California Pizza Kitchen announced plans to bring its signature California-style pizzas, pastas, salads and more to Canada for the first time. In partnership with accomplished and longtime Alberta restaurateur, Samira Shariff, the elevated casual dining brand’s first Canada location will open in Edmonton in the coming months, the first of five locations planned in the province over the next eight years. As part of its accelerated global growth focus, CPK intends to further expand in Canada, including to Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario.

Founded in Beverly Hills, California, in 1985, CPK is celebrating 35 years of colliding unexpected flavors and high-quality ingredients to create uniquely craveable dishes, like the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, a No. 1 global seller, and CPK’s industry-first, vegetable-powered Cauliflower Pizza Crust. From artisan, California-style pizzas, to creative salads, better-for-you options like Power Bowls and Cedar Plank Salmon, and handcrafted beverages made with fresh, globally inspired ingredients, CPK is known for culinary innovations that lead the trends, served in a relaxed yet vibrant setting anchored by CPK’s hearth pizza oven and open kitchen, where guests can watch their meals prepared from scratch.

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“At CPK, we take great pride in sharing our passion for California-style pizza, fresh and creative ingredients and best-in-class hospitality with our guests around the world,” says Jim Hyatt, CEO of CPK. “We’ve had our sights set on expanding into Canada for many years now, to bring CPK a little closer to home for all of our Canadian guests who’ve become loyal regulars at so many of our U.S. locations, whether joining us on vacation or business travel. Now, we’re confident we have the right, deeply experienced partner in Samira Shariff to spearhead our entry into the market.”

Samira Shariff brings nearly 40 years of experience building successful restaurant brands in Alberta as a multi-unit franchise owner and operator in Edmonton. In addition, her son Naheed brings more than 25 years of experience in restaurant franchising and will serve as CEO of CPK’s Alberta footprint.

“On behalf of Samira and our team, we couldn’t be more excited and proud to be partnering with California Pizza Kitchen as their first franchisee to bring the brand to Canada,” adds Naheed Shariff. “Every time we’ve visited the U.S. over the years, our family has always made a point of eating at CPK. What we admire about the brand is its continuous evolution, forward thinking with modern tastes, from experimenting with new flavors and ingredients, to being leaders in better-for-you options, such as gluten-free and veggie-based Cauliflower Pizza Crust. We think CPK’s creative California vibe and innovative menu will resonate with Albertans and offer something completely new in the market.”

Giorgio Minardi, Executive Vice President of Global Development & Franchise Operations at CPK, continues, “We’re very proud to welcome Samira and Naheed to the CPK family as our first franchise partners in Canada. Their enthusiasm for our brand coupled with their deep experience developing successful polished casual and fast-casual restaurant brands in Alberta make them the perfect partners to bring CPK into Canada for the first time. We look forward to a successful partnership with the Shariffs and to welcoming our Canadian guests to dine with us in Edmonton in the coming months.”

In addition to developing the Alberta market, CPK plans to open additional markets in the country, including Vancouver and Toronto. The signing of the Canada franchise agreement kicks off CPK’s global growth efforts in 2020 and beyond, with additional plans to increase its presence in Asia, the Middle East, Australia and Europe.

CPK’s global footprint includes more than 240 locations in 10 countries and U.S. territories, which includes 40 international franchise locations as well as 16 domestic franchise locations in airports, casinos and stadiums throughout the United States.

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News, California Pizza Kitchen