Rolled Since 1979. Ben holding a tray of assorted bagels.


Ben Rafael is the Vision Mover behind Kiva’s Bagel Authority. The eldest of three boys, Ben landed his first job at Kiva’s Bagel Bakery at the ripe age of 14. Upon completing his Honors BA in economics and journalism at York University, Ben followed an unlikely career path, opening his first restaurant Gilligan’s Burgers & Subs at the age of 24. Within four years, he and his brothers opened and operated nine new and bustling restaurants and clothing stores, including Baskin Robbins, Pizzaville, Subway, Squeeze Juice Bar and Earthshine.

In 1999, Ben purchased his original place of work, from the original owner. He has taken this eighty-seat Toronto institution to new heights, expanding it to 200 seats, branding products, opening distribution outlets, as well as opening new Kiva’s Bagel Authority locations. Along the way, Ben has been trained as a franchisee for four of the establishments, hired hundreds of employees, created employee standard guides, multiple business plans, as well as consistently increasing sales in all his businesses. 

Ben’s coaches and mentors over the years include Frank Stronack (Magna) and Doug Sherman (PepsiCo). Ben is a people person, who respects all his employees and customers alike, a fast-paced worker with quick and firm decision making. 

In the end, though, it always comes down to the small details in restaurant and retail business. These details can and do make or break you, so you have to stay tough.