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Pizza Salvatoré revels in the success of an extraordinary expansion plan

    Pizza has always been one of my favorite dishes, so when I was driving along Sources Blvd. in Dollard des Ormeaux recently and spotted a storefront at Centennial Plaza with the name “Salvatore,” I was naturally curious. Was this a new take-out place?

    Upon some quick research, I was surprised to learn that this is a growing chain in Quebec, with 61 Pizza Salvatoré franchises and counting.  Thus far there are a handful of locations in and near the  Greater Montreal area, including  Dollard, St. Leonard, Laval, Repentigny, Terrebonne and Mascouche, as well as the South Shore. They have expanded to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with Ontario (London) next on their radar screen.

    The five partners.  Sébastien, Katarina, Guillaume Jr., Élisabeth and Frédéric Abbatiello.

    It all started in 1964  when   Angèle Fecteau, a native of  Chaudière-Appalaches, and Salvatoré Abbatiello, originally from the province of Benevento in Italy, established their first pizzeria in Saint-Georges de Beauce. This soon became a family operation,  with the couple’s seven children getting involved. In 1987 Pizza Salvatoré franchises started to surface. It was only in 2018 when five of the founders’ grandchildren, Guillaume, Élisabeth, Sébastien, Katarina and Frédéric Abbatiello, took over the reins of the family business that expansion started to explode. To give you a better idea, there were 13 franchises when they took over.  In the fall of 2020, just months before COVID-19 hit all businesses hard, the grandchildren set a goal of opening a new restaurant a month. Despite the shutdowns, they have met their objective and some.

    “With the exception of two locations, our restaurants are open for take-out and delivery,” Elisabeth told me. “That is when we decided to focus on take-out and delivery. We expanded the hours and the size of our kitchens. It has worked!  We were literally raised in restaurant kitchens. We’ve been in every position. We knew from a young age that we wanted to get our hands dirty.”

    Known for its delicious pizzas and poutines, the fast-food chain has succeeded in the strength of the family’s entrepreneurial spirit.

    The first thing I did was go to their website and create a VIP Club account. For every six orders you get a credit of $14, taxes included, that can apply to everything on the menu such as delicious stuffed crusts pizzas, and decadent poutines made with daily fresh cheese curds.  In fact, I was immediately sent a $5 coupon code to apply toward my next order.  

    Via their website, I was able to make my order and schedule a pickup.  I was coming back from Ottawa, so I pulled up in Hawkesbury and inputted my order. I chose my pickup time and when I arrived in Dollard everything was ready for me.

    I chose one of their trademarks, a 12-inch Chinese Fondue Pizza.  It was superb, the sauce made with fondue broth and topped with mushrooms, cheese, marinated beef, red onions and broccoli. There are also three fondue dips.  I decided to order something to drop off for my mom and that turned out to be the BBQ Chicken Pizza, featuring spicy whisky BBQ sauce, chicken, cheese, red onions, fresh tomatoes and green onions. “I ended up savouring all the extraordinary, luscious filling,” mom told me later.

    Since my plan was to order enough to have for supper the following evening,   I also ordered six plain chicken wings (they have a variety of choices). These crispy wings are served with a side of ranch sauce for dipping. I also added a side of fries. The Poutine Tao tempted me, and so did some of the other pizza options. But those will have to wait until next time.

    Oh,  and I cannot forget about dessert, a decadent hot and soft eight-inch cookie sprinkled with crushed M&Ms.  There were eight portions that lasted me all weekend.  They also have dessert poutine. This decadent creation includes funnel cake fries, KitKat chocolate coulis, marshmallows and M&Ms.

    I ate half the pizza in my car while it was hot. When I had the leftover pieces for supper the next night,  I dropped them in my beloved air fryer and it took less than three minutes for them to come out crispy as if they were freshly baked in the pizza oven.

    While Salvatoré passed away several years ago,  Angèle continues to reside in Beauce and can still often be found at the original location.

    Pizza Salvatoré offers its own delivery service, besides the apps. “Eighty percent of our sales come from online orders,” says Elisabeth. “As for delivery, only three percent of sales come from those third-party services.”

    Dollard,  and to some extent St. Léonard, represented the chain’s debut in English Quebec. “It was a new challenge for us,” Elisabeth says. “We’ve done some different marketing. It’s been a good test.”

    The current owners want to keep expanding. “In the last few years, we have been approached twice by multinationals for a purchase,” Elisabeth reveals. “We listened to the proposals, but we weren’t really interested. We have confidence in our products, and in our team. We decided to roll up our sleeves and go for it.”

    For more details on locations, the menu and opportunities to become a franchisee, log on to www.salvatore.com.

    Mike Cohen

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