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Menu Engineering

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Photo by Josh Keown

So much of what happens in a restaurant is creative. All cooks like to think of themselves as artistes. It is, after all, called the culinary arts. But when it comes to the menu, that’s where science kicks in. In fact, too much creativity on a menu can have negative consequences. That isn’t to sayMore »

Employee Termination: Hit The Door

Photo by Josh Keown

Last year, the week before Christmas, Carmelo Lamotta needed to fire a server. He did not want to wait until after the holidays because then other workers would suffer. “If you keep someone an extra week because of the holidays, business drops because customers do not come in because of the poor customer service,” saysMore »

Moneymaking Menu Must

Photo by Rick Daugherty

According to the National Restaurant Association, the most profitable menu items are soft drinks, followed closely by alcoholic drinks and then pastas and pizza. The largest pizzeria chains in the world do not sell alcohol, and until just a few years ago they did not even sell pastas. Yet, they still make a lot ofMore »

2010 October: Niche Marketing

2010 October: Niche Marketing

Pinpointing a focus in the marketplace that will enable a pizzeria to flourish even in a stagnant economy may not be immediately obvious. Sometimes it takes a little time and consideration for a concept to evolve. That was the case for Pizza Patron, a chain with 95 locations in six southwestern states. When it openedMore »

Music Licensing: Playing Their Song

2013 February: Playing Their Song

A couple of years ago, an Urbanspoon reviewer wrote that if Oregano’s Pizza Bistro were a movie, it would win an Academy award. The reviewer added: “From the background music to the star line-up of pizzas, sandwiches and pastas, this place has it all.” Indeed, background music is to a restaurant what a soundtrack isMore »

2013 January: Are You a Boss or a Leader?

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2013 January: Are You a Boss or a Leader?

In far too many businesses leadership has fallen by the wayside. That includes owners and managers in the pizza business. The economy, rising costs, fierce competition and long days and nights have caused most owners to have little, if any, time to think about their ability to lead. They are simply trying to stay afloat.More »

2010 March: Tabels vs. Seats

2010 March: Tabels vs. Seats

Restaurant operators tend to think of capacity in terms of the number of seats, but this is incorrect, says Dennis Lombardi, executive vice president-food strategies for WD Partners, a design development fi rm in Columbus, Ohio. Instead, capacity depends on the number of tables. “The tables will get used up first,” he explains. “And ifMore »

2010 January: Buy It Now

2010 January: Buy It Now

When Scott Gittrich founded Toppers Pizza in Champaign, Illinois, in 1991, he didn’t look for prime locations for his shop. After all, in the early 1990’s, 95 percent of his stores’ sales were delivery. But as his pizzerias became more popular and expanded into several states, he started rethinking how Toppers interacted with its customers.More »

2013 January: Cater or Die!

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2013 January: Cater or Die!

In the restaurant industry, I truly believe the difference between owning a job and owning a business is catering. The difference between eking out a living and living a great life is catering. Before I sold my interest in my restaurant at the end of 2006, I had built my sales to over three millionMore »

Hit the Road: Non-owned auto insurance for delivery drivers

2013 January: Hit The Road

You’d probably never think of courting disaster by driving around uninsured. Yet, if you’re like many independent pizzeria restaurant owners, chances are you’re unwittingly placing your business in the same kind of jeopardy. How? By not carrying a non-owned auto liability policy — coverage insuring you should one of your delivery drivers have an accident,More »