Former footballer takes Glasgow food scene by storm after becoming pizza chef

Gavin in his element!
-Credit: (Image: Supplied)


After a nasty leg break cost him his football career, Gavin Ritchie decided to try something completely new and it has paid off big time.

Gavin, 24, and his wife Nicola also 24, now run Pizza B. Goode in Glasgow - serving Napoli style pizza from their vintage Piaggio Van. It comes after the young footballer was left without a club at 19 years old following a leg break which ruled him out for the season.

Following his release from Dundee United in 2019, Gavin was spending more time at his home in Perth and found himself enjoying daytime cooking shows where he saw an advert for an Ooni pizza oven which struck up an exciting idea.

After purchasing the Ooni, Gavin started to enjoy the process and became rather good at making quality pizzas. His wife Nicola, who was studying at university at the time, joined in when she could and the young couple started making pizzas for family and friends.

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During lockdown in 2020, Gavin and Nicola started selling pizzas from their driveway before transitioning their side-hustle into a fully-fledged business.

Gavin in action during a pre-season friendly between Brechin City and Dundee United
Gavin in action during a pre-season friendly between Brechin City and Dundee United -Credit:Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Speaking to Glasgow Live of his transition from pro-football to pizza chef, Gavin said: "I broke my leg during the last year of my contract at Dundee United, so I wasn't offered a new one basically. I then didn't think part-time football was for me, I wanted to play for a first team.

"While I was injured I was in a full leg cast so spent more time at home watching TV and the only thing on during the day was cooking shows so I started to really get into them. I saw an advert for Ooni Pizza Ovens so I bought one and started making them in the house.

"We started selling them to friends and family which then went onto us making a wee Instagram before selling them to the public from our driveway in lockdown.

"Coming from professional sport I had no cooking background, I just caught the bug and went for it. Thankfully the pizzas are better now than they were at the start!"

The fantastic duo were making a local hit for themselves - Gavin would make the pizzas while Nicola would deliver them with Gavin saying it was very "DIY at the start".

The couple turned their side hustle into a fully-fledged business
The couple turned their side hustle into a fully-fledged business -Credit:Supplied

The couple then bought a van and "kitted it out" to sell pizzas which were a big hit at famers markets in Perth. They continued to do private events before their move to Glasgow.

With Nicola originally from Hamilton, the couple decided to make the move to the big city in 2021 before marrying in August of that year.

They swiftly made the move to full-time with Pizza B. Goode, now a popular foodtruck at the city's Dockyard Social. The team trade every weekend at the venue and also do private events now and then.

Gavin touched upon life in the hospitality sector post Covid, with inflation skyrocketing and the cost of living crisis striking many local businesses. The young businessman put his success down to low prices, fresh ingredients and building a loyal fanbase.

Nicola working away at Dockyard Social
Nicola working away at Dockyard Social -Credit:Supplied

Gavin says: "Our margins have gotten tighter because of the cost of living crisis, but we’ve continued to use the best ingredients from our suppliers because we believe that’s what keeps you busy and keeps customers returning.

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"That, and we’ve kept our prices low despite the increasing costs, £8 for a margherita is as cheap as it gets these days - people come because its a cheaper alternative to eating at a restaurant."

New research from payment company SumUp has found the pressure is even greater on outdoor food vendors - with the industry growing at a rate ten times slower than that of the traditional restaurant industry over the past two years.

Corin Camenisch, Product Marketing Lead at SumUp said: “Gavin’s story is a great example of how technology has lowered the boundaries of entry for small business owners, allowing anyone to set up a business in minutes.

"Lockdown provided people a chance to turn their side hustles into full fledged enterprises, with this, SumUp’s mission is to empower entrepreneurs with the tools to pursue their passions, irrespective of their situation.

"With the business landscape proving to be increasingly treacherous for SMEs, who are faced with a multitude of challenges, including late payment cycles, rising energy costs and supply chain issues, technology has a key role to play in aiding their business journey and providing support.”

For more on Pizza B. Goode, visit here.

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