April 1, 2011 |

2011 April: Commentary

By Jeremy White

Is your head still spinning from International Pizza Expo 2011? Mine sure is. What an amazing show it turned out to be. A record breaker, in fact. You’ll be able to read all about it in next month’s issue of Pizza Today. In the meantime, let me just say that this show never ceases to amaze me. I’ve been immersed in this industry for more than a decade now, and I still learn something new every time I hit the Expo show floor. Here are five things I learned in Las Vegas this year (in no particular order):

1. Operators recognize the need to raise prices due to commodity increases, but they are scared to do it. It’s a Catch-22: “I’m afraid not to raise prices, but I’m also afraid to raise them” was a common sentiment at the Beer & Bull Idea Exchange. The time is now, people. Do it.

2. Ricotta is probably the most versatile cheese a pizzeria can have in its arsenal. It can be used in pizza, pas-ta, calzones, sandwiches, salads and desserts alike. As Chef Jeff aptly demonstrated, there is no reason ricotta shouldn’t be in your ingredient inventory.

3. Your customers want a nutritional analysis of your products to be made readily available to them. Despite what you’ve heard from lobbyists who want said information hidden, it is not overly difficult or expensive to provide that information. It’s the right thing to do, so do it!

4. Understanding your P&L is really just the beginning of figuring out the financial health of your pizza business. While you don’t need to become an accounting expert, it behooves you to get as close as you can to being one. Simply making great pizza isn’t enough anymore — it hasn’t been for years.

5. The recession is over, but recovery is slow. That said, this industry’s passion hasn’t waned despite the eco-nomic times. The state of the pizza industry is becoming stronger by the day.

What did you learn at International Pizza Expo 2011? What do you hope to learn at next year’s show? E-mail me [jwhite@pizzatoday.com] and let me know.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: It is with regret that we must say good-bye to a pair of long-time Pizza Today and In-ternational Pizza Expo staff members. Following International Pizza Expo 2011, Pat Cravens and Linda Keith both
announced their retirements.

Pat, our editorial coordinator, has been the glue that holds this magazine together for a decade. Before that, she served Pizza Today in other capacities. She will be sorely missed by the entire staff of Pizza Today.

Linda, vice president of meetings and conferences, has worked tirelessly for years to make sure the educa-tional seminars and other meeting components at International Pizza Expo operate on a world-class level. Her contributions to the Expo have been monumental and she, too, will be sorely missed.

I wish both of these ladies nothing but the best in their retirements.


Jeremy White, editor-in-chief