10 to Watch Winner 2022 – Bicycle Pizza – Douglas Magazine
Sector: Food, Restaurant, Retail
Year Launched: 2021
Founders: (left to right) Vanessa and Andrew Johnson
Unique Selling Proposition: Pivoting from fresh to frozen pizzas with plans for a restaurant in the works.
Strategy: Online and pre-order only.
Husband and wife Andrew and Vanessa Johnson didn’t backpedal when the opportunity arose to launch their new business with very little risk or overhead. Bicycle Pizza opened at Brentwood Bay’s long-established Beauregard Café just over a year ago, as a fresh pizza-only takeout operation.
Striking a deal with Beauregard owner Doug Mutch to use his kitchen, Bicycle had both wheels on the ground right away. But the changing rules of the pandemic had them quickly switching gears to offer frozen pizza as well — and they provided it using an online-only business model. The demand for frozen pizza was huge.
“We didn’t have a POS, we didn’t accept cash and we couldn’t do walk-up orders,” explains Vanessa. “It was all pre-order and order in advance. And pre-pandemic, if you would have told someone they had to pre-order their pizza a week in advance, they’d say you were crazy.”
“When we hatched Bicycle Pizza, it was not about manufacturing frozen pizza,” adds Andrew. “It was about: let’s make enough money to pay the mortgage, give me 40 hours a week and have some fun — and that’s great.”
The frozen pizza market has allowed them to expand their product sale reach at local grocers.
“I feel like we’ve struck a good balance between opportunism and following the lead, but at the same time keeping our quality product the focus of the show,” says Andrew.
The Johnsons had been experimenting with their pizza perfection for some time, baking pies at home so often that their two young kids have been inundated by new creations.
“Yes, there was pizza at breakfast,” says Andrew laughing.
The Johnsons have taken over Beauregard Café (renaming it Beauregard Commons) and have plans for evening pizza dining. It’s all been about flexibility and following the leads.