LOS ANGELES — California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) has partnered with longtime restaurateur Samira Shariff to bring its signature California-style pizzas, pastas and salads to Canada for the first time.
CPK said it plans to open its first Canadian location in Edmonton, Alberta, in the next several months, with future plans calling for four more locations in the province over the next eight years. CPK also intends to add stores to Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto.
“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,” said James F. 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 US 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.”
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,” Shariff said. “Every time we’ve visited the US 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.”
Founded in 1985, CPK late last year announced an aggressive growth plan led by Giorgio Minardi, executive vice president of global development and franchise operations.
Minardi’s first area of focus will be Asia, CPK said. The company sees significant opportunities to expand its presence in Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia. Additional areas of focus in 2020 include the Middle East, Australia and Europe.
CPK currently has 40 international franchise locations in 10 countries.