2011 March: Five Questions – Bobby Athanasakis, Manny & Olga’s Pizza

Bobby Athanasakis is president of Manny & Olga’s Pizza, which is based in the Wash­ington, DC area. The company is currently expanding and has 10 stores.

Q: While most pizzerias are steeped in the Italian culture, Manny & Olga’s has Greecian roots. How does that extend throughout the business?

A: The culture of Manny and Olga’s is steeped more in the family values and work ethic of the chain’s owner and founder, Manny Athanaskis. While the family may be Greek in nationality, our Italian foods are founded in recipes that were developed by the Athanaskis family. Hard work, attention to detail and customer satisfaction are the values Manny has instilled throughout the organization.

Q: As Manny & Olga’s grows, how are you maintaining consistency across the brand?

A: We maintain consistency by con­ducting monthly store inspections, using quality raw materials to include private labeling of several products and, most importantly, we listen to our customers. Our customers are encour­aged and consistently give us feedback through comment cards, e-mails and Tweets.

Q: How well do your Greek specialties sell?

A: We currently offer five Greek items on our menu. They are Chicken Sou­vlaki, a Greek Calzone, a Greek Salad, “My Big Fat Greek Pizza,” and Gyros. They account for approximately 20 percent of sales, with Chicken Sou­vlaki being the most popular Greek item.

Q: Your pizza menu offers some traditional and non-traditional
offerings. What is your best-selling pizza and why is it so popular?

A: The best selling pizza by far is our Supreme Pizza. Our customers say they like the Supreme the best because of the combination of ground beef, pepperoni, green pep­pers, mushrooms and onions.

Q: You started in the Baltimore/ DC area, but expansion has taken the company as far as Nevada. What are your current growth plans?

A: Current expansion plans are focused primarily in the mid-Atlantic states of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and North Caroli­na. We will also consider areas outside the mid-Atlantic for experienced operators for multi-unit expansion.