Lawrence Eade was promoted to CEO of Surrey-based Box Concepts Food Group in 2012 at age 29, after serving as the company’s CFO for five years. Since becoming a partner in 2006, Eade has helped expand the company from three to 70 store locations, and from 40 employees to more than 2,000.
Today, Box Concepts Food Group’s annual revenues are $55 million, and the company has projected it will grow to 100 locations by the end of 2019 with anticipated revenues of more than $65 million.
Eade began working in kitchens and restaurants at the age of 16 and was influenced by his father, the main cook at home.
“I suppose I had the foodie gene from an early age,” he said.
Later, after spending two years as senior accountant at KPMG in Edmonton, Eade took a leap of faith when he left his job to become an entrepreneur.
“At the time, this was a major decision and major risk, but in hindsight it was the best decision for me and my career,” he said. “The hard work and success that came after gave me the confidence and validation of my beliefs to take on new projects and move our business ahead.”
The chartered professional accountant’s accomplishments include opening Kettle & Foods Kitchen, an 18,000-square-foot food manufacturing facility, increasing the combined annual enterprise revenue to $50 million from $1.5 million, developing operations across Canada, the U.S. and Middle East and opening 125 restaurant operations representing $55 million in capital expenditures and $160 million in real estate commitments.
This year, Eade formed a joint venture with Hon’s to rebrand it as a traditional Cantonese won ton house, with the first of 50 planned locations opening in Olympic Village last summer.
With Kettle & Foods, Eade is continually innovating food through low-sodium, gluten-free and vegan options.
The father of three volunteers as a soccer coach and sits on a parent advisory committee. A board member for both the Canadian Franchise Association and Small Business BC, Eade is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada and the BC Food Processors Association.
Birthplace: Red Deer, Alberta
Where you live now: Tsawwassen
Highest level of education: Bachelor of commerce and Chartered Accounting School of Business (CPA designation)
Currently reading: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Currently listening to: Love Is Here to Stay by Tony Bennett and Diana Krall
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Landscape architect
Profession you would most like to try: Lawyer
Toughest business or professional decision: When to double down and when to divest on any business investment
Advice you would give the younger you: Success is not money and money is not success. Make enough to be comfortable and then focus on the bigger-picture things in life – then you’ll find what success is
What’s left to do: Help my kids become awesome members of society and off into the world