Business Builders

Community Roots

Boosting Boosters

When Kimberly Gentry wanted to sink deep roots into her rural community, she named her place “Team Pizza,” painted it the local high school’s colors, and lined the walls with 8 x 10 photos of local athletes and cheerleaders. But what really cements local loyalty is Kimberly’s generous support of athletic booster club fundraising. For each big game, Kimberly provides the booster snack bar with 40 hot pizzas at cost, which volunteers resell for $3 a slice. Additionally, grandstand announcers regularly encourage fans to enjoy a slice, “generously provided by Team Pizza.” As a result, many locals, especially athletes and their families, consider Kimberly’s place their unofficial headquarters!

Kimberly Gentry, Owner Team Pizza Oologah, OK


Lunch with the Principal

To attract more local families, restaurateurs Joe and Maria Butera approached local elementary schools with their “Lunch with the Principal” program. In the program, students who teachers “catch” being good, getting good grades, or helping others during the month are invited to have lunch (provided free of charge by Sicilian Joe’s Restaurant) with the principal. Later, proud parents whose children are honored at lunch often stop by the restaurant to thank the Buteras. Plus, neighborhood youngsters now think of Sicilian Joe’s as the place to be!

Joe and Maria Butera, Owners Sicilian Joe’s Monee, IL


“Food in Mouth” Advertising

To attract more quality oriented patrons, Richard Ames looks for worthy local charity events and offers to feed their volunteers for free. Typical groups include firefighters, the local SPCA, “Dogs with Wings” (service dogs for the autistic), etc. Richard asks event organizers for a count of volunteers and provides that many “personal pizza” gift certificates. In addition to building goodwill, Richard has also found an effective non price way to get potential patrons to taste his pies for the first time. As a result, many have eventually become loyal repeat customers!

Richard Ames, Owner Daddio’s Pizza Grande Prairie, AB


Checklists Eliminate Surprises

When overlooked, closing chores can create unwelcome opening surprises the next day. That is why Jane Schradle requires her lead employees to complete two “closing checklists.” For example, the dining room list verifies that the till is closed out, tables and floors are sparkling, the bathroom fans are off, etc. The kitchen list verifies proper refrigerator temps, ingredients are properly covered and refrigerated, surfaces are sparkling, back door is bolted, etc. Requiring team leaders to personally confirm closing chore completion allows Jane to rest easier at night, knowing that her shop is 100% ready to go the next day!

Jane Schradle, Owner Lake Country Pizza Turtle Lake, WI


Kids’ Night Out

At Ristorante Giuseppe, two generations of the Brucia family wanted to attract more young families to their upscale eatery. So to break the ice, Natalie Brucia began hosting a monthly “Kids’ Night Out/Parents’ Dine Out” evening event.

For $12 each, children from ages 2 to 12 enjoy a spaghetti dinner and dessert, a movie, and supervised crafts in the banquet room. In the dining room nearby, their parents appreciate a quiet “date night” together, knowing their young ones are under Natalie’s loving eye.

Not only does the Monday night event sell out monthly, more young families are coming to the restaurant during the rest of the month as well! Definitely a win, win!

Natalie Brucia, Owner Ristorante Giuseppe Shreveport, LA


Lone Star Zeppole

Back in 1976, grandparents Bruno and Maria Marino began frying strips of bread dough in an iron skillet, rolling them in cinnamon and sugar, and giving them to loyal patrons in their family’s Tyler, TX, ristorante.

Two family generations later, Jay and Lori Rumbelow are still treating their regulars to complimentary portions of Bruno and Maria’s zeppole! In an age of chain restaurants cutting portion sizes, Lori and Jay’s continuing tradition of generosity goes a long way to making their customers feel loved!

Jay and Lori Rumbelow, Owners Bruno’s on Vine Tyler, TX