For pizza lovers everywhere, Andrew Craig has a dream job: director of operations and new partner at Fiazza Fresh Fired.
But it’s not all fresh dough and delicious toppings. After a 30-year career in the restaurant industry, Craig joined Fiazza in 2020, just as the business closed its doors during COVID-19 lockdowns. His mission was to understand the company inside and out before helping to re-launch it successfully, handling everything from staffing to supply chain issues.
Founded in 2014, Fiazza specializes in artisanal, classic Neapolitan-style pizza with a thin crust. With four Ottawa locations, it didn’t take long for Fiazza to bounce back from the pandemic.
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“Thankfully, we have a great fan base and our staff are so amazing,” Craig says. “I think that was the best part for me.”
Before joining the restaurant, Craig took an online course with Harvard University, learning how to improve the health and well-being of employees, consumers, communities and the environment.
“We try to provide products that are better quality,” Craig explains, adding that it’s not just important for customers, “but for our staff to have some healthy options while they’re working or having a break.”
Charity event series
For example, Craig says Fiazza recently switched from a bacon crumble made with liquid smoke to a healthier product made in Ontario that contains fewer nitrates and salts.
“(It’s) traditionally smoked and it’s delicious,” he adds.
In addition, Fiazza makes everything in-house, from sauces to doughs, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, experimenting with items like chorizo spice tofu and jackfruit pepperoni.
Along with providing healthier eating options, Fiazza is on a mission to support the environment and community through its charity event series, “Pizza With a Purpose”, which launched during the pandemic and sees Fiazza partnering with local chefs and donating proceeds from pizza sales to a local charity.
To date, Fiazza has raised $10,000 to support organizations such as the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.
The next event will be held April 28, when every dollar spent will go to the Red Cross to support relief efforts in Ukraine. Skip the Dishes will be offering free delivery on the date and an online donation portal will be available after the actual event is over.
“The world is in turmoil with what’s happening in Ukraine,” Craig says. “I think it’s important that we reach beyond just our community and make sure we’re helping out in that crisis.”
With four restaurants from downtown Ottawa to Barrhaven, Fiazza Fresh Fired is looking to branch out even further through franchising and adding new locations.
“There’s a lot of demand,” Craig says. “People have been asking for a Fiazza in Kanata, in Orléans and in South Keys – we’re excited to look at the opportunity to expand again.”
The Bright Side of Business is an editorial feature focused on sharing positive stories of business success.
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