Business Builders

Community Roots

Carving Lasting Connections

Over eight decades, LoBello’s Spaghetti House in Coraopolis, PA, developed an unusual but memorable tradition to help regulars feel timelessly connected to the restaurant. They are invited to carve their names into the same wooden dining room booths and tables which have faithfully served since owner Ben LoBello’s grandparents first opened in 1944. Even Guy Fieri chiseled his name when Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives visited back in 2007!

Ben LoBello, Owner LoBello’s Spaghetti House Coraopolis, PA


Sponsor of the Day

Danny Poggie likes promoting other locally owned businesses because money spent there stays local. To spark customer conversations (and deepen the pizzeria’s community roots), Dan’s team wears T-shirts donated by a different local business every day of the week. For example, on Mondays, employees all wear matching “Plymouth Mirror and Glass” shirts. This small gesture has helped Danny’s place earn tremendous goodwill among local merchants and like-minded neighbors!

Dan Poggie, Owner Danny’s Pizza Enfield, CT


Celebrating Youth Sports

Sponsoring a youth sports team can help family-style restaurants deepen community roots. But for thirty years, Jim Poettgen built his pizzeria’s entire marketing focus around supporting and celebrating youth sports, from sponsoring dozens of teams and showcasing their photos and trophies to covering his walls with local sports memorabilia and hosting team fundraisers. No wonder that neighborhood “sports families” have felt so at home here for multiple generations!

Jim Poettgen, Owner BallPark Pizza Team Mission Viejo, CA


Pictures Improve Kitchen Consistency

Getting kitchen staff to prepare each dish consistently can be challenging, especially with newer employees and/or expansive menus. That is why Executive Chef Sean Logullo posted visual instructions picturing exact ingredient proportions, prep specifics, and desired plating for each menu item prepared in his kitchen.

Providing pictures helped Sean to train new hires more quickly and to hold them accountable to specific prep and plating standards. More importantly, it helped ensure that no matter who prepared each dish, what customers saw and tasted would be exactly the same every time!

Sean Logullo, Executive Chef Talarico’s Pizzeria Seattle, WA


FREE Samples Cure “Cursed” Location

Danny Gomez learned how to make great-tasting pizzas while working in Manhattan pizzerias. So when he opened his own place in Snellville, GA, he insisted on sourcing the same superior ingredients. Unfortunately, the previous restaurant tenant in the one location he could afford had gone out of business due to serious health department violations.

Despite Danny’s best efforts, customers stayed away, assuming that the old business had just changed its name (not the quality of its food).

To break this “curse,” Danny began hosting booths at every local community event (Independence Day celebrations, concerts in the park, etc.) to give away lots of free bite-sized samples of his pizza. Making the samples free was key to quickly reaching as many neighbors as possible while personally introducing himself face to face!

After trying the samples, some event-goers visited his place, liked the food, and began telling friends. Soon, positive word of mouth (and sales) began building. Eventually, Danny’s pizzeria was named “best in the county” in a local magazine reader’s poll! BRAVO!

Danny Gomez, Owner Fratelli’s Pizza Snellville, GA