Business Builders

Improving Operations

Speed Scratch Cooking

Facing tight kitchen labor, Chef David Sammarco still insists on cooking his premium seafoods and meats to order. But David “front loads” as much advance preparation as possible. He pre-portions individual servings of raw proteins, like his medley of fresh shrimp, scallops, and calamari together, in ziplock bags. He also parcooks and pre-portions pasta servings. Then by keeping these “speed scratch” components within easy reach during dinner, David can rapidly marry each dish’s pre-portioned protein and sauce in a hot skillet and then toss-in pasta to warm it to perfect “al dente” firmness.
David Sammarco, Chef The Heights Pub Arlington, MA


Fresher Premium Sandwiches

One secret to the popularity of Giuseppe Sparacio’s handcrafted hoagies and cheesesteaks are his house-baked rolls. The freshly baked rolls further elevate his premium cured meats and cheeses. While he uses the same dough recipe for his pizza, he carefully manages roll “rise time” to promote flavor development without allowing finished bread “bubbles” from becoming too large!

Giuseppe Sparacio, Owner Joe’s Original Pizza Berlin, NJ


Thinking Outside of the Box

At age 18, Joe Tuzzio began running his family’s Long Branch, NJ, restaurant, Tuzzio’s Italian Cuisine for 50 straight years. Upon his well-deserved retirement at 68, Joe called La Trattoria to share some of his best business-building ideas with his fellow Independents.

1) Never wait for business to come to you. When Joe’s dad fell ill and young Joe originally stepped in to run the business, he was impatient to build sales. Joe discovered that offsite catering made profitable use of the kitchen outside of busy dinner hours by allowing most pre-prep to happen early in the day.

2) Think outside the day-part. Joe learned that pharmaceutical reps sometimes provide breakfast to medical offices while doctors listen to their sales presentations. So Joe began working closely with local reps to create flavorful breakfasts while DEPENDABLY meeting their precise deadlines for each delivery. As doctor offices began requesting Joe’s breakfasts, his lunchtime office orders also began to grow.

3) Remove operational bottlenecks. For holiday catering, Joe would pre-cook over 100 Thanksgiving turkeys, 32 at a time (16 per deck over two pizza ovens). To presell and distribute 600 family dinners on Christmas Eve, Joe regularly rented a 55’ refrigerator trailer for the parking lot. Then he and his team sequentially prepared and pre-loaded the various meal components for days in advance.

4) Earn customers one at a time. For his restaurant regulars, Joe worked to further earn their loyalty by learning and accommodating their dietary preferences. Early on, Joe began offering a good quality gluten free pasta, crafted low fat meals for those wanting them, and worked to perfect a meatless Bolognese from ground veggie burger.

5) Create profitable seasonal specials. When seasonal eggplant became plentiful (and exceptionally reasonable), Joe would fry up large batches of eggplant cutlets. He then skewered them vertically with layers of roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil to create visually stunning “eggplant tower” appetizers.

What never changed during Joe’s 50 years of success was his lifelong commitment to superior quality ingredients. BRAVO, Joe!