving is opening our first location outside of the province of Ontario,” says Arvanitis of the brand’s expansion into Halifax. “We’re super excited to bring Score Pizza to the East coast and have the communities there experience our unique serving style and amazing pizza.” In addition to this, Score Pizza is launching a smaller restaurant prototype. “This smaller format will make Score Pizza more accessible to all types of franchisees,” Arvanitis explains, “and allow us to move into [more] markets than ever before.”
For those considering franchising, Arvanitis recommends following the protocols and procedures that the franchise has in place which have been proven to work, while asking pertinent questions along the way. “We’ve streamlined every system to ensure we’re not limited in how much volume each restaurant can do,” she explains. “We keep our system simplified to ensure that support is available to each franchisee at the time they need it.” This support is on the micro and macro level, including marketing assistance with events and campaigns at the store level.
For those potential franchisees looking at Score Pizza, Arvanitis also suggests spending time in a corporate store, “to really get a sense of what the brand is about. We work very hard at maintaining an amazing atmosphere and creating a working culture like no other!” This culture includes embracing their identity as a Canadian brand, from the building materials used in the locations to the local suppliers and partners, as well as maintaining an open-door policy for franchisees and staff.
Any way you slice it, pizza is just good fun, Arvanitis says. “In the food and beverage industry, we have the very unique perspective of seeing guests on their best days and worst days, but we hope that visiting a Score Pizza location and interacting with our team will give you a mood boost—after all, pizza is Canada’s favourite comfort food!”