Thinking inside the box

In 10 years, Lawrence Eade has gone from working across the street from Wok Box to being CEO of Box Concepts Food Group.

When Wok Box opened in Edmonton in 2004, it just happened to be across the street from Lawrence Eade’s office at KPMG. Eade ate there a lot. “Working at an accounting shop when you’re young and doing long audit hours, you’re eating a lot of crap. Wok Box was different. It was fast, fresh and fun. I thought there was opportunity there to grow it.” So in 2006, when he decided to leave his junior accountant job to start his own company, he became a licensee of Wok Box. Shortly after, Eade also became the company’s CFO, bought a stake in the business and helped Wok Box blossom.

Today, Wok Box — which features a menu of 20 items representing dishes and flavours from all over Asia — has grown from the three locations it had when Eade joined the company to more than 57 in Canada, the US and the Middle East. Now as CEO of Box Concepts Food Group (which includes Kettle and Foods Kitchen and Firecrust Neapolitan Pizza) and its subsidiaries, Eade credits his CPA certification for making all of this possible. “It’s why my partners let me partner with them in the first place,” he says.