Success Stories

Angelo’s Deli

Susan Marra, owner of Angelo’s Deli in East Hanover, NJ, believes that it is better to specialize in a few exceptional offerings not available elsewhere than to try to be “all things to all people.” As a result, her Italian deli continues its sure and steady growth, despite the tough economy!

Angelo’s Deli was the dream of Susan Marra’s late husband, Angelo, and remains the full time passion for Susan and daughters Gina and Angela.

When Angelo’s first opened, the family built their reputation on premium homemade sausage, which they customize to each customer’s specifications. So whether guests prefer spicy or sweet; added broccoli rabe; short, fat links vs. long, skinny ones (i.e., stuffed into narrow lamb casings); etc., Angelo’s is more than happy to oblige!

This strategy gives Angelo’s a signature “magnet” item not available elsewhere. After all, few delis still grind their own sausage, let alone customize small quantities to order. As a result, not only does Angelo’s attract sausage lovers, these fans often become unofficial “evangelists,” singing the deli’s praises to their friends.

Restaurants wanting to achieve a similar “magnet” effect might consider building their reputation around uniquely flavorful “signature” items not otherwise widely available.

While Angelo’s is known for premium fresh sausage, Susan has found another signature “magnet” to attract a whole new set of fans! That is, she placed an employee in the center of the store to continually hand make fresh mozzarella from curd.

Not only do these live demonstrations grab customer attention, they give Susan’s employee an excuse to engage guests in conversation and encourage them to enjoy a complimentary taste of creamy, just made cheese.

Restaurateurs who already hand make pastas, hand mix rustic bread dough, hand make fresh mozzarella, etc. might consider attractively showcasing those special preparations where customers can see them. As Susan has demonstrated, the results can be entertaining, while memorably emphasizing the lengths you go to achieve flavor authenticity!

Susan also strongly believes the best way to promote superior flavor is getting the right customers to taste it! For example, when she found a remarkable imported pasta, Susan did not expect customers to imagine what “better” pasta might taste like. Instead, she paired perfectly cooked pasta with a fresh tasting marinara and offered samples to every customer in the store. As a result, rather quickly both the pasta and sauce became popular staples among her regulars!

Restaurants wanting to suggestively sell especially flavorful items might consider automatically sending small bite sized samples to every guest. Not only does it make the meal more interesting, it instantly communicates “flavor” more effectively than words alone!

Conclusion: At Angelo’s Deli, consistently superior food drives repeat business. Specializing in unique signature offerings creates “magnets” to draw additional customers. Presenting them memorably helps maximize those advantages!