Pizza Today March 2017 Cover

Pep Talk

Looking at America’s Top Pizza Ingredient

March is our Pizza Expo issue and it’s the year’s largest magazine. This edition is filled with business-boosting articles on everything from pepperoni and dessert pizzas to menu strategies, changing products and analyzing competition — as well as tips from industry leaders speaking at Pizza Expo. Find insightful start-up stories. Pizza Today also goes on the road to Washington, D.C. and New Orleans.

merchandise at Hot Italian, Sacramento, California

March 1, 2017 |

Merchandise: Say My Name

Pepper the community with your brand The merchandise offerings from Hot Italian and Sizzle Pie couldn’t be more opposite. Sleek and fitted, the T-shirts, hats and other sundries at Hot Italian convey an elegant, chic, Calvin-Klein-esque vibe to upscale customers and bicyclists who frequent restaurants in Sacramento, Davis and Emeryville, California. By contrast, intricate, colorful…Read More

profit and loss statement, restaurant financials

March 1, 2017 |

Profits Are Made in the Office

Get a grip on financials now, thank yourself later Let’s talk financials. For 33 years in this business, I have always maintained up-to-date financial reports. I use these reports to manage my pizzerias, but I am fortunate to have and understand how to use them in the first place. You see, I was forced to…Read More

pizza makeline

March 1, 2017 |

Product Perplexity

Handle a product change with finesse Something’s different about this slice.” Your customer just zeroed in on your change in dough, cheese or sauce. Maybe you changed because your distributor went bankrupt. Or maybe you want to switch to fresh, organic ingredients to keep up with trends, but what do you do now? Address the…Read More

business lunch at a pizzeria

March 1, 2017 |

Know Your Competition

Want to become better? Analyze the competition What’s your mindset when you walk into another restaurant? Do you just want to not think about your place for a little while and decompress? Or, like most of us in this industry, do you compare it to your restaurant? Do you focus in on one aspect of…Read More

March 1, 2017 |

Start-Up To Success

Origin Stories and Tips from 5 Pizza Entrepreneurs Everyone who comes to International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas has an origin story. Some started from scratch, some bought franchises and others rebuilt existing restaurants. Here we talk to five entrepreneurs about how they got started, the challenges they faced and the advice they have for…Read More

washing station, pizzeria

March 1, 2017 |

Keep It Clean

Sterilization a critical element to success Plenty of things keep pizza restaurant operators up at night, but few are more worrisome than the thought of incurring a pathogen outbreak. There’s good reason for this concern. “In addition to the human tragedy, restaurant owners may be risking their personal assets if their insurance policy limits aren’t…Read More

March 1, 2017 |

Pizza Today on the Road: Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington, DC

DC Trailblazer Pizzeria Paradiso celebrates 25 years of staying relevant Capturing lightning in a bottle, for many business owners happens once, if they’re lucky. Chef Ruth Gresser has found ways to capture lightning over and over at Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington, D.C. “I had an idea and I was in the right place at the…Read More

red velvet cookie pizza

March 1, 2017 |

Sweet Sell

Dessert pizzas take finesse to make, market Desserts are a hard sell for pizzerias, where that extra slice most customers don’t want but just can’t say no to can mean a sweet finish won’t be added to the check total. But when made right, advertised well and priced nicely, some dessert offerings can be a…Read More

Roberta's Pizza, Brooklyn, New York

March 1, 2017 |

Pizza Styles: Neapolitan vs. NEOpolitan

Pizza with similar names just isn’t the same When pizza first became popular in the United States, it had already changed dramatically from its original southern Italian expression. Newly arrived immigrants couldn’t afford wood to fuel their ovens, so they switched to coal as a cheaper solution. Flour was too bulky to import and cheese…Read More

pepperoni pizza

March 1, 2017 |

Pep Talk

Pepperoni is America’s top pizza ingredient This is a true pepperoni story. One night, six years ago, I received a call from an older customer saying that we made her pizza incorrectly. “You screwed it up! I ordered a plain pizza, and this doesn’t have pepperoni.” “I’m sorry, ma’am,” I said pulling the phone back…Read More

pizzeria menu on an ipad

March 1, 2017 |

Upgrading Tech

Five ways to enhance the customer experience It can be tough to fully understand the vast array of tech options available today — let alone implement them into your pizzeria operations. While technology can help increase sales and boost the guest experience, a third of restaurant operators say their places are lagging in tech use,…Read More

Jeremy index

March 1, 2017 |

Commentary: What Will Define Your Expo?

One of the best things about International Pizza Expo, from my perspective, is all the people from around the world I get to meet and interact with each year. When talking to folks, I usually ask what they hope to accomplish at the show. The answers are varied, but can more often than not fit…Read More

March 1, 2017 |

Conversation with Brittany Saxton, Six Hundred Downtown, Bellefontaine, OH

Six Hundred Downtown  Bellefontaine, Ohio Five-time World Pizza Games champion Brittany Saxton. A 13-year veteran of the pizzeria industry, she recently acquired ownership of Six Hundred Downtown in Bellefontaine, Ohio, where she was previously the assistant general manager.   Brittany lets us in on making the transition from employee to owner Six Hundred Downtown is…Read More

March 1, 2017 |

Pizza Today on the Road: Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, New Orleans, LA

Jam on! Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza thrives in post-Katrina New Orleans When three lifelong friends open a pizzeria in New Orleans, you know the ride is going to be fun. That’s been the case for Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, which debuted on Magazine Street in 2004. And while owners Greg Dietz, Ted Neikirk and Jammer Orintas have…Read More

March 1, 2017 |

Pizza Today on the Road: Pupatella, Arlington, Virginia

Making the Transition Arlington, Virginia-based Pupatella readies for  franchising Pupatella in Arlington, Virginia, has a style all its own. It’s not what many think of when they enter a Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN)-certified pizzeria. First, Pupatella is a counter-service spot. When customers walk in, the first thing they see is the pizza make line and…Read More

tabletop condiments with pizza

March 1, 2017 |

Getting to the Top

Tabletop condiments help set tone for restaurant More than 40 types of toppings are offered at The Olive Theory, but that’s not where adding flavor to its pizzas ends for this pizzeria and many others. Diners who want to adjust the taste of their pizza will also find containers with Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and…Read More

waiter customer service

March 1, 2017 |

Service: Fast & Friendly

Increase service speed without sacrificing customer service Don’t be the last to leave a party. Don’t outstay your welcome. Be a kind and courteous guest. Although this advice seems more appropriate to house guests than restaurant patrons, in today’s tech-driven world, restaurant operators, servers and staff are asking the question: how do we keep guests…Read More

craft beer, pint night, promotion

March 1, 2017 |

On Tap: Craft Beer Pricing and Promotions

It’s International Pizza Expo Month! Hopefully, I’ll get to meet many of you in Vegas and, hopefully, we can enjoy a pint or two at The New Operator Reception, Beer & Bull or at The World Pizza Games Finals & Block Party. This will be my sixth Pizza Expo. I have learned something new every…Read More

March 1, 2017 |

Man on the Street: In the End, Is Easy Better than Good?

I just read a quote that completely terrified me –– and for once it wasn’t spoken by a politician! In late 2015, the head of a major food company suggested to investors that their ailing pizza chain should concentrate less on making good food and more on making their food easier to buy. As someone…Read More

Tony's Slice House, San Francisco, California

March 1, 2017 |

Respecting the Craft: Hated on Haight, Part II

Adapting to your environment pays dividends Last month I talked about our effort to succeed with a Tony’s Slice House on quirky Haight St. in San Francisco, where the clientele will either embrace you or quickly run you off. This month I’ll finish the two-part series. One of the most important components is that we…Read More

tutta bella, seattle, community organizations

March 1, 2017 |

Establishing Community Partnerships

Operators say they have criteria for choosing which nonprofits to support James Tzepos, owner of Zois’ Pizza in Seymour, Connecticut, fields many requests from community organizations to partner with them for a fundraiser or to donate money or pizza. “I get so many in the mail, or somebody walks in and hands me something and…Read More

unemployment claim dispute

March 1, 2017 |

Unemployment Matters

How restaurant leaders can minimize baseless unemployment claims and the trouble they often bring In any given week, roughly 250,000 unemployment insurance claims will be filed across the country, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. And given the restaurant industry’s notoriously high turnover rate — as much as 300 percent annually by…Read More

verde pizza, baltimore, maryland

March 1, 2017 |

Destinations: Baltimore, Maryland

A Look at Pizzerias in Baltimore, Maryland Verde Marianne Kresevich and Edward Bosco opened Verde in an 1880s row house. The sleek, upscale eatery is cozy and casual, offering private and communal seating. Verde specializes in Neapolitan-style with a menu of wood-fired pizzas, calzones, salads and desserts. The pizzeria offers house-made mozzarella. Its extensive pizza…Read More

March 1, 2017 |

Baker’s Lung

What is the medical condition — and why should you be concerned about it? Last year, James Beard Award-winning pizzaiolo Chris Bianco recaptured a place in the headlines. The Phoenix-based chef, whose fame and following swelled in the early 2000s with Pizzeria Bianco, returned to the restaurant game in mid-2016 with Tratto, a tiny, strip…Read More

motorino pizza menu

March 1, 2017 |

Going Off Menu

Today’s diners need a different kind of menu than in the past What is the point of a menu? Does it just convey the price and the information of what the kitchen executes, or is it an opportunity to maximize a ticket average? I think we all know the answer to that, but what actually…Read More

stretching pizza dough

March 1, 2017 |

Knead to Know: Snapped!

Common dough problem has plethora of causes Q: We have a continual problem with dough snap-back after placing it on the screen for baking. Is there anything that we can add to our dough to eliminate this problem? A: Dough snap-back, or dough memory, can be addressed in a number of different ways (which I’ll…Read More