Success Stories

Calabresella Deli

Despite tough times, second generation restaurateur Dominic Mammoliti has successfully reinvigorated his family’s Rochester, New York, deli by maximizing the strongest “branches” of their business and pruning away the rest!

Back in the day, Dominic’s parents built a loyal clientele at their Calabresella Deli by selling freshly sliced premium quality Italian meats and cheeses, really good deli sandwiches made from them, and a variety of hard to find dried pastas and other imported groceries.

Years later, when leadership of the business eventually passed to Dominic, he took stock of which “branches” of the family business were healthy and growing and which were declining. Exiting declining types of business would free up valuable resources that could be focused on growing the deli where it was offered the biggest potential.

The good news was that demand for the family’s freshly made “to go” sandwiches and “heat and serve” Italian entrées was healthy and growing. The deli had also developed a small, loyal following of former Rochester residents who purchased the family’s jarred marinara sauce via mail order.

Other branches of the business were less promising. For example, the deli’s dry grocery sales had fallen as chain supermarkets began offering more and more imported foods at lower prices the deli could not match. To a lesser extent, the deli’s “slice to order” meat and cheese business had also contracted as supermarkets upgraded and expanded their service delis.

Recognizing that the dry grocery business was no longer profitable, Dominic exited that business. By removing shelving and clearing out an adjacent storeroom, he made space for cozy tables and chairs. Now, formerly “to go only” sandwich customers could choose to eat onsite. As a result, many once a week “to go” customers became daily “eat in” regulars, significantly increasing profitable sandwich sales.

While Dominic still bought and sliced premium meats and cheeses for the successful sandwich business, he stopped wasting energy trying to promote the declining “slice to order” business. Instead, he repurposed his refrigerated display cases to focus on visually tempting customers to try his “heat and eat” Italian entrées. Soon, more lunchtime guests began returning after work to pick up dinner on their way home!

As for the mail order business, Dominic realized that former locals who occasionally ordered his jarred marinara sauce might be equally nostalgic for other “flavors of Rochester.” So he tested expanding his online offerings (and sales!) to include other regional favorites, including a popular line of locally made hotdogs and sausages, a favorite local barbeque sauce, etc.

In response, Dominic’s online store began fielding larger, more frequent orders from existing customers and attracting more first time orders from other Rochester “expats” attracted via word of mouth.

By better focusing limited time and resources on pursuing his most promising opportunities (and exiting the rest), Dominic has grown sales (and more importantly, PROFITS)! Bravo!!!!