Massimo Capra is the man that built a career on his infamous moustache.
This exceptional branding strategy has helped propel him to the top of the culinary industry as one of Canada’s most well-known celebrity chefs. Massimo built his personal brand and has appeared on several television programs such as: CityLine, Restaurant Makeover, Chopped Canada, and most notably, Top Chef Canada. His vibrant ‘larger than life’ personality helped him to flourish on the national stage and develop an elusive personal brand to expand his network of restaurants across the globe.
His restaurant empire spans locations in Niagara Falls, Mississauga, Toronto Pearson Airport, and Doha Qatar. Massimo’s style can be described as ‘classic Italian’ and in his own words, “He doesn’t put any fluff on his menu.” His Mississauga location, Capra’s Kitchen has found the perfect blend between fine Italian dining and an atmosphere that’s very much nostalgic of an Italian family home. Capra’s Kitchen attributes its success to the disciplined team that runs the kitchen, and a seasoned front-of-house staff.
His journey to Canada started in 1982. After working as a sous chef for nine years, Massimo took the initiative to expand into the Toronto culinary scene. Over fifteen years later, the culinary icon has spread his image globally. In our interview he stated, “The Boccone restaurant at Toronto Pearson Airport was so successful that SSP [Qatar Duty Free’s partner on F&B at the airport] took notice of that. I didn’t go in pounding my chest. I said: You run the restaurant, let me do the food how I want to do it”.
Entrepreneurs should take note on Capra’s business model which has capitalized on his personal branding ventures to take his image global. The moustache is to the Capra brand what the check mark is to Nike. His restaurant signage, décor, and logos all feature the classic stache’ because it is synonymous with the brand. It truly is the simplest lesson in branding – always associate your brand with something tangible. Capra prides himself on his humble roots – raised on an Italian farm only to immigrate to Canada and eventually manage a hyper-successful chain of fine dining restaurants. His story is one that preaches the importance of values such as hard work and determination – but don’t take it from us, listen to the man himself.