Interview with Chuck van der Lee, Papa Murphy's Pizza CEO


May 06, 2022

Chuck van der Lee graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Administration from the University of Alberta in 1975.

Chuck has been in multi-unit retailing in Canada for 47 years. Up until September 2009 Chuck was the President & CEO of Rogers Retail where he was responsible for a network of more than 450 stores.  Chuck left Rogers to start his own company, which has the Canadian Franchise rights for “Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza".

During his career Chuck has been the recipient of numerous awards “Video Retailer of the Year”, “Marketer of the Year“, Distinguished Business Leader (2004) by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.  Chuck was inducted into the Vancouver Commandery of the Order of St. John in June 2006.


1.  Tell us about the Papa Murphy’s Pizza concept.

Chuck van der Lee:  Papa Murphy’s is not only the best pizza around, but we are unique because we offer both a Take N’ Bake at home concept and a Cooked in-store concept, which allows us to reach a wider audience than other large pizza chains. We prioritize product over all else, and everything we put into the pizzas is fresh! We make our dough fresh daily, chop veggies every morning, and only use the highest quality toppings.


2.   How and when did you become involved with Papa Murphy’s Pizza?

Chuck van der Lee:   I started my company, which has the Franchise rights for Papa Murphy’s Pizza in Canada in 2009, after falling in love with the pizza and seeing the superior business model.


3.   What was your background prior to joining Papa Murphy’s Pizza?

Chuck van der Lee:   I was the President & CEO of Rogers Retail, responsible for a network of more than 450 locations.


4.   What are some of the advantages in being a Papa Murphy’s Pizza franchisee or Master Franchisee?

Chuck van der Lee:   Papa Murphy’s franchisees get access to a great product that has a passionate customer base, support from our Operations & Marketing teams, and are joining a group that is always looking to adapt and grow to the changing market.


5.   Tell us a little about the pizza Market?

Chuck van der Lee:   The pizza industry is great because it’s a product that everybody enjoys. From families looking for a quick and easy meal, to people hosting parties, you can be assured that there is a big market to reach. That said, it is important to offer unique benefits to customers in an industry with many competitors, which is what makes Papa Murphy’s so great. Between the high product quality standards, freshly made dough every day, and being able to offer the Take N’ Bake option to our guests, there are lots of ways for us to stand out.


6.   What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

Chuck van der Lee:   I have learned many lessons during my time with Papa Murphy’s, but probably the most important is learning to understand the needs of our customers and making sure we can solve them. This is how we’ve been able to gain such a strong following and loyal customer base.


7.  What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Papa Murphy’s Pizza Franchise?

Chuck van der Lee:   The most successful franchisees are those that spend time in the store, engage with their community, and build connections with their guests.


8.   In your opinion, why do you think that Papa Murphy’s Pizza would be a great opportunity?

Chuck van der Lee:   Beyond being the best pizza around, Papa Murphy’s Canada is always looking for opportunities to grow revenue for our franchisees. We recently launched a new top of the line loyalty program (My Slice Rewards) which makes it easier to build brand loyalty with our customers, and even offer the opportunity for franchisees to build other revenue streams such as our new Virtual Brand opportunity.