August 20, 2012 |

2012 September: Expo News

By Bill Oakley

We’ve got some exciting news to share with you regarding next year’s International Pizza Expo®, which is slated for March 19 – 21 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. We’ve lined up two fantastic restaurant personalities to jump-start your days and provide you with motivation and insight. This year, our featured keynote speakers will be Bill Jacobs, owner of Piece Brewery & Pizzeria, Pizza Today’s 2011 Independent Pizzeria of the Year, and celebrity chef Robert Irvine, star of the hit TV show “Restaurant: Impossible.”

Robert Irvine’s “Restaurant: Impossible” is a show based on turning around failing restaurants, which is a huge undertaking under any circumstances — attempting to do it in just two days with only a $10,000 budget is next to impossible. The show, however, is about more than food and drinks or restaurants — it’s about diagnosing a failing business, dissecting problems, building relationships and leading people in a crisis environment.

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria is located in Wicker Park, Ilinois, a suburb of Chicago. In 2010, Piece surpassed $6 million in gross revenue out of this single location. This is an amazing feat for a New Haven-style pizzeria located in a town famous for its deep-dish pizza. The company has sustained steady sales growth since its opening in 2001. In fact, 2011 was one of its best years ever, with nearly a double-digit increase in sales. Jacobs attributes much of that increase to Piece Out, a 1,000-square-foot ancillary takeout and delivery store concept that opened in 2007.

Jacobs’ is convinced the pizzeria’s success and increased sales are due to the fact that they’ve stayed focused. It’s not how much money you make — it’s about doing something that is satisfying. Piece continues to focus its efforts on quality and community.

Piece is a company based on operational vigilance and a focus on quality. Jacobs’ business plan, forged as he was winding down a very profitable bagel company, included a brewery concept from the start.

The company employs about 125 people and boosts a very low turnover rate. Jacobs credits that to a great working environment, one in which employees make money and are promoted from within.

It’s all pizza and it’s all for YOU!

For more information on Pizza Expo or to register, please call (800) 489-8324, or visit our website at

Best regards,
Bill Oakley
Executive VP