Of the 10,000 new suppliers each year that “audition” for a shot to play with the nation’s largest retailer, only about 200 get the coveted part. “There are stringent guidelines to get any product or idea accepted within the ranks of Walmart,” explains Chase Canfield, the 31-year-old CEO of Papa Bello Pizza. “It took a while to put the brand together and have it formed to meet all the criteria. We had to have everything absolutely perfect.”
Canfield, a young real estate entrepreneur based in Las Vegas, developed the Papa Bello brand with a business partner, funding the venture with his own personal finances. They opened their first store in a Missouri Super Center Walmart in the fall of 2005. “This was an incredible opportunity to get our brand established in a location that would allow us to really get our name out there quickly. Just a few years later, Canfield is doing business solo and has 19 locations inside Super Center Walmarts in 13 states and just opened his first inline shopping center location this past July in Castle Rock, Colo. “So far everything is going very well and we are excited about the possibility of diversification.” The company is looking to develop the concept of Papa Bello Expresses, which would be placed inside convenience stores, and sporting arenas.
THE PAPA BELLO WAY
Papa Bello’s delivers with an ever-changing menu ready to please. “We feel lucky to be in the pizza game,” says Canfield. “It is a food that can feed a large group for much less than other food items and it appeals to a wide base of people from young to old.”
Papa Bello Pizza operations are anywhere from 1,600 to 2,200 square feet, with a warm, welcoming atmosphere and offer a snacks and sides menu (featuring everything from nachos to soft pretzels) a variety of pizzas, subs and salads, as well as calzones and pastas. “We’re constantly adding new product and diversifying the menu. Consumers want to try new things and we always have different specials of the month,” says Canfield.
Papa Bello Pizza’s latest offering is a mouth watering and gut busting Double Decker Pizza – a pizza on top of a pizza. “We have been testing it in store and it is being very well received. It’s a great product and we’re looking to launch it in other stores,” says Canfield.
Papa Bello Pizza recognizes that menus and different items can vary in their popularity depending on where a store is, and therefore give their franchisees a great deal of flexibility and creativity when it comes to different menu items. “We understand that some areas may be able to sell certain items much better than others and we also want our owners to feel like owners. We value their input and ideas. We allow our franchisees to share their input and make requests based on their market and I think that is something that makes us unique. Menu development is a collaborative process and it can be exciting and fun to come up with new things to offer consumers,” explains Canfield.