Downtown London - News

February 2019

  • Burrito Boyz enjoys the flavour of downtown success

    February 8, 2019

    Burrito Boyz enjoys the flavour of downtown success


    By Sean Meyer


    After being approached about opening a Burrito Boyz franchise in London, Dave Strano took a leave of absence from his City of London job and headed to Toronto for hands-on experience in the restaurant business.


    After returning, he launched his first franchise at 206 Central Ave. in June 2012. A few years later Dave opened a second franchise, this one at 701 Wonderland Rd #2, not to mention a successful property management business based out of his Richmond Row homebase.


    Dave’s co-operator of the franchise was an old high school friend who had been working in the Toronto finance scene when the Burrito Boyz opportunity presented itself. 


    “We both lived in London, went to high school in London, we knew the student population had a good understanding of the Burrito Boyz brand, which we knew would help us,” Dave said. “In the last few years there have been a ton of restaurants moving onto the strip, which have all taken a little bite out of us, but by year two, three, four we were probably one of the most successful restaurants on the strip that doesn’t serve alcohol. At the beginning it was extremely exciting.”


    As much as he loves the food, and Dave readily admits he still enjoys the burritos on a fairly regular basis, it’s his business success that gets him the most excited.


    After all, between his two franchises and his property management company, Dave is supporting some 55 employees who then have the opportunity to pay their bills and support their families.


    His formula for that success essentially comes down to quality service and passionate employees.


    “Our retention of staff is pretty outstanding in food service and that’s a testament to them to be pretty great, which allows us to draw more business,” Dave said. “We also listen to our staff, do what we can to make them feel comfortable and happy. We couldn’t do this without them.”


    Dave is no different than most other small business owners and admits that “at the very beginning,” he spent a lot of time at Burrito Boyz. 


    However, he also understood “nobody wants to see a grumpy owner,” and so he has been fortunate to have good managers around at both locations who help ensure the “values of the Burrito Boyz brand” are being met.


    One advantage of that support has been finding the time to hang out with his wife Joanne and their two-year-old son, Joey.


    When it comes to having fun away from the family, Dave is most likely to be found at the closest football field, basketball court or golf course.


    “Watching and playing sports, I do that a lot. It’s always been a big part of my life. I play basketball, golf in the summer, touch football. I’ve always just enjoyed it,” he said. “Being able to have hobbies, finding that time for yourself, is the most important part of being a successful business owner.”


    Another part of what Dave said helps fuel his success is his connection to the downtown.


    Not only did he grow up downtown, and his father had a restaurant in the core too back in the 1980s, but he sees it as what helps set London apart.


    “I’m very pro-core. I don’t really try to look at the negatives. The only thing I can’t control is more and more restaurants coming down here. But at the end of the day, someone is just trying to make a living,” he said. “We’re all sisters and brothers down here, trying to be family. We talk about business together; we’re all just trying to do the same thing. If they’re busy, we’re busy. It’s not about us versus them.”


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