As an Economic Development Officer it’s exciting when you can talk to, and welcome, new businesses and franchises to Drumheller. It’s inspiring to see and hear the excitement of the valley’s people when they learn about a new business operating and even more inspiring seeing the enthusiasm of the business owner(s) themselves.
Tony Ibrahim is the franchise owner and operator of Pizza Hut in both Drumheller and Canmore. In November of 2014 he opened the Drumheller location with the official grand opening occurring on January 28th, 2015 at noon.
“The doors were crashed” Ibrahim says about that first day. He couldn’t believe the support of Drumheller and area on that inaugural day. He recalls a story of talking to a customer who had been in line for a long time.
“Why aren’t you upset for waiting over an hour for your Pizza?” asked Ibrahim. The customer’s response was quick. “Simple. You’re new and we want to try it.”
The story of Pizza Hut moving to Drumheller goes back to early 2014 and involves skiing of all things. Ibrahim’s business partner wrapped up a skiing trip by visiting both Drumheller and Canmore to see if the towns were viable places for Pizza Hut franchises.
He then told Tony about the locations and proceeded from there. The two quickly learned that tourism was big business in the valley and that the proposed location of Valley Plaza was perfect.
Ibrahim says “we could have gone anywhere else, but because of the very thing we heard about Drumheller and the tourism, everything that takes for us to build a Pizza Hut in any city or town, was already here.”
So the checklist was complete and it was decided in June of 2014 that Pizza Hut should open in Drumheller and negotiations with the landlord began thereafter.
As you can imagine there is a lot to do leading up to that opening date.
“There are a lot of studies that need to be done. Pizza Hut Canada is really good at helping us with studies” gushes Ibrahim.
These studies included analyzing the demographics, traffic counts, and market competition. He admits he was very impressed with the traffic count near Valley Plaza and monitored the location for several hours at various times throughout the day to gain a better understanding of how busy they could be.
The most recent traffic count from Alberta Transportation indicates the intersection of 3rd Ave and 2nd Street (highway 9) sees as many 10 thousands vehicles a day. Knowing this, he felt their location choice was more than suitable.
Once all of this information was collected, it didn’t take very long for Pizza Hut to become reality in Drumheller.
“The average Pizza Hut takes many months to complete and a complex project to undertake, but due to aggressive internal goals, we managed to open within four weeks, something which we feel was miraculous given the magnitude of the undertaking” stated Ibrahim.
Overall Ibrahim feels it has been a very positive experience opening in Drumheller and they are still looking for help.
If you know somebody looking for a job right now, he encourages you to drop off a resume at the store. We wish Pizza Hut all the best in the valley and appreciate all the hard work it takes to get up and operating.
You can find Pizza Hut in Valley Plaza at 249 3rd Ave W in Drumheller or call (403) 856-0100.
If you know of a Drumheller business story that should be told, please email the Economic Development Officer at email@example.com or call (403) 823-1320.