The Old Spaghetti Factory — the Vancouver-based restaurant chain known for its cheap, but great food, and funky atmosphere — is coming to Kelowna.
To get ready for the February opening, two days of hiring fairs will be held this week to find 80 employees to staff the place, which is opening in the former Kelsey’s restaurant location on Highway 97 just north of the Coast Capri Hotel.
The sessions are Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m,. with resumes accepted and interviews conducted at the Coast Capri Hotel on a drop-in basis.
The jobs are expected to be sought after — not just because the economy is soft right now and jobs are scarce — but because The Old Spaghetti Factory is a great company to work for.
The chain of 12 restaurants is ranked one of the top 25 companies to work for in British Columbia, one of the top 100 food services companies in Canada and one of the top 50 franchises in Western Canada.
While the Kelowna location will be a corporate restaurant majority owned by Vancouver head office, Kris Newson will be the on site general manager and part-owner.
Newson was previously general manager at The Old Spaghetti Factory in New Westminster.
The Old Spaghetti Factory started in Vancouver’s Gastown in 1970, when the Italian-Canadian Pulos brothers — Andy, Lee and Peter — opened their first restaurant there.
That means in March 2010, the restaurant chain celebrated its 40th birthday with the claim that if all the spaghetti it had served over the past four decades was strung end to end it would wrap around the world almost 10 times.
The concept was — and still is — good inexpensive food in a fun, eclectic atmosphere stuffed with antiques, stained glass memorabilia and photos from around the world.
The Factory’s signature is the $10 all-inclusive meal of pasta entree, salad or soup, sourdough bread and spumoni ice cream for dessert.
But the eatery also has expanded its menu to include individual pan pastas, ribs, steak, chicken, seafood and entree-sized salads.
In 1980, the Pulos brothers sold the chain to Keg Restaurants.
Eight years later, Peter Buckley and Peter Hnatiw bought the chain, which then had locations in Vancouver’s Gastown, New Westminster, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto.
By the early 1990s, more locations were opening in Whistler, Calgary, West Edmonton Mall, Banff, Richmond Abbotsford and Langley.
The opening in Kelowna will be the 13th location.
Today, The Old Spaghetti Factory is owned by the executive group of Peter Buckley, Ken Lobson, Chris Kanuka and Carolyn Rivers and the locations are a mix of corporate-owned and franchisees.
Annual sales for the chain are $35.3 million, 2.2 million diners are served every year and 1,200 workers staff the 12 restaurants.