Business Builders

Community Ties

Community Bulletin Board

One day, restaurateur Val Ferrara Glasgow heard an elderly customer inquire about the health of another’s wife, only to learn that she had passed away. That is when Val quietly hung a large erasable “Concerns of Our Café Community” board on her café wall. Under three columns (Military, Sick, and Grieving), the board allows her mostly older clientele to share their concerns with one another.

Now, many regulars first check the board before taking their favorite tables. It makes Val feel good knowing that her small gesture has helped bring customers closer to each other and to the café!

Val Ferrara Glasgow, Owner Water Street Café Boyne City, MI


Firefighter Fundraiser

When a neighborhood firefighter was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Paul Visingardi hosted a fundraiser to help his young family, where uniformed firefighter volunteers delivered pies to local homes.

When the local TV news covered the event live from the restaurant, the shop grew so busy that some of the firefighters called in their families to help staff the phones and build pizzas. To keep things simple, customers chose large cheese or pepperoni pies for $14 each. In just four hours, the group sold nearly 500 pies, raising $7,000 for the young family. Bravo!

Paul J. Visingardi, Owner Vizzy’s Pizza Palace Westland, MI


Hometown Tickets

Lea and Jerry Bradley have found a great way to get free publicity, strengthen their community ties, and get potential guests in the door more often. That is, they regularly volunteer to sell tickets to community events hosted by local non-profit groups.

In exchange, radio ads and flyers from the non-profits tell locals to “Get your tickets at Jerry’s Pizza Company on East Washington Street!” Not only does this repeatedly reinforce Lea and Jerry’s community support, many of the folks who come in for tickets stay for a meal!

Lea Bradley, Owner Jerry’s Pizza Co. Mount Pleasant, IA


Wood Fired Expectations

Much of the desirable flavor and crunchiness of a wood fired pizza comes from the irregular “charring” it receives from an ultra-hot oven. But if less-knowledgeable consumers are not educated before receiving their first wood fired pie, they mistakenly assume that a darkened crust must be a mistake.

To help first-timers properly appreciate the unique, handcrafted character of his Old World pies from the start, owner Nick DiBattista hung reminder signs that “Custom built wood fired ovens bake at 700° to 900°, so some crust charring is normal!”

Nick DiBattista, Corky’s Pizza Arlington, TX


Employee Worksheets

For Glenna Jones, keeping 24 employees well-informed about schedule and policy changes seemed like a never-ending challenge. That’s when she instituted her monthly “Employee Worksheet,” which each team member must read, sign, and return by the end of the pay period to receive their paycheck.

Glenna uses each worksheet to describe upcoming menu items, announce new schedules, celebrate positive “Attaboy” and “Attagirl” employee feedback, recognize staff birthdays, and share inspirational sayings. Each worksheet also challenges servers to enticingly describe how a specific menu item is prepared. By tying performance to paychecks, Glenna makes ongoing employee self-education self-motivating!

Glenna Jones, Owner, Clay’s Café Hebron, OH


Instant Wedding Album

During a wedding in his restaurant, Joe Manolo noticed that the bride was beginning to wilt as festivities ran longer than expected. Wanting to lift her spirits, Joe asked a server to snap candid photos with his digital camera and run to a one hour photo shop to have them printed.

Then, even before the event was over, Joe surprised the newlyweds with a small album of photos of everyone enjoying themselves. When the bride was moved to tears by Joe’s thoughtfulness, he decided to similarly surprise other guests celebrating special events in his place with commemorative photos of their own!

Joe Manolo, Owner, Manolo’s Italian Restaurant Zephyr Hills, FL