Superstar Franchisee Owns 6 Panago Stores in Edmonton, AB.
Superstar franchisee Steve Onyshko owns 6 Panago stores in Edmonton, AB.
For Edmonton’s Steve Onyshko, one successful Panago store wasn’t enough. He bought a second, and a third, and pretty soon he owned six locations. And he has no plans to stop there.
Steve has worked his way up. He started with Panago when he was 15 years old, launching his career as a cook, and quickly learned the product inside and out. That hands-on experience of Panago’s business model and commitment to quality has made a real difference to how he thinks of his business and how he runs his stores. And everything starts with making excellent pizza. “It’s easy to be passionate about your job when you have a fantastic product,” says Steve. “It tastes great and we offer a lot of healthy options. And the recipes, menu choices, and sides are always evolving, always improving.”
His first hand knowledge of that quality played a significant part in his decision to become an owner—even though it meant a complete shift in his career plans. He was just 19 years old and had been a Panago supervisor for three years. He was on the home stretch of his education: in his final semester of his final year at university, all set to become a teacher. And then someone asked him if he wanted to partner in a new Panago store.
After giving it a bit of thought, he said yes. And he’s never looked back.
Steve enjoys the flexibility of running his own business but also thrives on the hard work. With six stores, he feels responsible to a lot of people: his employees, their families, and the many not-for-profit organizations he helps support. One of the rewards he values most is being able to give back to his community. When asked what he’s most proud of as a Panago franchisee, Steve answers, “How successful my stores are. After 15 years, I can see the difference we’ve made in people’s lives, including past and present employees.“
Secrets of Steve’s Success
Giving back is important for a lot of reasons. Steve’s stores are very prominent in their neighbourhoods. “I believe in giving back to my community, the people I live and work around, so whenever I’m aware of an event, we get involved.” His stores have helped out with multiple schools, the Stollery Children’s Hospital, and STARS air ambulance. They donate pizza at least once a month to Ronald McDonald House. He also gives to Welcome Wagon, Edmonton Oil Kings Hockey Hooky, multiple sports teams, block parties, and community league meetings. Beyond building goodwill and loyalty, those giveaways are opportunities to create new fans by letting people try Panago’s quality, often for the first time. Those consumers come away with an impression of a fantastic pizza and a socially minded business.
Another key to Steve’s business is accepting that he can’t do everything himself. He’s been quick to promote people who show real potential and let his managers take on extra responsibility. When you’re running six stores and planning to grow, you need a strong team in place. He’s worked hard at training, retraining, and cross-training staff to develop a truly supportive employee base. His managers have the autonomy to treat stores as their own, and that pride has resulted in strong sales growth and a happy following of loyal customers.
One of the most important things Steve has learned during his time as a Panago franchisee is that head office is there to support his goals. “Once I realized that, and started making full use of the tools and resources they provide, my stores started to thrive.”
What’s in Steve’s future? “More stores!” Six isn’t enough; his Panago empire is just beginning. He intends to keep growing the business and improving as a franchisee. More stores, more revenues, and more opportunities to give back to his community.