Movers & Shakers: LìOLà Pizzeria

LìOLà Pizzeria takes pizza-making very seriously. LìOLà co-founder Anna Giampà Fiorilli, and her husband, serial entrepreneur Matteo Fiorilli, took their love of food and turned it into a flourishing business. Anna let MList readers in on how their children have impacted their business (in a great way!) and why she and her hubby take date night so seriously.

How did you guys get into the pizza biz?

Matteo came to me earlier this year and said, "I would love to open a pizzeria." After doing some research and exploring the opportunity, we met some interesting people who helped us bring this dream to life. The project was born out of an appreciation for quality food combined with the objective of creating something truly authentic. 

What sets your pizza apart?

It’s a combination of things: the crust, the mozzarella, the toppings, and, above all, the genuineness of the ingredients. Our Napolitan pizza is artisanal, it is hand-made based on a recipe passed on from 4 generations of pizza-makers. We pride ourselves on the authenticity of our product.

Do you offer delivery?

No, we do dine-in or take-out. Because it’s made fresh out of a wood burning oven, it’s best enjoyed on the premises. Delivering would change the experience. There is nothing better than eating a piping-hot pizza that’s fresh out of the oven!

How have your kids impacted your business?

We have two children who are 7 and 4, and part of the reason behind the restaurant is that we wanted to create a family business and family environment for them. We know how hard it is for young families to go out and eat, so we designed our restaurant to be family-centric. We have a kids’ zone where children can play as well as a children’s menu.   We have created a series of kids’ events, like the movie night we organized for Halloween and, the more recent one we had for the holidays, just last week.  

In a way, our business was born out of a selfish need to have a place where our kids will enjoy the food and feel comfortable, and where we can sit back and enjoy our meal and have a glass of wine! We want to offer that possibility to other parents out there. 

How do you find a balance between work and family life?

We come from a family-business background so we know what it means to put time, effort and love into a venture. I also teach the subject at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business. Entrepreneurship is part of our DNA and our children are used to seeing us busy and loving what we do. It’s hard to balance – we do have help with the kids – but with this particular venture, we can have them with us more than with any of other projects. They’re in charge of supervising the kids’ zone and making sure it’s cleaned up, so we’re bringing them into the business in a very natural way.

Any advice for someone who is starting their own business?

The number one thing I recommend is to focus on what’s really important. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to want to do many things, but you can’t do everything and be all things to all people. My role in the business is to oversee the strategic planning; the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.  I keep everyone aligned. I remind the team about where our energies should be focused and ensure we have a plan to meet our short and long-term objectives. For LìOLà what’s most important is to deliver an authentic product. So, we focus on what we are good at and what will bring the most value to our business. 

Do you and your husband do date night? 

Yes! We always make a point to have date night. It used to be weekly but in the last couple of months, it’s been less frequent. We need that time away from the business to regroup and enjoy quality time as a couple.  Luckily, the exercise is two-fold, we like to test new restaurants and do market research as often as we can.  

We want our restaurant to be a place where couples can have date night, even if they have to bring the kids along!

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