Business spotlight: Capital BBQ

Capital BBQ

Selling barbecues, grills and outdoor kitchen appliances

Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Grant: Boost Your Business Technology

Digital Advisor: Business Development Bank of Canada

"Thanks to the Canada Digital Adoption Program, we’ve got the confidence level, and our risk is better mitigated going forward."

Nicholas Rathwell, Owner

Capital BBQ sells the ultimate barbecue experience

Capital BBQ in Ottawa doesn’t just sell barbecues; it sells an experience. “BBQ unites people and breaks barriers,” says owner Nicholas Rathwell. The business provides a wide array of products—including grills, pizza ovens and outdoor heaters—and is centred on the idea of gathering with your loved ones, enjoying the fresh air and sharing a great meal.

Capital BBQ decided to apply for the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) grant after taking stock of the business lessons learned from the pandemic. “Really, the conclusion of 2020 is if we want to survive, we’ve got to modernize our operating system. I’ve always talked about digital transformation.”

The challenge

With a large portion of its orders being placed online, Capital BBQ identified how new software could make its warehouse operations more efficient. Rathwell, who has many years of experience in the technology sector, oversees the company’s use of new technologies. “To be a better operator, we have to roll out what is called a warehouse management system, and to do that, you need an ERP that is adaptable and modern—which we don’t have,” he said. With the help of a digital advisor, Rathwell has been able to fund new technologies for Capital BBQ to revolutionize its warehouse.

Results from their digital adoption plan


Improving the shipping process thanks to a warehouse management system


Improving integration between the website and the brick-and-mortar store

Customer satisfaction

Enhancing the website user experience

Transcription – Capital BBQ

[Music starts]

[Interview with Nicholas Rathwell sitting in an open BBQ showroom, intercut with shots of the Capital BBQ store, including BBQs on display and employees interacting and working. The CDAP logo appears in the bottom right corner.]

Every business right now is going through some form of digital transformation, and this is why this program was created, especially for businesses that are now at a certain size where digital transformation is no longer just a buzz word, its something that they've got to adapt.

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Business spotlight

Canada Digital Adoption Program


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Nicholas Rathwell

Capital BBQ and

Co-owner and Director of E-Commerce and Technology]

Hi, my name is Nicholas Rathwell. I've joined Capital BBQ and as the director of e-commerce and technology in 2019, and since 2021, I'm now also a partner and co-owner of the business. I fell in love with e-commerce in the early 2000s. I've helped multiple small businesses to Fortune 500 companies in North America succeed online with e-commerce.

For me, it was how do you use the Internet? This magical feeling of going online, being able to browse a catalogue, being able to add to a cart, just like in the real world. How do we get the experience that you would get in a great retail store, one that cares about its customers, one that cares about the products they sell?

We have been open and serving the Ottawa-Gatineau community for over thirty five years now. With the extension of our e-commerce site,, we are now able also to serve the entire Canadian and United States market. We have anywhere between 20 and 35 employees. What sets us apart is our product selection and knowledge, our customer experience, but ultimately, the passion in what we do. BBQ is lifestyle.

Our biggest challenge is our legacy ERP system. One of the biggest other limitations that we have with it is that it doesn't have a warehouse management system.

We learned about the CDAP program through our longstanding relationship with the BDC. It was an easy decision for us. First, we got access to a grant that allowed us to hire a consultant that specialized in digital transformation to help us with the modernization of our ERP. And once we completed that part of the CDAP project, we then had access to an interest-free loan of a hundred thousand dollars to help us get our new ERP system.

I couldn't be more happy. The overall experience doing the CDAP program, from the expertise that we got to the structure, to the guidance, there was never uncertainty in our advisor.

Every business right now that has technology in their strategy roadmap has to take advantage of the CDAP program. This is made for Canadian businesses to really go through a digital transformation process because the world is changing so fast, the technology is changing fast, and the customer behaviour—the demand of the customer—has changed and it went on fast track with the pandemic.

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For more information, visit]

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Learn more about the Canada Digital Adoption Program